The Fairytale of New Britain (Lucky Man)

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Once upon a time in a land long gone a boy grew up.


After junior and grammar schools he went to the university where the government paid for him to study.


At the end of 4 years he tumbled into a job.  He got a mortgage to buy a house, married and started a family.


As his career progressed he enjoyed accompanying salary increases until, one day, he retired and took his company and government pensions.


His parents never did this and nor will his children.


“Oh, what a lucky man he was”.

◄ The Red Wheelbarrow

I Blame The Scapegoats ►


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M.C. Newberry

Fri 28th Dec 2012 16:44

There is a certain irony in the knowledge that
the "war baby" generation (that includes me)
that grew up during the post war years of real
deprivation and rationing that went on into the
mid-fifties, is now envied and resented for
what they managed to achieve out of a broken-down, bankrupt Britain, in hock for decades to
the USA, a debt only recently paid off.
Clearly, the parenting generation that followed
on didn't take to heart the reality of what had gone before and that you don't get owt for nowt. There was a distinct belief that they
were somehow "owed" and deserved things "now"
and this is easy to pass down the line so that
we have reached a stage where old folk are
ridiculed and talked of in "disposable" terms
and sinister obsessions with "kids" and their
"needs" become substitutes for the failings
of those holding the fort in modern adult society.
The "war baby" generation (mid-60s onwards)is NOT part of the disastrous failures in the
political oversight of our financial system, nor of the activities of those who occupied
the vital banking positions that served us so recklessly and so badly. Those failings come from the later "want it now and want it all" offspring that followed. But while they had recent history to learn from, they were sure
their way was best and ignored/despised the
lessons that history provides. Like Icarus,
they got above themselves and got burnt...and
the flames have engulfed the rest of us.

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Fri 21st Dec 2012 20:30

Crumbs - it's nice to see you turn your hand to something serious John - and boy this is serious.

Your poem has caught the mood of how I have been feeling for a long time. 'We have seen the best of our times' is a quote from King Lear, if I remember correctly. That thought often goes round in my head - just how lucky I was to be born at the time that I was born. I'm also very fearful for my children - for all the reasons you go into in your poem.

Unlike MC and AE, I don't read your poem as just an indictment of bankers and successive governments. I think the problems are much bigger than that. The banking fiasco hasn’t helped. Every man and his dog going to University to study shitty tin pot courses, probably hasn’t helped either. But one of the biggest challenge we face for the future is, too many people for the resources of a small country – that coupled with their big expectations. Those are my cheery thoughts on the subject anyway.

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Anthony Emmerson

Fri 21st Dec 2012 11:46

Yes John, we have been royally shafted. I despair at each new revelation of how the elite wealthy are finding new ways to protect their financial advantage by disadvantaging the rest of us; and more so at the way our elected representatives either support or ignore this. There are solutions out there, but these are hampered on two fronts; one, by the public's apathy, and two, buy the disproportionate influence exercised over both the media and (all) political bodies. But, come the revolution . . . (Poets v Parliament?)


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Harry O'Neill

Thu 20th Dec 2012 21:54

Well said John,
I wish people would pay more attention to the fact that this historically unusual and temporary situation was brought about by the bankers creating oodles of shaky credit (remember all our credit cards?) The bankers also got rich (As Carlyle said. `Who has the management will have the money`) But so did everyone else. The trouble with the bankers was not just the thievery - but their incompetence...They didn`t fully understand their own business.

All this talk about `protecting the city of London` makes it likely that they will be incompetent again in the future.

Your blog, John, is a timely reminder that `progress` is far from being inevitable.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 20th Dec 2012 18:31

Eee by 'eck, he might even have made his money designing and manufacturing wheelbarrows under the brand name of "Wheels Circular Wheels". Today, a man would probably look to take his company and the government to the cleaners!

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