- Politics and Social Issues
THE ENGLISH DISEASE/ 1984 AND ALL THAT.
FOR ORWELL READ THATCHER
So far, in relating to the Social problems faced in Britain during my life time, these Hubs have looked at key World and UK events from 1940 to 1979 by dealing with developments and events in each decade and also tracing my own personal journey through those periods.
We arrive at 1980, as I passed 40 personal years, just as my sons have done into this current decade. I remember feeling older, but not as old as I had expected to feel when I used to look at that age as a teenager. Much of my thinking was influenced towards the 80"s then by George Orwell"s iconic novel "1984". Would BIG BROTHER become a reality, or would things be vastly different to his forecast. I suppose in most ways the answers were both yes and no. For BIG BROTHER in the UK WE WERE IN THE ERA OF big mother. Britain" first lady Prime Minister proved herself as the "Iron Lady", an icon in leadership for the time. Clearly her total conviction in what she believed in was a force for both good and bad as she stood out head and shoulders above the wimpish men in all quarters of Politics. At the same time, those qualities left no room for compromise and perhaps History may not treat her as kindly as it could because of that..
In Britain, 1980"s saw the end of Trades Union domination that had strangled the country since the 1960"s with an epic battle with the Miners being the battle that won that war. I recalled my first visit to Staveley Miners Welfare Cricket Club in 1969. Around one table there was a heated debate centering on the fact that in 1969 it was a disgrace that men were sent down to the bowels of the earth for 8 hours daily to hew coal. In 1984 ,their successors held equally heated debates demanding that they be allowed to continue descending thus as it was their right to do so. "There"s nowt so queer as folk". Put another way, as one excellent Manager once said, "THE WORKING MAN IS THE WORKING MAN"S BIGGEST ENEMY". Maybe also the facts of life across the board with human beings is that in life, the Cardinal Rule is Fear and the Cardinal Sin is Jealousy!
Confrontation between Government and Governed dominated events but the invasion of THE FALKLAND ISLANDS by Argentina, provoked a typical response from the Leader and Britain united again against a common foe. It was a conflict on principle but which nevertheless cost too many lives on both sides, again confirming that whilst Leaders declare War, it is those who have little or no choice but to go to carry out the deeds who suffer and suffer greatly. The lesson had not been learned before and has not been learned since..
At home, a generation of children, to be known later as "Thatcher"s Children" grew up in a world fast becoming dominated by Consumerism. More aids in the home such as Electric Kettles, Hair Dryers, Toasters, Microwaves, Disposable Nappies, Home Computers from Amstrad flourished and Windows emerged together with the World Wide Web. In the 80"s the Web was the toy of the few but it was to be another 15 / 20 years before it was to take over virtually every home. The UK in 1981 had a population that had grown to 56 million and 50% of them now had a home telephone. Instant communication was on the march but then we had no idea as to what a revolution was in front of us.
THE UK , AS THE DECADE REACHED THE END BECAME CALMER IN STRIFE BUT EVER MORE DEMANDING FOR PERSONAL POSSESSIONS. ORDINARY PEOPLE NOW DEMANDED, FOR EXAMPLE, KITCHENS THAT ONLY 15 YEARS BEFORE WERE THE PROVINCE OF FILM STARS. CHILDREN DEMANDED BIGGER ,BETTER, MORE EXPENSIVE PRESENTS AND PARENTS COMPETED TO ENSURE THEY GOT THEM.
The values of the past were, unlike never before under attack, and yet no one seemed to notice or care as progress marched inevitably on, bringing with it good things but sadly in so doing trampled on core values that had stood the test of time. Here, I believe were laid the foundations for the shambles we live in and see today. Parents were weakened and children grew up with less respect and discipline than before in too many cases. Those children are today's parents, so it is not to be wondered at today that too many of our young, though not all of course, lack the foundations of discipline and respect which have to be the foundation building blocks for a sound adult life.
