I know it’s a cliché but where are we being herded with our lives? I don’t recall, in my lifetime at any rate, any one of our so called leaders showing any form of vision. If anything there has been a singular lack of pro-action and a hell of a lot of reaction. I cannot speak for America or Europe nor for any other country in the world but where have all the British visionary’s gone?
Once railway lines crossed linked Britain; it was the best of ways not only to travel but also to carry and deliver goods. The roads were empty of Lorries leaving them free for cars. Then Richard Beeching closed down all the branch lines. There are places where you can still see where the railways once ran, conspicuous by the steep banks that straddle the roads that have replaced the tracks. This illustrates the failure of vision from those we elect to govern our country. It was a damning statement of gross stupidity then and remains so to this day. The reason behind the thinking was as simple as suicide but so much easier to perform. The regressive government(s) wanted to save money. This they did but in so doing cost the livelihoods of 67,000 British Rail workers. Britain lost 2,128 stations and a multitude of branch lines.
Here we Brits are in the 21st century scratching our heads at ways to protect the environment when all could have been so easily done had the railway lines still existed. Even now this island nation would be well served were we to re-build the lines that once linked village to town to city. As a group of nations living in close proximity to each other the idea of having a web of railway tracks spanning the countryside may seem paradoxically unappealing but also tempting.
Why did we remove such a glorious and practical method of transport? We thought we should modernise, keep up with America and Europe but we are neither American nor European we are British and by that I mean of Briton, the ancient isles that the Roman’s named when the conquered us. We are very distinctly a set of island nations: small in miles but still able to trade with our American and European cousins without having to emulate them to our detriment.
And what ever happened to the Commonwealth? It is still a vibrant collection of nations united by one common cause; the betterment of its citizens. Why on earth did we not, having got rid of the vile Empire, engage more closely with the likes of India, Australia and Canada? We have/had a shared history that is probably as great if not greater than the one we have with the United States.
All of this comes from that single lack of foresight.
I don’t remember Clement Attlee. He was a little before my time but did Macmillan have an image of how Britain should be after the war? Perhaps but if he did he didn’t realise it. Neither did Wilson or Heath, not even that imperial war galleon who revitalised our economy, Margaret Thatcher. What did that woman ever do for Britain? Well, some might say, she saved the economy and made us wealthy again. Did she though? Did she make the Scott’s and Welsh wealthy? No, she did not. Did she rescue the North of England from the doldrums it had slipped into? No, she did not. What she did was make people, the likes of me, who live in the privileged South, South East comfortable. That isn’t vision that is self-proclaiming, self-indulgent, self- preservation. And what of Blair and his current offspring Cameron, Clegg and Co.? Well, exactly, what of them? Here we are again with not two pennies to rub together
Where are the artisans and apprentices? Where are the craftsmen and tradesmen? Gone like so many others as we have chased modernity, of which I am very grateful to in many aspects, without having the insight to notice not all that is modern is good.
all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/russellduffy -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?