Just the mention of the BNP is highly emotive so before I go any further I feel the need to put it on the record that I am absolutely not a supporter of the BNP or any of the underlying values that it stands for. I watched this weeks Question Time...the circus that was the appearance of Nick Griffin, Leader of the BNP and MEP and felt the need to blog about this.
I found the lead up to the progamme, the programme itself and the debate that followed to be fascinating. But I also think that 'the establishment' (the politicians and the media) made an error in the handling of the situation and missed an opportunity to show Mr Griffin for what he is.
Whatever you think of Mr Griffin and his policies he was bullied throughout the programme, which was also hijacked from it's normal format to provide a Griffin bashing forum. My fear whilst watching this was that the average fair minded Brit would take offence at his treatment - we have a natural affinity to the underdog. Furthermore, I felt that given the limited opportunity he had to speak uninterrupted, we the viewers weren't given the opportunity to hear enough of his policies to get past the sanitised version that he was attempting to portray.
So what has been the impact of this ? Sadly a Telegraph YouGov poll taken hours after the programme has confirmed my fears. The headline has been that 22% said they would consider voting BNP but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most worryingly 'More than half of those questioned said they agreed with the BNP, or thought that it “had a point” in wishing to “speak up for the interests of the indigenous, white British people ... which successive governments have done far too little to protect.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6417906/One-in-four-would-consider-voting-BNP.html)
So what is the cause of this ? And are we really becoming BNP supporters ?
I think the common view that these attitudes are borne out of a reaction to recent high levels of immigration is a smoke screen. I'm sure there are rumblings about this but I don't believe it to be the main issue. I believe that the main issue here is the sense of marginalisation being felt by, in particular, white, heterosexual men. There are special interest groups for just about every section of society other than this one. We have women's rights groups, we have the National Black Police Association and other similar organisations, we have Music of Black Origin awards, we have gay rights groups...the list is endless but we don't seem to have a white heterosexual men's group. And can you imagine the outcry if there was one ?
The frustration that is leading to the BNPs increasing support is due, in my opinion, not to racism, but to a lack of fair play. We must all be treated equally, not some sections of society being treated more equally than others. If it's OK to wear a burkha it must be OK to wear a crucifix. The English should be allowed to fly their flag in support of their sportsmen. Our children should be allowed to enjoy nativity plays without them being banned for causing offence. Our children should be made aware of homosexuality but not force fed through school stories and discussion. There should be an end to women only shortlists in parliament.
We must all work to achieve our goals through hard work not 'hand outs' and 'leg ups'. We must apply the same expectations and standards to all our fellow citizens regardless of race, creed, colour... We should try and remember that we are all more similar than different. Treat one another with kindness and humility and we can all cohabit these wonderful islands in harmony. To ignore these issues will surely only serve to push more voters into the BNP fold.
I'm sure this post will be stimulating debate in your mind so I would be interested to hear your views...
In 2005 the BBC produced a series of documentaries about a social experiment into happiness called 'Making Slough Happy' in which a number of 'happiness specialists' from varying disciplines applied their theory's to the residents of Slough. It was a fantastic, thought provoking and uplifting TV. They were able to prove that their theory's worked, and they were relatively simple, cost effective and accessible.
Following this documentary I decided to rekindle a love of singing that I hadn't pursued since school, other than in the car ;-)
I joined a fabulous ladies barbershop chorus which I thoroughly enjoyed until Star's arrival when the commitment became too much. But I missed singing. So, six weeks ago I joined Rock Choir (http://www.rockchoir.com/) which is truly fabulous and absolutely hits the spot. Our wonderful choir master is very talented and very funny to boot, and seventy of us turn up every week for an hour and a half of singing, dancing and much laughter.
I love Radio 2 and it provides the soundtrack to my day. I start with Sir Terry and his Togs whilst giving Star his breakfast and continue right through until 7pm when it goes all 'weird'. For those of you that are still 'down with the kids' on Radio 1 or, better still, sleeping soundly in your beds, one of the features of 'Wake up with Wogan' is 'Pause For Thought'. This is where someone of a religious persuasion spends a few minutes giving a short 'sermon' about something to make us stop and think. It is rarely something overtly religious, which is just as well as I'm not either.
Perfectionism can be a heavy cross to bear and for those of you that suffer with this affliction you will understand when I say it is something that I battle against for my own well being, and those around me. So, to keep my sanity, I regularly tell myself that 'good enough will do'. Of course I don't really believe it ! and of course I'm sure my definition of 'only just good enough' is actually 'quite good' in other peoples eyes;-)
Since the arrival of Star I have found the urge to have everything perfect for him to be very strong but I know that this is not the right behaviour to display to him. It doesn't breed happiness and contentment which above all else is surely what we as parents strive for in our children. On the other hand I don't want my son to grow up doing the bare minimum in anything that he does. This is a disease of modern society that I loath - how often do you really get good service ? So where is the right balance ?
The answer came to me in a typically straightforward manner. Star was given a gift when he was born from a lovely friend. It was a CD called Silver Balloon which can be found here http://www.silverballoon.com/index.html , and it became the soundtrack to his early life. The songs on the CD contain his name in the lyrics and the songs are just fantastic. One of our favourite songs teaches the alphabet, numbers and colours...and it's title...'BE THE BEST THAT WE CAN BE'
I have suspected this for a long time. Was it when I 'settled down' with The Daddy ? Was it when I gave up work due to builders taking over my home which was also my work place ? Or was it the arrival of The Star ?
Well, whenever it was, the fact that I have now begun blogging is proof that this state of mind is not in my imagination.. You see, for those of you that don't know Geriatric Mummy, I'm a very private person. In fact I'm not even particularly sociable. I like my own company and like to keep my thoughts to myself. Unless I think they are particularly interesting thoughts of course. Or helpful thoughts. I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm not very good at 'chit chat' or talking mindless drivel for the sake of it and it seems that is what we as a society do much of the time.
So, here I am writing a blog about mostly me and what I think. I hope it will make interesting reading for some of the people, some of the time. And of course, in my moments of doubt, or the re-emergence of the previously thought lost 'private' self, and can be comforted with the thought that for most of those out there in the blogosphere I remain anonymous...