Thursday, 25 May 2017

In the wake of horror, one fact shines out: the British are really very, very nice...

Having spent the last few hours slumped in front of the TV, banjanxed by the unwonted heat, watching Sky News and the BBC News Channel, I came away even more convinced that the British really are a top-hole people. I'm sure this sounds glib, trite, sentimental, etc. - and it's not exactly difficult to feel sympathy for the victims of terrorist attacks, their families, and the people of the towns and cities where they tend to happen - but it's true. One of the very few heartening aspects of yet another mass slaughter by Muslim fanatics is that the aftermath affords us a glimpse of what people are really like...

TV News normally presents a view of everyday life at its least attractive. Britain sometimes comes across as a nation of angry whiners demanding that limitless amounts of other people's money be spent addressing their problems or their pet concerns. "The government" (i.e. the taxpayer) should pay for this aspect of social care, or deal with this group's obsession, or DO SOMETHING about teenage drinking or hate crime or child poverty or NHS waiting lists or nurses' pay or creating jobs or abolishing income inequality, or shut down private schools or ban sugary drinks or... well, the list is endless. Genuine members of the public are usually wheeled on as useful pawns in furtherance of some pressure group or political organisation's desires - and then shooed off the stage as soon as they've played their part as a meaningless vox-popper or as exploited victims shuffling miserably across the screen so the TV folk can get on with interviewing the head of this, the chair of that, the leader of the other. Whinge whinge, moan moan, want want, demand demand, virtue-signal virtue-signal, outrage outrage etc.

As for most non-news coverage - especially soaps and reality TV - it seems designed to bring out the worst in viewers (well, it brings out the worst in me). Do these morons have to talk like that, walk that way, look at the size of her, more money than sense these people, why don't they read a book for a change, do they really have to start every sentence with "So...",  they can't seriously like this awful music, they should imprison the next person who tells us they're "passionate" about cooking, country going to the dogs, for God's sake stop saying "innit", how can you be a teacher when you can't speak the Queen's English, well why was this worthless moron let out of prison in the first place... Watching most mainstream television programmes (there are notable exceptions, of course) is just terribly lowering.

Then someone commits a dreadful crime or some random disaster affects a whole community and our TV screens are filled with people just like us, the viewer, albeit in extremis - and it's as if someone refocused the camera lens and wiped all the crud off the screen and we see our little world anew. And it's full of real people leading decent lives, bringing up their children, being popular or struggling at school, meeting their pop star heroes, loving their pets, being part of a really nice family and doing boring jobs and interesting jobs... not saints, not heroes, necessarily - just nice people getting on with their lives and not bothering anyone. Like most of us. I guess we know that these are the real Britons (or the real French, or the real Americans, or the real Germans) - rather than the single-issue bores, political pick-pockets, victimhood-vultures and talentless egomaniacs who regularly invade our television screens. But it seems a shame that it requires something as catastrophically, unspeakably, inhumanly horrific as a vile, inadequate, self-hating little demon setting off a bomb at a pop concert in  Manchester to remind us (well, me, at least) just how incredibly nice, how astonishingly decent the people of this country are.

How sad it would be if our politicians (and, of course, the broadcasters, who are the most influential opinion-makers in the country) were allowed to use the people's innate decency to dodge their own considerable share of the blame for making all this possible, and were to do what they always do in the wake of these outrages - deliberately avoid making the difficult decisions that might make them less likely in future.


  1. Meanwhile the European Navies free ferry service in the Med continues unabated.

    1. But how else is Europe supposed to replenish its stock of doctors and nuclear physicists???