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THE ENGLISH DISEASE

Updated on August 12, 2011

7 DECADES OF OBSERVATION

DECADE 1------THE 1940"s

England, my own country currently stands, head bowed in shame, following the recent mayhem caused in our major cities by some of those we are compelled to embrace as "Citizens" Let the reader note that the United Kingdom is made up of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only England, at the time of writing anyway, had suffered the total rejection of law and order witnessed over recent days seen here. That is a phenomena and enables the description to be levied ,at this time, as being truly, "The English Disease" This term was coined some decades ago when some, now maybe parents of current miscreants cast a shadow over the National Game {Football} by engaging in concerted and organised hooliganism. Now we have a new form of the old symptom, namely cocking every available snook at any Authority and beyond that, taking what they will regardless of the law.

Violent mobs of mainly young people in the 14 to 25 year age group have created mayhem in our cities, made people homeless and bankrupted small Community Businesses. So why have they done this? As President Clinton replied to a question on a totally different topic once, "because they could" That is the plain and simple answer of where we stand totally exposed to any form of organised lawlessness today and it is not an edifying position to be in.

So how did we get here? This is a very personal viewpoint, that will not be agreed by all but is based on my own journey through 6 Decades and now into the 7th. In this and the next 6 Hubs, I will seek to provide my take on where we were then, where we are now and what I believe we must expect and, if possible, prepare for in the future

History, from Aristotle onwards teaches us the lessons we so happily ignore. Indeed, in some of our Schools today, History does not feature as a singular subject, and we shall see the country live to regret that for sure. Aristotle wrote the definitive treatise on the need for order in the state. Nothing has changed in the principles of that since then. All states have always had what we can term an "Underclass" since time began. The nature of that class and the ways in which it was managed, fairly or unfairly, has essentially been the key to the maintaining of order in the state at the base level. However, in 2011, we appear to have completely at all levels, forgotten or rejected that fundamental principle.

I was born in 1940, just as the Second World War was in full swing. My father, a Police Officer was, like many others conscripted into the Great British Army, thus for the first 5 years of my life, in austere circumstances along with everyone else, I was brought up through the infancy and toddling stages by my mother. At her knee ,I learned to read and write and the basics of right and wrong. Effectively for my first five years I was brought up in what was by circumstance not choice, a one parent family. My Father was ,in fact, a world away for those days serving in North Africa.. He returned in around 1945 and for the rest of the Decade, we were a normal family and my upbringing through the vital first 10 years returned to an even keel and became even better when my parents listened to my pleas to change Primary School. That turned out to be a very good decision and as a result reinforced, in the best possible way, the ideals my parents were seeking to instill in me. "We work hard and play hard here" were words I remember from the age of 8 to this day, from the burly, but kindly Headmaster.They have been a mantra for me in all my subsequent days from then on. Finances were tight and compared to the ridiculous indulgences given to today"s children, we had little, but I never felt deprived and look back on those days as happy ones.

Not so for my father who returned to his Police Force to find that Senior positions during the War had been filled by those who stayed at home either through medical or conscientious reasons As such, though he had risen to Regimental Sergeant Major in the Military Police in the war, he found himself back plodding the beat in uniform for 2 years on his return. Later grasped the chance to join CID, and became a successful Detective but like many of his colleagues, found the route to promotion blocked by those, less able, who had spent the war at home. this brought about great bitterness from my Father and other colleagues who had, as was said had, "DONE THEIR BIT"

Even so, I was fascinated to listen to his tales of cases both abroad and at home and he was always an eager story teller, even bringing out his notebooks to add authenticity. I wish I had managed to get him to keep them and turn them into a book format but sadly, I did not. However from him, I learned that not all British Tommies conscripted to the war were heroes. Some, in fact, were happy to find the Services an ideal vehicle to develop further, skills in villainy that they had learned at home. Returning home they were better villains than when they had left these shores and were thus, harder to trap. Most of my father"s informants were ex-servicemen whom he had forged a professional bond.I am sure that was a reason for his success as a Detective

Even so, in wider terms, post war Britain had less men available for work, due to the inevitable ravages of war, and so the task of rebuilding the Country was a time which provided employment, if not secured and with good wages, for those available and prepared, as many were to put in hard graft. This carried over to my second Decade, the 1950"s. That decade will form the basis for the next Hub.

LESSONS LEARNED.

My first decade, though I knew it not at the time, was to shape me for the rest of my own life and now seems almost an alien, but better world than exists in England today. I fear for my Grandchildren and what the current society will pressurise them with over their lives ahead, but take comfort that each generation in some way at least rises to meet the challenges it faces.

As well as School, my parents sent me to the village Methodist Sunday School, and though I accompanied them to the Church of England for Evensong and still put myself as "C of E" it is to the Methodists that I owe a lot of the values which have helped me navigate the waters of life.They,through their Youth Club activities taught me most about exploring various avenues in sport, performing, publicly speaking etc. Backed by parental and school support, I was afforded the best opportunity available for the times. At School, it was easy to see that not all were the same. We had 4 rows of desks in the classroom. "A" row was where those of us reckoned to have Scholarship abilities sat. Row "B" housed those with a chance of making Technical School status, though most would go to Secondary Modern . Row "C" was the home of those certain to be Secondary Modern and the final Row "D" was for those with, what we now term "Learning Difficulties"

The above system was quite new having been brought in by the Education Act of 1944. It always amazes me that as the Country grappled with Hitler and Co ,there was still time and determination to reorganise Education at home. As it was "The Butler Act" so named after the Minister R A Butler who was the architect of it has been a significant marker as throughout my lifetime Sadly in later years education and especially the system adopted by the country would become little more than a Political Football. Worse still, it has been fashioned chiefly, since the late 1950"s by Politics born of pure envy . As I viewed the rampaging and looting of our cities this week, I could not help but reflect that we pay a heavy price for what they have done. Yet , let me admit at once,that there is no singular reason for what we now see. Events in my Second Decade were also to play a part in that, as well as ironically, giving me absolutely the best chance either I or my parents could have wished for and for which I remain truly grateful. Details in the next Hub here.

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      j w adams 6 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada

      BINAYA, THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS. I HOPE AS THE DECADES UNRAVEL IN FUTURE HUBS YOU WILL CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE STORY AND THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY. Best Wishes to you.

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      Binaya.Ghimire 6 years ago

      You story is interesting. Your point of argument is appreciative. I admire the way you include anecdotes to enlighten your writing.

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