Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"I Will Stand Up For British Values" ( Gordon Brown, 24:09:07)

Once upon a time, I knew a woman who was married to a Cheshire tenant farmer. Their kitchen was large and friendly; two labradors lazed in huge baskets by the Aga, three pompous cats strolled in and out. There was often the smell of cakes baking, apples stewing, lamb roasting. The floor gleamed with red quarry tiles and through the latticed bow-fronted windows, I saw green fields, tall stately trees, endless skies. I'd drive over from my edge-of-city home, sit in this cosiness, wallow in its peace and go home soothed, rejuvenated.
Then one day, my friend put up some pictures**. She ranged them along one entire wall, at least ten of them, and the entire character of the warm hospitable kitchen changed . At least it did for me. The prints were incongruous, out of place. I could see their artist's skill, his mastery, but I failed to see their relevance in this colourful farmhouse kitchen.

And THAT'S what's happening in my city. At weekends, its character changes completely; Saturday night in the city is scary, it's threatening. There's shouts and screams and partially dressed girls, there's swaggering young men, people running, women arm-in-arm thronging the street, coarse singing beneath the Eastgate clock, furtive dealings in darkened corners, between Tudor houses, beneath Roman City Walls.
BUT this city is not alone:
OTHER precious, much-loved small cities throughout the land are suffering the same fate. I hear it from friends in the south, the north east, Wales, Scotland. People are hurting because they're watching a sad, steady decline in places they love. We feel scared and we feel powerless.
Yesterday in Bournemouth (is B'mouth besieged on a Saturday night ?) Gordon Brown made promises.
He's proud to be British. He says he "stands for a Britain where we expect responsibility at every level of society"
Yesterday he declared: " This is my pledge to the British people: I will not let you down.
I will stand up for a strong Britain. And I will always stand up for you."
Please do, Gordon Brown, please do.
Because it's VITAL you do.
PS: **Hogarth prints ( Gin Lane) Is THAT what will happen??


Blogger Lee said...

But Hogarth is wonderful ...

3:07 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Yes Lee I absolutely agree but the time and the place, the kitchen, the cheeriness, ...not wonderful.
And what he conveys is not necessarily wonderful either, Im sure you agree..
Good seeing you and hope all well with you.

3:46 pm  
Blogger Minx said...

No worries, Gordon Brown is best mates with Lady Thatch now, we shall all be saved!

11:24 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Let's hope shall we........

6:01 am  
Blogger Suffolkmum said...

Hmmm - fingers crossed, I WANT to believe him. So agree about small cities (which I love). Our nearest is Cambridge, can be a similar story. Loved the analogy. Oh and I do love Corrie too, I missed that post!

2:35 pm  
Blogger Hayley said...

Lets hope Gordon will do something positive for Britain, I wont hold my breath though!

5:31 pm  
Anonymous watermaid said...

I don't live far from Bournemouth and it is not a safe place to go on a Saturday night. I think we need to go a bit more deeply into why so many, particularly young people, are drinking so much and behaving so appallingly. They don't have much faith in politicians that's for sure

11:03 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Heads up Jan, I've tagged you for a reading meme :-)

8:18 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Not only in your country ... over here we have binge drinking and boy racers causing trouble and making our cities (and smaller towns) unappealing, hostile places at night.

8:18 am  
Blogger Philippa said...

I think the availability of alcopops & other cheap alcohol is a factor. One of my roles in school is to ensure that all pupils have access to a comprehensive alcohol awareness programme. We give them the facts, we invite ex-alcoholics in to talk to them, we discuss foetal alcohol syndrome...........then they go and get drunk. Senseless & baffling!

5:22 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

And I'm yer Uncle Fred!!

Think we need plenty of hope, dont we??!

I probably sound like " Mr. Disgruntled From Tunbridge" but lots of folk are fed up, I know.

Thanks for calling, Hayley, and as I keep saying, let's see!

Yes, you're right.
Tip of the iceberg stuff, isn't it?

Am I right in thinking I reply on YOUR blog as opposed to mine??
Im very honoured, Liz!

It's an international thing, isn't it?
Good to see you and hope all's well with you.

When we're young, we feel "immune" to bad stuff, we feel untouchable..then it's sad to see disillusionment, but that's LIFE.

9:06 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Hi jan you post the meme on your blog for your readers to see and the tag some other lucky readers :-)

10:20 am  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

You remind me of Theodore Dalrymple here... I sympathize. One hopes that pendulums still know how to swing, and without wrecking the clock case.

As for the Hogarth, perhaps we need a great satirist now to engrave our foibles and strike the eye with their misery.

Even in a little village, we have a growing blight--ours is not this but the curse of an over-popular destination and baseball camps that load the sidewalks with more boys than we can handle.

4:13 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

OK, Im having a go!

Great to hear re your amazing part of the world but I have to admit Im unsure who this Dalrymple is. Shall have to have a swift google!
Thanks for calling.

9:29 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Swift google now been had. Thankyou.

9:37 pm  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

Yes, doesn't he sound as though he has been mulling these issues for many a long year? And from a psychiatrist to the British slums and prisons. He has dramatic material and makes large claims for the meaning of what he finds.

Jan, thanks for that really superlative praise! Fuel for the day.

6:11 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

An interesting guy, indeed!
Thanks Marly for the introduction..!

8:34 am  

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