Haiku brings this rocket powered bicycle [like it]:
That’s wonderful, of course but it does illustrate a certain phenomenon – how far the world of speed on the outer edges, from left field, has been dominated by the French in the past quarter of a century.
In my own field, the round the worlds have been dominated by Joyon and Cammas, pitted against the occasional American entry and the very occasional British challenge but even these latter have now died out. Ellen Macarthur and Mike Perham were the last – heard of them? Remember which years they were in?
This is further illustrated by the World Speed Sailing Record Council:
You’ll see clearly who has dominated there. The last British holder was in 1988, which actually seems pretty right – the British spirit seems to have died under massive assault from that point onwards. Blair’s era killed off all that was good, as exemplified by the madmen of speed and exploration.
Can a nation’s elan be measured by its madmen, the derring-do? I believe the health of the nation is tied to it and there used to be British names in there with the greats.
Dare we mention Wimbledon, aside from that person who can’t decide if he’s British or from some other land? All we have now is Branson and you saw what happened to his recent venture.
I think when [if?] we take back our land, such ventures of derring-do will once more begin.
Further to the theme of the last post – that the intrepid and insane define the nation’s health, remember the post by Gracchi at the old NO:
Every word of that was true.
The story really isn’t the point here though- its the individuality, its the eccentricity (in England, that’s a virtue)- there is a line in the Lord of the Rings when Gandalf tells Frodo that what’s worth fighting for is all the absurd Bolgers and Boffins and Bagginses- that’s the same sense you get from Wallace and Gromit. These two characters are crackers, they are mad, their lives revolve around inventions, cheese (particularly Wensleydale) and tea- but in some sense they are the essense of the whole of Western civilisation. Civilisation isn’t just Michelangelo and Machiavelli, its Wallace and his efforts to get to the moon, its loving Wensleydale and its a dog knitting in a chair and rats with shades over their eyes, its merry eccentricity which is a value all to itself. The absurdity of life is in many ways its essence- when we talk about freedom often we lose sight of the fact that freedom isn’t just a political issue- its a personal issue as well.
George Bernard Shaw wrote:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Unfortunately, that’s been interpreted as regressive, not progressive by the PCists. Interesting that they are the ones banging on about progress and yet no progress of any kind comes out of their complying philosophy, just the dead hand of mediocrity and stagnation. There’s no breath of freedom there, no whiff of the insane in a positive way, only insane in the way we see about us, dedicated to the elimination of joy … in hi-viz jackets.
No one dares venture anything any more, lest it does not comply and one requires a Form B22-4D-b3000, granting permission for us to do it, on pain of fine or incarceration by a local by-laws officer.
Why did a compliant people allow all this to happen? It’s because an easygoing, docile and accepting people heard the softsounding buzzwords like equality, diversity and tolerance, took them at face value, not realizing that what it was all about was the exact opposite – divide and rule – cynically foisted on them by some evil, twisted muvvers the people had never heard of.
And the light of liberty is being snuffed out up and down the land by the very Brands that trumpet freedom.