This is my first post about the forthcoming election. Except that it isn't, it is about my reflections on the last decade of British life. Certain things are held to be true. Sadly, nobody believes that the same things are true. Not only that, they change their minds about what is right and what is true according to the myriad conflicting pressures and tropes and the demands of the moment. This is pragmatism in action. This is short-termism. If anything, the last decade can be characterised by the triumph of pragmatism over vision.
There is an old line somewhere that goes, "By their fruits you shall know them". There are some people whose sum total of activity will leave a net contribution to society. Some will do it because of the kind of work they do, like doctors or firemen, and others will do it by being quietly supportive of friends in need. Some will do it, merely, but importantly, by working all their lives, paying taxes and doing everything the right way - often the hard way.
It is easy to cut corners. It is easy to be bad. It is easy to make money if you have no scruples. But the kind of society we achieve is dependent upon the combined efforts of all those whose overall contribution is positive.
And so, in taking a look back at the last ten years, I believe the key question is, who won? Was it the people who try and do things the good way or people who don't care about others, only personal gain?
Personal gain needs unpacking; there is a lot to be gained by being identified as a protected species. It firstly appeals to the ego. It then benefits to the detriment of others. If then, this arbitrary and exalted status is enshrined in law, it is a foregone conclusion that the exalted status will be open to abuse. Choose your own examples.
A lot is talked of privilege and class. Privilege though, is not just which school you went to, or who your parents were, it is the means by which one person is elevated in status above another, at the cost of another. The Unions were a paradigm of this in the 70's. They had placed themselves above the populace they claimed to serve, and in fact, had tyrannised it.
Privilege is conferred on many who have no real deserving of it. The government can apparently create peerages at will, and then place them in political positions without the inconvenience of worrying the democratic process. I wonder how many of these non-elected individuals can actually run a government?
Privilege is conferred upon many who have merely conformed to an arbitrary index of deservance, such as ethnic minorities and gays. Members of these two example communities throw up the good and the bad, but it is the bad that political correctness protects. The examples in political life are fairly obvious.
Where has hegemony gone? Who runs the country? What kind of a country is it that imprisons householders who seek to protect their families from violence, and compensates criminals?
Why has the Muslim community been single out for favour and tax-payer's money, when a large proportion of these people want to overthrow the very mechanisms which allow them to live peaceably and free?
What is it about this decade, that has seen two wars which we have essentially lost, or at least have been proved utterly pointless? What is it about this decade that has seen the rise of domestic, Islamist terrorism?
What is it about this decade which has revealed our hospitals to be filthy and our schools to be lower than former Eastern Europe countries in achievement?
I know there are many answers to complex issues, but I would like to put one thing forward, and that is that we are no longer a nation that is in any way religious. Now, you may think that is a good thing, but just stop and think for a moment: if you spend any part of your day in contemplation or abstinence - even if abstinence means turning the telly off - if you spent time trying to understand your place in the universe, or even, seriously thinking about God, it is possible that you would begin to see how far we have fallen from the beauty of humanity and you might begin to see that pragmatism, the spirit of the age, is good for five minutes but not for eternity.