FIVE DECADES OF LIBERALISM AND PAYING THE PRICE – Rooting through some very old paperwork stored in a box, tucked away in the deep recesses of the attic I come across an old Rent Book my parents had way back in 1967.
What on earth it was doing among all the papers I had no idea but when I read the back of the Church Army Housing rent book I gasped in horror to see in bold type ‘No Blacks’.
The rent book was certainly a piece of history but I felt that if any liberal were to lay their eyes on such an object there could be a rise in cases of heart attacks and no doubt followed closely by a ritual burning by the politically correct brigade.
As a child I certainly couldn’t remember there being any racial issues although after questioning my mother over the rent book she openly regaled a history lesson where I was to learn that black people were frowned upon and being gay was in fact illegal.
Of course this was also an era when you couldn’t buy a pint of milk on a Sunday for all the shops were closed due to the Church forbidding trade on the day of rest. Indeed look further and come 10:30pm the landlord at your local pub would be calling time and showing you the door.
Back in those days going to the toilet was an expedition to the bottom of the garden, computers were widely unheard of and TV was the usual affair of the BBC in drab shades of black and white.
By the mid-1960’s Britain began its radical transformation and its citizens began their indoctrination of commercialism and more notably liberalism; it was after all the swinging sixties and Britain was in the midst of a sexual revolution where almost everything and anything was being considered acceptable.
We certainly did witness liberalism in every facet of our lives but many now look back and consider such to be a permissiveness designed to set us free, but instead made us reckless, inconsiderate, selfish, undisciplined and above all lazy.
In 1964 the Labour Party, under the leadership of Harold Wilson, ended no less than 13 years of Conservative rule unseating the then current Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who was Prime Minister for little less than a year from October 1963 to October 1964.
The then landslide Labour victory was seen almost as a democratic coup d’etat as citizens dreamed of being free from the constraints imposed upon them by a very conservative government.
Harold Wilson certainly had a distinct advantage over Sir Alec Douglas-Home, for here was an Old Etonian who rose through the ranks of the ruling classes; whereas Harold Wilson boasted of being a ‘modern’ man who used the virtues of his modest grammar school background in order to present himself as the champion of the people, a similar and highly successful ploy used by Tony Blair.
Looking back to Tony Blair’s time in office it is clear to see what Harold Wilson had achieved through careful media spin was to be used time and time again to great effectiveness, for like Harold Wilson, Tony Blair managed several terms in office.
Harold Wilson certainly had high aspirations for this was a man that wanted to drag Britain, kicking and screaming if necessary, into a modern age of technology; his dreams consisted of Britain becoming the technological superpower.
Harold Wilson dreams never came to fruition despite being Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970, unseated by Edward Heath’s Conservative Party (1970 – 1974) and then regaining power from 1974 to 1976. However, his infatuation with technology certainly had an influence on the public and we never looked back.
The nation certainly prospered, or at least that’s the way it appeared. A greater number of families began owning cars, televisions and other household gadgets.
In the movement for more liberalisation and a drive for modernity we saw the Government tear down Victorian terrace houses and replace them with new motorways and prefabricated tower blocks; living units that would later been seen as directly attributed to the loss of some of Britain’s greatest architecture.
As tower blocks rose from the ashes of our cultural destruction, Britain started to look more like the Eastern Block of despair and servitude rather than a world class modern landscape which the planners had envisioned.
Despite the obvious failings, the new liberals of the mid-1960s considered all such forward movement into modernisation a good thing and never really considered the economic or social issues that would follow just a few decades later.
The change didn’t just appear within the landscape of Britain but rather on the faces of each and every British citizen as liberal policies forged ahead. In 1965 Anthony Crosland was infamously quoted as telling his wife that he would tear down every f****** grammar school and replace them with comprehensive schools if it was the last thing he did.
It was shortly after, that his friend Roy Jenkins became Home Secretary and set about reforming legislation that would ease homosexuality, abortion and divorce; this era became known as the liberal move to make Britain a permissive society; Roy Jenkins of course, preferred the connotation as greater moral liberalism.
Under the Labour Government liberalism took on a whole new meaning in that those in power thought they knew best and began ignoring public opinion.
The last public hanging occurred on August 13 1964 in which two convicted murderers, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans were simultaneously hanged for murdering a van driver in Cumberland.
One year on and the Government, against public opinion, suspended the use of the death penalty for a period of five years and in 1969 it was abolished completely.
Public opinion at the time denoted that just 23% of the British public wanted to see the death penalty being abolished; the figure for keeping the death penalty has never fallen below 60% and even in 2014 it is likely that if the public were given a choice it would result in the reinstatement of the death penalty, although such a penalty is likely to be reserved only for the most heinous of crimes; such as murdering a child.
The ultimate goal of Tony Blair’s Labour Party reflected the aspirations of the Labour Party in the 1960’s in which it wanted to create a Britain full of youthful and classless people all working together in a utopia of cultural communities. It failed in the 1960s and despite humanities greater understanding of one another it is failing today in 2014.
Political correctness was, and is, nothing short of a tool designed by Government to be used to control what citizens say and indeed do. Like it or not the Government insisted that the public needed to be improved if a better world was to emerge.
The very notions of building a liberal nation where its citizens are tolerant is a high commendable ideology but it is neither practical or within the realms of reality.
In 2014, we live in a liberal society were our liberalism is attacked; that is our multicultural heritage has not produced the multicultural cohesive society that the liberals dreamed of. We talk of acceptance and yet some, most notably the Muslims, refuse to accept the liberal ideologies of past and present Governments.
Taking homosexuality as just one example; whilst most British citizens are more than happy to allow people to live their lives as they choose the Muslim quarter, or at least the fundamentalists, refuse to accept such an ideology. Indeed when you look at Muslim countries it is clear to see that Sharia law is not about to be abandoned and replaced with more liberal laws; such a notion to a Muslim is and will remain heresy.
It is unquestionable that we would all like to live together in peace and prosperity but there is a reason borders exist and these are primarily designed to keep apart those with such opposing views that attempting to change such would lead to open conflict.
In the modern world it is obvious that these conflicts continue to rage with one side telling a story of oppression by attempting to ram down their throats liberal ideas and invading their lands whilst the other attempts to take on the noble and even moral cause of bringing about change – something that is neither invited, welcomed nor wanted.
One thing remains clear and that is despite our so-called wisdom, liberalism and tolerance, we have created a broken society.
Discipline, law and order, social harmony and dare we mention peace have been laid to rest with many other values of a bygone era. We may be more liberal and tolerant as a society but it is unlikely anyone could attest or atone to the liberal ideology that we are a cohesive society and as we march into the future many now believe that society will become far worse off because of our attempt to integrate others and indeed have invaded lands in order to force upon other cultures our growing liberal ideologies.