The British diminished
I have a very good friend who lives in southern Africa who came and stayed with me for a couple of nights. She commented - "What on earth has happened to the UK Rick? - You are the laughing stock of the world - certainly, in Africa - you have so much and you are wastefully frittering it away!"
I felt a very sudden and curious mixture of anger, frustration and the fact that I had just been insulted or my country had. I know it is childish, but I felt as if I had been insulted because I am British. I am not particularly jingoistic but I am proud of my heritage and being British. However impulsive and childish my reaction, I knew that it was the truth I was hearing and if I am unable to hear the truth spoken out loud by a good friend about my country, that really would be childish.
Furthermore, She was right and I have written about this before. But how did we get here? Really - to the position we find ourselves in, how did this happen to the UK and how did the people in charge allow it to happen?
If anybody had written the history of what has happened to our country in the past three years in a story - you wouldn't believe it which proves the adage - "truth is stranger than fiction".
The answer - It is us! All of us! We get what we deserve and we voted for these people and the reason none of our political class can make a sensible decision is that we are in deadlock. Not just our politicians but us - the population of the country. We must remember that politicians depend on us to stay in power.
As a population, we have become greedy, complacent and unappreciative. When on occasion things, whatever they are, perform below our rather high expectations, we complain like hell as if we have been personally slighted. Be it the trains, our hospitals, our schools. No matter what it is - someone is to blame. The fact that these services are free or highly subsidized is seen as irrelevant. We are citizens and therefore we believe we have every right to complain. And yes, we do because in many cases the reasons for poor delivery result from poor administration. Never-the-less - we have become really good at "Finger-pointing."
But really - the bottom line is we have it pretty good.
Perhaps if we looked the other way round - not at what we have not got but rather - what we do have. That is not to say services can't be improved - but golly, how many countries would die for what we have and the kind of 1st world British service citizens can expect? Just ask why so many people want to come and live here?
Three things fall out of this for me: 1) Everything is relative. If you lived in a 3rd or even 2nd world country - you would think the kind of services that are available to everyone in the UK were fantastic and you would feel nothing but gratitude.
2) Every service has to be paid for and the cash has to come from somewhere. There is no "11 Downing Street Money Tree" - Every penny comes from us - so how it is spent and portioned out is one of the mainstays, coupled with initiatives and slick administration that separate Political Party's.
Generally speaking, conservatives tend to run a pretty tight ship and be fiscally more responsible and I am sorry to labour the point, but Socialist Governments tend to be more reckless and irresponsible with how they spend the people's money and have, as a matter of record, left Britain near bankruptcy every time they fall from power.
3) Politicians are elected by the people to represent the people and pass suitable laws that will enable and benefit the population at large. Their first responsibility is to protect us and keep us safe. Their second responsibility is to guide us and help us stay healthy. Their third responsibility is to enable good education and training in order to improve our lot and that of the country as a whole. And many other things besides but referendums are a dereliction of duty for MP's. They pass the complex issues of the day back to the people who voted them to power in the first place and are untrained and largely unaware of the minutiae and detail of the topic in question. They are unequipped and therefore unable and cannot make the right decision for the whole country. That is why we have our politicians. Referendums are frankly as absurd as asking a random passager to fly the aeroplane.
This whole process of Referendums may seem democratic but is in fact deeply unfair on all of us. The conservative Party maybe split - but it needs to remember why it was voted to power in the first place and pretty quickly at that. It is indulging in its own prejudicial views to the degradation of the people of this country and will not be forgiven quickly if it is responsible for bringing down havoc on our country.
We have to conclude and close the door on this farse and have another referendum, hopefully with a national vote to stay in the EU. Although I am against Referendhams for the reasons stated, it seems to me it is the only way to unite the country and move forward. Put it all behind us as a bad experiance. The trouble with not having another referendum and just withdrawing article 50 is that it would be seen as going against the will of the people.
A new conservative leader and depending who - a possible General Election
I saw this morning that Mr Boris Jonson is in the lead to take the helm of the Conservative Party and thus become Prime Minister. This is the man who lied, exaggerated and misled so many and stoked the fire of division in our society. A Trumpian" character, even if better educated. He has clearly demonstrated his unsuitability for high office when he was Foreign Secretary.
I suspect that if he wins the nomination, it will be the end of the Conservative Party in its current form. But as I have mentioned before - perhaps, painful as it may seem, this is a process that needs to happen and has been coming for a long time now.
So let's get on with it - no point in any further delay - the sooner the better. The danger, of course, is that Jeremy Corbyn gets his hands on the levers of power.
The only way around this is if a candidate such as Jeremy Hunt wins. Maybe - just maybe he could be a healing figure that everyone could unite behind? We will have to wait and see - something we have had to become rather good at of late.
Looking across the pond
There is a State visit extended to President Trump - not Terresa May's finest decision, one that you can't help but think was made on impulse with not much thought and some regret. Anyway, we have inflicted this on ourselves and we are far too polite to withdraw it so our poor old Queen is going to have to grit her teeth and sup with Donald - again.
Protesters will adorn the streets that "The Donald" will no doubt avoid. I think of Dylan Thomas - "Time passes. Listen, time passes." I don't want to wish time away and I am sure there are positive steps we can all take and things we can do until this nightmare of Trump and Brexit has passed. But oh, I confess, I do look forward to seeing the back of both. It is a bit like watching a bull in a china shop - wondering what is going to be sent toppling next and what will be left and what will the repair bill be like?
Abortion is a choice for women - surely?
It reminds me of those angry underconfident men with beards who like to keep the female gender as subservient beings. What has the great state of Alabama and Missouri come to. What on earth are they thinking? It feels like living history has taken a giant step backwards. Hopefully, this crass decision will be short-lived.
Take care and have a great week.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 18th May - 2019