As soon as I saw “These trees have been spayed, you have been warned” in a garden, I knew we’d need to go back to basics.
That was in the early 70’s and we’ve come a long way since then. Mainly downwards.
“No Parking At All Times” is a useful catchphrase. It confuses people enormously. A sign I saw on the fence of a village football pitch recently said simply “No Dogs”. A statement of absolute fact, for I saw none at all.
Letters – and, saints preserve us, e-mails – arrive, the spelling and grammar of which has been checked by a machine made and programmed in The United States Of America. Apparently, the poor deprived Americans have no “which” in their language and have to be content with “that” (at all times). They seem bereft of “who” as well, as in “people that . . .”.
Perhaps they have become machines: automatons who respond only to the simplest words of command. Who is it that issues those words? The same person who programmed the spelling-checker. Or the same person that did it.
Winston Churchill told us that Great Britain and America were two countries divided by the same language. Now Britain shows embarrassed silence concerning the “Great”. It’s “cool” to be a Brit, but not to be a Great one. So we have few great men or women to do a bit of on-the-spot leadership. Churchill may have been a bit off target and should have used “manipulated” rather than “divided”. Though, fair play, he was being witty at the time.
Many of my generation will state, positively, that Two Years National Service would do everyone under the age of twenty-five good. “It never did me any harm,” they will continue. How do they know? Their compulsory military service may be the cause of the same men wanting to restore Capital Punishment, The British Empire and Proper Football Boots.
I would not like to be the Monarch or Prime Minister who decides where to send all these young men called up for National Service, for we no longer have anywhere to send them, The British Empire having disappeared. Perhaps we could hang them all (whilst wearing proper football boots).
Unless, that is, we dressed them up in khaki, marched them up and down until tiredness set in, then fire at them the basic structure of the English language. It could be, in fact, a way forward. Once I have avoided being spayed like those trees and not parking at all times – anywhere – I shall don my old medal-ribbon and march on Downing Street to tell the Prime Minister of my educational idea.
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