There’s this guy called Quentin Letts who writes for the Mail and won an award recently. He published a book last year, called ‘Fifty People Who Buggered Up Britain’. (Sequel, next year, is ‘Bog-Standard Britain’.)
Great idea, great for argument – and great for reinforcing prejudices, and feeding the Mail readers’ paranoia that if we haven’t already gone to the dogs we’re heading pell-mell that way.
The list includes Jeffrey Archer, Kenneth Baker, Ed Balls, Richard (Dr) Beeching, John Birt, Tony Blair, David Blunkett, Rhodes Boyson, Gordon Brown, Paul Burrell, James Callaghan, Alastair Campbell, Anthony Crosland, Richard Dawkins, Princess Diana, Greg Dyke, Sir Alex Ferguson, Tony Greig, Edward Heath, Graham Kelly, Graham Kendrick, Sir Denys Lasdun Dame Suzi Leather, John McEnroe, Stephen Marks, Michael Martin, Alun Michael. Rupert Murdoch, John Prescott, Nicholas Ridley, Geoffrey Rippon, Charles Saatchi, Sir Jimmy Savile, John Scarlett, Janet Street-Porter, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Titchmarsh, Harold Walker and Helen Willetts.
Thatcher, in summary: did lots of good things, pro-business, won in the Falklands – but was vindictive toward a remarkable body of men, the miners, and re-inforced, set in stone almost, the North-South divide as we have it today.
I wondered how Mail readers down south responded to that. (Are there any up north?)
I haven’t read up on Helen Willetts, happy weather girl, and I won’t bother.
The biggest problem these days – column inches to fill, and a public who expect to be titillated. But talking people up rarely titillates anyone, unless it’s Andy wining at Wimbledon at 10.40 pm, so we get endless talking down, reinforcing negative modes of thinking on every subject.
Try setting out with a smile and not a grumble and it’s amazing how much happier and sunnier the world looks. Helen Willetts always smiling does her best… although I must admit it can be wearing…
…but mustn’t grumble.
Sorry, that sounds corny. But, damn it, it’s 100% true, and I, we, most of us anyway, just don’t do it.