Posts Tagged ‘Correct Brigade’
You don’t need to be a psychologist to realise that the weather affects our moods. A week of downpours, dark skies and enough mud to stage an erotic wrestling contest, have brought out the grumpiness in the allotment gang. Everything seems dismal, despair is never far away, yet a few days of warm sunshine would perk us up no end, suddenly even Nick Clegg would gain promotion from figure of hate to mere subject of humour.
It is difficult at times like this, when the weather coincides with cuts and decidedly dodgy national leadership, to accept that in fact things have much improved in so many respects. I was reminded of this by the furore that surrounded the remark by John Cleese that, upon returning to it after many years of absence, he hardly recognises the country of his birth. Inevitably the ghastly politically-correct brigade immediately described the remarks as racist which is exactly the daft reaction one would expect from a truly daft lot. I suspect that, in fact, he was describing an experience of which we tend to remain unaware.
We need distance to appreciate change. As with the ageing of those around you, you don’t notice things that have changed when you see them all the time. Gradualism eliminates awareness of change, particularly the kind that doesn’t annoy. The result is that we fogies tend to bang on about how much better things once were. Not in every respect by any means!
As a boy I was dragged to the chapel three times per Sunday and I must hold some sort of record for attending sermons. I say attending since I can only remember having listened to one. It was given by someone called the Reverend Hamblin Parsons. Since he would by now be 140 years old, it is inevitable that he has long since joined the Parsons in the sky, but I am sure he would be pleased that his talk on ‘Living Above the Existence Line’ still resonates in one heart.
His point was that, in a society such as ours, we constantly redefine the line above which we live rather than manage to exist. Fast forward to today and the list of things we now regard as essential, things without which we merely exist, includes many features that simply didn’t exist in those so-called golden days.
This afternoon, weather permitting, I shall sit in my armchair to watch live cricket. I shall glance at my Sky Plus box and its ‘Live Pause’, ‘series link’ and ‘Anytime’ and wonder how I ever managed without it. She-who-must-be-obeyed will be talking by visual link to her sister in Africa, the boys will be keying messages and pictures to their pals. The washing machine will be humming a gentle reminder of the days when washing-day was one of hard toil and mangling. The car will be standing outside with its SatNav ready to guide us rather easier that did the maps of a thousand folds. And if we fancy a meal out the array of eating places is, compared with yesteryear, extremely comprehensive.
The fact that we are here at all is perhaps the greatest change. When my Gran died at the age of 70 everyone remarked that she had had a “good innings”. We are a long way past that milestone and still chase hens around. The advances in medical treatment and understanding have been astounding.
Of course there are also many negative aspects to the new age but I suspect that they are outweighed by the good. There are many people in the world for whom the existence line has barely changed in all those years but, despite all our woes, we are not amongst them. Advances in technology have led the way in raising the bar of our existence line. For all but the rich, things are slipping now but even when the recession finally grinds to a halt we will still be light years on from where we were in so many respects.
It has become the fashion in Twenty20 cricket to play ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ when a batsman trudges back to the pavilion. Perhaps we old codgers should try singing it more often!
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR A VERY SPECIAL WEEKEND QUIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As part of a long-standing tradition a number of the allotmenteers went along to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Carol Concert last night. It is an excellent cause, the company was great and the mulled wine and mince pies likewise. There was just one difference this year, in my head at least I substituted wet for white in our favourite carol immortalised by Bing Crosby. Even at my advanced years I can’t recall many white Christmas mornings but I certainly can remember yearning for one. No longer! Over the past few weeks we have seen and shovelled enough snow to last a lifetime. Hate to be spoilsports but we animal carers would love to see torrential rain washing the last of the drifts away. It won’t happen, not least because under the pack snow are dozens of drains never cleared by the Council, but we should perhaps resist being downcast by the weather forecasters dire predictions since these are presumably the very people that promised us a BBQ summer as a result of which we didn’t build an ark.
But the Met Office is not the target for today’s dose of venom. I reserve that, not for the first time, for the politically correct brigade. I call them that because I am never sure as to who they are. Does the PR brigade comprise just three ladies with big hats all related to Mrs Bucket? Or are there zillions of them all working away as if at cracker jokes, each wracking his or her brain to come up with another wheeze aimed at offending anyone who has the timerity to claim that they have always lived here and quite like the customs.
What brought this on? A few days ago I went in search of Christmas cards. Being old fashioned I like the traditional nativity scenes but there were none to be had. One lady told me that her shop only received a small supply of the ‘Jesus’ ones, as she put it, and they sold very quickly. I found this curious and spoke to a pal who works for W H Smith. He estimated that only around 15 per cent of all cards stocked were of a ‘religious nature’. Apparently the wholesalers are nervous of giving offence to non-Christians. Have you ever heard such rubbish?
People are free to buy what they like and to ignore what they don’t like. In any case many of those who like the traditional Christmas story do not necessarily buy them for religious reasons. Whatever you actually believe there can surely be no denying that the story of the wise men , shepherds and all is the most beautiful story ever told.
But to me the greatest mystery is the identity of those who are supposed to be offended. A number of those who share our allotment life are of other faiths and all pour ridicule on the idea that traditions should be abandoned. Several of them love christmas and celebrate it vigourously in a secular way. The same goes for my newsagent who looks forward to the festival partly because it boosts his sales and partly because the big day is the only one of the year when he doesn’t have to sort newspapers at the crack of dawn. I asked him for his view of the PR boneheads. His reply was to the point; “they are bonkers”.
I happen to believe in that magical scene in that stable of long ago. But my self understanding reminds me that December 25th is not the correct date and I do realise that parts of the story have changed in the telling. I have no quarrel with those who believe otherwise and they should have none with my right to differ.
And those ladies in big hats should take a long walk off a short pier!
CAN’T TRUST CAMERON OR OSBORNE SAY LIB DEMS!
It seems that Uncle Vince was not alone in being gulled by reporters pertending to be constituents. Heidi Blake and Holly Watt also went along ( armed with tape recorders) to ensnare Lib Dem ministers Andrew Stunell, David Heath, Norman Baker and Paul Burstow.
Local Councils minister Stunell questioned Cameron’s sincerity. He remarked that he “didn’t know where to fit him on the sincerity monitor”. Commons Deputy Leader Heath believes that the coalition may prove to be a “disaster” for his party and comments that Osborne “gets up his nose and has no experience of how ordinary people live their lives”.Transport Minister believes that Nick Clegg has chosen to “handcuff himself to the prime minister”. He also said that the Tories were furious over Lib Dem attempts to thwart Rupert Murdoch, the Tory approach is to say “here you are Mr Murdoch, how much do you want?”. Care Minister Paul Burstow urged the ‘constituents’ “not to trust Cameron”.
And there is a whole lot more. Again it is difficult to believe that ministers were prepared to confide in total strangers. Of course even more amazing is what they said about their supposed partners. They were, Mr Baker said, “beyond the pale”, almost “akin to the South African apartheid government”.
What does Mr Cameron do now? If he repeats his public humiliation of Cable the whole coalition could collapse. If he does nothing his own backbenchers are going to create mayhem. Of course whatever he does will be supported by his stooge. In reality the LibDems need a new leader, one who will co-operate but maintain distance from Cameron. After all since so many Lib Dems seemingly distrust the prime minister the worst possible position for their leader is kneeling at the feet of the Old Etonian.
I wonder if the cabinet has held its Christmas party yet. If not it is likely to be a less than jolly affair!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The Free French movement 2. Linus Pauling
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. What award was given to two Belfast women, Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams? 2. The comedian Sid James died in 1976. In which country was he born?
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!