Once upon a time, some 30-40 years ago, I used to think and say that the UK was without a shadow of a doubt the best and freest country in the world. There was no cctv, no speed cameras, nor need for it. There was no obligation to carry any form of identity upon one's person nor need for it. Every village had a local bobby (policeman) with a bicycle who was known by all and who knew everyone. We were all comforted by the fact that we knew he had his pulse on what was happening within his community. He was a man of respect, respected by all.
The post was always delivered on time and intact. Your bank manager knew you and you knew you could go and see him and discuss your financial matters at any time. Jobs were secure and people generally content. Schools were good. Discipline and a sense of fair play were the hallmarks of a respectful and respected British society.
You could leave your front door and windows open and go down to the shops without fear that someone would break in and steal your possessions. Communities were vibrant and closeknit and looked after each other. The vast majority respected the law and adhered willingly and skillfully to the highway code. Politicians were still trusted and our institutions were widely acknowledged as being amongst the best run and least corrupt in the world.
You could go almost anywhere night or day in relative security. People were polite and respectful of each other. Kids by and large behaved themselves and looked up to their elders. Government trusted its citizens and only the guilty were punished.
Kids climbed trees, made daisy chains, played conkers or drew squares in chalk on the pavement and played hopscotch while the boys played cowboys and Indians. Sport was widely played in schools, in the streets and on village greens around the country. Childhood was fun and as idyllic as it probably has ever been.
Now we have cameras following our every move. We are spied upon by unseen faces in unseen places 24 hours a day. Government dishes out collective punishment to the masses for the excesses of the few. Policeman are faceless people hidden away in squad cars and hardly ever seen in rural towns and villages. Communities have been broken up.
We are no longer individuals but numbers in computers, no longer greeted by friendly faces or voices but by lifeless, annoying, exceedingly frustrating automated computer generated answering systems, abhorred by everyone with a vengeance and without exception. Yet there they are, day after day, call after call, speaking at us and down to us in dull numeric monotony. Our well known hatred and frustration of these souless machines has no impact on their perpetrators. They ignore us as though we are unworthy of anything better, as inhuman as the electronic gagetry itself. It is all about the bottom line and shareholders pockets and the people be damned.
Most middle aged and elderly people are afraid to go into their city centers on a Friday or Saturday night when they are taken over by badly behaved foul mouthed youths, intent on getting as drunk as possible in the shortest possible time and generally causing trouble. Street corners stink of urine and hapless policemen and women are drafted in numbers and at great cost, to keep order week after week after week. Compounding the problem is the fact that the tabloid press panders to the culture of youth and the lowest common denominator in all things that appeal to the baser side of human nature. The expression "rod for our own backs" comes to mind
The elderly are ignored, even reviled and often left to die in a heartless game of post code lotteries. Souless men and woman in suits decide who can and cannot be treated. The wisdom of age is undervalued in a cheap thrill seeking, short term outlook society, that has lost faith in a better future. Some are even forced illegally to sell their homes to pay for healthcare which should have been free.
Adding insult to injury the Chancellor of the Exchequer has plundered billions more from their pension funds, plunging many into hardship in their retirement. Rubbing further salt into their wounds, the elderly and even the not so elderly, are prey to superbugs running riot in our hospitals, killing thousands every year who would otherwise recover, but nobody really cares anymore.
Kids can no longer climb trees, make daisy chains or play conkers due to ridiculous and draconian health and safety regulations. Police spend tax payers money tracking down kids who have drawn chalk squares on a pavement for a game of hop-skotch, instead of tracking down the gun runners and dope peddlers or dealing with the knife culture that almost every week, sees innocent people stabbed and killed for fun. A father of a child of two is fined fifty pounds by zealous council officials when unseen by him, his two year old son innocently discarded a sweet he did not like onto the pavement. Is it possible for officialdom to be any dumber or to behave any more ludicrously than this? How did we sink to such depths of insanity? Who is responsible for this nonsense?
Millions who once might have earned a reasonable salary are now forced to work themselves to a standstill on minimum daily wages for years on end without any job security and with diminished workers rights. These workers fall victim to illness at their peril. Miss a day's work and they go unpaid. Not only are they not paid but in many instances, they have to work an extra day to make up for the lost day! Managers however, can fall ill and receive full salary in their absence to their hearts content. This is unjust and immoral. They are all workers and they are totally inter-dependant. Can management run the business without workers? Of course not! So why the discrimination?
12 million people in this country can barely read and write despite 10 years of so called education! This is a shocking and shameful indictment of our society, parents, teachers and politicians. Instead of raising standards for everyone, they lower them in a vain attempt to give the appearence of collective advancement but ask the universities and the truth will out.
This once great haven of good sense is now a place where politicians profane anxiety at voters apathy but continue to spin webs of deceit and hypocrisy, sell honors for cash and lead this country to war on a pack of manipulated half truths. A certain Deputy Prime Minister thinks nothing of having sex with his secretary over a publically owned desk in working hours on a fat salary paid by taxpayers and the powers that be, have the audacity to say that it is a private matter. Are they mad?
If that were not enough this same government has mismanaged billions of tax payers money poorly implementing ill thought out plans to "improve" public services, principally in health and education! They have done nothing about public transport.
Political correctness, so beloved by liberals and this nannying government, has gone mad and like the proverbial snowball, is running out of control. Nobody dare speak for fear of offending over-inflated sensibilities. Soon we will be afraid to express an opinion about anything! This is manna from heaven to Big Brothers everywhere!
This is the England of today, no longer a green and pleasant land, but a dark, sinister police state in the making. Were it not for my wife's health I would be gone in a cloud of dust in less than the time it has taken me to write this obituary for a country, I once respected above all others.