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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Speaker! Speaker!

For anyone interested in parliamentary debate - or democracy - today is truly historic. For the first time in 300 years a Speaker of the House of Commons (UK) has had to step down, basically because of near-total MP disdain. Of course, he is being scapegoated - most of them are, it turns out, greedy and corrupt, or maybe just unethical and inept - but we can't ditch every last rotten bum out, can we? The danger is - who do we replace them with? At a time when Obama is making American democracy seem invigorated by decency, intelligence, energy, culture, and high purpose, the lack of any potential British figure to step forward is a little astonishing. What has become so rotten in this state? And why?

I suspect a cultural rot: the media, and other elites, in business and politics, along with many in the upper class, have connived for years, or rather, simply let things happen with an invisible hand - to allow British culture to degenerate into a medley of celebrity, shagging, uneducation, aimlessness and booze, with some trendy and repulsive Britart and bad pop music tossed in too. Mostly misplaced is the essential decency of the English, and their sense of fairness - or rather, it is there, but paved over by crass and angry TV ("you're fired!") and a lazy atheism bolstered by obesity and indifference.

What needs to happen is that Britain reclaims its sense of purpose, and becomes a leading force for the coming Green Age. We need a new sort of political landscape, one less divisive and no longer about Labour or Tory. Greed is not good. God exists. Poetry, if trusted, might almost save us. In short, we need a 21st century Arnoldian vision.
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