The collapse of England’s traditions and values had been marked by a series of increasingly grotesque milestones: the MBEs for the Beatles back in Harold Wilson’s day (John Lennon being both a supporter of the IRA and probably the English-speaking world’s premier icon for the drug culture), the Knighthood for Mick Jagger of notably dissolute and selfish life (something Shakespeare never received), the ad 2000 military tattoo dissolving into the pacifist slop “Where have all the flowers gone,” the final ceremony of “Beating Retreat” boycotted by the Queen in a typically ineffectual or possibly imaginary Royal Protest, the official announcement that Britain can no longer defend itself and is likely to lose another 20,000 men from its already desperately overstretched armed forces, as well as one or both of its projected new aircraft-carriers (although billions have been spent on them already) are a few others. A bishop offers homosexuals counseling and in interviewed by the police for having thereby both committed a hate crime and failing to celebrate diversity. Basil Brush, a cartoon fox-puppet on children’s television, is similarly interviewed and cautioned for having made a joke about gypsies.
The phrase “the lunatics are in charge of the asylum” has been said so many times that it has virtually lost all its force. So has the phrase “political correctness gone mad,” which, by attributing what has happened to madness, falsely invests it with a kind of innocence (madmen, after all, know not what they do). It fact, when we are seeing is the massive working out of a Gramscian project to alter the entire national character (the British are quite good at the sort of thing. Ever wonder when happened to the Picts?) and create, following Bukharin’s prescription to the Bolsheviks, a type of man and women — a Homo Britannicus — whose psychology is actually moulded by the State into different.
David Cameron’s and William Clegg’s card-house Conservative-Liberal-Democrat government seems little different in this respect from the years of New Labour wrecking which proceeded it. Cameron has a prettier wife than his predecessor Gordon Brown, and gives some indication of being at least dimly aware that in the long run you can’t spend money you don’t have — thus leaving the country more and more undefended every day — but the improvement, if improvement it is, seems to stop there.
The latest milestone in Britain’s government-sponsored deliquium is a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the life of Alexander McQueen, a frock designer who committed suicide by hanging himself. He had made a great deal of money and like many degenerates, he was fascinated by skulls.
St. Paul Cathedral! This, where a procession of fashion-freaks and coke-snorters trooped, had previously seen the funerals of, among others, Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill. It was the site of the Jubliee celebrations for Queen Victoria and services marking the end of the first and second world wars. At its building it had both shown Britain’s architectural genius to the world and shown its recovery from the great fire which had just burnt the heart out of London and nearly ended the British Empire before it properly started.
In the bombing of London in 1940 its dome, even more than Westminster Abbey, photographed apparently standing alone in a sea of fire as the bombs fell, was a tangible reminder that what the Poles called “last hope island” was the last hope in Europe of not merely civilization but what Churchill called “Christian civilization,” and that though it was standing alone, it stood yet.
Some of those buried there had their share of human failings, but almost all had a virtual tangible quality of greatness. With the possible exception of Westminster Abbey it is the most numinous church in Britain. We have certainly come a long way since suicides were buried in unconsecrated ground, at night, with a stake in them. Suicide is still however, officially regarded in the Christian church as a great sin and an insult to God, throwing His gift of life back in His face.
Even the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, in whose case one is generally very hard put to find any definite belief in anything at all, said a couple of years ago that there could be no compromise on the matter. Yes, believe it or not, Williams actually went as far as to make a definite pronouncement, stating “Do I have a right to die? Religious believers answer for themselves that they do not. For a believer to say: ‘The time could come when I find myself in a situation that has no meaning, and I reserve the right to end my life in such a situation,’ would be to say that there is some aspect of human life where God cannot break through. It would be to say that when I as an individual can no longer give meaning to my life, it has no value, and human dignity is best served by ending it.”
Presumably, however, money in an effective lubricant.
The choice of St. Paul’s for this occasion seems to have been made to show the voting proletariat that the Cameron-Clegg Government can match the Blair-Brown Government in dumbing down Britain into a swamp of dimness, superficiality and triviality of thought and feeling, in which rubbish, or at best ephemeral entertainment, is exalted to the status of a great spiritual event.
It is hard to see the great institutions of a state with a proud history and culture, at present engaged in two difficult wars, perverted to such an end without thinking of last things. I don’t believe societies have souls, but if they did, this would be an indication of the need for a new one.