My daughter announced that 2016 was going to be her best year – ever. I hope so. She’s had a tough life so far. As a distant father (OK, I’ll write a book about that one day) she has made me think, what can we do to ensure that’s the case?
Controversially, I suggest we start to take pride in ourselves. The controversy comes about as a result of propaganda. Let me explain before you start jumping up and down, shouting abusive comments.
We live at the end of Empire. Possibly at the end of the greatest Empire there has ever been. A small island with a chequered history, having been invaded several times in the past, we achieved a lot. One third of the world map coloured pink (the colour chosen by cartographers to represent the British Empire). We fought, bullied and conquered and grew rich and complacent upon the resources of our subservient dominions.
During the 20th Century that power was slowly eroded. We fought wars everywhere, and became embroiled in two major conflicts. Although we were on the winning side we lost power, burdened by debt, many of our best people blown to smithereens, we ceded our Empire. It’s easy enough to blame others, to believe in secret deals made by the political leaders of Russia, USA and Great Britain, which resulted in the UK agreeing to the gradual dismantling of our Empire. Whatever the causes we are left clinging on the crumbling vestiges of influence across the world.
In many ways we extricated ourselves quite well from the seat of power, but at great cost to the British people. Politicians are, by the nature of things, short-term opportunists. Ask them to look beyond the next election is to see them peering into the vacuous depths of their brains. They made one huge mistake, which showed their lack of vision. They gave 880 million people a British passport. Whether such a concession was really necessary is now largely irrelevant, they clearly did not consider that anyone but modern-day slaves would want to come. Although there may still be time to convert that to a Commonwealth passport, especially if we decide to leave the EU. Such a cooperative deal would spread the risk much better. The Empire became the Commonwealth but that is toothless, being no more that a convenient network of hotels and holiday destinations for our ruling elite, and has never made much progress.
Let’s look at our way forward. Let’s rebuild our pride. Let’s forget the subservient nature of our peasantry, hammered into submission by centuries of lack of influence. The English (in particular) have lost their will to succeed. Not to fight, we still have young people wiling to flex their muscles, but to take pride in our emerging new nation.
Immigrants have always added a great deal to our culture, to the progress of our endeavours. We need to remember geography. Ours is a crowded island, over 260 people live in each square kilometre; twice as many as in France, and the USA has loads of space, with just 34 in the same area.
The countries of European Union and (to a lesser extent) the USA have shown that cooperation is achievable. It will all take time to settle down. Poland is now complaining about its low birthrate and diminishing skill base while the UK is in danger of losing its skilled resident workforce and space from an influx of cheap labour. Give it time.
The USA will take longer. It has no history to boast about. Integration is still a sick joke and class divisions are more apparent there than elsewhere. It needs to realise it is but a juvenile in world terms, and stay at home for a while. Its Empire has never really started, and it will be ripped away by capitalism the moment it fails to conform.
During this current holiday there has been no coverage of Europe by the media. The hurricanes in USA took precedence, at one stage, over our own floods. There is too much comparison with the UK often playing second fiddle. Silly really, as our European market is much bigger than is to be found in USA, and that country’s accountants are ripping the guts out of our tax laws.
One small example of our diminished lack of pride is our Premier football Division. How many British players does it employ, how many managers and owners? It’s an indicator of our lack of pride.
We need to consider ourselves first. Insularity for a time will allow us to stand tall in the world again.