Saturday 6 May 2023

Coronation consolation

Way back in the 1950s (or maybe 60s) I heard or read some pundit claim that if we went on like this - (industries such as our famous car marques Rover, Healey, Riley etc., our Blue Streak Rocket, our machine tool industries and all the rest of the things for which we had been “world leaders”) going into liquidation, being taken over by foreigners or simply abandoned as our pound plummeted in value, - we should all end up dressed as a peasants in smocks guiding tourists round our quaint villages and towns. In other words a theme park.

 This morning’s Coronation ceremony showed how right he or she was. In its re-creation of medieval+ mores it was quaint, inappropriate, irrelevant, offensive to large sections of our current populations - and brilliantly executed.

 By God we’re good at that sort of thing, and I expect the rest of the World enjoyed it (and along with us natives, spent a little extra money and boosted our flagging=economy somewhat.)

 But there is a positive lesson to be learnt from this. Pageantry is a form of art, as are music, literature, theatre, film-making, soap-operas, situation comedies, dancing, painting sculpture. And as a nation we are good at these things.

 So where is the sense in shrinking the arts faculties out of our universities, squeezing music out of schools, cutting down the BBC's world class orchestras and choir, threatening the continued existence of English National Opera and constricting our young into a strait-jacket of STEM subjects?.

 Our government needs to play to these strengths rather than make futile attempts to retrieve past glories (though with sense we could succeed in many "cutting edge" activities - not least the development of wave power. We have lots of sea borders so lots of waves to exploit if only we had the sense.) 

I hope our next government will encouages us to become more than either a Ruritania of Singapore on Thames.

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