A New Britain?

Never mind, now we can all embrace ourselves with a Churchillian spirit – there is a war on again,  against terrorism, against the outside.  And the British do war so well, particularly nowadays. The British do very well selling arms. The Saudis love it; the Yemenis just get bombed.  The Afghans, Libyans, and Iraqis have to flee from British military intervention.  And the refugees Britain created are being saved by Greeks and Italians, as they flee to the EU across the sea.  So that’s okay then, it’s not a British problem. The British no longer take refugees.
Then the British do have their new Normandy, their Calais.  Their refugees, including children and women, with every right of entry to the UK, are waiting for British bureaucracy and disappearing justice.  It takes forever, because the British don’t believe in human rights any more, Theresa May wants Britain to leave the EU convention on human rights which enshrines the UN convention on human rights. So the children and women in Calais are being abducted by human traffickers, and the men die under lorries, as the English donate their money to animal charities.  It’s a French problem. It’s not on British soil.
Am I just suffering from a 50’s déjà vu? Then where is there a colloquium in the UK? Where is there a free press?
I pick up a Standard newspaper, it is all narrow-minded chauvinist rubbish, trivia, celebrity lives, and not a word about the rest of the world.  Then so are most newspapers in the UK,  and so is the BBC and British media in prime time television coverage,  its so-called news. The British don’t get to know much about what’s going on, but, more importantly,  we British don’t seem to want to know much, except about ourselves, and in the best possible light, which,  to be honest,  keeps us in a sublime darkness. It’s all very Anglo-Saxon I am told by my European friends, and I can’t disagree. Candide lives on in the British individual, informed by all possible beliefs, sparkling and open, without reason or experience, accrediting stupidity or naivety. Then Britain is a young country after all in many ways. It was a colonial power; it never learnt to share. It never learnt its true history. It never left behind monarchy or imperialism.
This new English world is the worst of all possible worlds, both Fahrenheit 451 and a new capitalist 1984.  There is no need to burn books; no-one reads dangerous books anyway. We read what we like; we read what makes us feel good. The Internet is good, intellectuals are bad. The world can go on in its own crazy way. We are always British, so we make our own truth, and live by it. And British brains, they turn to pulp. Or quietly leave.

About Paul Gallagher

I was a script consultant on feature films including, 'The Bird Catcher' [2017], ‘Starred Up’ [2013] and ‘Desiree [2016]. My company Twelvechairsfilms.com is developing a number of film projects and we are looking for new ideas , Check out the site,I've had many short stories, poems, and articles published, and a book '‘Dancing In the Waves'’ [Mer 1998]. For ten years I was editor of ‘Screenwriter magazine.I have run European writing workshops and lead the MA Screenwriting programme at Birkbeck College,, London University. I founded and am on the board of Euroscript, the UK's premier independent script training company. My full profile is on www.paulgallagher.eu

6 Responses to “A New Britain?”

  1. There are many sentences in this very good piece where you can substitute the United States for Britain. The disease that infects your country is at work in mine and doubtless elsewhere. Mr. Gallagher continue to champion the cause for common sense and everyday civility and especially how causes have effects.

    1. Tell it how it is Paul. I wish it were just a British problem. AfD, Pergida, liken refugees to snakes and compost heaps, the right will make the running in next year’s elections in France and Germany. No one asks what Mrs Merkel was supposed to do last January. Leave the refugees to freeze to death in Greece and the Balkans presumably – or as you put it, go for the English solution.

      1. Thanks Clive, I know it is not just a British problem, but part of the British problem is that the British don’t know this, and most don’t even see that they have a problem !

    2. Thanks Tim, I know the US shares a lot of the same problems, but I doubt they will elect Trump.

  2. It’s awful, but remember there are people who are trying to make a difference, though perhaps not many enough.

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