Tag Archives: Society

Who’s he like now?

The more I think about him, and the more I read about both men, the more I think Boris Johnson begins to resemble Henry VIII. The same bombast; the same: ‘Look at me. Nothing is important except me’; the same devil-may-care attitude – ‘What the hell, I’ll go and play this afternoon” – and the same lack of interest in the common people.

When was the last time Boris saw a boarded up shop front in a high street or a ‘For Sale’ sign outside some out-of-town business premises or another?

When, for example, was the last time he visited one of the country’s many flood-hit areas? Even Jeremy Corbyn has managed to do that and, despite still being the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, he isn’t much of a ‘somebody’ these days. Once his time is truly up, and the Labour Party has a new leader, he really ought to go back to the back-benches where he could always snipe at something or another.

In the meantime, we’re stuck with someone akin to King Boris. The only thing that marks him out from Henry VIII is that he doesn’t wear a funny hat, a doublet and hose and doesn’t have a male heir – at least, not one that we know of. All he has is an unknown successor, from either wing of the Houses of Parliament. Thank goodness we can vote on that. I don’t think it matters much at this stage who it is, so long as they are able to restore Parliament to something it used to resemble; a debating chamber where the nature of our country could be discussed and decided upon.

As it is, we’re left in a kind of Boris Land, not knowing what the country will look like in a couple of year’s time.

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Is the search for civilisation becoming a lost cause?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a project that’s caused me to look up the exact meaning of a variety of words.

Over the same time – and probably for even for longer – I’ve become aware of the number of doomsters who would have us believe society is going to hell in a handcart.

As a result, it occurred to me to check out the real meaning of ‘civilise’ and its partner, ‘civilisation’, and to wonder if – leave aside the doomsters – we really might have lost our way.

Not the meaning of life

My battered Chambers tells me ‘civilise’ means: “to reclaim from barbarism : to instruct in arts and refinements”. And that ‘civilisation’ means: “state of being civilised : culture : cultural condition or complex”.

Now I’m no expert, but it does seem to me that, for centuries, mankind has been trying to ‘civilise’ almost every aspect of what we’ve come to know as society: our way of life, our habitat, our behaviour, our environment, our laws and much more have all been subject to civilising forces.

And yet, when I look around – were you to look around – it’s hard not to conclude that we still have a long way to go before we can say we have reclaimed the world from barbarism.

True, we don’t still wear animal skins or live in caves. Well, not many of us do.

We are generally polite towards one another. Well, most of us are.

We are, by and large, mindful of our environment. I think.

And our laws do have the effect of controlling the wilder elements of society. Well, most of them.

But couldn’t we do more?

The search goes on

I’m not advocating a society in which everyone is so well behaved, so well housed, so well fed, so well dressed and so polite to each other that ugliness, non-conformity, eccentricity and individualism is never found anywhere.

That would be akin to living in a custard coloured world, with nothing to eat but custard and nothing to wear but custard-yellow clothes.

I’m sure no one wants that.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see a little more progress towards civilisation?

A little more grace and dignity here and there?

Not quite so much noise. Not quite so much of the isolationism borne of headphones and mobile phones and a little more of the interactive behaviour that’s often associated with more “civilised” times.

I’d like to think the search goes on, and that you’ll want to be a part of it.

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