Features

Where’s all the joy gone?

Britain seems to be suffering from a dearth of lightheartedness

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

Have you seen Spectre, the latest Bond film? If not, the opening sequence is terrific. Lots of action and excitement. The whole film is full of stunts and thrills. But after watching it, I realised there was something missing: joy, or joie de vivre. Daniel Craig plays Bond like an android who has spent too much time muscle-building instead of having a good time.

Contrast Spectre with From Russia With Love, one of the early Bond films. The first scene in which we see Sean Connery as Bond, he is humorous and amorous as he snogs a beautiful woman in a punt moored at the side of a river. He lifts out a bottle of champagne which he has left cooling in the water, tied with a piece of string. He tests it to see if it is cool enough. He remarks, ‘Not quite’ before going back to canoodling.

When Bond eventually gets to the offices of his boss, M, he throws his hat from the doorway onto the hat stand. Why? Just for fun! So within the first few minutes of meeting Bond, we see a man who likes wine, women and joking around. His lust for life makes the Daniel Craig version look like a mortuary attendant.

I am tempted to think that the change in the Bond films reflects a change in the national psyche. British people have become less joyful and, in the old sense, gay. Recently I found myself watching a repeat of an old cookery programme by the late Keith Floyd. He was cooking some food on a barge as it chugged through the Burgundian countryside (probably his 1987 series). His unforced jollity was a shock because you see it so rarely on TV now. He teased the cameraman and the producer. He relished frequent sips from a glass of red wine and at one point he said, ‘This is a boring bit so I suggest you look out of the window at the countryside.’ So we did. Floyd was irreverent. He delighted in the food, the wine and every possible experience.

And what about the Morecambe and Wise TV shows which ran under various names from 1961 to 1983? They were anarchic and cheerful. They did pranks and loved whimsy. The theme song was ‘Bring Me Sunshine’. Contrast that with a current comedy programme, The Now Show on Radio 4. Like a lot of comedy now, it is dominated by sneering at and insulting people and institutions, especially those who are not of the same left-leaning, politically correct tendency as the comedians themselves. And this is perhaps one of the causes of the new grimness: angry, illiberal liberals who are unpleasant themselves and put others in fear that they may be found guilty of saying something out of line. These are the new puritans.

But there are other aspects to the change. People now spend an average of 25 hours a week watching TV. That is more than three and a half hours a day. For those who go out to work, that means a huge chunk of what remains of the day consists of sitting slumped on the sofa passively watching other people say and do things. It is not as if the TV watchers are groups of attractive friends all getting excited together gambling on a sporting event, as the betting company adverts suggest. They are more likely to be alone. That’s another change.

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People used not to be so isolated. Michael Young and Peter Wilmott did a sociological study of families and behaviour in Bethnal Green in the late 1940s. They found an enormous amount of contact between members of extended families. For example, when interviewed, more than half the married women whose mothers were alive said they had seen their mothers in the past day. On Saturday afternoons or evenings, families would gather together. There would be sing-songs.

Personally, I never experienced a sing-song until quite recently when a friend returned from a traumatic experience in India. We all drank too much in celebration of the end of his ordeal and somehow ended up singing at the piano. Once you get past the embarrassment, it’s wonderful! Builders and window cleaners sometimes used to sing, too. People used to whistle in the street. Now they walk along hunched over mobile phones.

I’m sure there was not so much anger at the rich, too. If a glorious 1950s Rolls-Royce passed by, it was a cause for excitement. There was a popular song: ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ Despite the answer ‘I don’t — ’cause all I want is you!’ the song exulted in a delicious wealth. ‘Who wants to wallow in champagne?…Who wants to travel on a gigantic yacht?’ That sort of cheerfulness has been replaced by mean-spirited loathing in the guise of righteous indignation.

Top British movie stars of the past included charming David Niven, self-indulgent Errol Flynn and suave Cary Grant. Now one of our top actors, Mark Rylance, specialises in looking desolate and another, Benedict Cumberbatch, lectures his audience on what they ought to think, as though he were Elijah.

Why should there have been a bear market in cheerfulness over the past 50 years? It’s hard to disentangle all the possible causes. I suspect that one is that in the 30 or so years after the second world war, there were plenty of people who had lived in fear of imminent death in battle or in the Blitz. They probably had friends or relatives who had been killed, injured or been prisoners of war. They developed a kind of brave stoicism and a profound sense of perspective. Life was a short, precious thing to be enjoyed. They believed one should endure adversity and enjoy what happiness you can get, remembering one is lucky to have the chance. I remember someone of that generation once admonishing me with the words: ‘No self-pity!’

That kind of attitude has given way to an expectation that any problem must be someone else’s fault and needs to be complained about or else it is a terrible thing requiring an orgy of feeling sorry for oneself.

There is also the damaging fallacy — increasingly believed — that the world can be made perfect. The government should make it so and if it doesn’t, then it is shameful and we should get cross about it.

Regulation of everything has created a boom in officiousness. ‘Don’t allow your child to ride on a luggage trolley!’ Public space is now a world of don’ts. You have to fill in forms and answer identity questions on the phone to get anything done. As for flirting, or complimenting a woman on how she looks, you are risking your career. Technology has added to the joy deficit, creating entertainment which is instantly appealing but ultimately unsatisfying.

I would also add to the list of the accused the welfare state. It has led to ‘defamilisation’: a boom in lone mothers, lone men and lone elderly. The extended family has been squashed.

This is a much richer country than it was between the 1950s and the 1980s, but I suspect it is not as happy. It’s lonelier and less ready for a lark.

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Show comments
  • Josh Cook

    This is more or less spot on. We have grown to believe we can regulate ourselves out of every human problem and sad feeling. When in fact the regulation to almost mechanical approach to making people happy has made us all a lot less in touch with our humanity and has shrunk our opportunities for happiness.

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      Agreed. That George Orwell chap knew what he was talking about.

  • AtMyDeskToday

    The controversy over the Rhodes statue in Oxford is symptomatic of exactly this trend. If I’m uncomfortable about something, anything, then someone has to fix it for me. I despair. Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with this attitude. Who is going to fix it?

    • fartel engelbert

      It’s the victim culture pushed by the left. Anyone who is stupid or lazy blames it on being discriminated against based on their race or religion or something someone once said to them. Those who are good at it make a career out of it.

  • Knight of Tipton

    Basically, the country is going down the sh***er.

    People am’ miserable, understandably so.

    • Andy JS

      In material terms, people are better off than ever. The problem is spiritual poverty.

      • Knight of Tipton

        I wouldn’t disagree with that, but how long will the material last.

  • willshome

    You want to know why the cheery, unenvious working classes no longer whistle why they work and gather at the family home for a singsong? Thatcherism. Greed, aquisitiveness, aspire not just for the good life but a life that pisses on your neighbours, fear the “other”, hang on to what’s yours, assume that everyone’s out to do you down because in the neo-con world they are. Sell off all we own together (NHS is next on the list) and if an industry has a strong work ethic and solidarity and a will to fight for the right, destroy it. I see the last deep coal mine in Britain has just closed. It’s taken a generation, too, to destroy council housing to the point that no young family of any income stands a chance of a decent home unless grandparents can chip in. And the social cleansing of our inner cities are destroying any chance to pop round Mum’s for a cup of tea. Those of us with an ounce of humanity could see what the elevation of profit over people would do to society. Tories believed that Mrs T was right when she said there was no such thing. A generation on, there isn’t. It can be rebuilt. But not under the Tories.

    • fartel engelbert

      A tirade of left wing idiocy.

      Labour started closing coal mines. Thatcher finished what Wilson started.

