Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rights. And wrongs

I have been following the Dykes Farm story. Sad life I know but some 12 years ago we had a smaller version just the other side of my fence when I lived in Kent. A jolly band of travellers had bought a cherry orchard. Agricultural land. After a while they moved in a couple of caravans on the pretext that these were for casual labourers working in the orchard. They then developed a barn and moved in more 'labourers'. Members of their extended family of course. Then came electricity. No mains sewerage of course.
The whole thing grew and grew. It seemed the local council were powerless to act; what was being done apparently followed a path used by genuine agriculturists. I was not too bothered - what was going on was mainly out of sight and I had made it plain to the capo di travellers that petrol was cheap and matches also. I left before the saga came to any proper denouement. I am not going to detail the Farm dispute but it does seem to follow the pattern of Grandma's Steps I saw in Kent. It does seem that the wanderers were stiffed by the local council who sold them the land, allowed some development and then barred it in half the site. Put that down to a failure of the lucky white heather.
Another facet of my sad life is an addiction to Twitter. It does seem to attract publicity of all sorts of special interest groups. I am told that Facebook has much more of the same. Sufferers of xxx illness seek special recognition and easement of something or other. They have agendas. At the same time, those suffering from yyy afflictions are rowing the same boat. The whole range of the alphabet has someone or other pressing their case. I have not attempted to compile a spreadsheet of the assorted demands but it must follow that what is done for the xxx'rs will conflict with the expectations of the bbb'rs. Whilst I have a number of areas where I would like to claim an exception from the ordinary Joe. Alas, I cannot find an umbrella group. I stand at risk that those who do gain recognition and special treatment could well impinge on what I do now or would wish to do. Drowned in a sea of special cases. The demands are not always understandable to the man in the street anyway. The homosexual rights campaigners gained civil marriage rights. Now they say the procedures are too hole in the corner (no pun intended) and demand the full panoply of a straight wedding, I cannot understand why. Their lifestyle is not ours. What extra do they get - we all know of Elton John's relationship to his wheel-barrow pushing friend.
To me, this is all part of the mongrelisation of our country. I was around and knew the Dunkirk Spirit. We had a common purpose, worked together, we suffered together (mostly) and we triumphed together. Our economic state now could do with some of that Spirit. However, there is no Kabul Spirit, Karachi Spirit. What we do have is groups demanding sharia law, the killing of animals by sawing holes in their necks and for female mutilation and forced marriage of minors. The Cricket Test of spiritual nationality does not cover these. I was brought up to offer my seat on public transport to the disabled and to those pregnant. I saw no sign that this was observed the last time I was on a train. Doubtless, there are groups pressing for legislation on this - it should not be needed and is not likely to lead to any real change if introduced.
Were I to start a Twitter campaign, it would be Give Me Back My Country. Possibly need to add Dude at the end of that. There will be those who mention rickets, TB, inadequate housing but I would seek to go back to 1930s UK. With hindsight, all those problems would be solved - it would be in the Manifesto so was bound to happen (pause for ironic laughter). A hankering to get back to those values may be the secret of popularity of Downton or Upstairs Downstairs.
I don't see it happen. But allow old men to dream whilst they dribble.