Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
Was Johnny Rotten right when he famously sang ‘there’s no future in England’s dreaming’? a famous and prophetic lyric from The Sex Pistols’ controversial hit, God Save the Queen. In many ways he hit the nail on the head.
Mad Parades of British imperial ‘pomp’ and an antiquated Parliamentary system of democracy resembling nothing more than an extension of a public school to many outside this clique are two of the primary examples of how England is dreaming about it’s past.
In this nostalgia of empire, are the British sleep-walking into insignificance at the cost of progression and development of our society?
Rotten was right to point out that “there’s no future” in all this dreaming. To me, Jubilee celebrations, and the clinging to ancient parliamentary traditions accompanied by the odd teary – eyed Tory Nationalist, don’t reflect a nation’s progress, rather a nation’s regress and pitiful slide into decline.
Yes, Britain plays upon its past-imperial grandeur and notoriety as part of an important global PR exercise. Prince Harry enthusiastically takes part in foreign customs and traditional dances, Prince Charles dons Saudi robes and a scimitar as part of diplomatic efforts abroad and the British Commonwealth continues to play a positive role for British foreign relations in many post-colonial parts of the world.
With some positive elements of our imperial history considered, it does still seem incredibly cynical in this day and age, for the powers that be in Britain to hold Jubilee parades and attempt to encourage Jubilee parties in an attempt to encourage some positivity and joy out of the British peoples’ current misery of austerity. Ok, lots of people took part in those celebrations and a lot of positive events took place, however I don’t believe the use of past-imperial pomp is appropriate as a mechanism attempting to heal the wounds of austerity for the masses.
The British masses don’t want a pat on the head and a miniature Union flag in hand to feel better about the current economic and political situation, they need real political and economic change to stop the current state of affairs where the (1%) rich elites become richer and rest of us (the 99%) continue to suffer the misery of austerity on low-paid, temporary jobs which don’t meet the cost of living. The young particularly are suffering from austerity. In Britain the vast majority of wealth and property are held by the older generation, the young have had Education Maintenance Allowance taken away, and Tuition Fees have been trebled. The Coalition Government may argue that according to the figures, more people from under-privileged backgrounds are going to university under the new system, however they ignore the affect that a huge tuition fee debt might have psychologically upon these students and the stress it places on not just the students but their families aswell. Not to mention the immense difficulty that a young family face in trying to get onto the property ladder. Buying a house just doesn’t seem a feasible option for most young people, even if a government scheme could help you get a mortgage, would the long-term burden of debt that this may place upon you really be worth it?
The educated who have foresight and intelligence can surely recognize the cynicism and patronisation of this situation, but yes lots in Britain don’t see it and just get on with the whole thing, genuinely believing there is nothing they can do about it. I believe it is morally imperative to educate the un-educated about the situation. There are always those who will never get it and will even oppose you if they begin to understand the political and economic state of affairs. This might sound harsh but no-one can draw blood from a stone, and I tend to adopt the attitude: ‘ignore the ignorant’, giving credit here to the Wakefield band The Cribs for their clever song-titles.
Tom Bone, 2015 – Editor for Consensus44