It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

We are half way through that Olympic period when we were instructed, in a particularly crass piece of short-termism by the Times leader writer, not to discuss things which might go wrong.

To be fair, that same newspaper did not break this injunction by commenting (Aug 4) on Shafilea Ahmed’s parents conviction for murder since that was not an Olympic event, but it bears more deeply on our culture than the Olympics could ever do. One of the articles was sound enough, in my opinion, in pointing out that the political Left refused to challenge forced marriages and honour crimes because they were afraid of being tarnished with the racism slur. Indeed, the Left were displaying the self-same psychology which family honour/shame grows from, and now in areas typically Labour. But there is much more to family honour than forced marriages.

Which is why the jury’s decision and the 25 year minimum sentence from the trial judge amounts to more than merely an order to the Asian communties to integrate with British culture as critics of the Left might imagine. For there is also the question of what the Asians are to integrate with. The court’s decision amounts to an instruction, equally commanding, on that question too.  British culture must be and must remain modern culture, stripped of one of its (and Europe’s) pre-modern elements, namely, the shame culture conception of the family as a collective which matters more than its individual members. That in turn represents an order to leave parts of our cultural heritage behind as historical only. For instance, Shakespeare, author of the poem ‘The Rape of Lucretia’, is ordered to roll over.

As regards the Olympics, until a few days ago I had no whinges to offer, whether about security or anything else. Even the overblown stuff about Britishness was harmless enough in relation to what is, after all, a sporting event, not a moment in history. Syria’s civil war is the moment in history. (Europe’s economic crisis is more a period in history.) But when columnists start talking about tribes uniting (around their heroes/heroines of course) and collective thrills, we move into more sinister territory. The absence of a race ideology is not enough to deny that my mother’s generation shed blood and treasure fighting that sort of thing.

I’ll end my party with a cheer rather than more tears. For the second time in 5 years, Britain’s spring and summer weather has busted the simplistic notion that only winter rainfall matters for water supply. April did not start the wettest drought in memory, it ended the drought.


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