Delingpole at Easter

This is my fault this has gone up so late. Mr Delingpole filed bang on time but I was in deepest darkest Bank Holiday mode and so wasn’t able to publish this for you all to enjoy.

My apologies

Queen of Bogpaper Towers

According to Twitter, Richard E Grant is lighting up a Camberwell Carrot today in honour of his old – and now, sadly, late – mucker Richard Griffiths. Or, as he’ll be known for ever more, Uncle Monty from Withnail & I.

Perhaps I will too. It meant a lot to me, that film. Indeed, it’s my number one favourite film of all time. Partly this is because it’s a work of genius and partly because I was the perfect age when it came out. I was 22 – roughly the same age as the film’s protagonists’ (in case you wondered, Marwood, the “I” character is 25) – so I could identify a lot with their predicament.

One of the things I especially identified with is the scene where Marwood is pursued by Uncle Monty, who means to have him even if it must be burglary. I had a lot of that when I was a young man: older, predatory homosexuals trying to convince me that I was gay, really. Bruce Robinson, the film’s writer/director, based it on his own experience as a pretty young spear-carrier in the 1968 movie Romeo & Juliet being chased round the set by the director Franco Zeffirelli.

Last night, by weird coincidence, my son watched it for the first time. “Dad” he said. “I’ve just been watching this film called Withnail & I.” Silently I punched the air. I’ve spent 14 years waiting for the moment when my son was finally old enough to appreciate the godlike genius of Withnail & I. But, of course, he’s never going to revere the film in quite the same way those of us who saw it on its original cinematic release did. My generation. The Withnail generation. The fucked generation.

Because that’s what we are, basically. If you’re old enough to have really, totally got Withnail & I when it first came out – realised straight away that it was the greatest movie of all time – then it means you’re also the perfect age to come off worst out of this global economic Armageddon.

I know younger readers will disagree with this. “Hey hang on,” they’ll go. “At least you got to enjoy the Nineties boom.” But a) that wasn’t true for everyone: if you were in the City or you were a beneficiary of the expanded public sector, maybe; not in my line of business, though. And b) let’s suppose it were slightly true, well that only makes Generation Withnail’s present suffering worse: as Satan found in Paradise Lost, hell is so much worse if you’ve first had your brief taste of heaven.

The curse of General Withnail is to have been born just too late to enjoy the benefits of the Baby Boom but too early to be in a position to look comfortably at the current geopolitical crisis and go: “Well, at least we’re still young enough to make hay when it’s all over.”

Nothing lasts forever. From where I’m sitting, the debt overhang, QE, the democratic deficit, the inexorable growth of the corporatist/bankster/lawyer/politico hegemony and so on all look intractable and interminable. But, of course, the time will come when sound money is restored (after the inevitable paper money collapse) and when a new class of politicians realise that the job of government isn’t to find ever more extravagant and pointless ways to spunk the electorate’s money, and I sincerely hope my kids are in a position to enjoy it.

Generation Withnail won’t, though, I don’t think. Not only are we the wrong age but worse we’re stuck in the wrong mindset. I remember vividly what life was like when that film came out in 1987, for I’d just left university and moved into the Big City for the first time, full of the hopes and dreams of naïve youth.

What I thought was this: that if you had a good education and a reasonable degree, the world was your lobster; that the Establishment – everything from parliament to the military – was basically trustworthy, capable and with Britain’s best interests at heart; that the economy would go on growing; that finding work would never be a problem for those with the right attitude; that there would never be a situation where the cynical, the corrupt, the greedy and the principle-free would be feeding off the carcass of the economy like jackals, leaving everyone else to starve, because that sort of thing just wouldn’t happen in Britain a) because we’re fundamentally decent and b) because there are laws to stop that sort of thing happening.

These last five years have been a steep learning curve for Generation Withnail. But like our hero, Withnail, we’re just not constitutionally suited to the new age. We shan’t end up in gainful employment like Marwood. Rather, our fate is more likely to be that of Withnail, declaiming Hamlet beautifully (for we really are highly educated and very talented), but appreciated by no one but the caged wolves.


5 comments on “Delingpole at Easter

  1. Simon Roberts
    April 2, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Good to see that you had a cheerful Easter.

    I’m not quite as optimistic about the prospects of the younger generation. Youngsters I have spoken to (not in an Uncle Monty way you understand) still don’t seem to be making the connection between State profligacy and economic malaise.

    Government propaganda about the state of the economy being the fault of bankers seems to be successful, in fact even many older people I speak to have fallen for it.

    As you rightly say, the fiat money system will collapse. What concerns me is that if people haven’t wised up to the reason why, they’ll be ready to vote for some Orwellian economic “security” measures as the solution.

    If only we could find a way to get people to understand the real nature of those paper notes their pockets, it would be a good start.

    • dr
      April 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      I agree with this. Some people strongly believe a collapse of the monetary system will occur, possibly across many countries.
      Will we see the collapse as a failure of free markets and so move towards central planning, or a failure of the level of central planning that we have an move towards free markets.
      My suspicion is that how this question gets answered will depend upon the prejudices taught to people by the education system, and if that is the case, then the situation does not look good for the political right.

  2. jazz606
    April 2, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Maybe bitcoins are the future, in fact any currency which is outwith the grasp of politicians.

    • dr
      April 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Politicians have tanks and guns. I cannot see them allowing a currency to emerge that is not under their control. They will either illegalise it and force people to use fiat money, or they will seize control of the bitcoin infrastructure by force. Once they have that control, they can debase the currency to make themselves rich.

  3. Brian the Rhetor
    April 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    I am a baby-boomer (about the same age as Bruce Robinson). From where I’m standing now, I can see how bleak things must look for those of James’ age, whereas my sons – about 13 years younger – seem in the main to be glowing with optimism, despite my moaning doom at them.
    But you must fight the good fight and – who knows? – you may get pleasantly surprised.

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