There are times when our own national short-sightedness, self interest and often patent stupidity come to the fore. Now is such a time.
Let’s start with the recognition that COVID-19 has played havoc with just about every governmental strategy that pre-dated the pandemic. With no precedents, contradictory scientific advice based upon flawed evidence or interpretation it is doubtful any government could have got the response right. Mistakes galore have been made, but we should remember that government is just as human as the rest of us - flawed since time began. What is unforgivable in the present climate is the gratuitous taking advantage by certain pressure groups of a government distracted by the impacts of a pandemic upon both social and economic structures, those groups hugely and freely infiltrated by anarchic and mindless ‘rent-a-thug’ elements. Nobody denies the right to peaceful protest but let us be in no doubt that the very bedrock of a democratic society is its acceptance and compliance with the rule of law. If you don’t like the law then campaign to change it - that’s another tenet of the democratic society - if you don’t like the government, vote for a different one - yet another tenet of free democratic rule - if you believe justice is not being delivered then campaign to change it. But do all of these things peaceably and within the essential behaviours of democratic society.
Generational change also changes behaviours, values and what Mr Churchill’s grandson termed ‘Britain’s moral compass’. Life and behaviour now is a world away from what it used to be 50 or 60 years ago. Some of that wasn’t so good but there was a general understanding that the authority of institutions and governments were there for the greater benefit of the majority. Now we have a free-for-all approach where everybody’s peccadillo’s are subjected to mob scrutiny by a rapacious media and particular social groupings that believe their cause is greater than any other. Government has been reduced to spectatorship and authoritative institutions such as the universities and the Church have fallen into such a state of moral confusion that they offer no meaningful responses to popular outcry's.
Let us also be in no doubt that if current mob behaviours continue as they are, then we will progressively ruin the nation that has taken a thousand years to reach where it presently is. Whether we like it or not, that thousand years have been the very roots and branches of a maturing civilisation that has made this country what it is today. Those thousand years were turbulent, bloody, unjust and in many ways experimental but bit by bit it evolved into the greatest and freest democracy the world has ever seen. And we are on the cusp of throwing it all away. Our present culture does not acknowledge that our history is the very DNA of our nation state, and whilst much in times past wouldn’t pass the obsessive scrutinies of current cultural norms, they were, in their day, the norms and beliefs of the time. Can we pour blame upon them for doing what they thought was right ? Apparently, mob rule believes you can blame everyone for everything it doesn’t like or agree with - blaming yourself is seemingly not a fashionable option. And if you are a subscriber to mob rule then perhaps you should take a leaf out of the history books and compare things that happened before under mob rule with what is becoming possible now. The outcome is not pretty and, believe it or not, the outcome will give no benefit to those who believe they have genuine grievances. Only the self-fulfilling mob will claim victory.
Mr Churchill’s grandson is not far off the mark. We have, as a nation, lost our moral compass, possibly as a result of a sweeping pandemic diverting our attention, but underlying that we have a society that errs toward blame and the diversion of responsibility and accountability upon others, never upon ourselves. If we are to avoid ruination, then we must hope that the leaders of those groups who seek change recognise the dangers of inviting into their midst, the destroyers, the Goths and Vandals that sacked Rome - the anarchists who believe in nothing but destruction.