I’ve been really enjoying Andrew Marr’s Modern History of Britain – this week’s episode was the late 60s dissolving from Flower Power into riots, demonstrations and dreadful national debt into the early 70s, fuel crisis and mass strikes. It’s quite fascinating not only to see how dreadfully racist and bigoted we were then – ‘decent’ people objecting to the decriminalisation of homosexuality (between men anyway, there was no such legal injunction against lesbianism, supposedly because years before Queen Victoria refused to believe lesbians existed, which is a shame, because there was a dour old queen who could have seriously used some clitoral stimulation), jokes about coloured people being ‘different’ on prime time TV shows, panic about immigration and the older generation convinced all young people were terrible. Alongside this mass marches of people protesting the British prime minister for being too close to a war-mongering US administration, demands for ‘Americans out’ and ‘end the war’ (Vietnam here of course) and Northern Ireland going from tricky to bloody with the introduction of interning suspects without trial and violent action by troops among civilians leading to terrorist strikes on mainland Britain.
Gee, I’m so glad we’re beyond all that now, eh? We’ve learned so much from our mistakes in the intervening decades. Oh, hold on…
Does anyone else ever get the idea that anyone who stands for government should be battered around the head with several volumes of history books and forced to produce essays on them to prove they have learned something before they are allowed to run the country? The BBC site has the whole second episode (from last week) up for perusal.