      Inner cities were emptied by people becoming prosperous and moving to suburbs.

      The fun-killing PC movement is one that has come from the left. Nothing to do with Thatcher.

      Without Thatcher the UK would have continued its economic decline and would be a poor humourless place like North Korea. Maybe that is your idea of paradise.

      • jennybloggs

        Don’t agree. Thatcher’s personality was stifling. The idea that the UK would be like North Korea without Thatcher is just bizarre.

    • JabbaPapa

      I’m no admirer of Thatcher, but crikey your idiotic lefty bigotry is stifling …

    • Andy JS

      If they didn’t like Thatcher, why did they take any notice of her and her policies? In the scheme of things, she was only there for a tiny amount of time. It’s a bit like a Tory blaming the fact that life hasn’t worked out for them on Labour being in office from 1997 to 2010.

    • HJ777

      It seems to me that you put left wing idiocy way above humanity.

      Do you really think that we should be spending hundreds of millions (if not billions) of taxpayer’s money on subsidising people to work down dirty, dangerous coal mines, causing lung disease for this working down them and subsidence to those living in regions where coal is mined when the same thing can be bought much more cheaply from efficient open cast coal mines located abroad?

      And those wicked, wicked, Germans who have virtually no council houses – millions must be destitute and homeless there, mustn’t they?

      • Hamburger

        We have quite a lot of council houses, or rather flats. They are generally built and managed by local government owned companies.

        • HJ777

          But a very small proportion of the whole compared to the UK. And as you say, most of those you do have are flats, not houses.

          • Hamburger

            I will try and dig out some figures here. Regarding flats, we like living in them!

          • HJ777

            I’m with you on the desirability of flats.

      • jennybloggs

        Well if they aren’t now they soon will be, as they are turfed out of their state subsidised housing in order to house les autres,.
        Do credit us with a little sense. Mrs T did not put the miners out of work for the sake of their health. British mining was the world leader in safety in the 80’s. Fracking is likely to cause subsidence.

        • HJ777

          Why would I credit you with any sense when clearly you have none?

          Why is it a good idea to spend billions of taxpayers money subsidising people to undertake an unprofitable activity when you can buy what they produce from elsewhere far more cheaply?

          Yes, British mines were safe by deep mining standards, but still dangerous by open cast mining standards and by the standards of most occupations. Your assertions on fracking are unsubstantiated assertion, whereas the cost of mining subsidence is huge and well known.

        • Geo

          Whatever. The mines were closed because they were inefficient. Either way, you’ve not demonstrated why everyone else’s wages should be directed towards supporting an industry which could not stand on its own two feet.

    • Geo

      Thatcher never encouraged any of it. If you are a greedy, acquisitive, mean-spirited and vindictive person, then you have the freedom to act as such within the law, whereas perhaps prior to that you didn’t. But hey, the trouble with freedom for all is that it means freedom for misers as well.

      In short, you are blaming Thatcher for people’s personality traits. Yes, you can get rich at the expense of all other goals, if you like, but Thatcher never instructed or required that by law.

      As for the “no such thing as society” misquote, yes perhaps it was clumsily worded. The point she was trying to make was that society is nothing more than an abstract construct. It is not an entity in itself; it is merely the word we give to the results of individuals’ interactions. So there is no such thing as society in that there is no society to blame for bad stuff; only the individuals that constitute that society. There is no such thing as a society that bails you out when you’re having a bad time; only the individuals that constitute that society. You get the idea. So the state of “society” depends solely on individuals’ attitudes which are prevalent amongst that “society”.

      And no, the NHS is not being sold off. Private companies are being paid by the NHS to carry out a tiny proportion of its tasks. But you will not be seeing an NHS PLC any time soon. It is still government (taxpayers’) money paying for it.

      So to summarise, if there is a trend towards the elevation of “profit over people” that is due to the attitudes of the people themselves. You cannot blame society since that simply refers to a collection of individuals. Society has no mind of its own. Finally, those who grant freedom should not be held responsible for misuses of freedom; again, it falls to the individuals who do act in the way you dislike.

  • erikbloodaxe

    I agree. When I started work in 1980, I was involved in pranks that would get people summarily dismissed today. A couple of drinks at lunchtime (sometimes more) and flirting in the office (sometimes more) were routine. Everybody had fun.

    • fundamentallyflawed

      These days in some companies you will be in trouble for drinking the night before should the management decide to get rid of you…

  • commenteer

    Mass immigration has undermined the sense of knowing who we are. We have a disjointed society where the old shorthand of shared attitudes and values is gone. No wonder we feel out of sorts with ourselves.

    • JabbaPapa

      Foucault – Les mots et les choses

    • rationality

      Yes this is psychological warfare being directed at us. One the one hand in the mainstream media we have an article on why our traditions are being stopped in the name of Islamic terror and then next to that article we have an article on how we must do more for the refugees. Too many are bewildered by this and other contradictions.

      The whole establishment needs a clear out from top to bottom.

    • http://www.ukipforbritain.co.uk/ ukipforbritainwebsite

      I agree with the sentiment, but it is the so-called ‘elite’ in our society that have deliberately been trying to undermine British culture for the past 50 years. It is also they who have opened the doors to endless immigration, so the greater responsibility rests with the imbeciles who lord it over us.

  • disqus_izKB2mVZ9T

    I feel this too although having been born in 1984. The 90’s were OK, Bond was still bond, comedians pushed the envelope and video gaming complimented family time, now online gaming has almost eliminated the living room experience. Mobile phones ruin social experiences too. Among my friends even we tell each other off for playing on phones when we should be chatting.
    Consider. Digital communication lacks the ability to express feelings and tone and people overcompensate with Emojis. People are spending more time dealing with this than mastering natural communication and thus people are more socially awkward and inexperienced, it’s turning them into delicate introverts because they lack emotional intelligence and can only hear the words you say – Sarcasm is a deadly art with such people! TRIGGER WARING!

    • JabbaPapa

      Digital communication lacks the ability to express feelings and tone

      Only because the languages haven’t quite caught up yet, which is BTW to overtly recognise the pertinence of your remark, but they will.

      There needs to be some innovation, but there also needs to be some revival of some older pre-printing communication skills that got a bit lost when the printed word became our linguistic norm. On the bright side, the experimental laboratory for this sort of work is right here on social media :-)

      You’re absolutely right about the generally total inability of most nowadays to deal with sarcasm.

      • Kennybhoy

        “You’re absolutely right about the generally total inability of most nowadays to deal with digital sarcasm.”

        Smiley & co?

  • Aayush Dhuria

    People are likely to blame this on whatever political change they do not like – like Thatcherism (as a gentleman in this comment section seems to have), welfare state, etc, but I think the changes go deeper than that. They’re fundamental changes to the nature of social interaction since the advent of pervasive technology and social media, the underlying incentives of behavior. Sympathizing and providing attention has become main motto over actually doing something about problems one faces, for one.

    That’s just one of the causes, the unprecedented wealth and life standards have also caused radical changes, not to mention the replacement of underlying philosophy of life from religious to virtually nothing but vague nihilism. Even as an atheist myself, I’ve been struggling from one existential crisis to another.

    • JabbaPapa

      I very much agree — and it will likely take three generations, or roughly a hundred years, for society to fully integrate the vastly quicker speed of information absorption that the new technologies create.

      People are suffering under a barrage of information that only a minority currently is capable of handling in a non-dysfunctional manner.

      Fundamentally, the balance between the political, economic, religious, scientific, cultural, social/ethnic, family values hasn’t changed nature, but all of these values have suddenly become each more complex in their own specifics, because the amount of information pertaining to all of them has increased by several orders of magnitude.

