Day 7: East Grinstead to Charlwood

We pass hundreds of villas, many sporting new cars worth around £60k each. It amazes me that people can be persuaded to spend that sort of money on a car that is destined to depreciate by thousands each year. It’s all about vanity, of course. An MP from long ago told me: ”The only sort of vehicle I approve of is a car crusher.” I agree!

The houses remind me of the great old Lord Rothschild, who once penned a book on gardens. To show how in touch he was with the aspirations of the ordinary citizen he recommended: “All Englishmen, no matter how mean their estate, should sport at least 2 acres of wild woodlands in their gardens.”

Today’s walk is a mix of scrubby fields leading towards a vast long-stay Gatwick car park. We are fighting to be heard above roaring from the M23, a ghastly train line and shrieking from plane engines as, every twenty seconds or so,  they roar past us to land. We walk across a bridge spanning the motorway and soon find ourselves like a couple of tiny ants dwarfed between the vast Southern and Northern terminals. Who could possibly  want to live here?

Is the Lady a Tramp?

They say the past is a foreign country and they do things differently there. Nowhere is this more true than in the matter of men’s manners towards women.

As a child, I was taught that if walking with a lady, I should always walk on the street side to protect her from the mud thrown by passing cars. We were obliged to open doors to allow a lady to pass first and to stand up when one entered a room. I was instructed to offer a hand when a lady was getting out of a car (but not kiss her if she was wearing a hat), and offer up my seat on public transport to any damsel in need. And I was taught never to utter obscenities or tell foul jokes in the presence of the fairer sex. 

But today, all the above is regarded as a ludicrous waste of time by the young. And perhaps they have a point? Why allow a lady to go through a door first when she may be after your job?   

The Zane Lady

In my last blog, I produced a checklist for men to reassure them that they are gentlemen. Now here are 20 rules to guide women in the complicated area of what makes a ZANE lady…

1: She doesn’t take offence easily.

2: She happily carries her own luggage but accepts a man’s offer to carry it gracefully.

3: She fends off unwanted passion with grace and ease.

4: She accepts compliments, even from a silly old fool.

5: She knows that a single, explosive swearword beats a torrent of obscenity.

6: She can change a tyre (but is very grateful when a man does it).

7: She accepts that not everyone wants a cat pawing at them.

8: She will drape an elegant shawl to cover herself while breastfeeding.

9: She wears clothes tight enough to show she is a woman but loose enough to show she is a lady.

10: She will dress unobtrusively at funerals.

11: She can hold a drink or two without falling over.

12: She never talks about house prices.

13: She never applies make-up on a crowded train.

14: She tells adult godchildren how well they are doing, even if their lives are a total train crash.

15: She will give a 100-watt smile to a nervous teenage boy to make his day.

16: She would never kiss and tell like the disgraceful Edwina Currie.

17: She always takes off her stiletto heels to spare the parquet floors of others.

18: She will pay a restaurant bill without making it obvious.

19: She knows when to stop talking and when she is about to leave a house, she will not change the subject.

20: She is kind to nervous men who read lists on how to be a gentleman.

Lefty = Lovely

Why is being “left-wing” supposed to indicate that one is a “good” person, and why is the label “right-wing” synonymous with “morally inferior”? It’s sheer nonsense. Where did this rubbish come from?

My children’s friends occasionally virtue-signal about the iniquities of “right-wing” Tories on the presumption that their listeners will shudder in preening horror. But then my fiercely supportive children respond that their father was once a Tory MP – and before blethering on wantonly about “extreme right-wing Tories”, perhaps they should say when they last started a food bank or a charity for the poor in Africa?   

But, of course, being left-wing has a positive gloss to it. We magic up in our mind’s eye kind folk who are principled, well-meaning champions of social justice – people who care about others.

As for being “right-wing”, that means you are a swivel-eyed supporter of cutting taxes to the bone for the idle rich; you are a supporter of cutting benefits to the needy; and of course, you would cook your granny for tea if there was something in her will for you. 

Of course, the description “extreme right wing” really means you are a supporter of Hitler. The proof of this is that Labour politicians wallow in the label “left-wing” as a badge of honour. I cannot recall a single politician proudly proclaiming on television that he or she was right-wing. Nigel Farage is labelled extreme-right-wing by his detractors as it’s a semi-polite way of calling him a look-alike Trump bigot and racist.

Of course Farage doesn’t call himself right-wing because he knows fine well it’s a pejorative term.

All those ERG (European research group) MPs are habitually called “extreme right-wing” because they actually think the result of the 2016 referendum should be honoured, that we must leave the EU. By lefty implication, roughly half the population is extreme-right-wing. In reality, I reckon that most extremists are on the left.

This whole business started because the left weaponised the conversation, and the media (BBC and Channel 4) have absorbed it too. They can assault their enemies with this nonsense from what they perceive to be the highest point of the moral high ground. As a result, at least half the population have no idea what to call themselves.

Name Calling

If you, dear ZANE donor, believe in an efficient state; one that is well-defended and with a well-balanced budget, one that has generous provision for the genuine poor, and one that has controlled immigration and well-defined law and order – then here’s betting you have no idea what on earth to call yourself. 

I am fed up with name-calling. The left is full of “proto fascists” and the “right” is a dungeon to which the left consign people they do not like – but it’s not a place where any of us want to be.

We need a new political language. What do ZANE supporters suggest? I am a socially liberal and economically inclined Conservative, so where do I sit on the spectrum? I have always thought I was a libertarian, in that I have always thought we should be allowed to do whatever we like as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone – so where does all this name-calling leave me?


    • Paul Scott on September 7, 2019 at 7:05 am
    • Reply

    What a thoughtful blog, thanks Tom!

    • Pauline Lawrence on October 30, 2019 at 5:10 pm
    • Reply

    I totally agree with everything you say – it really is just common sense, of which there is precious little of! Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Boris wins this election – properly. (Though I have never heard a good word said about him in the BBC).
    PS I have no idea what we should call ourselves!

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