Today I have indulged in that secret interest of mine that I rarely vent on this blog, politics. Yes, I have followed that shutdown over in the USA, and I have to admit that I’m mainly scratching my head about it. It seems, on the surface, looking at it from afar, to be utterly and absolutely nutters.
How can you shut down a whole government? How is it that there are no politicians that get their number in the dole queue, or a place in prison? From this angle, far away, your whole nation seems to have lost its marbles.
Not that my country is any better, because there’s another political thing I’ve followed today. There were no seminars or lectures today, so I have followed the growing controversy of a simple newspaper article.
Daily Mail, one of the most vile rags in existence in the English language press, ran a hatchet job on the leader of the labour opposition, Ed Miliband. They did so by digging into the history of Mr. Miliband’s father, a WW II veteran who fought in Normandy.
Ralph Miliband’s Marxism was reason enough for the newspaper to declare that he hated Britain. Therefore, by implication, the son must be no good. In fact, Mr Miliband must be evil.
The rich bit is that Harold Hamsworth, the 1st viscount of Rothermere, and the proprietor of the Daily Mail at the same time, supported Hitler and the Nazis as well as Franco and Mussolini. The good Lord used this rag to support the British Union of Fascists, as well as Oswald Mosley. I would go so far as to say that the impulses remain the same to this day.
It also strikes me, thinking about Ed Miliband, who seems to do all the right things at the moment, that it doesn’t matter if he ultimately fails. It seems so obvious to me that failure is far better than not trying something at all.
I wouldn’t use the word ‘despise’ for much, but what I think I truly do despise is mediocrity. Mediocrity is all about not moving, not doing, not trying. Mediocrity has all sorts of views and opinions and complaints about things, but the mediocre person never dares and never tries. He or she just sits in indolence and moan.
The one who fails is admirable because it started with an attempt, a dare. The difference between the loser and the winner is only in the outcome. At the beginning the loser and the winner were of one mind and one intent. And, and this seems so obvious to me, the intent is all that matters. The mediocre never have that intent. So I despise that sentiment.
The Daily Mail is all about moaning and complaining and negativity. It never dares, it never tries, it is the true bastion of mediocrity that only embellish the negative to keep things as they are. Who the hell are these people to complain about those who dare?
There is beauty in this world. There is standing on a stone beach watching the waves lap in over the wet boulders and pebbles while gulls circle overhead and while great big ships move across the channel to France and beyond. There are animals to watch, and people to see. There’s so much to see, to study, to understand.
Smiles on unexpected faces, sudden bursts of laughter coming out of a narrow alley, lovers stealing a kiss on High Street, and crying toddlers being comforted by parents as they push prams between shops. This is the real country; this is the real England. This is the generous and kind England that seems so far from the pages of the Daily Mail.
Between people, individuals, there’s respect and decency. Newspapers like the Daily Mail feed the rot of inter-group relationships. When you remove someone from the immediate group of family and friends and make that person a symbol for something. Like making a father who died in 1994 a symbol for what that newspaper doesn’t like. Like using a deceased father to smear a living son.
In the Daily Mail, that black heart of fascism that made it support Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists still beat on. And we’re all smaller for it because it must speak to that rot in us, or it would have died in the same reckoning after the war that exiled Oswald Mosley politically, culturally, and geographically.