George Orwell may not have had the substance correct in the vision he created but in the antithesis of it, and without knowing he had seized the spirit and we now knew what the opposite side of the pendelum brought us.
THE WORLD GOES ROUND.
As in the UK, so also, in other parts of the World, the decade also was a turbulent period. In sport, politics spread it"s tentacles ever more strongly and the USA boycotted entirely, the Olympics held in the USSR.Ronald Regan became President and forged a strong alliance with Thatcher for the West, and also survived an assassination attempt. Not so fortunate, Indian leader Indira Ghandi fell victim, slain by one of her own guards.Ethiopia suffered great famine. In China, the leadership came down hard on protesters and Tiananmen Square was the scene of an horrendous massacre. All these, in their own rights were massive events but as the decade ended, the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the decade in a positive note with hope for a more relaxed and peaceful future. Hope springs eternal in the human breast and sadly hopes were not to be fulfilled as the architects of freedom had hoped.
The decade, as all decades have, presented "progresses" tragedies, and just plain significant events. Sally Ride became the first female in space, whilst on the downside, the Challenger Shuttle exploded, and Pan Am 103 crashed down on Lockerbie, an action that would reverberate from then to the present day.Much higher above, the Russian Space Station, MIR, was completed and the USA bombed Libya.
Personal Computers became more and more available, and both Aids and DNA Testing appeared whilst in the Financial World, USA experienced massive stock losses on what became known as Black Monday. One could be forgiven for observing in the light of events in 2011 that, everything changes but it stays just the same.
PERSONAL SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS.
Personally my decade began as the last had ended . I was in a lucrative working position, still bringing up largely the two boys and watching with interest their growing sporting abilities. A change in ownership of my club had benefited me and I became the Chief Executive of the organisation. Then another change of ownership worked the other way and as a result, I found myself moving from the East Midlands to the South of England. There , through a series of amazing events I was promoted three times in three days Firstly, I was merely asked to oversee administrative functions, then on the second day, asked to become Chief Executive and finally and without prior warning, at a Board Meeting on day 3, was appointed Vice Chairman to the Temporary Chairman and given a brief to seek stability for the club and identify a new Chairman.
At the time things were so chaotic, that I really felt that it would implode within weeks if not months. However, I did identify a new Chairman and together we did find stability and finally made unprecedented progress on the field. The job I felt would possibly last only weeks, went on for 15 plus turbulent but fascinating years when, as Kipling said, I learned to treat the great impostors, TRIUMPH and DISASTER as being both the same. Anyone who wishes to have a career in Professional Sport needs to learn that and also, whilst being duly courteous, not to listen too much to fans lest you end up sitting with them. My sons are well versed on these mantras and I like to think they have also stood them in as go good stead as they did for me.
The 1980"s were significant in another direction for, in 1985, I lost my mother at the age of 81 and found the lady who was, eventually in the next decade, to become the second Mrs Adams.Sandra and I began a relationship which ,like the seas of the coast had calm and turbulent times but through it all we have somehow been always aware and able to support the other when the need arose. For the rest of this decade, Sandra changed her name by deed poll and eventually we became confident in each other as a couple. Both of us had, in effect been badly let down by our previous partners, though in different ways, and we were both scarred and wary of the opposite sex. As a result, neither of us wanted to run the risk of being let down again and to this day, we can be sure we have not. No greater example of that was to be seen than by the way Sandra cared for me during my Chemotherapy in 2010. We rely on each other, spark off each other and relish an argument a day, but we are rock solid in a relationship which is characterised by both love and in understanding of the other. When we argue, she understands that I win and then she does exactly what she intended to before we started. Win / Win I suppose but that regardless it works and I am grateful every day for us finding each other.
So, I went through the 80"s rather like the events in the world and reached the daunting prospect, it felt at the time, of being 50 at the start of the 90"s. Time Flies, especially when you are enjoying things and especially the second half of the decade seemed to pass in a flash and 1990 was soon to appear.