Thursday, 27 February 2014

Hankering after a Better Yesterday

When I was 19, getting pissed and partying, with school receding into distant memory, and university finals  still a long way away, hangovers were something that happened to other people, and I was made of rubber and kevlar. I could run the 2.4km of the British Army's basic fitness test in a little under 9 minutes. I had enough money from loans, parental indulgence, holiday jobs and the TA to do more or less whatever I wanted. I had no responsibilities and the body as one ex-girlfriend said "of a Greek God". Skiing seemed to be free - often provided by the Army, when it wasn't by parents, and when you're a 19 year-old officer cadet, chalet girls throw themselves at you in Dick's T Bar. life couldn't get any better.

Couldn't and didn't.

Life is a little more complicated now. Money vanishes, however quickly I earn it. I have little free time, and when I do, I am tired. I cannot party till 4 am, then go play rugby, which when I get trampled by a 20-stone prop, hurts more than I seem to remember. I no longer bounce. Shoulders have been dislocated many times. Knees ache. I wheeze round that same fitness test in around 12 minutes (which is a big, fat, freddy FAIL, even if I can do more press-ups than back then). People rely on me. I do have enough money, now, but it's taken a decade to get there. If I look like a God, it's Buddah. Or maybe one of the bad ones from the Disc World.

The fact is, for most people, the best time of your life is 15-25.

The reason most people think "life was better back in the day" is because for them, (and me and everyone else over 35) it was. People fondly imagine a better world, but its just that you felt less pain and responsibility as a teenager. No-one sets off brightly into the world wanting to sit at a desk and talk to people on the phone all day. No-one tells you the pressure of the mortgage, bills, the tax return and all the shit you deal with as an adult. The ability to have a fucking Mars bar at the supermarket checkout whenever you want is scant consolation for all the rest of the crap. Not only are people reliant on you, the fact you're not PM, decorated war hero, racing driver, star of stage and screen, or billionaire entrepreneur you set out to be, is a itch at the back of your mind. Why didn't I get there?

Yet, on any measurable metric, the world is better than it was in the 70's and 80's. People live longer, there's less racsim, the world is not threatened by global thermonuclear war, crime is down, cars are better. People who wear flares or Euro-Fluro weightlifting pants are rightly laughed at. Yet people still hanker after that better yesterday they remembered. Because they were young and confident. And now they're (we're) washed up failures.

This is why I despise UKIP. This hankering for a better yesterday is futile. Bringing back grammar schools won't make the baby-boomer's lives pan out any better than it did. UKIP is about fetishising a few tokenistic policies, and blaming Eurocrats and immigrants for the fact that John from Solihull is now a small-town accountant, not a premiership footballer. It's not David Cameron's fault you're no longer banging 19 year-old lovelies, any more than Gerhardt Shroeder is responsible for your pay-packet.

The UK isn't "full"
The EU isn't "ripping us off"
"LibLabCon" aren't "all the same"
It doesn't cost £50m per day. That's a GROSS figure you dribbling morons.
There is no "political elite", though there are professional politicians, this isn't the same thing.
David Cameron isn't "a closet Europhile"
There's no conspiracy.

You're just an angry twat who's stopped listening because he doesn't like the answer, and can't tell the difference between personal and national decline. "Common sense" you say? That's just what stupid people do instead of thinking.

It's just Ano-Domini. We all grew up. All except UKIPpers who're still stamping their feet, blaming whoever's nearest for their own inadequacies. And boy, are there a lot of those.

UKIP: A contemptible party of by and for stupid, angry people.



10 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I was 19 I had just left a grammar school where Rugby was a game played by 'gentlemen', a school that fielded three teams at senior level and could devastate all opposition in the 'sevens' competition.
There was no 'racism' because the word was 'racialism' then and it was theoretical then because the American academics were only just trying to convince us that we had a 'race problem'. No 'coloureds', no problem, (Black was a word foisted on our Jamaican vistors by the Muslim Americans). Muslim/Islam? What's that?
Our street had front gardens, now it is all block paving covered by BMWs and Mercedes-Benzs belonging to our 'new British' neigbours. There are no back gardens as they endeavour to recreate their Calcutta Courtyards.
We had politicians who had belief and passion. Now they ARE all the same, driven by Facebook, Twitter and EU Directive.
The UK now reminds me of Montreal in the 1980s - the Whites spoke French, the 'alien' Blacks, English. Here the Blacks speak English, the Whites speak Hungarian and the Browns Urdu.
At least voting UKIP will screw up all those PPE graduates, product of six Oxbridge lecturers!