      • Longshoreman Philosopher

        Good comment.

        What part of that do you specifically not agree with?

        The atheism bit is something I’ve been thinking of quite a lot. It does seem to explain, to an extent, the shift from a higher purpose in religious terms to moral righteousness and idealism of the left which does seem to qualify as a quasi-religion and it also operates in a similar manner. Not everyone responds to existential crisis by seeking a refuge in philosophy or something similar.

        • JabbaPapa

          My religiosity and my Catholicism are a response to God, not any of these other things that you allege.

          • Longshoreman Philosopher

            Right. I’ll try and rephrase, and hope you don’t take it as disrespectful to your beliefs. Does it, or does it not provide you a sense of purpose in life?

          • JabbaPapa

            In life and beyond.

          • Longshoreman Philosopher

            My original point was that lack of same leads to a vacuum in place of a purpose. :-)

          • JabbaPapa

            Sure — it’s what the current state of the culture is so destructive of.

        • Geo

          Atheism doesn’t make you a leftist. However, Atheism seems to be becoming more intellectually fashionable, as “liberalism” (JS Mill, Smith and Gladstone would turn in their graves, but that’s what it means today) has been for some time. Therefore, there is correlation, not causation.

    • rationality

      ‘not to mention the replacement of underlying philosophy of life from religious to virtually nothing but vague nihilism.’

      Nailed it. They infiltrated and degraded Christianity so we turned our backs on it in droves and the controlled media defined our morality. This worked out OK for a while but it was all to delude us into believing all sorts of nonsense for the coming storm. We are a nation that yearns for spiritual and moral nourishment.

  • 3Storms

    Liberals with their constant “movements” and victim-manufacturing killed the happiness in the world, and they did it all to manufacture and justify a “need” for less democracy and more Marxist social controls while they seek to destroy all western sense of national identity and pride by means of immigrant-induced social engineering that no one ever gave them permission to do.

    • JabbaPapa

      That’s just one cause of this crisis, but to be fair it most certainly is one, and one of the major ones at that.

      The puritanical atheist/protestant socialists like Corbyn and ex- French PM Lionel Jospin view the generalisation of misery as the means to a more “equal” society, and they frankly don’t care about building a happier one. Sadly, their political opponents are a gang of midgets, frauds, or outright crooks, such as Sarkozy, Clegg, Le Pen, Sturgeon, Trump, Merkel …

      The statesmen get shunted off to the diplomatic service, or into “analyst” positions, or University careers, leadership of whatever micro-party, fired from the Greek Finance Ministry, *anything* except letting them return some decency or positivity or simple, honest hope to this world that so sorely needs it.

      • C-4

        Can Surgeon, Clegg, Sarkozy, and Merkel truly be considered “political opponents” in that regard?

        Seems they’re ALL similarly invested in making us equally miserable. None of them seem to object to the stuffy PC status quo when they’re in power and furthermore they always seem to applaud and enable its expansion.

        The only political that seems to vocally oppose it is Nigel Farage.

        • JabbaPapa

          True, I *should* have put “opponents” in quote marks …

    • C-4

      Yep. They have an incentive to be unhappy all the time. They know their comrades in government will kowtow to their every wish and persecute political enemies on their behalf, so why be happy?

      Many people have built identities/careers around the notion that they’re oppressed by white men/capitalism/patriarchy/cisheteronormativity, etc and they don’t know how to be or do anything else.

      It’s about lashing out at the tiniest minutiae as if it’s the worst form of oppression in the world, to continue justifying their existence and their “struggle.” For example, a well-intentioned, harmless comment is now denounced as a “microaggression” and is held up as an example of how oppressive Western society is. You better make sure every statement you make is 100% “microaggression” free, or else. As long as somebody perceives some kind of subtle slight, you can be held liable for an “offense” you didn’t even realize you were making. That alone would suck the joy out of social interactions.

    • Sue Smith

      Sadly, I have to agree with much of this.

  • JabbaPapa

    Daniel Craig anyway has lamented the end of the comedy element in Bond — he says it was killed by Austin Powers — except the earlier Bond films License to Kill and For Your Eyes Only didn’t exactly provide a bundle of laughs either.

    I’m sure there was not so much anger at the rich, too

    There wasn’t so much anger of the rich, either. Bunga Bunga is off the menu, and the general gloom is affecting all of us, richest to poorest. There is anger among the richest at the current state of the world, and at this depression that if it’s impoverishing the world, is also unwealthying the wealthy.

    • Sue Smith

      The pouting, muscular Craig is a second rate Bond. Sean Connery was the best, with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek; those films were full of irony on many levels. Rather cartoonish as well.

      Today’s films are all too serious and self-actualizing that I haven’t bothered to watch Bond since the Beatles wrote music for them. That was the only thing good about them even then. Shirley Bassey nearly drove me to drink singing “Goldfinger” – that hard, shrill and cold voice of hers is just hideous. Oh God, the shrieking….!!!

  • C-4

    Great article and I agree entirely. If you constantly have to walk on eggshells, you’re going to be less joyful and free-spirited. You’re going to become more calculated, anxious and reserved. The more bland you are, the less chance of any kind of backlash from peers or government.

    Political correctness is more about self-preservation: presenting a meek, conformist version of yourself in public so as not to offend others or challenge any status-quo. Never saying anything controversial, and essentially becoming a prisoner of conscience. People know if they say one wrong thing, their lives/careers could be ruined, so spontaneity is replaced with endless self-censorship. Not just for the “greater good” of our progressive society, but for the very survival of the dissenting individuals trapped within it.

    People of certain political persuasions are feigning “offense” more and more because they know the government will do their bidding and crack down on their political enemies, or further expand a stuffy social climate where political enemies can’t prosper.

    So basically you can’t trust anyone to take a joke/hear a differing opinion nowadays, and you know the institutions that surround you are hellbent on cracking down on thought criminals, and you also know that organized militants on social media will track you down, dogpile you, harass you, send you death threats, threaten your loved ones, and attempt to get you fired. Of course you’re going to be more careful.

    • JabbaPapa

      Great article

      I agree.

  • Kennybhoy

    “But you knew the bargain he sold them
    And freedom was only one part
    For the price o’ their souls was a gospel sae cold
    It would freeze up the joy in their hearts!”

  • Dominic Stockford

    “angry, illiberal liberals who are unpleasant themselves and put others in fear that they may be found guilty of saying something out of line”

    So many people say nothing at all.

  • Kennybhoy

    “”There is also the damaging fallacy — increasingly believed — that the world can be made perfect.”

    Indeed.

    “From time to time the belief spreads among men that it is possible to construct an ideal society. Then the call is sounded for all to gather and build it — the city of God on earth. Despite its attractions, this is a delirious ideal stamped with the madness of logic.

    The truth is that society is always unfinished, always in motion, and its key problems can never be solved by social engineering. Yet, man must conquer, again and again, the freedom to see this truth. In the intervals he succumbs to the dream of a mankind frozen and final in its planetary pride. The dream — utopia — leads to the denial of God and self-divinization — the heresy.

    I wrote this book to show the reader the truth about utopia and heresy, and the link between them. I cannot hope to rid the world of the utopian temptation; this would be itself utopian. But the book may help some of my more lucid contemporaries to undo their commitment to the grotesquerie of the perfect society of imperfect men.”

    Preface to “Utopia The Perennial Heresy” by Thomas Molnar (1967)

    • Jambo25

      And it can be much worse. The utopian impulse has led not merely to social fracturing and general lack of joy but to the most murderous episodes in History. Michael Burleigh makes a very good point in his excellent 1 volume history of the Third Reich that Hitler and his gang were Bohemian dreamers with guns and that when you allow such people to take over a society disaster is the usual outcome. Konstantin Paustovsky is rather more direct when he noted of the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath that “We killed and killed and killed so we would never have to kill again.”

