I have written before on several occasions on the use of the term ‘Middle England’: see ‘The Betrayal of England’s Rural Communities‘ and ‘Ed Miliband and Middle England‘, or my recent analysis of the plight of the English pub, for example.
What continues to strike me about the term is the disparity between what institutionalised middle or old-age politicians, most of whom have only ever seen the place from behind the window of an official car, call ‘Middle England’, and the real, totally politically disenfranchised ‘Middle England’ that is at best crumbling and at worst outlawed, abandoned and near-extinct.
Ken Clarke is the latest of these Westminster house-pets to use the term. It should be no surprise, therefore, that he has, in an interview with the Telegraph, used it in a wilfully disingenuous fashion.
As a former chancellor, he remains gloomy about the broader economic outlook, warning: “We’re in for a long haul to get back to normality.” While he, as a “deficit hawk”, backs George Osborne’s strategy, he sends a stark warning. “I don’t think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem. That will emerge as the cuts start coming home.”
Quite why Mr Clarke has used a term once used to derisively label his core vote of non-urban, traditional English people to describe the leftist metropolitan elite is beyond me. He has also patently missed the inherent irony of his statement that ‘I don’t think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem’: I don’t think Mr Clarke and his ilk have quite taken on board the range and scale of the problems affecting the true Middle England.
The foremost of these is the fact that the same leftist metropolitan elite that Mr Clarke has aimed his awkward verbal silo at are intent on destroying Middle England. Mark Damazer today made a bizarre call for ‘more black and ethnic voices on The Archers’. He said:
…it “makes sense” to have more ethnic characters on the Archers and [he] warned that Radio 4 will have failed if it has not improved the range of voices in the next five years.
Mr Damazer… said he agreed with accusations that Radio 4 was “too white”…
“I have long felt we need more black and Asian voices on the network so it is more representative of the UK today,” he said.
“I should have done this earlier and we should have pushed for a greater spread of black and ethnic voices, but I don’t want anyone to be decapitated for the point of a token gesture.
These are statements so unhinged, utterly ludicrous and wanton in their ignorance that they merit no credibility whatsoever. Their warped logic is such that they almost defy meaningful analysis. This man is seriously asking for a radio programme that once operated under the auspices of a fair representation of the concerns and daily lives of members of England’s rural communities to capitulate to the whim of artificiality that renders any sliver of maintaining these pretences meaningless.
He manifestly does not seek reality: he seeks falsehood. He seeks to reinvent the show along the lines of a leftist pseudo-utopia; to make The Archers the unwitting manifestation of New Labour’s multi-culti dream vision. He himself must, therefore, be wilfully ignorant of the reality facing England’s rural communities: the financial devastation wrought by the EU, the lack of affordable housing, the ruination of individuality brought on by the tyranny of supermarket chains, the vicious wickedness of developers and City money.
I suspect, above all, that he loathes and detests what he might label the ‘hideously white’ nature of English towns and villages.
Not content with attacking what some might consider an institution of sort, and debasing and trivialising the plight of a true national institution – that of agriculture and the proper management of the countryside – the left are now attacking the educational institutions upon which our once-great nation was built.
In a moment of typically penetrative insight, Peter Hitchens described today how
… “once the Tory Party voted to make new grammar schools illegal, the universities were doomed to go comprehensive too.”
And now, amidst a coalition in which it fundamentally doubts itself, the Tory Party sees fit to not only ‘comprehensivise’ Universities, but to undermine the quality of their education and their graduates.
Now that the Tory body of the coalition has opted to raise tuition fees to meet the value of the teaching the academics that teach in the institutions in which they are employed, the Lib Dem wing are allowed to undertake its bizarre ideological ‘programme’ under the auspices of maintaining peace in Government. So thus, now top institutions are allowed to raise fees to increase institutional independence from Government, and raise pay to attract the best minds, the flagellant aspect of Government wishes to enforce stringent rules on who is allowed to study at the institution. Thus, it has removed one stumbling block and imposed a wholly different one.
The issue is complex, and Simon Heffer has written on it much more eloquently than I could hope to, but it is comprehensive. When not attacking the quality of the candidates, they are attacking the tradition and heritage of the institutions… and for reasons that flagrantly defy logic.
So, the unique quality of Oxbridge MAs could be ‘outlawed’, ostensibly because it is ‘discriminatory’: a falsehood in and of itself. However, a key plank of the argument is that… wait for it… employers don’t know about them.
Now politicians hope to outlaw the Oxbridge MA, awarded to about 3,000 Oxbridge students each year, amid fears that it could hand them an unfair advantage in the jobs market.
Two out of three employers is unaware that a Cambridge MA does not represent any kind of postgraduate achievement or study, according to a study by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the universities watchdog, in 2000.
So according to a study that is over a decade old, due to the ignorance of employers and lack of what was surely formerly common knowledge, candidates who have displayed outright excellence in their education, and have therefore received a truly prestigious accolade and a lifetime asset in a degree from Oxford or Cambridge – irrespective of whether these graduates are from the public school system or the state system – are no longer allowed to embellish their achievement and partake in an act that allies them to a truly illustrious past. This beggars belief and surely tests the sanity of our supposed masters.
This of course is quite aside from the other matters of schools in Birmingham openly espousing hatred of the country in which they are instituted and the state partaking in the despicable act of using personal affairs as a weapon to force religious institutions to accept gay marriage.
It is, as has been demonstrated herein, that the real ‘Middle England’ is, thanks to self-righteous politicians, political extremists in ancient institutions and other evils within, dying a traumatic, prolonged and painful death. Mr Clarke should perhaps undertake a more thorough assessment of the key concepts of Middle England before opening his mouth again.
Though I somehow doubt he will. Neither will his ilk.