There are things in life that your ‘average bloke in the street’, so we are constantly reminded, is supposed to consider morally unacceptable. They range from wife beating to socialism, and from insulting Princess Diana (The Queen of our hearts) to supporting Arsenal. Elements of human nature, both intentional or unavoidable, that don’t bode well to the English sense of fair play. Essentially, just not Cricket.
I don’t know what this latest round of industrial action is about, and I don’t really care either. All I can see is some bloke that looks like a character from a gritty Ken Loach film about football violence, providing The Daily Mail’s aspiring middle class readership with yet more reason to hate it’s own kind. I am of course talking about Bob Crow, an imposing figure I saw handing out leaflets on his own outside Liverpool Street station sometime last year. And I tell you what, I wouldn’t mess either.
The tabloids pine for the Britain of yesteryear, and will miss no opportunity to point out aspects of our culture that are being taken from us. However, here we have a good old fashioned 1970s union leader doing his level best to embarrass the government and he’s seen as the anti Christ. Surely we should be celebrating such a display of solid working class bravado against the establishment? Is this not what being British is all about?
Essentially why they are striking is irrelevant, the fact is that they can because they’ve got their shit together and have organised themselves in such a fashion as to present a single voice that is impossible to ignore. The reasons will be twisted out of all proportion as greed or laziness or whatever but ultimately it’s of little consequence. If they think they’re getting a rough deal then they have every right to do something about it, and that is a right of their own making and has nothing to do with the rest of us.
You could accuse me of over romanticising the situation, but the fact is that there’s a little more at stake here than house prices, the latest iPod and all the rest of the meaningless shit that we preoccupy our lives with. It’s about respect, decency, and having some input into what effects the outcome of ones life. But most importantly, it’s about having a say, and in era of compliant politics where things are run for us while we are spoon fed sound bites, having a say is more important than ever. Having, a say.
An example of my point, is that all of the comments that I have read left by people online have been about personal inconvenience. A women moaning because she had to purchase additional toiletries for the overnight stay round a friends house, a man complaining that his son was late for a lecture, and the list goes on and on. Examples not of the inconvenience of The Underground not working, but of the pathetic and shallow nature of peoples lives. Quite how we’ve arrived at the point where our famous humour and resilience has been overshadowed by self centered spite is beyond me. This backs up my recent comments about us becoming a nation of self interested bores capable of little more than mindless banter. We have to ask ourselves what would have happened if our forefathers took this attitude on the morning of the Normandy landings, “Sarge, I think I’ll give it a miss today if that’s all right with you, can’t being doing with all this war business, it’s just like, just so not me, you know?”
I found myself walking from Blackfriars to work the other week because of the strike, and fantastic it was too. A chance to explore new parts of the city, the ins and outs of Holborn and Soho, real pubs, cool shops and quiet space. Now I do it every morning. Walk to work and you’ll realise again why you live in London. I’ll miss The Underground, it’s history, the staff, the old green tiles and crumbling tunnels. I won’t however, miss all those pasty faced passengers who gorp into the inane Metro every morning like a bunch of dribbling stoned sheep.
Industrial action is all any of you deserve