The headline screams out from columnist Alison Pearson in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. Does anyone actually believe this rubbish? Or have we been so brainwashed that Big Brothers will be hauling me off to Room 101 for pointing it out. Well I shall risk it anyway. La Pearson states:
“Patriotism not being a source of toe-curling embarrassment may be one of London 2012’s enduring legacies. Britons waved their flag, and found that they liked it. The need to be cool was displaced by the wish to be warm. Figures out yesterday show that crime was down in London by 6 per cent. Only nine people were arrested at Olympics venues. Attendance at the Proms themselves hit a record 93 per cent.
Of course, helpful smiles may blow away with the first churlish gale of autumn, but what will remain is the knowledge of what can be achieved when the genius of our people is harnessed.”
Let’s start with waving the National Flag. Most ordinary (I do not use that word in a disparaging sense as you will see below) folk in Britain have never had a problem waving the flag. They have been British and proud of it. A Metropolitan elite (the sort of folk who live in certain parts of London like Islington, and work in the media) might have associated the Union Flag with extremist right wing parties and shunned it but that was their call. They are the same sort of folk who equated opposition to the Euro or the EU with swivel eyed xenophobia and regarded the word “patriotism” as the same as “jingoism” – an embarrassing relic of a bygone age, before we were all good Europeans or “world citizens”. For our media elite it was inconceivable that one might oppose the Euro on economic grounds or wave a Union Flag without wanting to go on about “sending ‘em all back home”.
That same elite now find it hard to support the Euro but have yet to apologise to those of us tarred with the xenophobe brush and to admit that we were right. And while that elite may now feel comfortable waving the flag again, most of us never stopped feeling comfortable.
Moving from flags, we now know what can be achieved if the “genius of our people is harnessed.. …we can reverse the National decline” writes this silly woman. I am not sure that attendance at the proms is a KPI on national decline but perhaps at Islington Dinner parties it is regarded as crucial. But what strikes me about Pearson is not only that she is talking bollocks but that she does so in such a patronising way.
Britain became Great because individuals had the freedom to start businesses, to employ, to trade, to export, to buccaneer ( let’s not kid ourselves). A prudent Government invested in a military machine which allowed men and women the ability to create wealth as entrepreneurs and traders and as scientists and engineers and writers the freedom to improve and enrich society. These people were not harnessed they were free. The State took little of their money and gave them no handouts and they thrived. The use of the word “harnessed” implies direction from above, a collective effort, no doubt led by the same elites who were too embarrassed to wave a flag before July. As a society we do not need harnessing we need liberating from interference fiscal, regulatory and from being forced to adhere to cultural mores, imposed by that same elite.
As to reversing the national decline? Where do I start? The Olympics was a great spectacle for London and everyone had a great time. I accept that. But it was also a fiscal disaster for the real economy and only added to Britain’s staggering national debt. Every day that debt grows as the Government fails to tackle the deficit. This country is slowly going broke. Personal debt levels are as unsustainable as those of a Government which now spends more on servicing its debt than on defence and which could not defend the few colonies we have left, if pushed. 50% of our laws are now made in Brussels. Civil liberties have been eroded on a scale never seen before and the trend accelerates. In some parts of this country a greater percentage of the population is on the payroll of the State ( as an employee or a welfare recipient) than in Cuba.
Do I really have to go on? How on earth can Pearson ask us to believe that the Spirit of 2012 will do anything to reverse that decline. The circuses kept we flag waving plebs happy for a while, but the bread is rapidly running out.