All our Tomorrows
Time to take stock. Brexit is one of the most significant moments of our recent history. There have been others. Not always so abrupt and decisive but just as important both practically and symbolically. Here is an immediate and personal list.
The funeral of Churchill(1964). Here we were burying not only a great man but an Empire and saying goodbye to the national personality which created a place where the sun could not hide.
The funeral of Princess Di. (1997)Here was the unveiling of the new, softer less ambitious nation. How we wept. How we indulged. At last we were in touch with our feminine side.
The miners strike (1984). The breaking of the trade unions by Thatcher allowed Britain to enjoy economic prosperity and stability of which others in Europe(France,Italy!) can only dream.
9/11(2001) and 7/7(2005). These two Muslim atrocities, the first of many, brought in a new and seemingly permanent fear and prejudice. Where once the burqua was just national dress now I see it as a cultural attack.
The Falklands War(1981) and the Winning of the World Cup(1966). Both gave us a confidence and a pride at a time when our world position was going south. The Iraq War and its consequences and the parliamentary vote against Syrian bombing showed a more realistic position.
The rise and rise of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones during the 60s and 70s gave British youth a swagger and world status.
Feminism. The other day(2016) the BBC News Reader spoke to the network’s senior Political and European correspondents concerning the leaders of the Tory and Labour parties. All five mentioned are women.
I hardly saw black face until I was 14(1960). I hadn’t seen a non white in a suit until I was thirty. By 2050 one third of the population is expected to be non white. In less than 100 years.
The decline and fall of smoking shows the increasing power and importance of the health, environmental and politically correct lobbies. In 1948 ,82% of men smoked, the figure today is less than 19%.
Growing up gays were at best a joke at worst a disease. Why did it take us so long to get real? Maybe this tolerance comes from the total sexual revolution which has occurred in my life time. Remember in 1964 it was still problematical whether boy and girl friends would fuck and living together was very rare and frowned upon.