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Fighting nature is sometimes futile

Given its general mission of providing observations upon modern life from the viewpoint of those of us who happen to be beyond the first flush of youth, it would be strange indeed if – amongst all the inevitable and wondrous advances that science, technology and cultural developments bring – one of the Rust’s recurring themes was nevertheless that of pointing out instances where “sheer bloody common sense”, fundamental human instinct and the many lessons to be had from history seem to have been ignored.

Whether it comes from either the complications of simply seeking to compare sporting greats or “picking apart the political and social beliefs” from different eras, in my view it both difficult and inappropriate to stray far from the notion that human beings can and should only be judged by how things were “in their own time”.

For me, the fashionable practice of “cancelling” people – whether they live in 2022 or two thousand years previously – who espouse anything but “right on” soft left-wing political or social views is not only crackers but a denial of the one fundamental human principle that I would be prepared to defend to the death – that of the right to free speech.

Just as it would be folly to try and compare Jack Johnson of the early 20th Century with today’s Tyson Fury, it would be a complete waste of time to try and compare Napoleon as a commander of troops in battle in the early 19th Century with Dwight D. Eisenhower as he presided over the D-Day Landings in June 1944.

Or – to put the conundrum another way – how would the future 34th President of the United Stated of America have fared if he’d been in command of the heavily-outnumbered Greek forces (including Spartans of course) taking on the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC?

And indeed, how would Genghis Khan or Alexander The Great have fared as warmongers in their time if they had had the benefit of modern tactical nuclear weapons at their disposal, for example?

Discuss – and answers, please, on a postcard to the usual Rust address.

All of which, in a roundabout way, brings me to my text for today.

See here for a report upon the alleged sacking of radio disc jockey Liz Kershaw by the BBC for nothing but the heinous crime of being over the age of 60 … as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL

This incident ticks a number of heady modern 21st Century “boxes” – including discrimination against minorities, the treatment of women and the general subject of ageism – and I here leave billions of Rusters around the globe to consider where they stand on these compelling and multifaceted issues.

I shall nevertheless offer only this thought upon this bright, windless and very pleasant morning from my abode in the hinterlands of bold and bracing Cumbria.

Get over it, girl!

We’re all “of our time”.

Liz Kershaw will celebrate her 64th birthday next month. She’s been a radio broadcaster since the age of 23 in 1981 and has carved a notable career in rock and pop music ever since.

Nobody has a right to be a pop/rock radio disc jockey forever – just as accountants, circus performers, firemen, astronomers and national politicians (to list but a few) cannot have an expectation that they are going to be able to ply their trade beyond their natural sell-by date.

I don’t know the ins and outs of Liz Kershaw’s career, but when she got her first chance of Radio 1 with her own-devised show Backchat in 1987 aged 28, I don’t suppose that she gave more than the slightest thought for the middle-aged balding male disc jockey (or was it a female 25 year old?) whose weekly job was discontinued in order to let her have her opportunity.

And why should she have had the slightest thought for them, anyway? One person’s abrupt “firing” inevitably becomes another’s “big opportunity”.

All I’m suggesting is that Liz Kershaw should just be grateful that she’s had a successful four decade career in radio broadcasting.

Not many people achieve that. Indeed not many people get the chance.

Time constantly keeps moving on.


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About Miles Piper

After university, Miles Piper began his career on a local newspaper in Wolverhampton and has since worked for a number of national newspapers and magazines. He has also worked as a guest presenter on Classic FM. He was a founder-member of the National Rust board. More Posts