Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Was it last Friday when I dared to suggest The Next Scandal was due? What took so long? But it is not so much a new scandal as a bigger eruption along the fault line in the geophysics of politics and media that constitute our government.
In the language of volcano watchers will this one generate a pyroclastic flow that will obliterate everything in its path or will it simply dump damaging dust and filth over a wide area to the harm of all within its reach?
Given the way this one is likely to run and run and command the media what is a real concern is that all involved will take their eyes off all the other serious issues that need urgent action and may require effective measures or decisions sooner and not later.
Most of these areas of concern are highly complex ones where there is no right decision left to be made only what might or might not turn out to be the least worst. The Coalition has barely begun to clear up the mess that they inherited. It is not improving and they are faced with a population unused to difficult decisions or the notion of real economies.
These are being forced on many by the simple effect of increasing inflation bearing on tightened or more insecure incomes. Added taxes will make matters worse and so will all the hidden charges and the extra here and there demanded by service providers and others.
The last thing we need at the moment is a weakened government engaged in minding its back more than minding the shop. Two parties in Coalition both with a lot to lose and the weaker with everything at risk is not a good situation. An opposition made up of media movers and tremblers is no real alternative.
My attention at present is distracted by a more regular drama, The Tour De France, currently in Brittany and visiting places I once knew. This one has its daily beginning and ending with interesting subplots as it proceeds. It is difficult to guess what the result will be but at least you can understand what is going on and why.
Also, you have to admire the protagonists, a bunch of real hard men knocking bells out of each other as the race proceeds. Today they finished at Cap Frehel not far from St. Malo and for a while the camera’s picked up Fort la Latte, a medieval castle on the very edge of the sea.
This was used as one of the locations in the 1958 film “The Vikings” starring Kirk Douglas as the baddie and Tony Curtis has the hero with Janet Leigh and Ernest Borgnine to fill out the story line. Janet Leigh was the blonde beauty heiress princess who was fought over by Douglas and Curtis.
It was long on blood and thunder and men did what men had to do. In comparison our leaders give us thud and blunder and are a bunch of useless wimps. Historically, the film made an interesting counterpoint to all the national based guff that is the basis of much screen productions.
Not only were the Vikings what they more or less were at the time but the Kingdom of Northumbria was called back into life. For many seeing the film it was a revelation to know that this was once a great Kingdom.
In the last few months Buckton Castle by Stalybridge close to Manchester has been the subject of reports after archaeological work there. It is argued that it was one of a number of fortifications thrown up by the 11th Century Normans as a boundary against the Scots along the line of the Humber to the Mersey. By this time Northumbria had been fought over by many warlords and was no longer a Kingdom but a major Earldom.
Eventually, it was divided in 1328 by a marriage deal between the Normans in England and their rebel sidekicks to the north when a border was set between them. This was done largely to head off the Mowbray’s on both sides of the border and their ambitions for a revived Northumbria which was partitioned without much regard for the views of the inhabitants.
When you see all the antics now in London and the unfolding disaster of Europe you wonder when it might occur to those in the North of England that other options might be pursued one way or another.
In London in latter years our political leaders of the left and right have disputed with each other for the favours of the flame haired princess of the Murdoch media empire who runs the News of the World. It is not clear who might have won, now it might turn out that all of them have lost.
We often used to visit Bamburgh in Northumberland and look out to sea wondering about the ancient Kingdom that was based there. Perhaps Murdoch should think about moving his UK media operations to the area as a new and more reliable base.