Mercifully, I was in South India for two events that showed the English at their worst: a long-delayed sporting triumph and the arrival of George Alexander Louis. So I missed the response to Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon and the eruption that greeted the birth of yet another royal. Before these there was the ‘multicultural triumph’ of the Olympics, followed recently by the ‘illegal immigrant’ buses and non-white citizens being stopped at railway stations. Even the UKIP leader denounced this as not being ‘the British way’.
‘Feel-good’ moments never last long; underneath the decay continues. Amazon is permitted to destroy the bookshops while Google, Yahoo et al hand over encrypted lists of their users to the intelligence services. Much simpler than paying taxes. The assault on education; the continuing privatisation of the NHS; the never-ending propaganda directed against benefit claimants; the youth unemployment levels (much higher in the North than in the South-eastern bubble); the vassal status in relation to the United States (how could the NSA-GCHQ links come as a surprise?); a supine state television network under the control of frightened men and women, scared of their own shadows; an utterly debased House of Lords packed with cronies of the most dubious variety.
Presiding over all this is a political elite far removed from the interests of a large majority of its citizens. To crown it all, we live in a country without an official opposition. There is none in Parliament. Whereas in some other European countries, gay marriage is about the only issue that divides centre-left from centre-right, here it unites. In effect we are living under a National Government in everything but name. Poor, pathetic Labour destroyed from within and stumbling from one month to the next. Will they do anything substantially different were they to be elected again? Extremely unlikely. But let’s not worry too much. We’ll feel good for the next few years by celebrating the centenary of the ‘great war’ and the carnage that accompanied it.