One of C Northcote Parkinson's observations in his seminal "Parkinson's Law" (published 1957 and still well worth a read) is that when successful organisations get round to building grandiose headquarters in London that usually means they they are past their peak and thereafter decline.
I think there is a parallel here with Tory politicians' obsession with draping themselves with the Union Flag, or even two or three, whenever they present themselves in public. Indeed there are hints of a "mine's bigger than yours" competition.
Of course associating themselves with imperial grandeur is nothing new for the Conservatives . I remember in my adolescence (political nerd even then) going to hear my Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, speak in Bradford's St George's Hall, and being the only person not to rise from my seat in respect as the organ swelled to the strains of "Land of Hope and Glory" as he entered. I have no evidence whatsoever but I suspect that the Bullingdon Club, of which both prime ministers Cameron and Johnson were members, sometimes roared out "Rule Britannia" as they trashed restaurants for fun.
If the Tories were really proud of Britain they would be nurturing rather than trashing the institutions for which we are genuinely admired.
Top of that list must surely be the BBC, universally acknowledged as a world-wide source of largely impartial and very reliable information as well as the producer of much high quality drama and entertainment with a world-wide appeal. Yet, presumably to facilitate the ingress of the private sector exemplified by the despised "Fox News" they have cut BBC funding by 30% since 2010 and continue to bully and threaten it with attacks on its income sources and the appointment of top office holders not openly opposed to its ethos.
High on the list would also come our work to reduce world poverty. Yet they have merged our very effective Department for International Development with the Foreign Office so that the primacy of poverty reduction strategies become subservient to "British Interests." In addition, they use the excuse of the expense of the pandemic to reduce our overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5%. To be slashing our aid to such as Libya and Syria at this crucial time must surely be the depth of international shame.
Going back further into our history we once had an admired reputation for welcoming refugees. These could be Huguenots fleeing persecution in France or Jews from less hospitable lands, who contributed so much to the development of my part of Yorkshire - outstandingly Marks of M&S and Montague Burton. Now we have the odious "Hostile Environment" created by Theresa May and honed and refined by Pritti Patel, and seem happy to stand aside as migrants and their children drown in the Channel.*
To these add our reputation for respect for law trashed by Mr Johnson's willingness to break it and our reputation for honesty besmirched by his blatant lying.
We are slithering rapidly down the ranks of respected and influential nations. Rather than competing in the Union Flag competition the opposition parties need urgently to produce plans to "build back better" in the above areas, and inspire the electorate with them.
* If you want to strike a blow for a more humane approach a group of people in Kent had formed "Channel Rescue" to welcome them with friendly greetings, sandwiches and reflective blankets.
You can read all about them here.
I have no evidence whatsoever but I suspect that the Bullingdon Club, of which both prime ministers Cameron and Johnson were members, sometimes roared out "Rule Britannia" as they trashed restaurants for fun.ReplyDelete
Is this the sort of 'ambient truth' where it's okay to ascribe to public figures quotations that they never said because it 'seems like the sort of thing they probably believed'?
I think there is a parallel here with Tory politicians' obsession with draping themselves with the Union Flag
They're just copying Macron, aren't they? He's never been seen without a Tricolore that's at least twice as big as he is.
the BBC, universally acknowledged as a word-wide source of largely impartial
It's not, you know. 42& of people don't hate the BBC highly for impartiality. So while you could credibly claim that it is 'widely' regarded as being largely impartial, that perception is certainly not 'universal'. For 'universal' I think you'd want a rating of 90% or higher.
Source: https://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/reports/pdf/bbc_report_trust_and_impartiality_nov_2017.pdf p. 33
Yes,I agree that the Bullingdon Club is a step too far, but I couldn't resist.ReplyDelete
I'll check out your links and see if the rest is defensible
I suspect that our government, in their addiction to flags as in so much else is following the United States rather than France. Whichever, both these countries make far more use of their national flags than we have in the past and for understandable reasons.Delete
France had to try transfer people’s loyalty from their monarchy to the Republic, of which the flag was and is a suitable symbol. The US had to try to harness the loyalties of peoples form very diverse sources and the flag, along with the pledge of allegiance recited daily in school I believe, were and are useful devices for achieving this.
Here rightly or wrongly, loyalty is directed to the Crown and has been since Egbert of Wessex became King of All England in 829 (I think, without looking it up)
We don't need flag waving: "God save the Queen" (and a very good job she makes of it.
Here rightly or wrongly, loyalty is directed to the Crown and has been since Egbert of Wessex became King of All England in 829Delete
England in 829? Did you miss 1707, 1801, 1921?
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