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The Empire Letters - A View From Old Albion






     As a hitherto life-long Labour voter and grandson of a Normandy veteran, I will not vote for a major party again, unless someone discovers some courage of their own.

Generally, as long as re-election remains a preoccupation, nothing substantial will ever truly change, so you might as well vote for a party whose credo is Change with a capital C. The mandarins in Whitehall will still ensure that the machinery of state doesn't collapse but a cursory analysis of the venal, mendacious complexion of our recent and current crop of politicians should be at the very least disturbing.

Historians will examine the evidence and wonder why the revolution took so long.

Let's take a little peek over the edge of the abyss...

EDUCATION

Education has become a business network, with heads competing for ratings. When league tables & Ofsted determine a school's policy & practices, is anyone surprised that a generation of school-leavers all think they're brilliant, because they've been handheld and spoonfed all the way to a clutch of A grades, even though, it turns out, this is the least literate and numerate younger generation since the War? A recent OECD study reveals that we're nineteenth out of twenty-two developed nations, in literacy - and even lower for numeracy.

Anecdotal evidence speaks volumes. My teenage son, who's a good linguist and all rounder in maths, the sciences, etc., got an A grade in his French GCSE. I threw some simple conversational French at him, along the lines of "A quel heure sont tu travaille aujourd'hui?" He replied that he didn't understand and that, "Dad, they teach us how to pass a French exam, not speak French."

A recent move by government to change the letter grade system of A to F, to a number range of 1 to 6 is the kind of madness associated with deckchairs on the Titanic. The solution is not easy, but it is simple: teach them properly, separate the ones who can think from the ones who can do - and let teachers expand pupils' minds and skills, not just cram them full of short-lived exam fodder. Thankfully, HM Gov is at least putting a stop to continual assessment contributing to final grades.

There's no sense in telling everyone that they can achieve anything they want (they can't) and that everyone deserves a place at University (they don't) doing bloody media studies. In years to come, as the dust settles on our smoking wilderness, following a brief tactical skirmish between bored Superpowers, I can't wait to see how many people can build a shelter, make a fire, get generators working, fix old appliances, and so on.

At least we won't go short of web-designers and sound engineers.

IMMIGRATION

These are not the rantings of a far-right Little Englander; the writer is a former Guardian reader, engaged in multi-ethnic music and arts, for many years.

No, this is not about race or colour; in fact, when you hear the stories of nightmare journeys from certain African countries, across desert and stormy water, not only does your heart go out to them, but it's also hard not to conclude that these are the kind of people you really want in society: people with real determination and tenacity.

It's continually depressing that the very mention of immigration immediately causes hackles to rise; sadly, the equality agenda and over-sensitive bureaucrats have contrived to characterise it as xenophobic rabble-rousing. Could it be that, on grounds of pragmatism alone, I can voice these sentiments and not be labelled intolerant and boorish?

There is a compelling case for a practical tightening and remedial sweeping of the immigration situation. I use the word 'situation', but as the EU continues to disgorge opportunistic freeloaders from far flung corners of Europe into the gravy train of Britain, a better expression would be powder-keg. I exhort members of the liberal press and Westminster Villagers to spend a week in Leeds, Bolton, Derby or Stoke - with no security and incognito - then tell the electorate that an EU haemorrhage is a good idea.

My Grandfather died in WW2, at Arnhem - for what? So that Britain would welcome every continental chancer to take up residence, courtesy of our Santa-like welfare system? The European Union as it has become, is not what Churchill and Roosevelt had in mind in 1945 - Unity yes, Union no. Co-operation yes, conglomeration no.

The notion of a homogenised Europe is utterly counter to the point of fighting for King & Country. It wasn't solely about defeating fascism, but about preserving a certain way of life (British, Italian, French, Dutch) and protecting our European neighbours' freedom.

We celebrate other countries and their cultures - visit them and speak the international language of the tourist dollar - but we shouldn't allow ourselves to be moulded into an amorphous federal free-for-all, donating our tax & national insurance revenue to give every one who fancies it a house, free cash and a mobile. (Talk to any front line worker at a social security office or town hall - I wish I was making this up, I really do.)

It's very telling (but by no means original) to point out that you don't get many people migrating in the opposite direction. Maybe our homegrown freeloaders have already looked into a new life in Albania, Romania or Hungary, who knows?

PODLIFE

To paraphrase Gibbon, there is an erosion, not just of civic virtue, but of almost everything that hovers around the description of being civil. But this decline has an Orwellian twist, a soupcon of Thought Police and a surveillance society in an age of unprecedented prescriptive and proscriptive government.

Perhaps myFace Twitterings and eBook PodCasts really are the future of social interaction - everyone produces a net-burst to keep each other informed of the tiniest mundanities of life - and Facebook keeps track of you and your connections.

The future might see a currency-replacement device, called the DollChip" (surgically implanted in the earlobe at a very reasonable cost) which will save you the hassle of using cash or card, and also coincidentally lets our political masters know where we've been and what we've been up to. There's already almost no distinction between the heads of global finance and heads of government, so it's a tiny step...

Given that the UK doesn't manufacture anything anymore, our brave new generation of geniuses will be home-based call-centre workers for Chinese and Indian tech corporations - mmm, smell the irony.

Meanwhile, all those daytime drones metamorphose into pudgy, yet surprisingly vigorous, creatures in the night-time, as the sun gamely sets on yet another round of futility and urban high streets are illuminated by bargain drinks deals - every single night of the week...

The credit crunch wasn't solely caused by unrealistic mortgages and Nevada-style banking - it was millions of ill-educated junior alcoholics continually extending their overdrafts to pay for ever-expanding weekends. For those international readers, imagine Spring Break, but in a cold wet climate - and all-year-round, not just a fortnight.

The stats for female kidney failure will go through the roof, as each gaggle of desperately hilarious Good Time Independent Ladies wears less and less, in the way of actual clothing, so they can post pics of their amazing night out on PicFace or MyArse, or whatever.

Fundamentally, the serfs are getting wide of girth and dim of mind. A sedentary, indoor life, spent smoking and ordering pizzas and kebabs (thank God McDonald's don't deliver) will take its toll on people's skin, internal organs and personal stench.

Before long, physical revulsion, combined with lower oestrogen levels and widespread erectile dysfunction, will have rendered the masses immobile and impotent.

What used to be known as citizens in a society, have become merely consumers in an economy - and the modern consumer feels shiny & special all the time, because Facebook and Twitter produce the illusion of celebrity. Photographs of every humdrum chunk of life are splashed across the digital domain, as if everyone's in their own reality-drama-doc. Everyone's movements and nano-thoughts are logged for all to see.

Everyone simply can't be special - but thanks to a deluded education system, a culture of entitlement and technology that turns everything into a great big mirror, everyone thinks they are.

Diogenes was right all along.






Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com

timmullin.wix.com/music#!blog-roll Tim Mullin, musician, writer and occasional stand-up, delivers a series of polemics on the current state of decay in British society.


Posted on 2013-11-04, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.


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