Welcome to 2042 – the year when Britain is no more than a memory By Peter Hitchens Last updated at 10:11 PM on 31st December 2011

In Socialism on January 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

The New Year has always seemed to me to be a time for enjoying a bit of gloom. So in the spirit of hearty pessimism, I’d like to take you forward 30 years, for an imaginary peep into the pages of the ‘China Daily’ of January 1, 2042. You can judge for yourselves how imaginary it really is. ‘Cabinet papers issued today by the state archives of the People’s Republic cast an interesting light on the final years of the country formerly known as Great Britain. Younger readers should know that, 30 years ago, this once-important nation (now dissolved) occupied the vacation islands, famous for their mild climate and their picturesque historical theme parks, which lie off our far western coast. Signing Britain over: Will David Cameron and Nick Clegg prove to be the UK’s last leadership team? ‘A memo from Prime Minister David Cameron to his deputy, Nicholas Clegg, runs in part “…and thanks so much, Nick, for your continuing self-sacrifice in our joint cause. I’m so sorry you have to put up with those moronic cartoons portraying you as the junior partner when – as we both well know – this is a liberal government in which I am happy to let you get your way. ‘?“

I am especially grateful for your recent performance, a fine piece of acting. The dim old buffers who still vote for my party, however many times we let them down, were genuinely taken in, and thought a) that I had struck a blow for Britain in Brussels and b) that you were angry about it.” ‘There are also memos to the Interior Minister of the time, Theresa May, congratulating her for “sounding as if you really mean to do something about crime and immigration” and a ruder one to the Justice Minister, Kenneth Clarke, chiding him for “letting the cat out of the bag: it won’t do, old boy! Can’t you just be satisfied with getting your way? There’s no need to gloat in public.” ‘A letter from Mr Cameron to Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish government, is strangely friendly, given Mr Cameron’s frequent public assertions that he was against Scottish independence. Experts from the University of Shanghai have concluded that Mr Cameron secretly wanted a Scottish breakaway as the only chance of his party ever again winning an Election on its own.’

The China Daily continues: ‘No trace can be found of any serious plans to reform the country’s disastrous state schools, nor to curb its out-of-control welfare system, known to be widely abused by criminals and to encourage parasitical sloth. ‘As for the economy, the archives contain only a plaintive note from the Finance Minister to the Premier, bearing the words, “There’s no money!” Hard act to follow: Official documents may show that Theresa May put in a convincing performance, even if she was undermined by Kenneth Clarke ‘The documents make it plain that the governing class of the country formerly known as Great Britain had no idea how to cope with the problems they faced and were mainly obsessed with public relations. In the light of this, the events of the next 20 years should have come as no surprise.’ I don’t recall Dickens writing an Estuary English soap opera Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations is one of the best books ever written. David Lean’s 1946 realisation of it is one of the best films ever made – not least because so much of its dialogue is taken direct from the original. So why is the BBC’s new adaptation so astonishingly, disappointingly, ridiculously bad? It is because the BBC is so full of people who simply refuse to admit that they have anything to learn from the past. In their world, all drama must be either Doctor Who or EastEnders (or in this case a combination of the two). Ridiculously bad: A young Pip and Miss Havisham in the series Pip Pirrip, raised in a blacksmith’s cottage, could not possibly have grown up to look like a male model. Herbert Pocket was never a vicious snob. Miss Havisham was a yellow-skinned, deranged hag, not a self-harming young woman. Estella was an unattainable beauty – not a stroppy person with the adenoidal voice and the scowling visage of an affronted North London social worker. Britain’s greatest author: The work of Charles Dickens always prompts an emotional reaction – unlike the efforts of today’s television scriptwriters Perhaps above all, Joe Gargery was a man of almost saintly goodness and humour, rather than the glum and self-righteous person in this TV travesty, who always looks as if he’s just off to a Chartist meeting. I reread the opening chapters of the book to reassure myself about this and was repeatedly convulsed with laughter and moved close to tears. The TV version produced no emotion at all and resorted to incessant loud music to tell us how we should have been feeling. The vandals behind it also managed to insert a scene in a brothel – perhaps they can tell me where this occurs in the book. Dickens, being a proper writer, managed to envelop the foul figure of Bentley Drummle in a cloud of evil without any such crudities. And the script was full of modern soap opera language, often in Estuary English quite unlike the speech of the time – ‘con man’, ‘close the deal’, ‘he owes me’.

Yes, of course you need to make changes when you adapt an immense book into three hours of drama. But you need to stay close to the truth of the original, or you are destroying it. Something similar is now happening to Sherlock Holmes thanks to the half-witted cinema versions. In an age when few read any more, this third-rate stuff is in danger of replacing greatness with cut-price hogwash. A Canadian judge has ruled that a teenager was under the influence of an ‘antidepressant’ when he knifed a close friend to death. Judge Robert Heinrichs was told in his Winnipeg court that the killer (also a user of cannabis and cocaine) grew more irrational once prescribed the ‘antidepressant’. ‘He had become irritable, restless, agitated, aggressive and unclear in his thinking,’ the judge said. ‘In that state he overreacted in an impulsive, explosive and violent way’. Now off the drug, he was ‘simply not the same in behaviour or character’. It is a painful case, but it underlines the urgent need for a proper inquiry into these widely used pills. We’re making North Korea worse Small politicians try to look big by exaggerating the size and the danger of their foes. The West’s ridiculous attitude to North Korea is an example of this. I have been there, and can report that this bankrupt, starving statelet is so poor it cannot even warm its own government buildings and must have used up much of its petrol reserves to stage the funeral of its deceased leader. Its rulers are trapped in their palace. If they show weakness, they will be torn to pieces by their hungry, disillusioned subjects. Above all, they need a way out. If we do not help provide one they will, in the end, have to collapse into the arms of China. Show of strength or sign of weakness? Although thousands turned out for the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, the country is in fact incredibly poor Why should we want that? Yet we continue to portray this sad survival as a major power and adopt a high moral tone in our dealings with it. Yes, it can still do harm – but it is much more likely to do so if we maintain our current policy.



[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Try making friends with Germany and EU first before thinking North Korea. If England cannot even get the IRA on their side much less return so many stolen gems during the colonial era, England which even alienated America in the War of Independence and has historiacally insulted the Germans and French and even Spanish for decades, has no business talking about preventing North Korea from collapsing into the arms of China. Korea is not even collapsing (yet, and China probably will see it won’t unless a false flag to kick out South Koreas puppets is intended), this is a Confucian region – North East Asia, you guys are white lost your original faith system, have had a history of colonialism and have bullied North Korea and a slew of nations no end. Who needs a country like that who won’t apologise, won’t admit wrongs and send reparations for wartime atrocities including DRUG PEDDLING – enmasse. Africa alone could well break England’s finances for 1000 years in reparations, much less India and China AND the Middle East. And now the English are eyeing North Korea? North Korea is the bad cop as of now in this region that USA might be loathe to attack, what makes England think China won’t feel such aired thoughts are targetted at China and react appropriately? Solve your own backyard issues first, and these go back a few hundred years with the last pureblood English monarch in 1700s leaving no real English royalty since. North Korea is China’s or at very most South Korea’s business, hardly England’s territory when even USA is effectively not even in the picture as far as North Korea is concerned. If North Korea snubs South Korea calling it a puppet of the USA, England’s association with military adventurism in the Middle East makes it no better.


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