Very occasionally I wake up and suspect that it must all be a dream. Or at least a mass-perpetrated fiction, designed so an outside world can observe with curiosity at how an individual reacts as reality around him descends into the absurd.
I had a similar moment today, after having read this. It’s not so much the climb-down, which is welcome enough, even if it is just a tinkering at the edges that doesn’t really engage with the central objection that the whole piece of legislation stinks, and merely reinforces the state-sponsored suspicion of adults (particularly men) and strangers (particularly men).
No, what leaves me genuinely perplexed is that anybody ever came up with such rubbish in the first place. And more, that others then went about boldly defending it, as if it was perfectly rational and self-evidently good. In essence, I just don’t understand how something so obviously opposed to common sense, so evidently counter-productive, so clearly alienating and pernicious to society as a whole, could ever have been dreamt up, written down, agreed upon, published, briefed about, and then publicly defended. And this by a group of people who, one imagines, represent the most talented and capable among us. Evidently I am not alone in this thinking; the retreat was hardly voluntary.
Which had me thinking that the same is true about a whole host of other issues. Such as the useful idiots on the local councils who, in the name of social harmony, come up with names like ‘Winterval’ and ‘Winter Light Night‘ at Christmas time. Or the government advisers who think children should be taught about sex at 5 years old, or that condoms should be given to schoolboys, or that senior school girls should be given abortion advice without their parents knowledge. Or the strange clique that think the family is an outdated and oppressive institution, that if a victim perceives a crime to be racist then it must necessarily be so, that it is a woman’s right to choose prostitution and it is chauvinistic and oppressive not to let her do so, or that a mother should be CRB cleared to accompany her own child to school.
It’s also dafter things, not as serious, but equally as vexing, like the head teachers who ban parents from photographing or videoing their child’s first nativity play, or the other head teachers who ban competition on sports day, or the other head teachers that suggest all Enid Blyton books be removed from the library because of their racist content. It’s the policemen warned not to use the term ‘nitty-gritty’ because of its slavery-era racist implications, and it’s the constantly shifting fashions of the PC brigade so that you never know when you’re being offensive or not (is it elderly or aged? crippled or disabled? gypsy or traveller?).
The people who get uppity about these things, who hold these views, no doubt exist. Indeed, I have, on occasion, met them. What confuses me is that they exist not as a lunatic fringe, but often right at the very heart of things, their hands firmly on the levers of power, their whispers floating straight into the ears of those who legislate our lives and rule over us.
Why this is so, I have no idea. Will it ever change? Probably not. Is this all a mass fiction? Chance would be a fine thing.