A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within, said the American historian Will Durant about ancient Rome. This self-destruction of values is exactly what is happening in England today.
Yes, I still call the country of my birth England, in spite of the peculiar political correctness that insists that it be called ‘the UK’ and that we, its denizens, must be ‘Britons’. Even though the Welsh are proud to call themselves Welsh, as are the Irish and certainly the Scots, woe betide the Briton who calls himself ‘English’ – a much-frowned-upon no-no. I believe that when a country loses so much respect for itself that it can no longer even be identified by its historically correct name, insecurity and lack of respect filter down to its inhabitants.
Recently, I have concluded that London is no longer the ‘seat of civilised society’ that the world once considered it to be, and is certainly not the safe city I grew up in. A particular incident demonstrated the lack of respect and manners that is but a small example of the horrible, encroaching decay of the country that I love dearly. My husband Percy and I were at a ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel—a black-tie event attended by the so-called ‘elite’ of the city. As Percy held the door open to let me through, a 6ft tall, middle-aged, horse-faced male pushed past me, trod on the hem of my dress and rushed outside to climb into the taxi that the doorman had waiting for us.
This was a person who should, or at least looked like he should, have known better. The cause of his behaviour? The awful pervasive disregard that we have for civility today. Bump accidentally into someone in the street these days and you are soundly cursed. Look at a poor derelict collapsed in a doorway for more than a second and they’ll spit at you. Surely everyone has experienced the barely suppressed rage lurking behind the faces of a vast number of car drivers. We’ve become the ‘Whatcha lookin’ at?' culture. Why do young people consider it cool to be arrogant, swaggering and rude? Why do so many people in England seem so cynical and self-centred? I witnessed young, drunken yobs roaming the streets kicking cars, screaming insults, pushing people and even pushchairs out of their way, attacking each other viciously and then turning on the police when they tried to maintain order.
The whole scene evoked the image of hordes of inebriated Vikings sacking devastated towns. Even during the day, feral mobs roamed the cities with absolute disregard for anyone else’s property or well-being. Traditional virtues of male chivalry and female propriety were very far from view. After all, a lack of manners and politeness in a society can only be a reflection of what the society thinks of itself.
It’s frightful how being told that you are no good makes you hate yourself, and hate others. And it’s frightful how quickly a whole country of self-loathers can be bred.