As this year’s summer grinds on you could be forgiven for thinking that, as far as the virus is concerned, most people have decided to throw caution to the wind in their leisure activities and – as generations of pre-1960s people did – descend on the popular coastal resorts. At one time, of course, almost every family had their one week’s holiday at more or less the same time. Industries closed down completely as the cotton makers, the tin bashers, the steel workers crowded on trains and coaches for their holiday respite. Photographs of Blackpool and Bournemouth taken in 1939 show crowded beaches and promenades full, in the main, of well-dressed people. I wonder how many holiday romances started and/or finished on the beaches of Blackpool, Bridlington, Bournemouth, Weymouth and the more ‘select’ resorts of Saundersfoot, St. Anne’s and the Isle of Wight. Little did they know – well some did and were ignored, as others preferred not to notice the storm clouds that were gathering as that summer ground on – that by September their world and lives were going to be changed for ever.
Eighty years on, and for totally different reasons, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were blissfully enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the summer, free and easy travel to anywhere you wanted at easily affordable prices, cheap mortgages, credit to ‘buy’ the latest of everything, education standards apparently rising to unbelievable levels of achievement, university places abundant and available for everyone who wanted a place. True, Brexit was not yet achieved and although Mr. Corbyn and his shadow cabinet were making rather worrying statements, we all knew that the May years were coming to an end and that nice Mr. Johnson was going to win the forthcoming election and the anti-democratic posturing of various politicians and commentators was about to be consigned to the dustbin.
‘Have a good Christmas’ decreed the Prime Minister, now universally referred to as Boris. It seemed a good idea at the time, except of course in the minds of overpaid and overhyped journalists of the print and broadcast media, cut off from their main source of income, turning out anti-Brexit propaganda for the last four years. They turned their attention to the next target, anti-government articles because they mostly despise ‘Boris’ and just love the EU despite what the people said. Why not? It was an easy source of stories for the mill.
True to their mantra of fairness and transparency, collectivism and political correctness, learned at the knee of some aging 60s lecturer nicely ensconced in one of the Blair centres of excellence (still called, for some reason, ‘universities’ that look to the casual observer more like a modern tourist hotel with added sports facilities than a centre of intellectual prowess), but not to worry. These establishments turned out thousands of firsts and 2.1s, mostly in arts and humanities, ‘education’, whatever that is supposed to mean, media studies and, for the pinnacle of success as far as the establishment is concerned, a PPE from Oxford or the LSE. No, that’s not Personal Protective Equipment, but the absolute tops for certain public sector jobs, for example the Civil Service, the financial sector and of course politics, where Philosophy, Politics and Economics are seen as a pre-requisite to run huge departments of state, or indeed the country.
We can all see now where that has got us although many people would say it’s the ultimate certificate of entitlement and ‘the’ blaggers’ degree.
All this ‘education’ does not seem to have had a positive result unless you count higher expectations and entitlement as being good for the soul or the country, and some would say the results have been catastrophic for both as many young people, having put themselves into debt, find their degree in performing arts, media studies, gender relationships or forensic science is about as useful on your CV as your GCSE results are at the age of 30.
The proportion of students getting “good honours” – a First or 2:1 – has leapt from 47 per cent to 79 per cent: at 13 universities, more than 90 per cent of students were given at least a 2:1 last year. And Oxbridge is leading the charge: 96 to 99 per cent of its English, history and languages students get “good honours” – well good luck with that, and there was I thinking that an MBA, a professional qualification combined with years of experience, would be useful in the high speed interconnected world of technological achievement that we all inhabit today.
Not that our purveyors of academic science, which all politicians now view as the font of all knowledge and follow as they would their car’s ‘satnav’ as they drive us into economic and social oblivion using the same sort of excuse that war criminals did at the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War 2. ‘We were only following the science’ they cry, having not lost one iota from the results of their decisions, which have cost the livelihoods of millions, and the lives of many while they look after their own in the public services, paying them millions to sit at home, doing in many cases, next to nothing.
Presumably for the good of us all, apparently, but not for the thousands that have died and will continue to die because of politicians’ total lack of critical thinking ability, leadership or their refusal to take responsibility for decisions, presumably borne from over-education and their obvious sense of superiority.
Perfectly obvious to those who care to look at all these nicely-spoken middle-income earners who preside over the political establishment, the financial sector, the media, the public sector quangos and the voluntary sector, all of whom, in many cases, have no transferable skill whatsoever and in many cases virtually no practical skill either.
These are the people making life and death decisions on the futures of citizens who are increasingly angered by pointless restrictions, incompetent decisions and annoyed by meaningless ‘sound bite’ statements trotted out to a sycophantic media, itself often kept afloat by hidden government subsidies, advertising and sponsored articles.
As the virus attacks the very fabric of our nation, costing billions of pounds to the economy which will take a generation to repay, when free speech in universities is all but ‘cancelled’, you could be wondering why our cultural heritage (or what’s left of it) is being destroyed, why the armed forces have been hollowed out to a shell, why the police service has been destroyed from within, why immigration and particularly illegal immigration has been allowed to continue and as is becoming increasingly obvious to many people, the United Kingdom is under threat and our system of social order is being undermined, why all this is happening with little comment by the Prime Minister; why for example are dozens of people, mostly it seems young men, allowed to march around London in para-military order wearing para-military uniforms in open contradiction to the 1936 public order act.
Part 2 of Back where we started will be published here tomorrow.