I walked past a muscled thug today in my home town. He was smoking, chatting with mates, very young, and speaking on his phone. As I passed he said “right-o son, see you some time then” on the phone and went back to talking to the others. Now, this guy may be really nice and Actually a Good Bloke but it is all to easy to judge on outward appearances – and the whole shopping street seemed filled with aimless people whom I imagine find it hard to get work, subsist on government support, and generally live lives of quiet desperation.
I also saw some nail clippers on sale for £336.
That was in one of the more expensive streets in London filled with elegant people and lots of expensive cars. More than anything else this sums up Britain for me; opulent splendor and extreme privilege alongside abject miserable lives. Sure, everyone has basic health services and education yet ‘the system’ doesn’t seem to inspire a whole lot of initiative. If anyone aspires to much it mostly seems to be winning the lottery or Making It Big on some celebrity show. What about celebrating hard work, genuine thrift, kindness and just plain ordinariness? There will always be super-rich but most people’s paths to happiness likely won’t involve becoming them.