Monday, 24 November 2014

The Real Taboo

I went to the dentist. Wendy the dentist, aside from helping me maintain my choppers, is proud to be training junior dentists in north-west England. There are four dental training practice centres in the north-west, as I understand it, in Blackpool, Accrington, Morecambe and Carlisle. Of these Morecambe is particularly significant owing to the number of people there who have full sets of dentures – seems that that is becoming increasingly less common and so is increasingly difficult to find people for the students to study. Except in Morecambe.
Wendy told me of a nine-year-old boy in Morecambe who is about to go into hospital for all his teeth to be removed under general anaesthetic, so bad are they there there is nothing that can be done to save them. For the rest of his life he will wear a full set of dentures. The reason is that he drinks fizzy drinks every day and never cleans his teeth. His mother, who as Wendy says comes into the surgery suited and booted and made up without a painted line out of place, says she cannot understand it, it was the same with his brother.
While the nation is being diverted by whether their chicken is being breadcrumb-coated by a Pole or a Romanian, there are some real problems out there, some areas of serious social deprivation, of which Morecambe is but one example. That would be a much more worthwhile issue to be getting steamed up about: Britain’s pervasive and destructive class system. I have a little suspicion that all this focus by the press on immigration is in reality a smokescreen, a means of diverting public attention from that which might challenge the comfortable status quo of those in positions of power and influence.
But even if you find that a little extreme, there can be no dispute, especially given the Emily Thornberry case, that the real thing that is taboo to talk about is not immigration (and in my view never has been – that is just a diversion propagated by the popular press) it is the British class system.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Doesn’t White Van Man Know?

The furore over Emily Thornberry’s supposed snobbery by photographing a picture of a house in Rochester with England flags flying and a white van outside and posting it on Twitter with the caption ‘Image from Rochester’ raises a question: Does the archetypal White Van Man know that he is an object of ridicule and scorn from the snooty middle classes?
The man whose van it was, Dan Ware, who also has a shaved head and tattoos on his arms, clearly does know now and is clearly none too pleased about it. But did he not know that before?
Here’s a picture of new Fiat, Peugeot and Citroën white vans being taken north by train from the factory at the Val de Sangro south of Pescara, Italy, for subsequent ridicule by the privileged.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Opium of the People – Post-Modernist

Karl Marx said it was religion. But it isn’t now. Can’t be as most people are not the slightest bit interested in that any more. What it is now, is i m m i g r a t i o n.
Rather like religion in the 19th century, immigration as a topic is fed to the people of the UK to get them agitated and believing they should spend a lot of time concerning their minds over, and it conveniently diverts attention from the real problems, the problems of poverty, disengagement, and personal under-achievement.
Immigration is the new Opium of the People. And like religion in previous times, in reality it isn’t a big issue. Yes of course there are specifics. There are a minority who play the benefits system or get into criminality, that will happen whenever you get a large number of people. There are pressures on schooling and healthcare and social services, yet that should be seen as a positive, it means you have people coming into the area to work, it’s a sign of economic development and prosperity.
So where’s the problem? The problem seems to be with those who feel powerless and forgotten, who see change happening around them as a threat. That is indeed a problem, though not with the change that is happening but with the people who feel forgotten, they should most certainly not be feeling forgotten. And the real problem is with the wealthy and privileged defenders of the status quo, who use the media very powerfully and cleverly to divert people’s attention in order that there should be minimum challenge to their status quo; immigration is a godsend to them.
The people fall for it, or many do. And who can blame them? Even though it is nigh-on impossible to find anyone who has themselves been adversely affected by immigrants – it’s all ‘out there and ruining our country’ – without their being able to identify anything that actually affects them (aside from feeling uncomfortable in the checkout queue in Asda because they cannot understand what the people behind them are saying to each other).
Religion as a people’s diversion from reality gradually faded away. Probably immigration will too, though most likely to be replaced by something else. Not sure what that something else will be yet, maybe it’s currently too far off in the future.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Body Art of the Great Discoverers

My friend Stuart Morgan wrote me thus:
I was eagerly watching the BBC news coverage of the Rosetta space probe this morning and just about to phone my grandchildren to say, ‘switch off the cartoons and you’ll see the European Space Centre in Darmstadt where Granddad worked in the 60s’, when, to my disbelief and horror, the ‘scientist’ being interviewed suddenly revealed a tattoo on his leg picturing the proposed landing! I put the phone down, sadly realising that their questions would probably not be about meteors and technology but why I hadn’t had a limb similarly defaced! As I email this to you, the outcome of the landing is still unknown so the chap’s leg may have been sacrificed in vain. It set me wondering how the great discoverers of the past might have looked had they also elected to have body art of their, as yet, unproven theories; might be a humorous theme here?
Newton with pears falling? Darwin covered in worms? Fleming with blue cheese? no ‘cos these are the successful ones – need to have the unknown, failed thinkers.