Monday, March 03, 2008

Whinging Poms

There is no getting around it, the British really love to moan. In fact they are famous for it, as the old Australian joke goes:

-How can you tell when the plane from London has just landed in Sydney?
-Because when they switch the engines off, the whining still continues.

Just recently, though the political negativity has reached almost unbearable proportions. The sense of gloom, pessimism and defeat about almost any subject is practically tangible.

Yet, come on! Those who live on this island enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, we are amongst the most competitive economies in the world. We need to protect our freedoms, but we are (mostly) a free country. We are respected, even admired, by our European allies and across the world.

However, to listen to our political leaders, we live in a "broken" society, where things are little better than anarchy- where the majority of children are growing up illiterate and feral, and usually drug crazed or drunk.

However, as P.J. O'Rourke notes, it is in the interests of politicians to create a sense of crisis:

"A politician is anyone who asks individuals to surrender part of their liberty - their power and privilege - to State, Masses, Mankind, Planet Earth, or whatever. This state, those masses, that mankind, and the planet will then be run by ... politicians."

Meanwhile, in our nervous and negative mood, we fail to notice that our political leaders are amongst the least accountable in the democratic world.

The sense of defeat that too many people feel in the UK is directly attributable to the sense of powerlessness that they feel when confronted with daily life. The dependency that our system has created is undermining our sense of self-worth and our morale.

Nevertheless, the unrelenting negativity in the press and in politics is beginning to make me quite angry- it is time for a sense of proportion, and this sense of victimhood is paralysing thought and undermining much that is genuinely positive.

Apart from anything else- it is a very boring country that is so self-obsessed.


Joe Otten said...

You're dead right of course, although it is not just politicians. Everybody with salvation to sell, whether it is politics, religion, environmentalism, bottled water, dodgy loans or slimming products plays up the corresponding crisis.

And most of it is probably sincere. If you focus hard on the problems we do have, in an attempt to solve them, they will over time loom larger in the mind than all the good things in life.

Newmania said...

I quite agree .The climate change crisis is all a load of rubbish designed to enable world goverment to emerge. This supposed inability of the UK to survive outside fortress Europe is another fake crisis .All rubbish , no need for any of it .I also cannot think of any crisis ten years ago so overwhelming as to justify a 30% increase in government spending .

Given that the word is a pretty good place perhaps we can pay less tax, govern our borders and just get on with living without being ordred around by the state ...Also was there really any crisis requiring pubs to be ruined ? I think not

Joe Otten said...

Oh yes I forgot to mention the world government/EU paranoids. Yes, they go in the list too.

If you want the largest laugh at an unjustified increase in spending, look at US defence spending since the end of the cold war - that is since the end of the last significant military threat to the US.

Cicero said...

newmania- I think the Science is not with you on this- climate change- on the balance of probabilities- is happening, and on the balance of probabilities is at least partially man made. However, how we respond is up to us- and I think several green policies are as illiberal as you can get and I totally oppose the anti-freedom that they represent.

As for Europe- I don't think I can dispute that the UK could certainly leave the EU, and it would not be all bad for us at all. However for me and I suspect the majority of the UK, the costs outweigh the benefits, and I beleive that if we showed some leadership, the EU could be a much more democratic and efficient and free place than it is now.

Joe- the Imperial Overstretch of the Bush administration is ey popping right now...

Dan said...

I take it you're watching the new Jonathan Meades prog on BBC4?

Some great stuff about the Balts.

Newmania said...

I`m a sceptic not a denier on climate change although I dispute the validity of so called scientific evidence. I `m in favour of tax breaks for green technologies , imaginitive low level solutions and single issue global cooperation as free nation state.

On the EU...people like me .. have (in truth ) only just begun to even seriously contemplate actually leaving and the case is far from made .It is getting stronger though and long term I don`t see a future for this sort of super state.

Your boy is taking one hell of a beating over the Libs disgraceful position on the EU by the way

Cicero said...

Jonathon Meades was brilliant as always- enjoyed the Tallinn stuff especially- but he obviously hates art noveau, since he did not even go to Riga!

Newmania- I think that being sceptical is a reasonable position to take, though bearing in mind that the implications if the claims are true, are pretty nasty.

EU- I think if we engaged we could get a lot more from the EU, but our attitude is what turns people off in the rest of Europe, even when they agree with us!

Clegg is intellectually right, but he certainly has taken some political punishment over his stance.

Newmania said...

but our attitude is what turns people off in the rest of Europe

'Bovvered?' ( The British nation )and Nick Clegg is not intellectually right but I am not going over that again. He has done his deal and I expect to see him in Brown’s first cabinet. This will give some faint legitimacy to ruling England with a minority thus disenfranchising by far the largest Party and building up a shit storm of hate from day one .

Did I recommend Julian Baggini`s Book 'Welcome to Every Town' .

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