I find myself fascinated by the easygoing Goan socio-religious tolerance. I’m also interested in Indian history generally, because I think it offers lessons for the West. To that end, I recently finished a book I bought from Literati – a charming traditional bookshop attached to a culinary oasis here called Gusto!. The book – The Victoria Cross – A Love Story – is an affectionate biography of her parents by Ashali Varma. Her father Prem Baghat won one of the very few VCs awarded to Indian officers during the Second World War, and her mother Mohini was one of the outstanding Indian beauties of her day.
I bought the volume because it seemed a quick way to get boned up on modern Indian history from the rise of Gandhi to the Indo-Pak and Sino-Indian wars of the last century. It delivered on this promise admirably, but the unexpected bonus was getting hooked on admiration of Ms Varma’s mum and dad. Their behaviour throughout privileged but difficult lives was nothing short of exemplary. Every UK politician peddling relativist nonsense about “British culture being as strong as ever” should read Ashali Varma’s book: without ever once making a comparison between Then and Now, its 243 pages record acts of heroism, social conscience and practical compassion (for those less fortunate citizens in society) that are almost extinct in our own Septic Isle.
Beyond the lessons of historical comparison, there is also the sensory culture shock of arriving in Goa. It ought to jolt the average Anglo-Russian sun-seeker into a realisation of just how lucky they are….although I doubt if it does.
Most of them are busy examining their skin for further tattooing possibilities. Indeed one sector that has exploded since the British and Russian tourist invasion began here is tattoos. There are two reasons for this. First, Wayne, Bianca, Grigor and Olga can never have too many tattoos; and second, the near 100% level of gross obesity means there’s a lot of surface area to go at.
I’m very happy to declare an interest here: I really cannot stand tattoos. To me they mean low IQ, puerile vanity, poor taste and – yet again – that “look at me” vicarious fame crap radiated by people with too much time and nowhere near enough sense. But you have to hand it to the Anglo-Russian allies: without their shameless dysfunctionality, there would be an even more serious unemployment problem in India.
Good for India, but worrying for St Petersburg and Birmingham. The two least cultured European nations now have a generation of Untermenschen kept quiet by what I always call The Beads. That is, “here’s a bottle of fire water, a Sky contract, a mobile phone, a Dominos pizza and a tattoo parlour. Now stay on your Reservation, and every once in a while, Rupert/Vladimir will chuck a media vendetta victim over the stockade for you to devour”.
There are very, very serious poverty, culture and education problems in the UK – I accept that. But unless we focus on those – and drop all the metro-virtue baggage – one day it’ll get as bad as India.
The Indian subcontinent’s bottom 20% should be a bucket of cold water over the heads of the standard bourgeois UK Labour supporter’s crass definition of poverty; and for the Right, the deprived corrugated-iron chaos of inadequate shelter for that same one fifth should act as a predictor of where neoliberal economics are taking us. But the entire British political class is wrapped up in a study of its own navel.
The one issue nobody – and I mean nobody – gives a stuff about in Goa is LGBTRRSPI and all the rest of it. There are no idiots banning blackamoor brooches or gays pressing for Church marriages, or trannies asking for multiple toilets. In a country where the needs are more food, more toilets and fewer births, there simply isn’t any room or time for self-identifying narcissists and Islamics who are always offended by something. There is no shortage of gay people interacting and living lives here; there is just a shortage of identity politics.
The Left very badly needs a priorities hierarchy reset. Everyone except the Left grasps this. One day soon, Caligula will get into Downing Street….and I’d be willing to bet his name will be Jeremy Hunt.
But by then, it’ll be too late: a tranny lesbian lorry driver will be able to marry an Undecided Islamic hermaphrodite in St Paul’s Cathedral….but the rest of us will get six years in a Cheshire salt mine for Hate Messaging if we post ‘Boris Johnson is a thug’.
It needs thinking about.