Monday, 6 May 2013

Changing Tracks

The BBC has been rerunning “The Likely Lads” from the early 1970’s and the follow up to its original 60’s one about two teenage working lads in a provincial town living what the BBC imagined to be the Swinging 60’s. 

That ended when Bob signed on for the Army to see the world followed by Terry.  Bob was then discharged because of flat feet leaving Terry to do his five years.  The programme of the 1970’s contrasts how the world has moved on for Bob and that Terry returns to find that everything has changed, in his view for the worse.

For me at the time it struck a chord.  As a teenager in the early 50’s it was at first National Service for me, one of those who convinced the Army that it might be better to have a wholly professional service and then a period as a student in a world of its own.

When it was time to come to terms with the reality of the world as it was and would be and those in it, it was a shock to realise that during this time of detachment things had and were about to change and cheerful assumptions about the future were entirely wrong.

This afternoon, the “clunk” in the back of the skull occurred again reading Rowan Bosworth-Davies, rowans-blog of 5 May 2013 titled “Lies, Damned Lies and Civil Service Misinformation” which is self explanatory. 

In a long item, clearly and pungently written, he points out that now the offshore tax haven based banking and financial system represents the real financial world and that the onshore original progenitor is now simply a secondary and damaged heritage structure perhaps doomed to extinction.

That being the case what we like to thing of as “national” politics or policies are essentially fictions that function because of the existence of what is left of the nation states and their governments.  Our existing government financial arrangements accordingly cannot work as they once did and never will again.

Thinking back to the 1950’s we had governments and a civil service that believed that Britain was still a workshop of the world and our experience and industrial fabric would continue in its existing form.  This would yield the profits of capitalism which would pay for the welfare state and all the rest.

The realisation that we had now begun to face severe competition from across the world who could produce goods better, cheaper and more reliably did not occur to them and even into the 1970’s the government believed that it could direct investment and control and fine tune the money flows.

Those who tried to explain that the world was no longer ours to command or to influence to any great extent were regarded as disloyal and extremists.  It was strange that the Left then was even more confident in the power of the State than the Right and doubly wrong headed about the ability to control overseas trading.

Only this time round all the signs are that the general public may have come to realise that our governments are simply charades and the acts are wearing thin. 

Where this might lead to we cannot know because we have an erratic media driven government concentrating on trivialities as the structure collapses round them.

Does anyone remember what happened to Rootes Cars and a host of other firms like them?

“Lost, lost, lost”, “Lay of the Last Minstrel” Canto 3, Stanza 13, Sir Walter Scott.

1 comment:

  1. "The realisation that we had now begun to face severe competition from across the world who could produce goods better, cheaper and more reliably did not occur to them"

    I remember that well. A showroom of British motorcycles each with a metal pan underneath to catch the drips of oil.

    Over the road, another showroom of Honda motorcycles with a clean floor and no metal pans.

    I remember my first Nissan car too or Datsun as it was in those days. Started every time, unlike the Ford which it had replaced.