Having read an interesting piece by Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi, it prompted a wider thought or two about our Western way of Life's moral compass. Mr Sacks did not once mention Judaism or Israel in his editorial but focused his considerable intellect upon how our society - and those of other Western states - had shifted, particularly in the millennial years, to become one of 'I' overwhelming 'We' in the moral stakes of societal order.
This blog has been on this subject before and it is a well trodden path by many commentators, yet despite this awareness and consciousness of the dangers it presents there has been little in the way of any government attempt to reverse this trend. Perhaps the first thing to acknowledge is that whilst government can facilitate change, the root of change has to be nurtured by the society, made up of all its diverse communities, and driven from a grass-roots desire to rectify the imbalance. I suspect that part of this society shift toward self-interest and 'Me'ism' has been driven not just by the explosion of social media platforms in these millennial years but also by a desire amongst certain sections of the population to rebel against orthodoxy and communal (for which, read: societal obligations) ways of doing things. 'Be yourself' has been a mantra this last couple of decades and within that strap-line there is some merit - we should not always submit to the rule of orthodoxy and refrain from expressing ourselves. Yet like much that constructs our lives, the pendulum swings too far and we have ended up with a selfish, uni-directional opinion of ourselves and what we expect from life. Regrettably that life style only exists in any sort of perpetuity in a fictional Utopia.
The Western way of life - for want of any other expression to sum up our chosen way - does require some order and discipline. If left to free expression in all things all the time then we will bring about the anarchic state where nobody abides by any rules or parameters of behaviour. Anything will go. To achieve a balance between free expression - which this blog supports - and a framework of order and discipline - which this blog also supports - then there have to be rules. The very essence of the Rule of Law is that the society is wise enough to develop and evolve rules and boundaries which govern our conduct and behaviours as a society - it attempts to put a framework for living which, if widely adopted, can create society's that are open, free, expressive and yet bounded by the will of the many. Now the will of the many is a dangerous thing in its own right but here we need such a concept at work to ensure that our society becomes more 'We' oriented and limits the spread of 'I'ism'. The path toward anarchy is not attractive and we should all strive to create something that is better for all.
The Labour Party is in deep doggy-doo. Manipulated by ambitious left-wingers and led by the weak and misinformed, it is on a path to nowhere. In like manner, the Conservative Party is equally riven by weak leadership, disagreement and divided outlooks and, on present form, is also heading nowhere. So where does that leave us, the unfortunate electorate ? Both the main political establishments have continuously shot themselves in the foot and failed to even understand that they have actually done so. Neither represent the governance we need nor desire. So who do we vote for, what policies are we looking for and who or what might be the spur toward bringing about some radical political reform in this country ? There has been much muttering in the shires about new party's led by disaffected rebels from the establishment but they have not yet revealed whether or not they are going to make a substantive play for our votes. And time is getting short for them to do so, or indeed declare what they stand for.
And running with a similar theme, the PM declares that she won't compromise on her Brexit plan - the Chequers Plan that would make us half-in and half-out of the EU - and that the EU will be best advised to negotiate to accept that. What we are perhaps not hearing from her are the details of additional concessions that she will no doubt make in return for such an acceptance.
And to wrap up, Bristling Brock heartily endorses the re-publication of Eric Partridge's 'Dictionary of Historical Slang' - last printed in 1937 - but which reveals a cornucopia of beautifully crafted words that add wonderful richness to our language. For publishers who'd scorn such an adventure, let us describe them as 'hornswogglers' !