Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Now's the time to give Labour a kicking for the pain to come

Some years ago I spent a week driving a huge old Steenbeck editing table at the Imperial War Museum's annex where their film archives are managed. I had miles of film to get through to find the twelve minutes or so of 1918 footage that I needed, and many hours passed in a cycle of spooling-up and holding the FF lever at full throttle. Cinematography was then in its infancy, and group shots tended to be posed and formulaic, as if the subjects were posing for a formal portrait, albeit a moving portrait.

Two cans in particular were different. Recording the Home Front in 1918, they were shot in close to a fly-on-the-wall style, and even without sound the things one could read from the faces of those captured chilled me to the marrow. Here were people who had undergone four years of warfare, of total national mobilisation, of food shortages, of the unremitting toil of sixty-hour working weeks with never a day's break, year after year; their nation was bankrupt, and without the USA's (costly and opportunistic) assistance Britain would have collapsed financially. They had given everything in the cause of the war, and had largely borne its unimaginable costs. Every family, every person in that footage, had been touched by grief. Nearly a million men dead, and five million damaged and disabled.

What was on their faces was utter exhaustion, their minds and bodies numbed and wearied, with just their will overcoming the pain in their limbs and their hearts. Their world was drab and utilitarian, unpainted and unmaintained, worn and shabby. What they didn't know was that a global Influenza pandemic was just about to hit, and tens of thousands of them, at their lowest ebb, would be carried off to the grave.

The contrast with just a few years before was stark; here was Britain at its zenith in the Edwardian age, prosperous and confident, with growing social progress and rapid advances in science, technology and medicine, new built and gleaming, white muslin and bright flowers in the Sun.

It's this scale of change that Britain is facing again, now. The pain to come will be sharp and deep, and will challenge the nation to find again those reserves of courage and endurance that we must depend on to see us through, however dispirited, however exhausted, however weary we may become. And because of Labour's stunning economic incompetence, their waste, their foolishness it will be longer and harder than it would otherwise have been.

Tomorrow is Britain's chance to give Labour the kicking they so richly deserve, for all the pain to come. Don't miss the opportunity.

4 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

xlnt post and I agree.

What worries me is that after fifty years of welfare dependency and thirteen of relentless PC nonsense, those reserves of courage and endurance may no longer exist except in small pockets, and those small pockets are those whom NuLab has attacked most viciously (the formerly-prosperous middle classes and the remnants of the self-reliant working class), so they in turn may shrug.

Or we may wake up on Friday to find Gordon and Nick gurning at us from the front door of Number Ten - the nightmare to end all nightmares.

Interesting times.

Anonymous said...

One of my hopes is that the country enjoys a very good turn-out at the polls. That's because (as Weekend Yachtsman rightly points out) if we end up with Brown giving us his rictus grin from No 10, it will, at least prove, that this nation is as one in its stupidity, rather than him winning on a minority of people who could be bothered to turn out.

Its hard times ahead for us all from now on - even Labour will have to deliver drastic cuts because oif it doesn't, they will have financial governance wrested from them by the IMF.

Bags packed, tickets bought...

Coney Island

Edward Spalton said...

My father (born 1907) could remember the time of food scarcity during the submarine blockade of 1916/18. He told me that he visited a much loved great aunt (whose house was within easy walking distance of his home). She burst into tears because she had nothing to offer him. The only food in the house was a soft beetroot and half a stale loaf of bread.
There were plenty of relatives about but Aunt Belle had not complained. Of course, they rallied round when father told them. People were more stoical then.
The old lady lived in rather a nice house in genteel poverty and simply could not keep up with rising prices.

When she died a few years later, the new young doctor (whom I later knew as a very old doctor) sent in a heavy bill for his services. Her nieces (my great aunts) went to ask for time to pay. He was astonished. "She had the manners of a duchess",he said. When he learned that her nieces had been keeping her for years, he tore up the bill.
People did have higher standards then.

Savonarola said...

Brown sees the depression coming. This corrupted soul, ever harvesting votes at the election bank,always rewriting his cv, claims that a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for a 30's scale depression.

Pure evil.