      • Kennybhoy

        Hi man!

        You and yours had a good Christmas I trust?

        I was just thinking about you while doing some repairs down in South Ayrshire. Tell me that your place in D&G is on the high ground? :-(

        • Jambo25

          It is. Its about 40-50 feet above the level of the nearest burn/river. Not been down as we were over in Ayrshire for New Year. Up near Irvine and that was OK. A bit worried about the centre of Moniaive but I’ll find out next time we’re down.

      • Callipygian

        I’ve studied H. intensively (academic project). I wouldn’t describe him as a ‘dreamer’.

        • Jambo25

          I specialised in Modern German History and I’d certainly agree with the rather distinguished Michael Burleigh that the Nazis were heavily armed Bohemians. I’d also ascribe ‘dreamer’ to Hitler.

          • http://www.ajbrenchley.com Callipygian

            Not in the way the word is usually meant.

          • Jambo25

            Well, a few of Hitler’s WW1 comrades thought he was a bit that way. Later on he developed a belief in destiny, fate, the will and other nebulous and unmeasurable qualities, rather than rational analysis, as a guide to political action and leadership. His decision to launch Barbarossa was taken on ‘feelings’, a belief in destiny and the racial inferiority of the Slavs. As the war turned against the Reich Hitler withdrew, more and more, into a dream world. Ignoring warnings of the Reich’s economic and demographic inability to win in the East from as early as the first 6 months of the Eastern campaign from his own analysts in FHO, RSHA and economic planning groups. As the Reich collapsed he withdrew even more into playing with models of his proposed Germania/Berlin project and similar projects for art galleries in Linz etc.

          • Tamerlane

            Absolute nonsense Jambo. Even by your delusional standards that’s weak. Preparations for Barbarossa were in motion as early as 1937. This ain’t your fantasy bar Jambo.

          • Todd Unctious

            An the Hossbach Memorandum. Your answer to everything. If aspirational wish lists were policy you would be right. But you never are. You have a mental block with truth.

    • JabbaPapa

      That would have been a very useful book in the two years I spent studying literary utopias (and more marginally the actual attempts to create utopia) — I agree with his positions completely.

      • Jambo25

        Norman Cohn’s ‘The Pursuit of the Millennium’ is a nice cautionary tale for that.

      • Kennybhoy

        First read it back in the early 70s of the last century. Magisterial.

      • Kennybhoy

        God bless. :-)

    • TheJustCity

      I will look that title out. Hitchens wrote (I believe with deference to Orwell) that revolutions tend to consume their own children and confer the opposite of what they promised. Even Orwell saw that collectivism is inherently antidemocratic. The problem in contemporary times is that there is too much ideology. Ideology – or rather, revolutionary ideology- is finding exponential increase. While Marxist analysis, of itself, offered a seemingly invaluable perspective on human matters, experience has shown that it carries with it the seed of something ultimately harmful; a less than salient truth it would seem Marx was unaware of.

      Revolutionary ideology is, of course, the very business of the Left; the changing of things – notionally for the (utopian) better. Such ‘programmes for improvement’ of men, of society, usually end up the same way: with bloodshed and oppression. I rather like the take Kingley Amis has in his essay ‘Why lucky Jim turned Right’. His reaction and outrage at the violent routs by the Soviets of freedom movements of 50s iron-curtain states -and the tendency of leftists to either excuse or cognitively excise these, as if such things were – a feature unique to the leftist mindset – ‘encysted’, brought the realisation that ideology, with a capital ‘I’ is unfailingly deleterious, and that society should only apply such improvement ‘as it can take’. A pragmatic and mature perspective and one which his moving to the Right (while not espousing its principles absolutely, as neophytes are wont to), was necessitated by the perception that her was a place, a forum, relatively devoid of ideology and its toxic ramifications.

  • Balls Deep

    Thank you for writing this article. I have nothing to add.

  • King Kibbutz

    Western nation handed over to creeping Imperialist Islam.
    Indigenous people express concern.
    Ignored, ridiculed, outlawed as ‘racism’, ‘bigotry’.
    Anxiety exhibited in various ways, including tendency toward introspection and hardening of spirit.

    It really is a mystery. What is wrong with these miserable souls? It’s only a homeland after all?

  • tolpuddle1

    Er, James, Capitalism is The War of All Against All.

    Doesn’t leave that much room for jollity, does it ?

    Capitalism is also the Enemy of the Family, quite as much as any liberal or left trendy.

    Doesn’t leave that much room for family joy, does it ?

    Plus, Capitalism believes in the long hours culture – partly to squeeze the last drop from the serfs, partly so people have no time to think, but can only vegetate in front of the Telly (and, if they’re middle-class, politely drink themselves to death at the same time).

    In the past, when Britain still had an industrial lead, all this was less evident. But Britain’s been globalised now.

    • Geo

      It no longer makes sense for Britain to manufacture things on the same scale because its workforce is best otherwise employed and there is a large available workforce elsewhere, reflected in wage differences. Do you really not understand comparative advantage?

      • Malcolm Stevas

        What “tolpuddle” writes is typical Lefty distorted whingeing, but I suggest the ability to manufacture things – such as our own military aircraft, and even rifle ammunition – is not or should not be merely a matter of market economics. The national interest requires us to be independent of foreign influence in the supply of vital materiel.

        • Geo

          Indeed, but I believe that the MOD has a “buy British” policy wherever possible.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I dare say, but let’s not get into the MoD’s procurement policies, too depressing a start to the new year… What I was thinking of was more our ability to manufacture all the vital kit we used to make – and which indeed we sometimes made rather well.

          • Geo

            Again, I believe this is largely the case. However, wherever it is not the case that we have adequately retained our ability to manufacture arms, it is simply because the MOD isn’t buying enough. Heaven forbid, perhaps we’re not planning to start any wars!!

        • Todd Unctious

          Hilarious. The “national interest”, I ask you?

      • tolpuddle1

        Our service and financial exports are nowhere near sufficient to cover our imports. We’ve been filling the gap with windfalls (remember North Sea oil and gas ?) and by selling-off our capital assets (property, large UK companies).

        This is what is technically known as a Rake’s Progress (short-lived and ending in disaster).

        Basically, if you no longer make things, you’re f*****.

        • njt55

          Let’s re-open the mines and the dark satanic steel mills then. Let’s pour billions of pounds of public money into the drain of state monopoly. Nationalise everything so that we can all benefit from things that will eventually simply grind to a halt as per the 1970s. Let’s make the black country filthy again with pollutants. Is that what you want?

          BTW 54% of our exports are from manufacturing. We still make many things and export them vehicles, aerospace, microprocessors, hi-tech components, We are the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world, I’m sure we’d like to be higher than that but it’s simply not true to imply that we don’t make things.

          • tolpuddle1

            No – let’s try something new, similar to what the inter-war Distributionists hoped to do; localism, low tech, small business.

            And what we will have to do if the globalised spider’s web we’re trapped in, dissolves.

  • tolpuddle1

    Shortly after the Purges, Stalin – to lighten the tone in the Soviet Union – gave as his New Year message: “Let us be Merry!”

    Now James Bartholomew – a believer in totalitarian capitalism – gives us the self-same message. Plus ca change.

    And today’s capitalism is totalitarian – for where on earth, and how on earth – can you escape it for a single waking moment ?

    • boiledcabbage

      On one’s yacht?

    • Ivan Ewan

      Feel free to take a holiday in North Korea, if that’s where you think you’ll find happiness.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        For the holiday of a lifetime?
        Make that “for a lifetime”.

      • tolpuddle1

        You mean – the only alternative to Capitalism is North Korea ?

        Are you so stupid as to believe that ?

        Or are you just a liar ?

        • Sue Smith

          Go around the chicane!!

        • Ivan Ewan

          North Korea’s only capitalism is illegal, just quietly overlooked because it happens to work. Everywhere else in the world, even in the Islamic State, capitalism is legal, but regulated to some degree or another.

          So off you go then, comrade.

          • tolpuddle1

            Trade is timeless and universal, capitalism (regulated or not) isn’t.

  • tolpuddle1

    Morecambe & Wise, like the entire cheerful Britain JB extols, was a by-product of the Welfare State and Britain’s economic capital from the past.

    Both are now gone, with the country full of wounded, dispirited – and above all INSECURE – people.

    And unhappy people are unpleasant and gruff – and above all, ANGRY.

    It is, of course, Capitalism’s labour mobility that has destroyed the extended family; together with the Selfish Individualism that Capitalism so much adores.

    We are now living in a sort of Two Nations civil war, which people like Bartholomew have created.

    But does he acknowledge a share of the guilt for this national disaster ? No, of course not ! He blames everyone else – especially his opponents.

    But as we already knew, Capitalism and its worshippers don’t do responsibility or conscience.

    • boiledcabbage

      The profits of Capitalism fund the work-shy.

      • Cobbett

        how so? seeing hat less than 20% of Britain’s GDP is due to ”Capitalism”

      • tolpuddle1

        Humbug.

        And do Capitalists – e.g. hedge fund gamblers – do anything that can be called “work”?

        • Sue Smith

          As it happens, yes they do. Just because that doesn’t involve a shovel or a bus doesn’t mean they don’t have to sit at a desk 24/7 and make money for the firm. One false move and they’re frog-marched out the door because they didn’t fulfill this quota or that contract. Demoralizing.

          Casino capitalism isn’t just the prerogative of “hedge fund gamblers”. Your local financial planner can be just as venal.

    • greencoat

      Socialism has given Great Britain mass immigration, the degradation of marriage and the family, mockery of the Church and of our Monarch and a vast demoralised under-class – all in the name of an earthly Utopia that has signally failed to arrive.
      That is why British people – pleasant and unpleasant alike – are angry.

      • Sue Smith

        But don’t you also think they’ve been educated to feel angry, disconnected, entitled but frustrated and somewhat short-changed by, well, absolutely everything.

        Australia is rapidly going this way too.

        • tolpuddle1

          We’ve all been trained to believe that Capitalism can only go up – but globalisation means that in the English-speaking world, it’s now going down.

          • Sue Smith

            Well, no, you’re referring to the concept of “growth”. Capitalism has lifted tens of millions out of poverty. Growth has limits and I think we’re seeing those limits. The sharemarket is the canary in the coal mine.

            I think we’ve reached the “windscreen wipers for sunglasses” phase of capitalism; everyone has their wants more or less met with ‘stuff’ and now superfluous stuff is being created. It is extremely difficult to see where any growth will come, except in the developing world. They will experience growth because they are in the nascent phase of capitalism. The rest of us will take a reduction in living standards.

          • tolpuddle1

            Technology, yes, but they have the food and resources.

            We shall indeed experience a drop in living standards ! It has already begun.

      • tolpuddle1

        The main driving-force behind mass migration to Britain has been the Capitalist demand for cheap migrant labour. If Business disliked immigration, it wouldn’t have happened.

        Degradation of Marriage ? – caused less by trendies on the Left than by Capitalist affluence (“the triumphant energy of the Rich”, as Chesterton put it). Affluence = decadence.

        Capitalism is as secular as Socialism, and as utopian.

        • njt55

          You are aptly named, tolpuddle 1. However, I’m wondering how you reconcile the activities of the left leaning EU in encouraging mass migration to your assertion that it is all the fault of the Capitalists.

          • tolpuddle1

            The Liberal Establishment (BBC, Guardian etc, & their upper-middle supporters) have linked arms with Big Business over the migration issue. Very successfully.

            Which is why the public and Britain itself have been left reeling by excessive migration.

            Regarding Europe, the EU is both very liberal and very Capitalist, Merkel being a case in point.

    • perdix

      Time to send the Martyrs to Australia again :)

      • Sue Smith

        Hey, none of that thank you very much. We already have too many ferals here already.

    • Sue Smith

      I remember an excellent TV series from the 1980s called “Bread” about a family of dysfunctional people who lived on social welfare. The writing was superb, as was the characterisation – but Britain could and did look at itself and laugh.

      Those were golden times.

  • tolpuddle1

    Capitalism is Calvinism-without-God.

    Calvinism “saves” the Elect for eternal joy, while consigning the Rest to eternal condemnation and torment.

    Similarly, Capitalism Elects the Rich and “Successful” to earthly bliss, while consigning the Rest to earthly misery.

    A misery made vastly more painful by the realisation of the poor, the “failures” – The Losers, in other words – that they have been condemned by the God of Capitalism to a lifetime of guilt, shame and the condemnation of their “Betters” (!)

    In other words, Calvin’s doctrines – and the Capitalism they spawned – are enemies of the human race.

    In the days of Britain’s (and America’s) power, prosperity and empire, this was partly concealed and remedied.

    But no longer.

    • boiledcabbage

      the Rest should be happy down the boozer.

    • Ivan Ewan

      You talk a lot, don’t you, for a guy who doesn’t know what capitalism is.

      Capitalism is not the means by which the rich get rich and the poor get poorer.

      Capitalism is the means by which rich and poor assist each other out of economic necessity and gradually improve the material lot of all mankind. That’s your ‘enemy of the human race’?

      You presumably call yourself, in your own terms, a Loser, one of the Rest. Yet you somehow found the resources to type this drivel out on some kind of a computer. Did you take a break from your begging to sneak into the library? Or did you do it from the comfort of the heated, powered, watered rooms in which you live, rooms which would have been called kingly when the system of capitalism was in its infancy?

      The menace which you ascribe to capitalism is perhaps somewhat attributable to its brother, corporatism – that is, when the laws of the land are tilted permanently in favour of larger, established, powerful corporate entities – a sort of feudalism of the private sector. But your criticism is so hyperbolic that even corporatism – a system which I loathe, in fact, as being the death of capitalism – isn’t as bad as you suggest.

      • bobby_r

        Rarely has an upvote been so deserved.

        • UKSteve

          Exactly!

          Corporatism is utterly evil, and for me, is the real agenda and driving force behind the EU – I formed this opinion 24 years ago, and see nothing to change it.

          • JabbaPapa

            Corporatism is just the right-wing version of Communism.

      • Greg Price

        Objective history shows that capitalism, left to it’s own devices, ALWAYS metastasises into the cancer of corporatism. That’s why the middle way (“regulated capitalism”, “socialsim”, or “mixed economy” is the best way.)

        • Ivan Ewan

          Actually corporatism has no better ally than heavy regulation. Did you notice that corporatism only came close to its former East India Company might once all these ‘third way’ policies had come about?

          And look at all those places where ‘third way’ policies were continued uninterruped for decades. We’re talking places like Detroit, Miami (which maintains a pretence of wellbeing for the tourist trade), Philadelphia, and that’s just in the USA. Massive inner-city poverty, unemployment, gang violence, depression, and related phenomena seem to be the symptoms of the ‘third way’, where you are essentially paying people to avoid creating competition for the established corporations, and punishing entrepreneurism with reams of regulations and complex tax codes. Megacorporations must truly love it when government interferes to try and help the little people.

          ‘Objective history’. You must be joking.

    • Geo

      Capitalism is not an organisation or an obbject that would be capable of electing anyhing. It is simply the word we use to describe economies based on the free choices of buyers and sellers.

      The rich are the ones who supply a product or service in sufficiently high demand to make it highly profitable. It really is nothing more sinister than that. Except for corruption, which is a distortion of capitalism.

      • tolpuddle1

        Big Business distorts the market and is even more corrupt !

        Free markets are millennia older than Capitalism – ergo, they are not the same.

        • Geo

          So what is your definition of capitalism? If it is the collusion of politicians and corporations then I oppose it. But I assumed it simply rederred to a broad spectrum of private property and market based systems.

  • tolpuddle1

    JB is a Winner – i.e. a pampered person living in a cocoon.

    He now realises that the “Losers” (and is there a crueller word ?) aren’t very cheerful. Amazing, isn’t it ?

    He has yet to realise that Capitalism – and the hellish societies it has created – are, Deo Gratias, doomed to complete and permanent extinction.

    • boiledcabbage

      and is there a crueller word ?

      yes, Martyr, as in Tolpuddle Martyr

  • ohforheavensake

    We just reached peak Spectator.

    • polidorisghost

      I don’t know why you bother to read the Spectator.

  • Jamie Stevenson

    Bit unfair on Mark Rylance. Sure, he plays straight-faced characters to perfection, such as David Kelly and Thomas Cromwell. But his time at the Globe lifted Shakespearian theatre – even the tragedies – to new levels of rowdy fun, uplifting music and humorous interpretation. His Broadway and West End award winning turn as Rooster in Jerusalem was uproariously subversive from start to finish. And in person he sounds like enormous fun to be with – pick up his Desert Island Discs podcast on iPlayer. And from a man who has experienced close personal tragedy and can look it in the face. No, you got your example badly wrong there, Mr Bartholomew. Which makes me wonder about the plausible sounding but frankly rather glib thesis of the rest of the article.

    • UnmutualOne

      One incorrect example does not destroy an entire argument.

  • Graeme

    Very interesting, but not very funny…

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Shouldn’t that be Daniel Craig’s Bond?

  • Patrick Gearon

    Mr Batholomew is commenting on the personal touch given by presenters and allowed by producers – the ad hoc, ‘make it up as you go along’ AND most of it was ‘live’ to air.
    As shambolic as this all might sound, it was fun and created a platform for anyone of artistic talent to make themselves a name.
    Such venues simply don’t exist today.

  • Picquet

    The level of control over the public – by our whining Guardian columnists, our insane television soap operas, our fear of being out of step with current social fashions and most of all our fear of persecution from ‘social media’ – has never been so high. Rod Liddle, Katie Price, Roger Scruton, Brendon O’Neill – only such as they seem to dare to speak up.

    • Dr Bock

      I think you might mean Katie Hopkins, but even then it would seem a little unfair on those three writers to be included in her company. Unless I’m wrong in which case I’ll have to read up on Jordan’s contribution to setting out alternatives to the illiberal Humanist world view.

      • Picquet

        Cringe. I’ve been reading too much Daily Mail…

        • NaturalSciences

          Hopkins will say anything to get press attention. After watching her new programme on one of the sky channels last year, it was clear she’d say anything ‘controversial’ just to get attention, then backtrack if she was called out (especially if it was a behaviour she herself had done and thought no-one knew)…

  • Upright Man

    Comparisons with ‘the good old days’ and associations with modern technology are red herrings. The puritan misery could have existed at any point in history and it need not exist now.
    The only driving factor is the selfish emotional incontinence that has taken over as a result of the infinite concessions made to socialists, multi-culturalists, feminists, gays, the Trans, and other liberals. Joy has been outlawed and replaced by right-on-ness and virtue signalling.

  • Hamburger

    Our New Year’s resolution must to be more jolly.

    • Sue Smith

      In your case, I should think it a case of eat or be eaten!!!

  • Mhjames

    I blame excessive ‘education’ (as opposed to learning knowledge, which is fun).

    • Old Nick

      They are ‘taught to think’, without being given the necessary impression that having knowledge to think about is an essential part of thinking. But then we are governed mostly by PPE graduates – the only Honour School for which you do not need to know anything in order to be admitted and from which you emerge not necessarily knowing anything more than you knew when you were admitted. But by Jove you have been ‘taught to think’ – to think, for instance, that the Manchester Guardian is a serious newspaper

  • scepticeu

    I blame the Politically Correct Brigade.

    • Sue Smith

      Those storm troopers are amongst the most execrable members of society one is ever likely to encounter.

  • Cobbett

    ”Contrast Spectre with From Russia With Love,
    one of the early Bond films. The first scene in which we see Sean
    Connery as Bond, he is humorous and amorous as he snogs a beautiful
    woman in a punt moored at the side of a river”

    The first scene is with Robert Shaw stalking a JB lookalike..and most of the first scenes is a bit of aggro.

  • greencoat

    The old-fashioned British sense of humour – infused as it is with an acceptance of life as it actually lived, is hugely hated by the Left. To the Left it is a bourgeois anachronism, like common-sense and the love of one’s country.

    • UKSteve

      Brilliantly succinct ….and accurate!

      • Sue Smith

        Agreed.

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      Apologies. I can only offer one ‘up vote’ for this succinct and brutally accurate assessment. The ‘Left’ are determined to destroy this country with their suffocating and murderous blend of political correctness, fascism and intolerance of everything it means to be British. The ‘Left’ is a cancer eating away at British society.

      • Greg Price

        The Right is just as bad, seeing the underclass as little more than beasts of burden from which the maximum amount of labor is to be extracted for the minimum return in wages, and of course anyone on welfare is a scurrilous, drug-taking, baby-making wastrel who needs to be more hungry/cold/sick in order that he might find new motivation to give up his labor for said minimum return – shrinking by the day it seems – in wages – if he can find a job at all.

        In short, the “lesser people” should be down on their knees thanking “their betters” for whatever scraps are allowed to fall from their Masters’ Table. Modern-day Oliver Twists asking feebly and pathetically “Please, Sir…may I have some more?”

        It’s the same here in the US, where the new fad among the Elite class is passing laws telling poor people on assistance what they may and may not buy with that aid, a perverse inversion of Sumptuary Laws that declares that an ever expanding amount of goods and services are “too good for the likes of you”.

        • oldoddjobs

          Garbage

    • Shapster

      Fully agree. Isn’t there something we can do about it though? Someone start a “Glad to be British” club and invite Jeremy Clarkson to head it up.. Someone design a badge we can all wear which denotes ‘I’m not PC and am a truth-sayer’. Sorry ignore me, I’ve downed too much red wine….always make me talk cobblers. Anyway must dash, gonna smack the kids, gee the missus up to get me tea and drive round to see my mate….always drive better when I’ve had a few..lol

  • Callipygian

    TV is so twentieth century. The Internet, eh? :^0

  • Sid Falco

    Hardly going to have a knees-up round the old joanna with some middle eastern bigots are we ?

  • UKSteve

    I’ve always thought Daniel Craig was an extremely odd choice to play Bond.

    This is one of those “franchise reboots” for the younger generation. Bond, in the books, was a Commander in the Navy.

    After the first one, Craig was invited on Jonathan Ross’ BBC1 show, and was as uncomfortable, wooden and uneasy as a he was in the role. All of the previous Bond’s were played with a touch (or more) of humour.

    But it IS reflective of an ingrained ‘humourlessness’ I see around me. Great article, completely agree with it, very little to add.

  • MyHyde

    It’s a sign of decline. Life has so many pleasures that mean nothing and gives life no real significance. When our country had faith, hard work, real families and dare I say real freedom our lives had real meaning. Now they don’t. The next generation is going to be worse off than the previous. The world is getting worse and we can’t prevent it.

    • Tellytubby

      Unfortunately I feel you are correct. Some would say “its not the World getting worse, its just us” but when you look at who the new wielders of superpower status are going to be one realises that the whole world is being frogmarched towards reduced personal liberty – through group thinking political correctness in the west, and pure demagogic or despotic tyranny in the developing world (and America).

      Because we have no meaning to our lives (no faith, family or freedom as you eloquently put it,) we fall into the trap of consumerism and the mirage that having stuff you cant afford is in itself happiness. This has been happening for quite some time – if you remember the film Fight club which must be 15 years old now covered it. We’re aware of the trap, but unlike brute beasts and birds continue to walk into the same trap such is the psychological and financial power of the corporations of the West (consider, even if you are aware of the psychological tricks they pull, you still have to play their game of consumerism because you really need to have a “credit rating” – thus you are forced to borrow money you don’t really want, to buy things you don’t really need, so you can pay them back quickly with interest you shouldn’t have had to pay).

  • No Man’s Land

    I don’t know that the change in Bond is an indicator of anything other than the Bond franchise it taking itself more seriously. In the books Bond is a somewhat dark character. And about George Smiley, that’s a grimmer more serious world than the one we live in.

    I do think there’s merit to what you are saying about wider society, but I don’t see Bond as being a significant.

  • Frank Marker

    My vision of joylessness was seeing grim faced lycra-clad joggers of both sexes jogging through my village on Boxing Day morning. A gentle stroll fine, but jogging?

  • Chris Hobson

    Its because Bond is being sold to US audiences who want a “badass” they dislike the campy Moore years.

    • JabbaPapa

      Apart from the amusing homage to the Gendarme de St Tropez films in the car chase sequence, there’s nothing particularly “camp” about For Your Eyes Only.

  • Davedeparis

    Good article, although Errol Flynn was an Aussie from Tasmania.

  • Tom Sykes

    ‘snot fair

  • pobinr

    Craig is utterly dour compared to Roger Moore
    The new Batman are dull compared to Adam West
    Anything or anyone with zero humour is a boring

    • Simon Fay

      I left ‘Spooktre’ wishing Roger Moore back as Bond. Oh for his grace, lighthearted quips and failure to take every attempt to harm him personally.

      • 9sqn

        As much as I like Roger Moore, he was almost the ruination of Bond. Bond films were never meant to be comedy. Then again, after Spectre, anything would have done.

        • sir_graphus

          But similarly, Fleming’s Bond was a gentleman, not an angst ridden gym bunny. Bond made quips at his victims, because he was cruel. Not as many as Moore, mind, he didn’t take it all so seriously as Craig.

          But we’re not allowed a posh action hero anymore. Posh people can only be villains. Bond has to be more middle class, like Craig.

          • jeremy Morfey

            One for the pub quiz – only one actor who played Bond in a feature film was once in real life a special agent with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and was in active service on the front line after the Norman invasion in WW2, involved with military intelligence.

            He once wrote in his autobiography: “I will, however, tell you just one thing about the war, my first story and my last. I was asked by some American friends to search out the grave of their son near Bastogne. I found it where they told me I would, but it was among 27,000 others, 
and I told myself that here, Niven, were 27,000 reasons why you should keep your mouth shut after the war.”

            On another occasion, asked how he felt about serving with the British 
Army in Europe, he allegedly said ‘Well on the whole, I would rather be 
tickling Ginger Rogers’ ****[four letter plural word meaning human milk containers that can also mean small cream-loving bird (joyless autocensor got to me first – made the article’s point methinks)].’

            David Niven was a gentleman, and a real Bond, although his Bond character on screen was a spoof.

    • WhiteRabbit3

      I vastly prefer Craig’s gritty, hard-edged version of Bond to the cartoonish, mugging-for-the-camera Moore.

      • pobinr

        Craig looks & acts thick to me

  • Roger Hudson

    Excellent article! Spot on! Brits used to be known for their sense of humour. Not now, I’m afraid. The country is run by dour Jeremy Corbyns who take it upon themselves to be offended by anything and everything. Virtue-signalling and moral highground-claiming have become the national sports. Thank God for Paul Merton and Nigel Farage!

  • njt55

    Errol Flynn was Australian

    • eldl1989

      Albeit he was born and died in the Commonwealth.

  • Simon Fay

    Both ‘Spooktre’ and ‘Skybore’ were suffused with portentous bollocks about massively self-important oafs seen in pompous shots underlining their immense significance. No sense of fun, play or real tension – just prolonged inventories of carefully-polished grudges. And the villains in both were ludicrously vindictive queens. Craig’s initial breath-of-fresh-air following Brosnan’s good-looking blandness has turned to something all too reminiscent of a sullen thuggish irritable right-on salesman with whom I used to work at the same premises.

    • 9sqn

      Have to half agree. Skyfall was half an hour too long .. cutting a few pointless explosions and gay scenes would have sorted it. Spectre was utter, embarrassing bollocks from start to finish. The awful ‘castrato’ opening song gave a portent of what we were about to suffer.

  • Martin Jennerson

    The Bond franchise should be binned.

    • eldl1989

      Sign of the changing national psyche… (if there ever was one.)

      Do you hark back for halcyon days? You’re fighting the present and the future, my friend…

  • 9sqn

    The Bond films had to get serious because the excellent Bourne films were about to push Bond into the realm of light-hearted comedy. Only the opening scene of Skyfall can match them. But that’s down to director Sam Mendes’ obsession with ridiculous and pointless stunts; the 7 rolls that Bonds Aston took after clipping a kerb .. the ridiculous explosion of the Skyfall home. Craig has said himself he wishes to see more humour so hopefully with the dismissal of Mendes and some of the PC gayness creeping in, it will get better.

    • Don Kenner

      You lost me at the “excellent Bourne films.” Are you kidding me? Left wing tripe dressed up as a spy movie. I saw the first one (The Bourne Lobotomy?) With Matt Damon!

      • 9sqn

        Lol ! Can’t please everyone I guess !

  • 9sqn

    Charlie Brooker’s ‘Wipe’ recently shown on TV sums up this article perfectly. It used to be hilarious. But the latest episode had a full 10 minute angry lecture on how Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Muslims, attempted to ridicule Nigel Farage and failed, miserably, and how horrible we all are for not letting thousands more Syrians into our country.

    • Jenny Wren

      Farage needs no outside help to look ridiculous

      • 9sqn

        Only if you can’t bare plain speaking and common sense.

        • Jenny Wren

          Got any examples?

          • 9sqn

            Yes, pretty much everything he says on immigration, on the EU, on democracy in Europe, on the Islamification of GB, on NHS tourism. How much do you want ?

          • Jenny Wren

            An example. I note you haven’t actually given one, although you have peddled out the usual BS

          • rob232

            Could you give some examples as to how he looks ridiculous? I’ve never heard him say anything like that.

          • 9sqn

            Best thing you can do is go on you tube and search for Nigel Farage speeches. There’s dozens. I don’t do dictation, I’m not your secretary. Any problems ask an 8 year old.

          • Jenny Wren

            So none, then. You don’t have a single example. Thought not.

          • 9sqn

            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nigel+farage+european+parliament

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRhMkXeKJTE

            Are you thick, retarded or just terminally pedantic by any chance ?

            Because you clearly cannot read a whole paragraph, I’ve pasted a couple of links above, they may not work as I don’t know if this site accepts links. Once you go into You tube you will see dozens of examples.
            You don’t just need a secretary, you need serious help, sweetie.
            Now run along till you have something useful to contribute.

          • JabbaPapa

            You’re arguing in bad faith by asking him to show you something from Farage that you won’t mock, given your a priori decision to do exactly that.

          • 9sqn

            I’ve spoon fed you a couple of examples but my comments were over the top and unnecessary. I apologise.

          • Steven

            He’s given you several – are you really claiming ignorance about Farage’s policies?

          • Jenny Wren

            I just want one example…not a bloody speech. One example…just one.

          • IainRMuir

            Have you?

  • http://www.ukipforbritain.co.uk/ ukipforbritainwebsite

    Err – we’re not richer than we were in the 1980s. Look how much REAL money there is (not figures conjured up on a computer), look at how much the government is borrowiing each and every day, look at the life opportunities of the normal working person (to get married, buy a house, support children, etc), look at the TRUE levels of invisible debt the government and invididuals carry – and you will conclude Britain is on the edge of a stupendous crash unparalleled in history. (Hate to say it!)

  • JohnJ

    The world has just become more ‘interesting’ than a Bond film. Beheadings, slaves, young fighters, women giving themselves up for the new Caliphate, 2500 Humvees, explosive laden vests, females shooting innocents……
    The Bond franchise is not keeping up. The old formula is ….well…irrelevant. The real Jihadi bad guys make Blofeld look like a well meaning uncle. But I guess a film about the Islamic State as the bad guys would upset a few people …. and we don’t want that

    • jeremy Morfey

      I’d love the new Bond girl to be dressed in a burqa!

    • eldl1989

      And perhaps tread dangerously into the realm of propaganda… All we need is Call of Duty: Caliphate Rising.

  • The Reincarnated Sausage

    Rather like socialism……….Dour, grey, miserable

    • hervicus

      Bond isn’t a socialist! Bond is a landed Scottish toff! He probably had to be brainwashed by M just to prevent him bumping off plebs as target practice!

  • The PrangWizard of England

    It’s all the PC crap. We should show the proponents no respect. Speak your minds everyone. Don’t be afraid to make jokes, especially if they offend those who attempt to take away our hard earned freedoms and continue to do so. 2016 should be a year of rage against it all.

    • jeremy Morfey

      You do know you’ve hung your flag upside-down?

    • eldl1989

      No point raging! Just continue to poke fun.

  • Phuktifino

    The UK is crying out for another Bernard Manning to shake the place out of it’s miserable PC hole.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fASv2FoRiO0

    • EUSSR-Dissident

      Alternative (liberal) comedy isn’t alternative anymore, it’s the orthodoxy.

  • Michael Onoo

    Islam has killed any joy left in Britain

  • EUSSR-Dissident

    Britain is not at ease with itself. A mulitcultural country cannot ever be One Nation. Just because a dog is born in a stable doesn’t make it a horse.

  • jeremy Morfey

    Quite.

    If I were Simon Danczuk, then a far better and more joyous response when he was found out twittering to a teenager “she’s a lovely bit of stuff, and I’d do it again given the chance”. Let them pin “inappropriate behaviour” on him and be damned.

    UKIP, please take note, inwardly digest, and not change a thing.

    • Steve Moxon

      UKIP still imagine they can kow tow to ‘identity politics’ / ‘PC’ and not get ‘triangulated’.
      The fools.
      There is no way forward in politics but anti-‘identity politics’ / ‘PC’, as Donald Trump has twigged.

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    Because people are no longer in charge of their own lives! The Government has created a Nanny state, where people have to rely on the leaders for every little bit of carrot that is offered against the punishment metered out!
    PS I found that latest Bond film absolute rubbish! There was not even a story line.

  • JJD

    Very much agree with the spirit of this article.

  • Steve Moxon

    ‘Identity politics’.
    Kills everything stone dead.
    Time to kill IT — the whole stake through heart job and buried in lime.
    Then we need several decades of core teaching in all schools that the bastardisations of the Left all end in nasty totalitarianism, not just in the case of Hitler.

  • Marcus

    Knock it if you will, but moving to the States as a twenty-something was like getting a repressive piano off my back economically, socially, and in some ways politically. But then I just happen to suit it here. Many Brits wouldn’t, and it still surprises me how few are over here (by that I mean career professionals, not the Hawaiian shirt wearing whisky-nosed types who “retire” to Florida or wherever else, and bounce between the Red Lion pub and the beach discussing where you can buy marmite). I was instantly struck (and still am 12 years later) by the general lightheartedness here, albeit without the same use of satire. On the very rare occasions I would encounter a British executive in my job, as soon as I heard that intransigent officiousness, I instinctively wished they would just sod off.

  • Stuart Carrier

    The reason there is no joy in the country stems from the New Modern (Edwardian) Diktat that if you are not ‘Hard-working’ then you are filth and deserve to be pilloried in public and private for not doing so. The only comedians it has to do with is the present Tory Government who have conned the middle classes into believing this, and kicking us working class types in the Bollocks. Let alone if youre a working immigrant or mother with three National Minimum wage jobs to go to. I work four on-four off 12 hour shifts from 7 until 7. I get up at 5 to get away for six to get 25 miles away on lousy roads in lousy traffic, and dont get home until 8PM or AM. When I DO get in I need to feed my animals, (half an hour at least) and then if on ‘days’ cook. which mostly I dont want to as its too late and so rely mainly on cheap takeaways. The only ‘Normal’ time in my life I count as being when Im not there. I dont necessarily slump in front of the TV as I have books and other things to occupy me. However most people nowadays dont read as such. So TV and its Banal dross, is all they have. So is it any wonder ? And not even the BBC is a Haven of enlightenment these days. Mind you, most so-called ‘comedians’ nowadays are simply not funny at all.

  • Stuart Carrier

    The reason there is no joy in the country stems from the New Modern (Edwardian) Diktat that if you are not ‘Hard-working’ then you are filth and deserve to be pilloried in public and private for not doing so. The only comedians it has to do with is the present Tory Government who have conned the middle classes into believing this, and kicking us working class types in the Bollocks. Let alone if youre a working immigrant or mother with three National Minimum wage jobs to go to. I work four on-four off 12 hour shifts from 7 until 7. I get up at 5 to get away for six to get 25 miles away on lousy roads in lousy traffic, and dont get home until 8PM or AM. When I DO get in I need to feed my animals, (half an hour at least) and then if on ‘days’ cook. which mostly I dont want to as its too late and so rely mainly on cheap takeaways. The only ‘Normal’ time in my life I count as being when Im not there. I dont necessarily slump in front of the TV as I have books and other things to occupy me. However most people nowadays dont read as such. So TV and its Banal dross, is all they have. So is it any wonder ? And not even the BBC is a Haven of enlightenment these days. Mind you, most so-called ‘comedians’ nowadays are simply not funny at all.

  • Warne Livesey

    Is it possible this article and some of the comments fall under the category of seeing what you want to see? I distinctly remember Craig talking about the decision to make his Bond more serious and gritty from the beginning of his tenure back during the release of Casino Royal. The quite plausible reason given by him that as movies like Austin Powers had been so successful at the comedy spy genre his modern day Bond needed to be more dark to stand apart. That doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with people being more serious in general, but is a strategic move by the franchise.

    One could also note that comedy and comics (particularly in the UK) have never been more successful. But if you look for only that which supports your argument you can pretty much justify anything. Like the person earlier on who suggested that Islam is to blame for the drier Bond movies!!!

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