At a Rust editorial meeting last week – yes, we do have them! – one of our longer and more intense discussions was on the general state of the planet.
It’s an irony in this modern oh-so-politically-correct-world that knocking anyone beyond a certain age is perfectly fair game for anyone seeking to get their name in the headlines to a chorus of general approval from (never mind the #meetoo lobby) the #MeMe modern ‘yoof’ generation of snowflake millennials.
Step forward Lib-Dem leader Vince Cable – himself one of us, let us remind ourselves – who just about managed to make the BBC News bulletins last weekend under the signing off “And finally …” section along with sundry skateboarding mallard ducks and similar hilarious oddities by slandering oldies everywhere.
According to Vince, we had apparently all voted Leave in the UK’s EU Referendum – and effectively in an instant destroyed any last hopes of a positive future for everyone under the age of 35 – whilst wallowing in a deluded haze of nostalgic longing for the image of 1950s Britain conjured up by Sir John Major in his speech to the Conservative Group for Europe on 22nd April 1993:
“Fifty years from now Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and – as George Orwell said – “old maids bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist” and if we get our way – Shakespeare still read even in school.”
Don’t get me wrong, there’s little doubt that it’s a fact of human existence that those not in the first flush of youth occasionally survey the bewildering mayhem that attends modern life – which seems like a doddle compared to the hardships we once endured but ‘just got on with’- and shake our heads at those coming behind us constantly claiming that life is tougher now than ever and then raise an indulgent half-smile.
We may not have had Instagram, smartphones and the internet but we created our own entertainments back then because that’s what humans do.
We only hum Lionel Bart’s Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be beneath our breath because Harold Macmillan got it right when he told the nation “We’ve never had it so good” – and that statement applies as much in 2018 as it did in 1957 when he uttered it.
Anyway. At last week’s editorial summit, our esteemed leader Miles Piper suggested to me that occasionally I gather together for the benefit of our readers a pot pourri of items that illustrate the extraordinary not to say weird range of new stories afflicting the word at any given moment.
Here are some that caught my eye today:
Richard Williams writing on the growing problems afflicting the West Ham United football club on the website of – THE GUARDIAN
Antonia Hoyle on the dogs that can detect potential prostate problems in men by smell, as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Jaclyn Friedman on how the female of the species can help to create a breed of better men, as also appears upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN
Hard on the heels of the launch of Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie Red Sparrow comes this report by Clare Thorpe on the murky world of female spies on the website of the – DAILY TELEGRAPH
Ben Spencer on an issue that affects many of us over the age of fifty – feeling sleepy during the day – and may in fact be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, as spotted on the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Sometimes my girlfriends and I joke about that weird sense of perception that perhaps our dreams are reality and vice versa. Now they’re developing societies in which that may just be true – see here for Emine Saner’s piece on a new type of retirement ‘village’ that maybe become popular one day, as appears today upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN
Steve Bunce writing about the life and times of boxing legend Carlos Monzon on the website of – THE INDEPENDENT
Angela Epstein writing on the theme that fruit and vegetables are not necessarily as good for us as some believe on the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Emine Saner reports (again) upon the latest developments in the world of online sex education on the website of – THE GUARDIAN
Robert Kidd reporting on the phenomenon that, although British sports stars may not butter that many parsnips abroad, there’s at least one field in which our boys can command high transfer fees – see here on the website of – THE INDEPENDENT