It’s showtime, UK! We have the Olympics – that ultimate celebration of corporate hospitality – coming up in the summer. We have the junketings around the Queen’s 60th year as our Monarch, during the course of which she will – amongst other things – process down the Thames on a state barge accompanied by minstrels, jugglers and other medieval diversions, along with a minimum of a further thousand boats and a lot of flag-waving. Cost – in these times of austerity – over eight million pounds sterling. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said, “It’s going to be a joyful, successful version of Dunkirk.” It’ll clearly be a must-see for all German tourists. Which century, Mr Johnson, do you inhabit?
We have journalists – with the sanction of their masters – hacking into the mobile phones of all and sundry in order to get a story, at whatever cost to the person hacked or to their family: we have policemen, civil servants and others in the pay – some on retainers – of a news organisation whose name has recently become synonymous with graft, sleaze, corruption; our government is content – so it seems – to have London’s new and much-lauded Olympic stadium surrounded by a fabric-wrap, courtesy of Dow Chemicals. They are the company that merged with Union Carbide which was responsible for the worst human rights disaster probably in a generation. The bankers are still paying themselves huge bonuses and it’s common knowledge the energy companies are ripping us off wholesale. And if, for a diversion, you tune in to Prime Minister’s Questions you stand a good chance of seeing our elected leaders behaving like a bunch of buffoons as they knock each other about like children in a playground. And so on. And so on.
For a long time now I have been preparing a book of meditations with accompanying photographs. The current revelations of corruption in this country, the – to my mind – unpardonable expenditure in these austere times of vast sums of money on a crowned monarch, and the less than admirable behaviour of so many at the top in our society brought the following meditation to mind…..
Our children wander the streets in disaffected bands, laughing too loudly, aggressive and dismissive of the concerns of others. We throw up our hands in disapproval. They are accounted out of order, lacking values and respect for authority.
But perhaps authority – and it comes in many forms – should look to itself. For if it lacks values, how would its children have any?