Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Memories are good. History can teach us. Nostalgia is giving up. Standing still is going backwards.

In Part 1 I wrote that a few days ago I watched a YouTube link that had been sent to me by a friend. It was a wonderfully thought-provoking short “presentation” called ShiftHappens. It took a while to put my thoughts in order. There were lots of wonderful statistics – numbers to make your eyes water.

We have all read about the so-called dumbing-down of the populace and the improvement of exam results by reducing the educational standards as well as the introduction of “easier” subjects.

Lets just remind ourselves of some statistics about the UK in:

1900

That time when the United Kingdom (Great Britain as it was called) was

Richest in the world

Largest military

Centre of world business and finance

Strongest educational system

World centre of innovation and invention

Currency the world standard of value

Highest standard of living

So, 100 and a bit years later, where are we?:

Pretending that we have some of those same parameters. But, we have stood still so long, we have disappeared backwards.

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Somewhere we lost the plot.

Richest in the world – no – not by a long way.

Largest military – no – but we like to think ourselves successful exporters of munitions and armaments.

Centre of world business and finance – fighting third maybe.

Strongest educational system – no – education is not seen as desirable as it is not valued. We have taught our children that brightness and winning is bad. Mediocrity is desirable. Even in the darkest days of the Soviet Union, education and success were honoured and rewarded in an otherwise egalitarian society. Even our teachers don’t want to compete, how can they teach the children to do it. 98% of kids in school want to do well. 38% like going to school. Kids live in a competitive electronic world. No technophobes there. Teachers live in a technophobe world trying their best not to be measured and competitive. Dichotomy here.

World centre of innovation and invention – still some good ideas, but please take it abroad to develop, manufacture and be successful. Success in any field breeds jealousy. Tabloids, that unique invention thrive on it. If it’s a gain, it must be ill-gotten.

Currency the world standard of value – probably closest to still being true, but 20 more years will see Rouble, Yuan and Rupee joining the merry throng of Dollar, Euro, Yen, …. But must keep the pound, nostalgia dictates. That and the Big 4 banks conversion billions that help to keep the treasury afloat.

Highest standard of living – flippantly, a joke. Live and work internationally as I do and you quickly see a country that cannot maintain its transport infrastructure, where its health service compares unfavourably with most Second World countries’ and where by any measure the old, the weak and the deserving are treated as pariahs, while being told how important they are.

It took 100 years to get here, but the climb back would be hard enough even if we had no competition.

Memories are good. History can teach us. Nostalgia is giving up. Standing still is going backwards.

Memories are good – we remember how it was, half the world map that hung in every classroom was red. We were proud. We stood for the national anthem and were proud.

History can teach us – it taught us then to be proud and that hard and tough won. It still teaches that grit and determination wins.

Nostalgia is giving up – it is the reverse of the memory coin. It dreams to back there, not working hard to stay ahead, or even to claw back to the success level of yesterday.

By rahul