For the attention of Mr W. Rider-Hawes, Editor of Madazine
Having tried unsuccessfully to get my views published by any one of the quality newspapers or periodicals, I am reduced to contacting you, more in hope than expectation that my comments will reach at least a few readers. No doubt some of them will share my exasperation at the fact that so much has gone wrong in Britain. I give below some examples:
• We have quangos and regulatory bodies headed by people who avoid responsibility by asserting that they cannot comment on individual cases. The obvious reason is that they were put in place on the ‘jobs for boys’ basis and never had any intention of being taken to task in respect of their supposed duties.
• What is amiss with our education system? Why are we repeatedly found at or near the bottom of the table of broadly comparable countries when it comes to literacy and numeracy? And why are we permitting vast numbers of people to study totally pointless subjects at our universities? No wonder so many of them can’t find work.
• Why are we allowing apparently unlimited net immigration at the same time as our indigenous people are breeding like rabbits, with the result that we are now close to having standing room only in the land? This is intolerable and something should be done about it.
• We are often told by our politicians that we are among the richest countries in the world. This is rubbish. Our national debt is already sky high and is increasing by leaps and bounds, thanks to the government’s failure to get the promised grip on our annual deficit. And why is it that this ‘rich’ country of ours seems to exist in a state of permanent crisis? During the last week I have heard that the National Health Service is on its last legs, that the lights are likely to go out very soon and that virtually every other country in Europe has, in terms of daily consumption, at least twenty times as much gas in stock as we have.
• Clearly the less well informed among us are being misled – and not only by politicos. The media play their part. I will not go into what is heaped upon us by television and newspapers. Radio alone will illustrate my point. The broadcasters concerned tolerate very sloppy standards. In the last couple of weeks I have heard a plethora of grammatical, syntactical and statistical errors while listening to what is widely regarded as a flagship radio station.
• Radio transmissions are also responsible for a great deal of illness in the land. Why? Because they are constantly talking about diseases. If one were to listen to the station I referred to above for a while day, one would hear the most dreaded medical conditions mentioned time and again. I maintain that listening to Radio X can seriously damage one’s health.
• Why, in this supposedly enlightened age, are we choking in traffic? When trying to get around my hometown on foot, I cannot cross the narrowest alley without having to wait for at least one car to drive into or out of it. We should be getting masses of people onto the existing railway system instead of contemplating an absurdly expensive high-speed line which will benefit only a handful of expense-account junketers.
• Still on the subject of walking, I recently decided to take my daily stroll in a small woodland glade near my home. It took me only three weeks to abandon the minor pleasure of that outing. Why? Because I tired of the need to take with me a shopping bag which I filled with litter each day. Incidentally, many of my other walks are ruined by people bawling into mobile phones.
• The last item above brings me to noise in general. Why do so many people seem to revel in it? For example, some of my neighbours have visitors who leave late at night, spend about ten minutes shouting their goodbyes, then add to the cacophony by tooting car horns as they finally depart. And why do people insist on making such a din with their car doors? If one puts any door of almost any vehicle within an inch or two of closing then presses it gently, it shuts with a click. So why the proprietorial slam that seems to state ‘this is my car’, as though the owner has some reason to be proud of possessing what millions of other people have?
The points I have raised here do not cover everything I have in mind with respect to what is amiss in our country, but I am conscious of the need to be brief.
In conclusion let me say that if I were able to take charge of our affairs for a while, I believe they would be conducted in a more orderly and efficient way.
Editor’s note. Well, Abimelech, or as I have already come to think of you ‘Bimi’, you must have a very large chest because you’re getting a lot off it. I haven’t seen or heard such a barrage of complaints since a day in 1947 when I pinched my sister’s skipping rope to get in some practice for a boxing bout. So nice of you to put us on your list of possible outlets for your bile, though we seem to be quite a way from the top. Well, we are nothing if not eclectic here at Madazine, so as you see, we are airing your social critique.
I note that you addressed your letter to me personally but did not ask for my response. You are going to get it anyway. Look, Bimbo – hope you don’t mind the further familiarity – most of us know what’s wrong with the world in general and our benighted land in particular. However, we are short of people with ideas for putting things right, and you don’t offer many proposals. That’s hardly constructive. Incidentally, your broadside omits some of our institutions. You don’t mention the legal professions or the police service. Looks like sloppy work, Bim.
My wife rates me highly as a moaner, but I consider myself merely a talented amateur, whereas you are clearly a consummate professional. I note that your last paragraph seems to indicate your desire to take control of our country. This suggests to me that your forename is appropriate, as I seem to recall that the original Abimelech was a power-hungry lad.
We have discussed your letter here and have concluded that you need something to lighten your life. With this in mind, we have had a whip-round and are sending you a parcel. It contains a smoked carp, a roast grouse, a packet of whinger biscuits, a roll of whine gums, a bottle of gripe water and a little flask of herbal medicine for your apoplexy. Calm down, Bimmers. Editor
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