Roll up, roll up. We all knew that it would come around again in all its septic glory. It’s the 80s again. Time to dust off your Toyah albums and look back to the days when U2 were brand new, ‘really cool – you’ve got to listen to this man!’
The other week I was standing in a queue by an ATM machine, next to a punk with a massive spiky Mohican. I wanted to ask, ‘How can you afford all that hair gel? Don’t you know there’s a recession?!’ but he might have punked on me, so I didn’t.
In truth, I was pleased to see him: at least punks have a sound ideology to follow. The rest of it makes my 80s war wounds twinge.
How to tell it’s the 80s again
1. The Tories are in – all of them. Suddenly public life is awash with nasty little fascists.
2. Unemployment is rising (bear in mind this isn’t always a personal choice).
3. The Tories say, ‘there are plenty of jobs’. The real problem is that people don’t want to do them. Heard that one before in the 80s. Almost every week in fact.
4. There is renewed dialogue between the Government and trade unions about how many people are on the dole. The Government says it’s under 3m. But the TUC say it’s over 6m. Exactly the same debate raged throughout most of the 80s; no-one won.
5. A lot of people look bloody miserable, tired and scared. I don’t blame them.
6. I see more people begging, and other people pretending not to notice them. In fact, hardly a week goes by when I’m not approached on the street by someone in dire straits: and I don’t mean the band.
7. Hate crimes have gone through the roof (many of them racially motivated). People are beating up their pets too… and their partners. Riots are a fact of life again.
8. Pundits constantly talk about ‘growth’, but there isn’t any. Soon though… it’ll happen if ‘we stick to our strategy’. Heard it!
9. Children are going hungry while an impassive nation looks on impotently and hopes for a win on the lottery (George Orwell got that bit right).
10. Older people are being shuffled around a bemused care system which can no longer look after them because its funding has vanished.
11. The Government is trying to privatise the NHS while claiming, ‘we’re not trying to privatise the NHS’. Of course not; and I’m the Pope.
12. The airwaves are alive with doublespeak, doublethink – but mostly, double standards.
Still – not to worry. Britain is Great again and we have the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to look forward to. Makes me proud to be Blitish. Sign me up for Cameron’s Big Society. It’s big with lies, panaceas and raging hypocrisy.