Day 9 – The Guide Dog and the Elephants

What a dreary morning! After someone drove into the car a funny little light went on which we think we must be seen to by the official agent; this has introduced a degree of uncertainty into the proceedings. We have decided to take each day as it comes, and on we plod as we await the prognosis about the car.

Guide Dog
I walked into a shopping arcade with Dinah on a lead. Shoppers billed and cooed and Dinah then decided to give one helpless old lady one of her more exuberant greetings – the Dinah “Hello” – consists of her giving a wild war cry and leaping three feet in the air, launching herself at whatever target presents itself, before sticking her vast tongue into their ear. When the old lady had been picked up and had more or less recovered, a bossy official announced to me that “dogs are prohibited”, but then he saw how old and decrepit I am for he then said: “I presume she is a Guide Dog?” I just walked on. How he could imagine that the fool Dinah, who had just flattened a passing pensioner, could guide anyone beats me.

Am I allowed a little sneer? Okay it’s just a little one. One of the things we note as we flog along is that often the smaller the detached house, the larger the gates with gold topped spear heads. Some of the smaller houses parade lion statues on their walls with abrupt notices: “ Strictly Private: Keep Out!” with speaker phones to pour even more discouragment on the hapless herds of the impertinent. The subtext is “I am considerably richer than you are, you peasant!” I am reminded of the saying “big hat; no cattle”, or as Sylvio Berlascone might say:“Nice mink: no knickers.”

A Privilege 
Each day brings a fresh surprise and Sunday evening was a special treat. I knew the name “Honeyford” but, such is the speed of events, I couldn’t recall where.

Angela Honeyford is the widow of the great Ray, who died two years ago. He died too late to see his prescient forecast, that multiculturism makes no sense, accepted by all leading respected political parties .

Ray was the first-class head of a school in Bradford. In 1984 he spoke out against the Asian community who were determined to ensure that their children, whilst enjoying British social and political privelege, were to be educated with the values of the Indian sub-continent intact.

Honeyford saw that, if we are to preserve the future of our country, we have to integrate our recently arrived minorities through a shared school curriculum and a secular rule of law that protects women and girls from the kind of abuse which he saw daily.

There was an easily predictable explosion with placards denouncing Ray Honeyford as “Ray-cist”. He was forced to resign. The educational establishment lost one of its most humane and public-spirited representatives. He continued to protest against the educational establishment’s plans to remove all signs of patriotism from our schools and erase the memory of England from the cultural record.

Ray was heroic and a gentle man who was prepared to pay the price of truthfulness at a time of lies.

It’s a privilege to be the guest of this man’s widow.

Elephants in the Room
We are a couple of spacewalkers with sticks clicking down a long tarmac road. It’s slanting with rain. The sky has elephant-coloured clouds chasing towards us and we have a gloomy, sodden hour to go before we plan to stop.

Then, before long, the elephants flee and we can see enough blue to make a sailor’s trousers. Then, after we turn down a steep track that rises and falls over fields, the day transforms into a sunny Turner pastoral oil painting.

We believe fondly that the people who are running the country aren’t totally stupid, that those who rule over us are working with a sense of history and common-sense, that they have access to the best advisors available to make our country significantly freer, more prosperous and contented than, say, before both the world wars that dominated the last century.

We are commemorating the beginning of the first world war. It’s not a long time ago in terms of world history but of course it’s as relevent as the Roman invasion to many of today’s young, who couldn’t care less what either were about.

But, imagine for a minute you are the shade from a northern soldier and you have risen from your grave, in which you have lain these past one hundred years. You fought for freedom, for King and country. Simple stuff, perhaps, but your family was comforted that you did not die in vain.

You revisit your home town and take a look at your old school. You find they are teaching English as a foreign language. The first language is not German, which it might be if we had lost either of the world wars, but Urdu! And many of the children believe they are living in an alien country, and some have been taught that women are inferior to men, and that white women are no better than prositutes. They are taught that their culture is superior in every way to that of their host country.

As you clamber back into your grave you might be forgiven for wondering why you bothered to fight at all…

Rogers and Hammerstein observed in ther musical “South Pacific” , “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year, it’s got to be drummed into your dear little ear, you’ve got to be carefully taught. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight. To hate all the people your relatives hate, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

How has this happened?

We walk on. The clouds have returned.

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