Meghansyndrome

This time last week I sat down, with many millions of others, to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. It was a lovely event (despite the BBC being obsessed with her black heritage – actually only half black) and disproportionately focussing on issues related to that. Yes, the ‘sermon’ went on too long, but the preacher clearly felt passionately about his subject and that was, at least in-principle, a reasonable text to focus on, given the occasion. Otherwise, it was a very happy event.

Since then and seemingly increasingly, the wider media are also obsessing about her ‘heritage’ and every aspect of her past and present. There is even an US outlet asking (in all seriousness) what sort of Queen she will make. Others are saying that she is putting the Duchess of Cambridge ‘into the shadows’.

Initially, when Princess Diana married Prince Charles many years ago, things went well and, of course, we were in a very different world with regards to media and especially social media. Towards the end of her life, things really hotted up and the ‘paparazzi’ had a major role in her demise.

The effect that Diana had on our consciousness as a nation and more widely, has been dramatic, not so much in terms of the direct effects, but more in terms of societally. Our ’emotional incontinence’ has magnified and continues to accelerate so that in a relatively short period of time and right across a nation that was historically and traditionally recognised (globally) for its ‘stiff upper lip’. These changes continue unchallenged.

So the Dianasyndrome is alive and well whether, for example, on TV, at the Grenfell Tower enquiry or by the roadside, where people leave plastic flowers apparently in memory of loved ones. But we now have, additionally, Meghansyndrome, which is taking off nicely and, if it coincides with or overtakes Dianasyndrome, has the potential to be even more destructive for the UK as a nation (and possibly the Monarchy) on a number of levels.

IDs

There has been a lot of renewed speculation in recent days, following the local government elections, about the need for IDs in order to prove ones identity and rights as a voter.

Many years ago, I worked with someone who (initially) refused to wear an identity card at our place of employment, as he felt that it was up to our employer to prove that he was not entitled to work there, rather than the other way round. At the time, I had some sympathy with his view but, with the passage of time and that the world has dramatically changed in terms of terrorism and (although not necessarily related) immigration (for example), we clearly need some mechanism by which we can prove who we are and others can challenge that, if needs be.

It seems that, however small the number of cases are, that there is a degree of fraud in voting either in local or general elections. There are cases of people pretending to be someone else, individuals who are not citizens trying to vote and people voting on behalf of others, often whole families. None of these are acceptable or part of British culture. If they had happened in previous generations there would have been an uproar. There is an argument that if even one vote is ‘illegal’, the whole democratic system is flawed and we should strive hard to ensure that even that is not the case.

I do not, now, subscribe to all the fuss about ‘rights’, as with those rights come responsibilities. As many other democratic nations have IDs and have moved on in their ideologies, it seems that tightening up the democratic system is entirely possible. It also does not seem beyond our imagination to have some form of IT recognition, passwords, optical recognition, fingerprints of whatever to aid in the ‘crusade for perfection’ in the democratic process and balance the rights and responsibilities as well as scrutiny in being part of it.

Local elections…Paul McCartney, minorities and MPs.

Well, 48 hours after some local councils and seats were up for grabs, there seems to be a surprising status quo, with very little change and all parties crowing about their successes and, in the case of Labour, a much repeated and well briefed “solid performance “. It is quite remarkable that Labour have not done much better given the status of the government and the criticisms of their performance generally and more specifically on Brexit. Usually at this stage of a government, you would expect a massive ‘swing’ away from them, but not so in this case.

Various people are suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn and his type of politics may have reached its ‘sell by date’ or that his ‘bubble’ has burst. I wonder if it is more that the younger voters, who supported Labour at the General Election and who may not have properties or recognise (local) services, did not bother to vote? In terms of Labour’s ability to bounce back when it really counts, only time will tell.

It seems amazing to me that someone who can only pluck a few strings on a guitar and churn out largely the same turgid so called music over many decades, could possibly be made a Companion of Honour. Just looking at many of the truly great and talented people who have been so awarded in the past, merely magnifies his void in talent or qualities one would expect for and from such a distinguished group. It never ceases to amaze me how the myth of the Beatles and its 4 members survived so long. They were, still are and will always be a very shallow expression of ‘music’ even in its broadest sense.

The Windrush issue continues to plague the news and, along with so many other minority issues, seems to occupy a hugely disproportionate amount of time in the media and in Parliament. Parliament, the media and society more generally, are giving far too much ‘airtime’ to these minority issues and in many cases individuals and, as a consequence, losing sight of the many issues that affect the majority of British people. Parliament ins particular should focus on government and not raising and discussing individual grievances. The job of MPs is and should be to gather these up in a coherent form and present them to Parliament as such.

Talking of MPs, it was once suggested to me that a ‘good manager’ should justify their existence away from their team, on their return, by gathering them together and explaining to them how their absence had added value to them and their output. I have often wondered why constituents don’t insist on that from their MPs, whilst they are away from their constituency?