The local pub having closed and transformed into a desirable residence, our little group now meets for coffee at the garden centre. This particular cafe has seating outside, which is very pleasant and popular on summer mornings, and a couple of our number ordered breakfast and sat down to pass the time of day and watch the world go by as we waited for the others to turn up.
Today, though, was more eventful, as the adjoining table was occupied by the sort of people who would like you to believe that they were, or had been, something very important. We’ve all met them, the middle-income earners with names like Jasper and Olivia and voices to match, ‘yarping away’ or “braying” as a columnist on one of the quality Sundays described them.
We were quite entertained by this, as they re-arranged the seating to suit themselves, noisily barged their way into the queue and were most disappointed when they found that croissants were off the menu. Then, not to be outdone, another family of three generations in the same vein arrived, prompting my friend to ask if the place had been mentioned in that paper that has been reduced to asking for donations to keep going.
One of our number arrived clutching a newspaper. “You didn’t buy that rag, did you?” we ‘brayed’ (well given our neighbours it seemed the thing to do). “Hell, no,” he said. “It was free at the petrol station.” This started a conversation about ‘newspapers’ in general and TV news channels. No one in our little group had anything good to say about the BBC/Sky duopoly and not one of us regularly watched the other channels, the usual reasons being given: anti-Brexit bias and general loss of confidence in anything reported, even the weather reports.
“You know,” said my friend, “this country is falling apart and few seem to give a fig.” “Bit strong,” said somebody. “No it’s not, look at that lot that were here, full of themselves talking about their cottage in France and their holidays in Italy, at the top of their voices, I bet they don’t live in an area, as I do, that now, thanks to government policy over many years, is over-populated with immigrants, many of whom hang around the town day and night, who make no attempt to hide their disdain or make any attempt to integrate, and on top of that we have houses being built everywhere, the roads are a disgrace, you can’t drive anywhere without being held up at temporary traffic lights, you can’t get to see a doctor for two to three weeks, the local hospital is a nightmare, every house in my street has been burgled and drug dealers operate openly on the street. Do you ever see the police? Do you ever! Try telling that to our table neighbours. They don’t believe you or tell you are exaggerating or being racist or some such. To them, whole areas that have been turned from reasonably pleasant urban suburbs with high streets and restaurants to places where people choose not to go because they don’t feel safe, do not exist because they don’t go anywhere near them or prefer to listen to the nonsense on broadcast media or some newspaper article written by a ‘Democracy reporter’ helpfully ‘trained’ by the BBC.
“We voted Brexit in our area and by a large margin, but the local MP ignores us and flip flopped on May’s WA. I tell you now he’s got no chance at the next election. Not that politicians have done anything of any real note over the last 20 years except make promises they don’t keep and to be honest, me and a lot of others are sick and tired of it.”
“Yes, but its different now,” said somebody. “We’ve got the Brexit Party and Boris is frightened of what they will do to the Conservative party if he fails to deliver.”
“Can’t see that,” said another. “If people wanted change, they had the opportunity when UKIP was a force to be reckoned with, and what did the majority do? Voted for the same old thing. The EU elections were just seen as a way to protest and now half the country seems hell bent on believing bumbling Boris while the other half seems to think that ‘Jezza’ and Labour with the LibDems are the answer in some sort of Lib-Lab pact, just like the 70’s all over again.”
I keep hearing that people want change. Remind me then what’s happened in the last three years, how many MPs have been deselected, or how many newspapers have gone out of business because the masses are tired of reading anti-Brexit bilge and no longer buy them. Have demands to censure or change the BBC risen to a crescendo? Not that anyone has noticed. I hear and see lots of comments from people complaining about BBC, Sky and Channel Four News and how they don’t like how much of it is presented, and how they are sick of BBC bias. Why then do they continue to watch or listen? Odd then how the same people can tell you the names of all the presenters and what somebody said on Today, Newsnight or some TV or radio talk show. Some political blogs have good daily viewing figures, but these are in the minority.
Part 2 of this piece will be published here tomorrow.
Photo by steve 99