Why Can't We Keep Our History?
On social media the people of middle Britain seethe with indignation,
as rumours of their threatened culture are raised with increased regularity.
Every day brings a new threat as some precious corner of culture,
a joke or a traditional pantomime,
a black faced minstrel, once so popular,
is told to shut up shop and reform.
Statues destroyed or herded into museums and store rooms around the nation,
As our embarrassing past is hidden away and forgotten,
Rusting like the old factories and steelworks,
Buried under old slag and modern landscaping.
Why can’t we keep our history?
Surely everyone knows Britain got rich on trade,
the slave trade and its associated sugar and cotton industries,
on the backs of all of our workers in the industrial revolution,
and went on to colonize and exploit large parts of the world,
so did all the European Powers.
That’s our history!
Good things came out of it all, as well as the bad.
History can’t be changed once it has happened,
it got us where we are today,
with advantages that should be used well and not squandered.
You ask us to put it away out of sight?
Surely that’s out of mind as well?
What questions will the tourist ask in future,
or the school child when there’s no evidence left?
Most of these cultural threats probably are not true,
but we just can’t be sure, so we complain and worry,
and feel concerned and even angry.
Can anyone assure us that our culture is not under threat please?
Somebody in the BBC has decided?
A journalist has suggested?
An unelected committee has come up with a plan!
Educated opinion has decided!
Who are they exactly?
Are they real people or are they youngsters at half our age?
Or Corporate Opinion?
Is it possible for a Corporation to have an opinion,
or is it just a decision in accordance with marketing predictions,
or a perceived damage limitation, playing safe?
Does it know much about morality?
Does it have taste or understand anything about the arts or history, or even comedy?
Perhaps we should have a jury of ordinary citizens,
balanced by all means in race, religion, nationality or ethnicity, to decide these matters,
but why should someone who spent more than half their life in Poland or Somalia,
or Rumania or Syria, or anywhere, decide what of British history or heritage, culture or comedy, is acceptable?
What is political correctness?
Perhaps it is when people can’t say what they are thinking for fear of being accused of being incorrect.
Perhaps it is giving up your own opinion to please people who want to superimpose their own opinions.
It could be a means of suppressing opinion, or a form of bullying.
It could in itself be undemocratic, a limitation on free speech.