(Not St Mary in the Wold …!)
Written by ‘Norman’
The more things change the more they stay the same. Here in St. Mary on the Wold, true, there is more traffic on the ‘main road’ through the village now, particularly during what used to be called the ‘rush hour’ but it’s still nothing like what it was pre-covid.
The residents of Audi Avenue are still apparently ‘working from home’, judging by the number of couples of working age walking and practising for their next Olympic event on their cycles around the village and lanes throughout the day. Judging by the lack of response and the time it takes to get any sort of sensible answer from public and private organisations these days, these people must all be taking regular hourly ‘screen breaks’, but there you are. Odd though that people not of that ‘class’ are working flat out as most of them have throughout the pandemic, odd too how rates of absence in private companies seem to be, in my experience at least, far less than those of the workforce in publicly funded organisations. I’ve no idea why, maybe a research department in one of our hundreds of new universities could (if they can find the time after all that research into historical links to slave trade hundreds of years ago) come up with an answer, and while they are about it perhaps they could research the historical links and backgrounds of many European multinational companies during the middle of the last century or, while we are about it, the scale of sex trafficking evident today.
Anyway, I see that the German car industry is now bleating about £14bn of financial losses due to problems caused by Brexit. Got nothing to do of course with the recent emissions scandal, the worldwide shortage of ‘chips,’ or the fact that far-eastern and Asian companies are now producing vehicles that are just as reliable, prestigious and ‘cheaper’ than the European equivalents. Why buy a vehicle, often produced with parts sourced from China but costing more due to marketing hype and advertising that the gullible still fall for, when you can buy a cheaper one built in China which lacks nothing but a so-called legacy badge which plays to the snobbery of some sections of the public. How terrible then that certain prestige marks are starting to feel the heat of competition at long last, just as the British car and motorcycle makers did in the 1960s and 70s. Schadensfreude indeed.
Not that many of our local residents seem at all bothered by any of this. Safe in their public sector jobs or living off their final salary pensions, the only thing that has affected them recently is the panic buying of petrol and diesel. The good people here quickly bought up local fuel stocks, ‘to be on the safe side’ as one told me, couldn’t risk not being able to make the 10-mile return journey to the organic food shop or the garden centre. One old ‘dear’ was seen filling up the ‘Landy’ as well as five cans, such was her need to be on the safe side. Strange when most of these cars spend nearly all of of their existence parked on drives or in snug warm garages.
Some, well quite a number actually, have ‘invested’ in the latest EV vehicles in which they parade their green credentials on regular trips to the local outdoor based cafe/restaurant. I’m not sure or aware where these types get their information from. The snippets that can be heard in the shop or garage seem to point in the direction of the MSM, as the same people can be seen most mornings exiting the shops clutching the Guardian or the Telegraph, supplemented on Sundays at least by the more ‘up market’ tabloids. Most of what is reported seems to have either passed these people by or irritated them to the extent that they only take them for ‘the sport’ or ‘the Crossword’, which must say something about their habits or mental state. Either way they continue to buy the things and still avidly tune to the BBC and Sky. I did overhear one gentleman telling the person accompanying him as they jogged past my home with their two Labbies, that he only listened to the ‘Today’ programme and thought that GB news and Talk Radio were not for people like them, ”Farage is on GBN old boy and that Talk Radio is just not the BBC is it”. I lost focus at that point as they jogged on their way.
And there lies the problem. Closed minds and habit rule the population many of whom still think that that the Conservative Party in general and Boris in particular – contrary to all the mounting evidence of ‘U Turns’, incompetence and all the rest that anyone actually thinking and seeing for themselves would have seen since the last election – still has their interests at heart. A view bounced out of the latest ‘polls’ apparently. Well if that is the case, many people are in for great disappointment over the next few months, particularly if the great financial crash looming like the proverbial elephant in the room hits their smug lives or those of their offspring. But then, nothing ever seems to. Perhaps a few days without electricity or gas, especially if we have a cold winter, may have some effect, who knows? I suppose it all depends on who writes what in the Daily Wail, the Daily Distress or the Grungeon.
If, like me, you find the attitudes of these “middle incomes” difficult to fathom these days, the blame can probably be placed on the propaganda spewed out of government departments, NGOs, the voluntary sector and so on, and reported, for want of a better word, by the media, most of whose “authors” seem to have been educated at one of Blair’s ‘bog standard’ comprehensives before being accepted at some university to study media studies. Remember all those dumbed down GCSE and A Level result trumpeted in the 90s media? Well the holders of those qualifications are now well in their 40s with management positions and the inflated salaries that go with them in much of the broadcast and print media, as well as in the public sector in all its forms and amazingly in much of the private sector too. The ranking officers of the police service belong to this echelon of 90s university trained common purpose entrenched personnel, no wonder it’s becoming increasingly obvious that something is wrong not only with our police, but with our institutions too.
Take a look – and I admit it’s not easy reading – at the most popular printed media of our times and marvel at how and what is produced as news and current affairs. Mostly trivia about so called stars, the lives of footballers and so on and so forth, that make the now defunct weekly magazines such as Reveille, Weekend and TiT Bits (could you have such a title these days?) look like the latest Hansard. Accuracy, grammar and spelling went by the wayside years ago, despite auto-spell and grammar-check on most word processing programmes.
Just when you thought you had seen and heard the lot from the media, I saw a review on the current BBC TV Documentary “Blair and Brown”, written by Simon Kelner for INEWS. I give you these “nuggets‘’ from that review: “in nearly every sphere of public life, the quality of practitioners has almost certainly improved in the past 20 years. My sense is that doctors, dentists, teachers have got better, more responsible, more enlightened, more productive. Footballers are more skilful.”.
This is followed by: “Look at those who sat round the Cabinet table under Blair. Cook, Straw, Mowlam, Mandelson, Milburn, Prescott, Beckett, Reid, Jowell, Short, Darling. Each was a big beast in his or her own right. The contrast with today’s senior ministers – Patel, Raab, Shapps – could not be more striking”, and this: ‘’Blair’s reputation is besmirched by his prosecution of the Iraq War, and Brown’s by his perceived psychological flaws. But placed in the context of the political leaders who followed, Blair and Brown deserve to be remembered as twin colossi of our times.”
Well as Barry Took may have said, ‘it’s a point of view’, and if it’s yours you are welcome to it. Me, I think I will join in with the good people of St Mary on the Wold and just carry on and hope for the best.