In Exodus Moses describes himself as a Stranger in a Strange Land, and, after nearly three quarters of a century living in England, I sometimes feel that way, as the country I was born into recedes into the past, and an ugly reality takes its place.
I am well aware that of the existence of many social problems in the England of the 1940s, and that the economic situation was dire, the struggle with the Axis powers having virtually bankrupted the country. Nevertheless, although we had the most left wing government in our history, it was led by men who were true democratic socialists. Among others of his colleagues the Prime Minister Clement Attlee had fought for the country, while his cabinet included patriots such as Ernest Bevin, who stood up for the working class, unlike the modern Labour Party, which represents a coalition of minorities, and social democrats, not workers. The national broadcaster was still basking in the glory it won during the war, and was unafraid to speak for Britain, a complete contrast to the modern BBC, most of whose commentators support anyone rather than their own nation. The recent advent of GB news, which seeks to put forward the views of ordinary people, not, as the BBC does, those of the metropolitan elite, is the target of a left wing pressure group Stop Funding Hate, which is attempting to undermine its finances by pressurising companies into withdrawing advertising. Some have done so, and I for one will never buy their products again, as I prefer to deal with those who believe in free speech, and thought, not censorship.
In the 1950s working class children, such as my wife and myself benefited from the schools system, which, via the grammar schools, provided a ladder to a decent education, and career. The universities were centres of excellence, unlike today, when even an inability to formulate grammatical sentences seems to be no bar to a degree, the latter obtained at a massive cost to youngsters who have been deceived into believing that they are receiving value for money. The education system is dominated by the Left and every day we see the evidence of cancel culture being applied at all levels. When I was a lad the churches were a centre of life for many, Sunday schools being well attended, while voluntary organisations such as the Boy's Brigade, the Cadets, and of course the Scouts and Guides, gave young people both pleasure and the moral compass so sadly lacking now.
One issue which has been addressed over the years is of course greater equality for women, yet all the justifiable gains they made are now at risk. Thanks to the lunacy of so called sexual self identification women now face defeat across the whole sporting arena, as such men are being allowed to compete against them, when their previous physical development ensures that they will inevitably win. They are expected to tolerate the closure of toilets specifically designated for female use, and the absurd situation is arising whereby abusive men could gain access to women's refuges merely by announcing that they have self identified as women. In addition feminine icons such as Germaine Greer and J K Rowling are subject to constant vilification for asserting that one cannot change sex merely by claiming that one has done so.
Of course the aberration of over forty years of membership of the undemocratic European union has damaged our democracy, as is obvious from the fact that, following the 2016 referendum, the establishment, backed by those who refuse to recognize that the losers of a democratic vote should accept the result, prevented the will of the people being implemented for five years. After winning the war the vast majority of the British people in the 1940s would never have believed that, within thirty years, the independence of their country would have been compromised by the politicians voluntarily handing the governance of the county over to unelected bureaucrats in a foreign country. The continuing refusal by Remainers to accept the verdict is disgusting, but now seems a normal reaction by so many.
The rise of self righteous protest groups, who claim the right to disrupt civic life regardless of the misery caused, is poisoning democratic debate. Extinction Rebellion activists block roads, interfere with the journeys of rail commuters, attack commercial buildings, and even attempt to censor our daily newspapers. Ostensibly they do this in the name of a theory that the planet is undergoing a dangerous episode of warming, brought about by the emissions emanating from human activity. They claim that they are either ‘drawing attention' to the problem, something hardly required, given that we have all been exposed to their views ad nauseam, or that they are taking direct action aimed at stopping those activities which they deem unacceptable. However it is noticeable that these gestures are all directed at Western enterprises. While many of their supporters are gullible idealists, who think that they are responding to a higher moral imperative, the driving force behind this organisation, just as it is behind other such protest groups such as Black Lives Matter, and Stop the War, is an ingrained hatred of Western civilisation, arising from the anarchistic and nihilistic philosophies which have always inspired such people. I remember when, at a time when Labour was devoted to democratic socialism, it issued lists of proscribed undemocratic organisations, whose members sought to infiltrate the party in order to subvert its aims. I have no doubt that had groups such as these existed in those days, they would have been included in such lists.
However these people are a symptom of a deeper malaise, which is a threat to everything we hold dear, as the British public is largely unaware of the fact that the country is sleepwalking into the kind of dystopia described by Orwell in 1984. Left wing organisations are constantly promoting the idea that anyone who dares to suggest that they love their country, that they do not wish to see its history rewritten, that they do not admit guilt for the crime of being white, or heterosexual, or do not hang their heads in shame because they want to own cars, is committing a Thoughtcrime, and must be silenced. While for the moment individuals may be able to reject these accusations with the contempt they deserve, it is becoming clear that pusillanimous commercial enterprises are choosing to take the knee to these liberal fascists, and change their policies accordingly. That these people are able to use social media platforms, which are dominated by technology giants run by those with similar views, is a disgrace, and yet another reason for closing down these vile cesspits of abuse and hate. If these vociferous extremists are able to achieve their aims then the day of the Thought Police will truly be with us.
Naturally the Covid pandemic has thrown everything up into the air, as, not merely Britain, but the world, have faced a threat requiring a massive response. Despite the constant carping by those such as the BBC, and ridiculous claims made by supporters of the Left, it is obvious than Boris and his ministers, when faced such an emergency have done as well as anyone could have done in the circumstances, particularly by implementing the successful vaccine programme.
Wash your hands; observe the speed limit; keep six feet apart; eat this, not that; don't drink; wear a mask; get rid of your car, and walk; don't smoke; keep off the grass; live in a cold home; oppose separate lavatories for the sexes; allow men self identifying as women to dominate female sports; don't say that; don't think that. As a reasonably intelligent, mature adult I try to take a responsible attitude to social norms, obeying sensible laws as I have always done, but I will not take a knee to those demanding that their every whim be satisfied, nor to climate change obsessives. However I am sick to death of being harassed, hectored, harangued and lectured by those who are determined to close down free speech, and force society into a straightjacket which conforms to their own views, and none other.
Many people are suffering the loss of reputation, employment, or even of liberty, for daring to stand against the tide of political correctness, indeed arrant nonsense, infesting our country. The persecution of academics, and students, at a number of universities, for daring to defy the fashionable dogmas is evidence enough of this.
It is this destruction of free speech, and thought, which, if allowed to continue, will truly tear this country away from its past, and will make it, for those of us who grew up believing in our basic freedoms for which millions died, an alien place. A fightback is being mounted by those such as the Free Speech Union, and Laurence Fox, but will it be enough? If not then it will be a Strange Land indeed.