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Whatever you do is probably wrong …

Yesterday for me was something of a novelty as I had nothing in my engagement diary. I spent it tidying up my flat, putting on a load of washing, doing a food shop at a local supermarket and then – in the afternoon – taking some exercise (but not quite as much as I had intended).

My relatively “quiet day” naturally left me with opportunities for reflection upon a number of subjects.

I don’t consider myself a political person but – as someone who tends to have the radio or television on in the background whatever I am up to – I’m becoming increasingly irritated by those in the hospitality and theatrical worlds who have spent the last three days queuing up to appear in the media attacking the Government for delaying the final “opening up” (originally set for 21st June) by four weeks.

Simply based upon his shambling appearance and personality Boris will remain an unlikely statesman to the end of his days. His hosting of the G7 conference and attendance at the NATO gathering that occurred straight afterwards did nothing to dispel the impression: one half-expected him at any moment to rip off his suit, revealing a clown’s outfit underneath, and then run around spraying his fellow dignitaries with a water pistol.

That said, as far as some pundits and business leaders are concerned (and let’s leave the benefit of hindsight out of this for present purposes) – currently to the fore those in the entertainment and farming industries – no UK Government can ever win. Instead, every decision it makes is challenged as if it is bound to be ineffective (or worse).

Half the time the allegation was that they didn’t lockdown and stop all overseas travel early enough [even though when the first lockdown was announced in mid-March 2020 all we saw in the media were examples of the estimated one million Brits then holidaying abroad belly-aching that the government wasn’t doing enough to “bring us all home”] – plus, of course, a similar complaint when the Delta (Indian) Covid-19 variant reared its ugly head – and yet, on the other hand, as soon as each lockdown was imposed, all we were bombarded with in the media was the spectacle of people complaining about losing their freedom and “being locked up”, despite the fact that untold millions of pounds were being spent furloughing staff and supporting businesses [plus bans on rent evictions and holidays on business rates and VAT etc.].

(And let’s not forget the eye-watering amounts of taxpayers’ money that have been fraudulently claimed under the various loan and “help” schemes established to tide people and businesses over which we’ll never get back because it would be too costly and boring to try and bother).

Yesterday a number of things struck me about the negative reaction of UK farmers leaders to the announcement of the UK’s new trade deal with Australia.

It is a fact that, with their profit margins being tiny thanks to the cartel-like grip of the major supermarket chains, historically most British farmers have a pretty hard time of it and were generally in favour of EU membership because the EU shelled out millions of euros in subsidies, sometimes just to get them not to grow crops and/or “farm” at all.

It was inevitable that our farmers would see a threat in any UK trade deal potentially involving agricultural products.

The very notion that one day the average Brit might be able to waddle down to their local shop and buy more and cheaper meat from abroad was/is (as the saying goes) “a red rag to a bull”.

The very farmers who used to spout vitriol about obsessive and pernickety EU animal welfare standards and processes are now to be heard championing them as they adopt a metaphorical collective “virtue cloak” and claim that the equivalent standards of Australian beef and sheep farmers are infinitely inferior.

But they would, wouldn’t they?

Lastly today I would mention that recently there seem to have been a growing number of “cultural appropriation” accusations in the media against white people.

A little back in time, of course, traditional morris dancers began getting stick for their “blackface” make-up (mind you, even I can see the absurdity and inappropriateness of the BBC television Saturday evening staple The Black And White Minstrel Show (1958-1978)); last week I read that the Scottish National Opera was publicly chastising itself (withdrawing from being considered for an artistic award) for only having a single Asian cast member in their production of Nixon in China; and overnight I spotted a report upon criticism now being levelled on social media against a Czech theatre company that has developed a project based upon the New Zealand “haka”:

See here, on the website of the – DAILY MAIL

While I think of it, some older Rusters may also recall the “cultural appropriation” stick that footballer David Beckham shipped in 2003 when he appeared in public sporting a cornrow-style hair-do.

Somehow, it seems that in these days of all-pervasive “wokeness”, whatever their intention or motivation, any white person who “copies” any look or activity that can be considered to have BAME culture origins is both an outrage and inappropriate.

On the basis that “what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander”, then presumably these days white people would now be justified in claiming that black people who “straighten their hair” and/or wear hair extensions are also committing “cultural appropriation” … or would me even suggesting this be “inappropriate” in itself?

 

About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts