The other night, Jim, a pub landlord, was complaining angrily to me about the government. I listened but said nothing. Then he produced a newspaper clipping. It was an article about the British army’s latest sniper rifle. It had a range of, I forget what — two miles? In the wrong hands, said Jim, it would be possible for someone to lean out of an upstairs window in Lambeth and pot a New Labour politician fumbling for his car keys in the members’ car park of the House of Commons. In fact, I was looking at the wrong hands right now, he said, spreading them on the bar. Would I like to sponsor him on an assassination spree?
Actually, I detest this political class so much I think it’s making me mentally ill. From first thing in the morning, when I switch on my radio, until last thing at night, I’m in a permanent state of anger at this relentless assault on rationality, on decency, on the nation’s fund of good will. Have you ever heard such bare-faced lies from grown-ups before, or listened to such embarrassingly hollow denials? In modern times, has an English governing class ever before had such contempt for the people? And been so lacking in wit, style, good humour and courage? I’d really like to know.
‘The revolution we have made is a total one. It has encompassed every area of public life and fundamentally restructured them all. It has completely changed and restructured people’s relationships to each other, to the state, to questions of existence,’ wrote Joseph Goebbels in 1933, speaking on behalf of that other fabulously cynical client state, run by that other leftist, bohemian, race-obsessed clique. The revolution imagined and imposed by this current lot has involved fewer torchlight parades, but has been every bit as grandiose and almost as fatuous. To begin with, it was quite amusing to have a brand-new secular religion, based on a John Lennon song, imposed from above and enforced by legal statutes. The new value-free language that went with it was a bit of a laugh, too. Now the joke is on us and on our children and on their children. We’re ruined, apparently, and we’ve cashed in our freedoms to boot.
But I know I must be careful. I try not to get carried away and let my perceptions be shaped by my beliefs, instead of vice versa: that way madness lies. It isn’t easy if those beliefs are coloured with hatred and vivid with spiralling fantasies of violent retribution. I mostly fail. But I try.
One of the ways I try to remain level headed and objective is to cease complaining about the government. I’m sick and tired of hearing myself complaining. Everyone I know, virtually, complains to one another in private, especially about the absurdity of political correctness. But in public, it’s as though we’re all paralysed with moral uncertainty. What gentle people and modest people we English must be, to be thrown into submissive confusion by the lectures of a few priestly half-witted politicians about how we must treat each other — especially our guests from overseas! If theirs was a gamble that we’d swallow multiculturalism because the English culture of deference is far from dead, it was a shrewd one.
But many of their crucial lies and fake statistics have now been stripped away, fortunately, and the evidence of our own eyes is enough to realise what fools we’ve been. We no longer need to say anything. Most people in Britain have only got to look around them to see whether unbridled capitalism plus social engineering equals Utopia.
So now when the same old conversation crops up, I keep quiet. I keep quiet in case my hatred of the political class has made me mentally ill. I keep quiet due to natural modesty reasserting itself. And I keep quiet because if I’m not mad, sweet heaven, and things are as wrong as they look to me, then I must save my breath for the long and bitter struggle ahead.
Frankly, I don’t know whether my hatred is entirely justified. Perhaps I am simply wearing it like a comfortable old cardigan. And there is, of course, a further consideration to be made about whether hatred can ever be justified. Certainly it is always self defeating in the long run. But most of the time my hate makes me feel fully alive because I know that here, at last, is a certain evil against which the shedding of my blood would be gloriously justified. But, like I say, I don’t talk about it any more. I’m saving my breath.
‘How much, Jim?’ I said. ‘Will a fiver be enough?’ ‘Every little helps, my old son,’ he beamed, snatching it from between my fingers.