The year has ended and, as always, it is a good time to reflect and take a good look at the balance sheet of life during the last twelve months.
The world is in turmoil, such as probably not seen since the early 1960s when the great powers confronted each other over a tiny piece of land sticking out of the Caribbean sea, Cuba.
Cuba has featured quite prominently, perhaps a coincidence that 50 years later we are again facing similar possible dangers, the only difference being that the island of interest has been changed for desert.
Weapons have developed, no longer just feared atomic weapons, they are now joined by far worse, like a cancer; Cyber attack, social media, internet, terrorism, racism, xenophobia.
These scare me more than an atomic bomb threat. I always felt that there is no major owner of atomic weapons that would single-handedly cause Armageddon, whereas the other dangers gnaw away at our society, day by day. Is the world going backward (apart from technology) to pre WW2 times and perhaps farther.
I ask myself, did mankind reach a plateau of social evolution and could not cope with it? Is it in our DNA to attain a certain level of evolution and then not being able to progress, the only other option is to regress. I hope not.
The western world, the supposed free world, is now split roughly in half (Brexit, Trump, Italy etc), potentially a new arms race; where will it stop? Will what many have worked for during the 20th century prevail or are they going to be beaten back. Is success going to be vilified. Is compassion to be a lot of wasted words without action to support them? Is sense and reason out of the window. What about racial tensions. Is power & might the only answer to keep the world in balance?
I am now in my early 60s. Born to the Golden Generation of Baby Boomers. I grew up in a time when the world knew where it stood. Two camps, relatively equal in strength, neither wishing to take the other on, knowing that winning was not an option. Education for all, opportunities that would not have been available before. Medical advance developed faster and increased our life expectancy and quality of health. Technology made life easier. So things were on the Up. Seems not for long.
With this progress came negative aspects to our society. The breakdown of the family unit being one, so many single parent households with poor direction for the next generation to follow and build on. No self-respect and therefore no respect for others. Angry, unfulfilled and unsure of where they belong. Disaffected and looking for someone to blame.
Equality is great, respect and understanding of each other is even greater. We have become a society that now expects someone else to do everything for us. We are losing the ability to survive without the government being responsible for everything; and when it fails, we can blame them and not ourselves.
We talk of society being financially worse off than before. Before when? It is only since c.1960s that those on the lower financial spectrum became more affluent. I don’t call them working class as I deem everyone that needs to work to be working class. Those on lower income suddenly had things available to them that would have only been in a dream. Yet, I don’t think they became happier, in fact quite the opposite. The more we have the more we want, it is a form of greed that is in us by nature. It is what has driven mankind to achieve, without it we would still be with the square wheel.
People speak of equality. Equality has never existed and never will, that is to say unless this planet has some way of sustaining us all without us getting out of bed. The animal kingdom has its hierarchy and we belong to that kingdom, albeit at the top when it comes to mental ability. How boring it would be not to have to have challenges through life. Many years ago I read that doctors had found that babies born by caesarean section tend to be less successful than those that have had to fight their way out naturally; our first challenge. Seems we thrive on challenges.
Yet, if we are at the top of the animal kingdom and consider ourselves civilised, how can we help those that are less fortunate, financially and socially? I am not totally sure but what I am sure of is, that it is not by blaming everything on those that have been successful. We should be grateful for their skills and for creating the jobs that we have. Everyone must have something to drive toward, however the goals may be at different levels. If it is legally achieved, then lets applaud it. This culture of vilifying the wealthy or blaming foreigners living in the UK or ethnic minorities is disgraceful. Britain was above that in the worst days of 20th century European history. People were tolerated (even if not loved). This is what made Britain the freest land in the world, even with its centuries old class structure. Everyone knew where they stood and if they were prepared to work hard, they had a chance to achieve. Not easy but do-able.
We have seen a massive influx of migrants into the UK and a large amount of people are upset to the point of making a monumentally enormous decision as to this country’s direction forward. The reason?, because they have taken our jobs, school places, doctor’s time etc. Yet, we have the lowest unemployment in Europe. Does that not mean we need these people to work for us? If yes, then we need to make sure that we have an infrastructure to cope with the labour force, whether British born or not. Have they really taken anyone’s job or are they prepared to work and not winge, just glad to work. Large cities, where the majority have come were all happy to stay in EU and keep all these job takers. Why?; because we need them!
So, we have regressed by 80 years, discarded everything that made us great, yes we were great, quirky from the outside but looked up to, admired. Whilst travelling worldwide on business, I was referred to as the “English Gentleman”, my handshake was good enough. Now when I travel, people ask, “why are you English always drunk and making trouble. Why do your young behave like barbarians when on holiday. No respect, no morality?”
In 30 years I have gone from gentleman representing Britain to a Briton representing drunks.
We are creating disaffected people, poor education but not only in schools, also at home. Children are not given direction, teachers have their hands tied by idiotic Political Correctness (PC) which has been devised by people who have perhaps good intentions but lack any practical sense. Some PC rules are so ridiculous that, when mentioned abroad they are met by howls of laughter.
I know many Muslims, Jews etc and they are NOT offended if Britain celebrates Christmas. If they want to opt out of the nativity play at school, let them. Let THEM choose how they feel, not some fool who has no real idea of how they feel. This should be a free country for US and THEM, thus making us a WE. By the way, the proponents of the use of “ze”, please note that my European mother has used that for 60 years instead of “THE”, so you are too late and please let the 99.999999% of heterosexual, gay, lesbian etc etc people be permitted to be called he or she. We also have rights. Transgender people can refer to themselves as whatever they wish. Let them also be free and allow Oxbridge to carry on and be free to teach.
Before you classify me, as I am sure by now you have, and probably in the worst way; I am over sixty, son of immigrants, belong to a religious minority. My parents started life with £100 to their name, spoke average English. Yet, none of them ever complained that government offices didn’t have people who spoke their native language nor that documents weren’t available in that language, nor that they had to learn English and not the other way around. They never expected anything from the government other than freedom to get on with life (having come from the Communist world where they found that communism didn’t mean equality nor freedom, quite the opposite) which they deemed it to be the greatest wealth they could have.
I am an employer. My employees are men & women of many ethnic backgrounds. My clients are from every corner of the world. I have also travelled the 4 corners of the world, meeting people at every level of society so I feel that I am quite well qualified to say that the peoples of the world would get on pretty well were it not for the leaders of groups or countries with sinister agendas.
Will 2017 be terrible or will it even out? I am an optimist by nature and try and see the best in every situation but sitting here, looking out on the grey winter’s day, I am sad and seriously concerned.