Friday, 1 March 2013

Beware Spirits From The Past





In the gathering gloom of UK politics a grey figure has emerged from the past to remind us of our errors.  It is not a ghost, although it might be to many, it is Ken Loach the determined working class and resolute Left Wing media man, educated at a good grammar school in Nuneaton and then St. Peter’s College, Oxford (see Wikipedia).

This is a college founded in 1929 to improve accessibility to less wealthy students and numbers Ken among its notable alumni along with Rex Hunt, Governor of The Falkland Islands in 1982 during the war there, Mark Carney the new Governor of the Bank of England and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, famous for his interest in organic and greenie grown foods and cooking.

Ken went in to the theatre and then became a protégé of the BBC in the early sixties and was noted for plays about social problems and the film “Kes”.  It is said that he has a particular view of realism.  The latest is that he wants the Labour Party to return to its past principles and invokes the Spirit of 1945.

But he was not an adult then, in fact just nine and so an impressionable teenager in the early 1950’s.  Then he did a couple of years in the Royal Air Force.  Quite what or where I do not know but what I do is that National Service, far from creating a citizenry obedient and loyal to current authority had the effect on very many better educated recruits of sending them in entirely the opposite direction.

Of the less well educated, many had experienced only an Elementary School education before leaving and took the view that they had been short changed in life and wanted the State to protect and ensure their jobs and incomes and to provide them with decent housing at affordable rentals.

The problem was how to do it in a state that was losing its empire, had much of its infrastructure and capital equipment in an ageing and worn condition in a world where many of its basic industries had begun to feel the effects of serious competition. 

Many of the Left looked East to Communism, a few others looked West to the USA, but most hoped for some sort of easy compromise of the politics of the centre to keep the show on the road and deliver on some of the promises made.  What too few realised, especially on the Left was that we were about to undergo radical changes in both the shape of the world and its economic structures.

One consequence of this was that whilst the fervent Left were peddling one kind of “realism” what was happening out there was far removed by any standard of reality.  What is happening today is almost a parallel to this in that the economy and society we are in bears little relationship not just to 1945 but 1985 as well.

Yet Ken and fellow followers of a long past world of the Left are still a key to the central part of the Labour Party mind, a little like the military men who in 1883 invoked the Spirit of Waterloo of 1815 when Britain took over Egypt.  This is not gook news for any of us.

There was one great success of the years of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.  The aim of the Left was to leave a scorched earth for any incoming government.  This does seem to have worked all too well as the Coalition flounders and fails.  But we are now left with shrunken political parties in a shrinking world and a corrupt electoral system which is unlikely to deliver policies that a majority of the voters want.

What may happen if we finish up with a Labour and Liberal Democrat Coalition in 2015 that in reality does not reflect the voters realities?  We do not know but can only make a guess.  It could be the break up of the United Kingdom, an unintended consequence of Scottish Labour Left Wing thinking, it could be the final wreck of the UK economy, if it is not already under way by then.

It could be more like 793 than 1945 only the ones taking over will be a lot more greedy and a lot less nice and understanding than the Vikings who raided Lindisfarne.


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