Underground England, 1
Society, Taste, Character and Class
It has been two thousand years, the spring and summer of our era. What, then, will the winter be? No, I can’t bear it. I can’t let it go. Yet who can stop the autumn from falling to pieces, when November has come in? It is almost better to be dead, than to see this awful process finally strangling us to oblivion, like the leaves off the trees.
D.H.Lawrence, Letter to Lady Cynthia Asquith
English Society and Taste
England was the first country in the world to industrialise, so it only seems fair that we should be the first to collapse under the weight of the industrial system. We lost our virgin forests long ago, in the run-up to capitalism,1 along with most of our wildlife, but industrialisation, urbanisation and, latterly, globalisation, have all but finished the job. Our birds are in serious decline2, as are our insects,3 and all our waterways are now polluted.4 England has no wild to speak of at all, a lack which has disastrously impacted its society and culture.
We don’t have functioning communities any more. Nothing is really done here — all of our production has been handed over to China — nobody makes anything, nobody grows anything and, increasingly, nobody really knows how to do anything. Our productive life is based on moving data around, which is why, amongst other reasons, all our institutions, founded on ‘Western Values’ (migration, LGBTQ and war), exist in service to the rootless, postmodern nightmare. And to profit. All of our assets have been stripped and are in the hands of foreign corporate power. Our health service, once the finest in the world, is, after three decades of being dismantled and sold off, on its knees.5 Inflation is out of control. Food and utility prices are now so high that 14% of the country regularly go hungry.6 Nothing really works; long delays, frustrating errors and maddening incompetence now form part of daily life. Our infrastructure is essentially held together with tooth-picks and silly putty; not to mention cheap foreign labour, which rubs up ever closer against the locals, causing more and more civil friction. High streets are being gutted, public spaces closed down, the police now essentially ignore all crimes less severe than mass-murder and a cloud of fear hangs over the country.
England is a basket-case.