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Thanks to Carlton42 who gave permission to reproduce his post.
Many recent events and the general trends within British society lead me to the conclusion that this is a very different and far more wimpish and emoting nation than it was in the first half of my life. The nation is going down an alien path that I have always associated with the cloying silliness of Popery, the unctuous fatuity of in-your-face American emotion, and the repellent sentimentality of the Germans.
We have started to put crosses up beside the road, to tie pink teddy bears to railings, to lay heaps of flowers at 'sites', to place candles and stand about emoting to death and striking sombre poses. All of this is deeply disturbing, offensive and extremely un-British. This mawkish drivel type behaviour may be sincere in some, but is far more a group effusion of competitive 'I can agonize over this more than you can'. It is showy and banal and trite to the ultimate degree. It is 'The Voice' and 'Britain has Talent' for death. It is the commodification of distress and the commercialization of grief.
In my opinion this was shown at its very worst on the death of Princess Diana. In a long life I have never been so ashamed of the conduct of possibly a majority of my fellow citizens and been so appalled by their unctuous behaviour. It was like witnessing some Asian funeral rites in a very primitive part of a highly religious region. I am no royal but I think their initial reaction was the correct one. Go up to Balmoral and sit it out until the gormless have had their emote-fest. But no, they were dragged back by the arch-showman Tony for a group Weep-In together. Prince Philip must have been close to spitting live ammunition if I am any judge.
That quite appalling period changed how I felt about much of the nation and its future. I was deeply ashamed to be British and to witness the low base we could sink to in the 'celebration' of the life of a useless, talentless, done-nothing, vacuous, selfish, manipulative woman. To choose her for a mass outpouring of cloying sentiment over all the useful, brilliant and courageous people, told me more than I wanted to know about about the state of the nation.....it was dire.
We are seeing all this again now. The candles, the flowers and the gross emoting for effect. A political analyst said with a straight face yesterday 'of all the noble parliamentarians we now have Jo Cox is by common consent the most noble'. I take close interest in politics and I had never heard of her at all until that moment. Is her death a personal tragedy and a dreadful act of killing? Of course it is. No contest on that. How could there be. But we then go too far, not one or two steps too far but miles too far. It is the death of one woman. A woman unknown to 99% of the population to that moment.
And the result. The news dominated by this one death. Campaigning for the most important political event for decades is suspended! Why? For the death of just one woman! Then the competitive rush to emote on the prospective by election. We won't stand a candidate. No neither will we. So, the death of a woman hardly anybody had ever heard of leads to suspension of politics and partial suspension of democracy. All this is competitive false emotion. Cameron is as much a player and actor as Blair in this respect. It is all so deeply sickening and un-British. Get a grip Britain. Regain some self-respect.
It is all part and parcel of rushing to the constituency to stand by the gates to the closed works looking worried, in the flood water in the wellies looking concerned, at the level crossing where the car was crushed looking sad. All so patently managed and rehearsed and deeply insincere. Or the mantra of garbage spouted in the HOC on every event and every death from each speaker and each party leader. If this must be done then it can be a short tasteful statement by the Speaker to cover all in the house. Otherwise it is just a pseudo-religious mantra of the same cloying insincere words trotted out speaker by speaker to make them all feel 'involved' and compassionate and 'bigger'. I hope the public see through this or just ignore it? But like all bad practice and fake money it does tend to drive out the good.