Writing in the Daily Express, Dalrymple discusses why such a privileged young man like Charlie Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd star David Gilmour, would riot in protest of increases in student fees:
He would probably have told himself it could not have been for petty personal or selfish reasons that he protested against the raising of tuition fees, therefore it must have been for the good of humanity. And the good of humanity is so important, and so noble a goal, that almost anything is justified in promoting it.
Young Mr. Gilmour was seen by the world swinging from the Union Flag on the Cenotaph in London and was also in the mob that attacked Prince Charles and Camilla’s car.
Read it here
And the most worrying thing: the fact that when questioned by journalists he claimed that he was unaware that the monument he was desecrating was the cenotaph. He is reading history at Cambridge. For once I agree (almost) wholeheartedly with Dalrymple’s analysis. I must go and fetch my smelling salts.
For *once* you agree!?
Mind you, to agree wholeheartedly with anyone is probably more often that not dubious.
smelling salts? Hmmm…
I don’t think this is one of Dalrymple’s best articles – there’s no mention of middle-class guilt, or the middle-class desire for an “authentic” experience, etc. However, I do think it sums up much of what he has previously written, at least regarding culture in general as opposed to within the underclass. (I wish he would write more about the middle and upper classes.)
The story itself sums up much about modern Britain…
1. A privileged, ill-educated* (though very expensively educated) youth sneering at Western civilisation, in order to feel good about himself.
2. The youth a product of subversive, far-left parents who nevertheless sent him to private school.
3. Churchill (symbol of Britain at possibly its best moment in history) desecrated.
4. The sacrifice made by millions of men, defiled for the sake of a cheap “iconoclastic” photo op.
5. The “cause” is that of education, for a generation for whom the word “education” means to be indoctrinated with Marxist resentment, and not at all the education we used to be so good at in Britain.
6. The irony of a Royal vehicle being attacked by trustafarians.
7. The collapse of the class system, with the proles being offered make-believe sympathy from a young man who boasted, only months before, about his parents buying him two suits from Saville Row. He desires superficial aspects of civilisation, while helping to destroy the whole thing. He desires those nice parts because they feed his ego, just as destroying the whole thing feeds his ego. He is, to use a Dalrymplism, a product of inflamed egotism.
Each of these aspects of the riot speaks volumes about Britain in 2010. Given that, in my entire 13-year state education, the British Empire was never discussed (I don’t recall it ever being mentioned), how long was it going to be before young British rioters would urinate on Winston Churchill? Perhaps Ken Livingstone was right: we should remove the statues from Trafalgar Square because they don’t mean anything to modern Brits.
The most interesting aspect of the recent riots is that they demonstrate a belief that the state is invincible. It can provide anything, given the humane desire to do so. (If it doesn’t provide, it mustn’t be humane.) These middle-class kids take it as read that if they’re not getting something, it is unjust. For people of all classes, the state is the first parent.
Of course there have always been idealists rioting, and of course many of these kids will one day laugh at their youthful exploits from behind a glass of champagne. Nevertheless, I think we have reached a point in our cultural decline where these bouts of subversiveness will do real damage. Perhaps, in fact, these kids will never come to regret their misbehaviour – why grow up when you can be the next Polly Toynbee?
* I say he is ill-educated not because he didn’t know what the Cenotaph was (of course he did), but because he doesn’t seem to understand the supreme importance of the past, even as a history student!
Going to the Alps for the weekend, someone with me?
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