"England's dancing days are done.
Another day, Bobby, for you to come home
& tell me indifference won."
PJ Harvey Let England Shake
It's the height of summer here in England, so as you'd expect I'm sitting inside watching the rain pour down outside as the festival market on the square outside heads steadily towards a washout. To be fair it's not typical, I went for a lovely swim in the sea in the calm evening last Monday.
However, the gloom seems to reflect the newspaper that all the newspapers are talking about- The News of the World. You would have to have been in a coma here to have missed hearing about this one. The suspicions many (including myself) had, that Rupert Murdoch's media corporation News International had phenomenal amounts of influence with the Police and the Government, can at last it seems, be proved. This clip probably best explains how it all started, and why I have a new found respect for Hugh Grant.
The actual article Hugh wrote is here.
The implications of this, that the Government really is just a puppet, are immense.
For me however, it adds to a growing sense I have had, ever since arriving in Britain, that I am living at the centre of a crumbling empire. One that has been shrinking for a while, admittedly, but even in the time that I have been here (a year next Tuesday) I have seen the value of my savings diminished every time I send money back to New Zealand, I have seen university fees go beyond reach of most citizens, and a significant number of social and educational services scraped.
The decline and decay of the British Empire has become a little bit of a fascination for me recently. I can't help feeling that I should get out, but I feel drawn to stay. A friend of mine worked in the London financial markets in the 1980s. Just before The Crash (without realising what was coming) he had sold up everything and taken off to India, only to hear about it all on the BBC World Service. I asked if he felt relief at escaping the downfall. His reply was actually no, he would have quite wanted to be there to see the chaos shatter everything to the floor.
And I think I understand what he means.