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#536402
I suppose what got me thinking this was both having too much time to myself driving to and from work in the car and reading some of the BTL comments on the Meghan Markle baptism. I know that if you read too much of some websites, you get a jaundiced view of society but yet you know - hope - that it represents a vanishingly small part of it.

But does it?

We read stories of people harassing ambulance crews because they don't like them parking near "their" territory: we read of workplace bullying; we read of acid attacks, robberies on mopeds. Violent crime is increasing.

We see bad behaviour on our roads and an idea that the road belongs to me and me alone, and how dare others be on it?

We have all witnessed a collapse in standards of political discourse, where rivals have now become enemies. We have seen the gap between rich and poor grow massively: meanwhile 'we' like to mock the disabled, the less fortunate. We have programmes on TV that are all about getting rich quick, and programming that seems to be becoming of an ever-lower standard to meet the expectations of what at first sight appears to be an increasingly unintelligent populace. We can even watch programmes and laugh at the misfortunes of others, mocking them for their apparent stupidity. Racism seems to be increasingly acceptable and no longer something muttered in the corners of pubs.

Tolerance - that pillar of the British psyche - seems to be dying a death and I'm not just talking about tolerance for the 'other', but an increasing impatience with those around us.

Money now seems to be the be-all and end-all; gone are the days when it was viewed as vulgar, something not to be discussed in public. Whilst not wishing to sound prudish, which I am wont to do, standards of morality and public behaviour seem to be falling as well.

Is this just my Black Dog barking loudly, or do others think this too? Many years ago, a German friend of mine invited me to his home and he and his sadly late wife thought I was the epitome of the true English gentleman, as they saw it. Would they see Britain as that country now?
#536404
I thought the country was ok ish until Thatcher. The attitudes of “me first” money being the be all and end all seemed to start then.
#536405
Not sure much of what you rightly bemoan is new, sadly. 'Civilised' is never an absolute, it's always a work in progress and works on multiple levels to different effect: civilised as peaceful (geopolitical determination), civilised as 'acculturated' or essentially '-ish' in some sense ('British values') (globalised or localised anthropological determination), uncivilised as obsessed with money (moral determination), and whilst we're in an ebb right now (Tory ideology leading the way), it's also instructive to remember that often... Tory ideology leads the way. Hah, fucked ain't it. Thatcherism and all that ensued definitely put the money-as-god thing at the heart of pop culture, but it's not like there wasn't greed and rampant inequality within living memory.

But the flipside is these are often visible sores. Hidden sores also exist, but so too do hidden virtues.

Imagine the scene 10 years ago, then 50, then 150. One might argue we are on a slide, but the gradients are relative and it always pays to remember that, even as certain novel/resurfaced trends appall you, and rightly so.
#536406
At some point I was canvassing, in the Thatcher period, and I spoke to a guy about education provision. He was a full-on greedy bastard Thatcherite - he couldn't see why he should have to pay for education in his taxes after his kids left school. Not his problem, let the parents pay. That made a big impression on me - after all there was 'no such thing as society' and here was a proud exponent of it. That, for me, was the day one part of society started to die.

So yes you may be right, Boiler, but on the other hand I've just had a nice Facebook chat with an ex-pupil who has set up her own stained-glass repair company and she's coming to fix my front door.

On the other hand my evening yesterday was dominated by a rant from son's ex-wife that I don't ask her how she is so I don't care about her, and she objects to me helping my son financially.

On the other hand again our local restaurant gave us an excellent lunch and we talked to Carlos about his new son, Reuben for half an hour.

So for me it's yes and no. There are some proper selfish bastards out there, but some good eggs too.
#536407
I think you are partially right. But the country is becoming more divided, rich and poor, right and left. I like to think think that there are (hopefully a majority) who are English* in old fashioned sense of fair play and inclusivity. People are still donating vast amounts to charities and helping random strangers in need. For example lots of people help out hospitals in the recent snow getting staff to work. The Mail commentators and the like are a vocal minority. It's that they are preexisting twats who have been given a voice, but they were twats in the first place.

*I say English as this seems to be an English more than British issue. Also this post has been written with the help of a few Guinnesses.
#536415
Not that long ago we had rampant corruption in public life, ingrained racism and sexism, a blind eye turned to "one of us" abusing their position (and/or the kids) and the lowest common denominator dominating broadcasting. And nothings really changed. Even in the late 90s when all the problems seemed resolved, you'd hear "I shouldn't say this but...". It's always been there. For me the tipping point was 1998. Vindaloo. The moment irony died and coarseness became acceptable. To badly paraphrase Larkin, between Dermot Morgan's heart and Fat Les topping the charts, something went badly wrong.
#536542
https://www.economist.com/news/books-an ... e-optimism

Clearly the scope of this article transcends the UK and also issues of civilisation but if ever you find yourself despairing then here is a read that will provide some much needed reassurance that in spite of everything, in general, the world keeps on moving forwards and getting better. There is no return to the Dark Ages around the corner. I felt uplifted anyway!
#536544
There seems to be a generation that were born after WW2, so never suffered from it, but did very well in the 1980s and 1990s.

And they seem to want to hoard all of their gains. So we end up with austerity because the government refuses to claw back some of that money. We end up with young people unable to afford homes because they snaffled up all the housing stock and we didnt build any more.

We end up with a very unequal society which only promotes sociological breakdown.

Now, more than ever, we are a nation divided between the haves and have nots.
#536545
Yes, this demographic benefitted from the post war consensus, secure, reasonably well paid employment over a long period, NHS, affordable housing, trade union protection against shit employers, decent public services and so on, who then said to the next generation “fuck you, we are all right”
#536551
I think it's a very bad time to make a decision on that. Things aren't 'normal' at the moment. I don't think what we're currently seeing is representative of our country. Give it a couple of years or so and then ask again, I reckon.

I think it's on a knife edge and can go either way. I like to think the pendulum is going to swing in a way that will make us all proud and breath a big sigh of relief that the majority of Brits are decent, tolerant and intelligent and have rejected the rise of the hard/far Right, as we'd hoped.

Or, it could go the other way and turn into full blow Brexit Britain, in which case you're absolutely right and I'll be packing my bags.
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