WW's WWotW - from Non-Doms to Condoms

In this week's Weekend Window on the World, I am currently mildly irritated because Simon Heffer has written the kind of coruscating philippic of the BBC that I wish I had written. The BBC does not have many friends left - that is, not many friends who are straight and don't vote Labour. What Heffer is saying is that the Corporation has little to offer as defined by its Reithian terms of reference. Heffer says:
There is little the BBC does that by any objective standards is worth doing and that the private sector would not provide. 
 He concludes:
a drastically reduced BBC would eliminate much of the Leftist influence that dominates it. Socialist dramatists, reporters, editors and presenters could take their chances in the private sector. Oddly enough, I suspect that might be the last we would hear of them: which is precisely why the BBC will fight like a hellcat to retain as much of its present functions as it can.
 Heffer is basically telling us what we already know, which is that the BBC is a job creation scheme for Lefties, something of course they are very fond of, having bloated the public sector from one to five million since Labour came to power.

I did something I rarely do these days - watched a BBC news bulletin. It headlined with Lord Ashcroft, the well known Non-Dom. (I still don't know what one is). The BBC was very helpful; its bombastic opening "The row over Lord Ashcroft, boom boom, what it is all about, boom boom, and why it is important." Well, talk of flogging dead horses. If you have to explain why it is important - then it isn't. End of story. But full marks to George Alagiah for being the "drawn sword, parting the darkness of ignorance". Perhaps the Ghost of Lord Reith visited him in the night. He was looking a lot whiter than usual.

Condoms. Well as reported earlier, those Swissies are going to be providing smaller sized rubber johnnys for kids. When will GUM clinics have those little play areas in them, like they do in Doctor's surgeries, you know, the ones with a bit of lego and some large print story books and maybe one of those junior Peekaboo pole dancing kits you used to be able to by in the toy section at Tescos ?




I got to thinking about my old home town, Boston. apparently, in a Town of 60,000, 65different languages are spoken, most of them emanating from former Eastern Europe and Portugal. There has been a massive influx of migrants to the town and its environs, and a lot of them do the kind of jobs the locals used to do (mostly agriculture) before it became easier and more lucrative to claim benefits. The entire industry has always been totally bent. Don't forget the tragedy of the Morcambe Bay Cockle Pickers, who were discovered to have been part of the black economy. Well, Boston always had a black economy, which suited everybody in the old days. Whether it does now, I don't know. It is bound to cause tension, all this change, in a place that is as stagnant as a pool on the moon.

When I was growing up there, there were only two black families in the entire town, and the head of one was known as, and responded to the nickname "Darkie" in exactly the same way people in the 40s and 50s were called "Chalkie" or "Ginger".  Those who knew him would shout, "Hello Darkie", from across the street, and Darkie would say, "allo, Duck". There were one or two foreigners, a few Chinese and a few from the medical profession but that was it. How an entire town of latent racists is coping with immigration on these levels must be of interest to a lot of ologists everywhere. It certainly gave the Chipmunk, little Hazel Blears something to say:

Giving evidence to the Commons Communities Select Committee yesterday, Ms Blears revealed that one in four of the 58,300-population of Boston, Lincolnshire – where there are now 65 different languages spoken – is from Eastern Europe. 

And by now, they will all be able to greet you in the normal Boston way, as we do with any citizen of Boston, which is "allo, duck"

You can click on the pic to enlarge it if you are interested. The large red brick house on the left is Witham Bank House, where, 35 years ago, I had a flat. The building overlooks the river bank and was as nice a place you could get in Boston, though you only had to go under the railway arch at the back to get into the badlands that frequently featured in the court pages of the Lincolnshire Standard.

I don't go to Boston any more. It is what I was, not what I am now, and on the very occasional visit, of perhaps an hour, once every decade, It feels creepy and alien and oppressive, and as one friend of nearly fifty years, now a Londoner, said to me, "You get the feeling something violent is going to kick off at any time". Quite. You visit, you quickly move on and thank God you got out.

None of the places I had anything to do with, schools, hospitals, cafes, etc, exist any more. Even the place the prozzies hung out has been gentrified:

This was all slumlord territory 30 years ago, it is called South Terrace, just along from the  Boston General Hospital, where I was born. The hospital was demolished and flats built.

All of this tears me two ways - one is a return, that is impossible, and the other is to be all the more determined to make where I am now, a source of fond memories for the future, not just for me, but for my kids and their kids.

8 comments:

Jim Baxter said...

'It is what I was, not what I am now, and on the very occasional visit, of perhaps an hour, once every decade, It feels creepy and alien and oppressive'

That about sums up how I feel about Edinburgh, having grown up there in the sixties and seventies.

Norton Folgate said...

I drive through boston on the way to work, it is not a cheerful place to be.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Parallel universe Jim.

Norton, I would be interested to know about your travels through Boston. Drop me a line if you feel up to it.

strapworld said...

WW. I feel exactly the same about my birth town, Oldham!

Well said. You should a copy of this blog to Cameron. Clegg and Brown. Is it any wonder there is so much pressure on the Schools, Hospitals, Social Services,Local Authorities?

Mind you it would make a fascinating documentary. The Wicked Weasel Returns to....Boston. UK

Jim Baxter said...

Partly Rhinestone Cowboy syndrome, partly too many reminders of crap.

Jim Baxter said...

Memory's shot - not rhinestone cowboy - Neil Diamond I was thinking of

New York's home, but it ain't mine no more

Jen said...

Interesting about the BBC. We usually catch BBC America for Top Gear and Life On Mars re-runs (which are great), but I can see the bias every time we switch on BBCAmerica news. Our own ABC and NBC stations are pretty bad too though.

CD13 said...

Nice to read the old stories. I remember Darkie James very well and it's nice to know that the "badlands" didn't include Fenside where I lived. Perhaps we were the right side of the river?