Anonymous said...

Jackart, what the hell has happened to you?

Your whole article basically can be summarised as "it's all in your head"

So the following:

1) Loss of democratic accountability
2) Loss of border control
3) Islamic Extremism
4) Political Correctness on overdrive
5) 1 in 9 schools no longer being majority english speaking
6) Boasting about 2% growth when we're running a 9% deficit
7) Rampant BBC bias
8) The floods being a direct result of an EU directive and everyone ignoring it...

etc etc etc

are just figments of my imagination?

Jackart said...

Anon Are these things a figment of your fevered imagination?

1) yes
2) doesn't matter, borders are an affront to human dignity.
3) No worse than before (Iran, anyone)
4) yes
5) Bollocks statistic
6) yes - the deficit's not 9% any more
7) Meh.
8) you're fucking joking right, you UKIP wanker.

Etc...

Pull your head out of your UKIP arse and get some perspective.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Someone woke up on the wrong side of a mid-life crisis this morning.

Best part?

The toothsome irony of a piece excoriating a political vision for being so fogged with rage and resentiment that it cannot see a better world has come to pass; that is, in every choked sentence, so fogged by rage and resentiment that it cannot see how that world might have faster cars, less racism, reduced crime, a higher defcon and a soundly derisive attitude to flares and yet also a politics from which the essentials of legitimacy are being stripped by the growth of certain institutions.

You don’t have to be a UKIP wanker to think so. I find UKIP risible and yet also believe that the UKs sovereignty, democracy and liberty are gravely imperilled by the profoundly anti-European project of the EU.

I also thought so before age harvested my hair, re-upholstered my midriff and failed to bring me my dreams.

UKIP are buffoons, but Cameron and those closest to his cohort are another kind of embarrassment. Not particularly effective PR guys, hamstrung, not freed, by a lack of ideological understanding or commitment and just not particularly good at governing or getting elected.

The disaffected Conservative vote is much, much bigger than the UKIP vote.
Your argument is also with them, and you need more argument.

Jackart said...

I do not own a motorbike, have a teenage girlfriend and intend to live longer than 72, and so I resent IN THE EXTREME any allegation of a "mid-life" so-called "crisis".

2 errors 1) the belief that the EU is a big issue for the UK. It isn't. and 2) that the disaffected Tory vote is disaffected because of the EU. It isn't.

Fewer than 5% of the electorate spontaneously raise the EU as a top-5 issue.

Jackart said...

That should read "or have a teenage girlfriend". If the other half is reading this, I don't I SAY AGAIN DON'T have a teenage girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

My friend, it’s not an arithmetic kind of thing. It starts, as your piece makes clear, once you realise you aint gonna be what you thought you were gonna be, and it lasts for a while. Sounds like you’re there.

On 1), it sounds like you and I differ, and to a depth that might just have to be left at conflicting statements.

But here’s a thing: I know, and indeed love, a few people who are knowledgeably and passionately pro-EU. They are smart, honest, decent people. They also believe that the EU would be a very big issue for the UK, in all the right ways. It’s why they’re into it.

On 2) it sounds like we agree. That was pretty much my point. Though some of the apparently no-EU issues Tories are disaffected about is stuff no government can fix, very largely because of the EU.

Frank J said...

Dear me! If your best times were 15 - 25, I think sympathy is in order. Counselling maybe? perhaps not. If they're above 25, there's a chance you'd make the counsellor want to open a vein.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Today's FT provides convincing data that UKIP strikingly draws more of its support from manual workers, the unskilled and the unemployed than do the three main parties.

Are we then to go forward on the basis that manual workers, the uskilled, and the unemployed are in general both stupid and angry, and that as a result their opinions don't really count?

This strikes me as a rather dismissive view. It's true that UKIP supporters tend to have lower educational attainments than supporters of other parties so I suppose there's an argument that manual workers, the unskilled, and the unemployed are indeed "stupid", though personally I'd hesitate to dismiss their opinions on that basis.

As for being "angry", well it may just be that they have things to be angry about.

Anonymous said...

Apropos the EU. My view is empirical as experienced in the workforce. "We are from Head Office and here to help you" translates as "You will be laid off in 6 months and blamed for our ideas not working". The remote bureaucrats have no hurt money in your condition and therefore no vital interest.

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