Tuesday 9 August 2011

The New Jerusalem

Last night I was watching a BBC4 archive programme called Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words. There were Keynes and Beveridge and Attlee (spot the Great Thinker?) extolling the wonders of the impending New Jerusalem in which, thanks to benign state intervention, an age of peace and plenty would dawn and all social ills wither on the vine...Then came the News - and there, in our age of peace and plenty, were the grandchildren of the New Jerusalem ('these strange children, Pitiless in their ignorance and contempt', in Geoffrey Hill's phrase) rioting, looting, pillaging and burning their way across swathes of London.
Among the most saddening images was that of Reeves furniture store in Croydon - just a couple of miles down the road from me - ablaze, burning to the ground. Reeves Corner has been a local landmark, part of the geography, all my life - and for generations before (the company is 140 years old) - and now it's gone, for no reason at all. What makes it even worse is that it was - in its older, artsy-crafty parts - an attractive and interesting building, in a town that can ill afford to lose many of those.
The one upside of all this is that it's yet further proof that London is a city unfit to host a modern Olympic Games. Call it off now!


  1. Yes I watched that programme. Though more intellectually stimulating than 99.9% of telly, it offered the usual la-dee-da Peter and Jane causal narrative of history. Though it is at least interesting to see the general Beeb view of Thatcher's legacy softening.

    Evan Davies' recent show about British business was much more radical for the Beeb, even suggesting that Thatcher had very little to do with the collapse of heavy industry, the primary cause being Japs and others building ships and whatnot at a fraction of the price... How did he sneak that one past the Tristrams I wonder?

    Re: the rioting chavs... bring back National Service!

  2. Yes good for Evan D - that was truly amazing - the BBC panjandrums must have taken their eye off the ball there (as they did when they employed Jeff Randall! Remember his brief but invigorating stint at the BBC?).
    National Service is looking more and more attractive, I must say. For now water cannon, teargas and shooting looters on sight would be a start...

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  4. Remember Bad Boys Army on ITV? There were remarkable transformations of some total delinquents: self-respect was arrived at through discipline. However, it would no doubt be eye-wateringly expensive to do on any scale.

  5. BTW the boys' failings appeared to stem largely from the famous 'lack of self-esteem'. Hence I suspect progressive teachers are onto the right problem but are not tackling it in the right way: boxing, assault courses, cross-country runs, etc.

  6. Yes indeed Gareth - and I think progressive teachers are also responsible for nurturing a culture of low aspirations, especially among black pupils. In fact much of what is going on could be blamed on a failed 'education' system - but there's too much to be said on that subject...

  7. Troof Rides Again9 August 2011 at 18:55

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  8. Could you delete Mr Troof please Nige? He's fouling up this blog.

  9. Attlee needed a pipe full of old shag prior to having a good think, may have been happy baccy of course, roll on Bertie Russell, his thinking came complete with spittle (thistle?)
    Near riot in Melrose this morning, two dowagers had a row in the greengrocers over some artichokes.
    The anarchy is interesting, not as half as interesting as plod's health and safety manual though but.

    Try an overcrowded urban environment caused by a minimum thirty percent increase in the population since the nineteen forties, throw in uncaring parents add a dash of teaching profession unfit to stack Tesco shelves stir gently, add a left leaning 'intelligentsia' who are highly educated but stupid and create an impossible to manage society, leave overnight. Serve hot with a twist of petrol. Result, madness.

    Says he from his Eildon fastness.

  10. Re: the rioting chavs... bring back National Service!

    In the meantime, we Americans would be more than happy to lend you our 2nd Amendment.

    (Where I live, these riots wouldn't have lasted three minutes, never mind three days.)

    Agreed about biffing Troofer. His posts are so revolting I'm going to have to take a shower to wash the stench off.

  11. Malty is so right on the ever-increasing population. So many of us! And we endlessly produce more. Can't we persuade people to stop having sex? Instead of telling youngsters that it is wonderful in the context of a loving relationship, can't we just say that it's ghastly at all times?