Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Take a look at this, dear reader:


The Daily Express says Saint George's Day should be an occasion for patriotic celebration.

The words of that stirring wartime song There’ll Always Be An England have acquired a tragic poignancy. For there is no longer a real England – not the England that was once renowned for its gentleness and humour, its decency and sense of history, its rich language and inspiring landscape.

Decency, indeed? That's rich, coming from a man who also publishes The Daily Star, owns Television X and who has previously owned several pornographic publications such as Penthouse, Big Ones and Asian Babes. The tragic poignancy is that a man who cultivates the debasement of women, men and the sexual act imagines the cheapening of society and the loss of formerly held values was instigated by the government and not by the likes of him and his peers, men who seek to make a fast buck from we so-called victims, regardless of consequence.

Richard Desmond, now a supporter of the Conservative Party, once gave a £100,000.00 donation to The Labour Party, the current object of his hatred. The Labour Party were unwise to accept a donation from a publisher of porn, a man who changes his political opinions like the wind. The donation did the Labour party no favours, both in relation to the benefactor's erratically changing political views and the nature of his business. Similarly, the SNP recently accepted half a million pounds from Brian Souter, a horribly homophobic bigot. The SNP were insane to accept this gift. It's done their credibility no end of hard. If the Scottish people go forward on Thurday week to elect an SNP executive, the result will be seen as a referendum, not only on independence and the UK Labour government, but on the acceptability of homophobia and the hatred of minorities. Expected, though, I think, as the SNP is all about hatred. But I digress...

The relics of our past are still around us – such as the mon­archy or the village green –‑but they have been robbed of all meaning and vitality, becoming little more than heritage landmarks in a place without a soul.

In essence, yes. The village green is thankfully no longer the venue for throwing rotten fruit and vegetables at fellow villagers locked up in the stocks. The monarchy's influence on the state seems, mercifully, to lessen with each passing year and the fairytale of their perfection has broken down since the realisation that members of the Royal Family are, in many aspects, just like the rest of the population: they have affairs, they take drugs, they even play bingo. They are not gods.

The country of Shakespeare echoes to the babble of a thousand foreign tongues. The land of Elgar is held hostage by the thud of the rapper’s boom-box. The stiff upper lip has been replaced by the wail of victimhood. A land that used to be known for its lack of crime is now scourged by gang violence, shootings and stabbings.

A babble of a thousand tongues? Babble implies that all other languages are inferior to English a rather simple Anglo-Frisian language rooted in the Germanic tongue brought by invading settlers to the British Isles from various parts of modern Germany. Such a claim, brought by a newspaper with a poor grip on the rules of spelling, grammar and sentence construction is, at best, ridiculous, at worst, embarrassingly rude. And of the original Britons who spoke a collection of Brythonic languages? What might The Daily Express think of them? I dread to think.

Beauty and excellence in the arts are not, have not and never could be limited to the past. Amidst his contemporaries, Elgar himself would have been viewed as either a conformist, dragging traditional classical and orchestral music into the twentieth century or as a visionary.

If I might steal from Wikipedia:

In 1899, at the age of 42, his first major orchestral work, the Enigma Variations, was premiered in London under the baton of the eminent German conductor Hans Richter. It was received with general acclaim, establishing Elgar as the pre-eminent British composer of his generation. This work is formally titled Variations on an Original Theme; the word "Enigma" appears over the first six measures of music, which led to the familiar version of the title. The enigma is that, although there are fourteen variations on the "original theme", the 'enigma' theme, which Elgar said 'runs through and over the whole set' is never heard. Many later commentators have observed that although Elgar is today regarded as a characteristically English composer, his orchestral music and this work in particular share much with the Central European tradition typified at the time by the work of Richard Strauss. Indeed, the Enigma Variations were well-received in Germany.

Rap/hip hop music is as adored and as hated as classical music was one hundred years ago, as it is today.

The stiff upper lip might well have been replaced by a wail of victimhood, though whether a culture of pretence is better than a culture of acceptance and realism is a matter of debate. Any psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor would encourage victims of crimes and of tragic events to face them, to accept them, not to sweep things under the proberbial carpet. A change for the better, I think.

I'm not sure there was ever a time when England was known for its low rates of crime. The numbers of Victorian prisons still in use, up and and down the land, surely speak for themselves, as do all the stories of smuggling known to every school pupil, the transportations and notorious hangings of the eighteenth, nineteeth and twentieth centuries. And the world's most notorious crimes, the murders of prostitutes by Jack The Ripper - do they speak of a land that used to be known for its lack of crime?

I think not.

Saint George's Day should be a day for patriotic celebration, yes, but not a day for racism, lies, xenophobia, wallowing in the past (glorious or otherwise) or for denial. The Daily Express' rude sense of superiority is, in my humble opinion, quite sickening. It might have been acceptable in the 80s, hen, but not now.


Brian said...


Brian said...

If the Daily Express has a letters to the editor column, you should most certainly send this post in.

Minge said...

I added it to the comments on the page from The Express.

What a dreadful newspaper.

Moncrief Speaks said...

They published you! here and you even have a fanclub!