BY LEE BEING
Part I of Lee’s escape from London to the countryside can be found here.
The backlash was almost instantaneous. Accusations of being ‘Middle England’s Bitch’, and even getting accused of being ‘platformed’ for my views. Gosh. How awful. Freedom of speech (as long as it conforms to whichever one remains dominant to – whichever creed you engage with) ubiquitous. This person was angry. He was ‘triggered’ in common parlance. So I explained I too was angry, and in an almost navvy way explained I was not London’s bitch either (only coarser). Seemingly it was me that was triggered simply for defending my work. Subtle cognitive dissonance was duly noted.
…Day one of my first part of this story.
If anything, this does underline my point about how the urban gentleman looks across and through the M25 forcefield, that seems to act as the psychological Berlin Wall for Londoners. There was a bit of back and forth in my exchange, and wires were perhaps crossed – that needs to be clarified.
I do NOT consign all Londoners (the sparse remnants left of that tribe), but to its masters, its multiple invaders, and by this I don’t play into the expected trope of foreign nationals necessarily – that’s far too easy – but the social engineers, the gold-path walkers from all geographic coordinates, the spawn of neoliberalism; spoilt brats and ‘identitarians’ seeking both acceptance as much as domination. I tried to explain that I AM a Londoner (albeit bred, not born) that finds himself not recognising what should be the most recognisable city on earth.
I am not rubbishing the noble urban survivor who sits there powerlessly observing the tearing up of all they know, who may, unlike me, have been raised in harder and darker streets than perhaps I knew.
The battle was lost because no one was looking because everyone was cool; because everyone was tolerant; because no one likes to complain, do they? Most of all it was because it crept slowly and imperceptibly. Perhaps the anger springs from the frustration of knowing they didn’t realise at the time, and that this creeping monolith was too overwhelming; after all, London was the heart of ‘Cool Britannia’ and everything was ‘going to get better’, not worse. Spoiler warning: It was always going to get worse.
Whilst people seemed more concerned with being mis-sold PPI, where was the outrage of being mis-sold a dream? It was one built on a ‘new hope'(TM), and like ‘Star Wars – A New Hope'[sic], it robbed us of our childhood, rewritten so that Han didn’t shoot first, and everything distracting that could fill the screen could be added in to dress it up and ‘modernise’ and bewitch us; looking back, it looks naff, but it’s too late.
What is the lesson from all of this?
I do not claim to speak from a voice of authority or special insight, but from my experience and from my heart, which has been left cold by London. Why? It WAS my home. It is a case of the ‘strange death of London’; the once thriving capital that drew in all from far-and-wide is now experiencing for the first time in history its biggest mass exodus since World War II. Some may argue, even you, dear reader, that I should have stayed and fought, not come and invaded the way of life here in Somerset with my alien ways.
I see this as a tactical retreat. Yet, no matter where in the country you are, the youth remain enthralled by London or at least cosmopolitanism. Many want to leave for the city, because they may feel bored (which displays a serious lack of imagination). As an initiate into the realms of middle age, I have gone the other way. I’ve been overloaded. My head had been filled with every ism and ist going, and London being noisy enough as it is, this was a constant din. The average urban head is cluttered with the normalised stress of conformity through silent processes; an unwritten contract only acquiescence through moderating your own thoughts persists. How can you fight this when even your own mind is weaponized against you – the individual, or that unpredictable morass, with their taught opinions, are almost Victorian in their social amputation of those that would rather be learned.
In my first piece, I warned that the worst elements of the cosmopolitan brain-drain was a centralised system, where ‘wrong-think’ is almost instantly shut-down. Dissent is not tolerated because… ‘tolerance’. Double-think is institutionalised and globalised through the same message being distributed through universities and then onto the social media platforms where these modes of double-think and cognitive dissonance have taken the city hive-mind to the whole world.
So, me ‘escaping to the country’ is really not what this is about. What the countryside does offer me is a silence I’ve rarely had before, and it also offers me a space to breathe, having suffered from asthma, and to walk everywhere and eat well, and above all – property. I did not opt for a tiny bedsit leasehold in East London, which would still cost more than my current home in Taunton, where, here in beautiful and expansive Somerset, I live by a river, have swans and ducks I can look at from a balcony, and I am a walk away from being in fields that could stretch for miles. I am still undoing the decades of damage left by my abusive relationship with mother London, but that’s how I see it. She grew old and mean. Schizophrenic. Like anything else, you can only view something fully from the inside as well as out. Now I’m out, and I am struck by my own levity of over 40 years of an intense, love/hate abusive relationship. But here it is.
I promised you my angle of my own turnaround, my moment of rejecting the uneasy contract with social justice, the rainbow brigades, the bellicose mass-hysteria expressed by anyone who just feels upset, which left me perplexed. I’d come from a generation that saw the tail-end of the post-war generation, punk had already happened; VCRs; CDs; home computers; internet; mobile phones; then… I don’t know what the f**k happened! It all went a bit mental.
Things take time to unfurl, and if you’ve read this far, then perhaps I have your attention to last through my accounts. If anything, it will give you consideration as to what is undoubtedly spreading to this fabled ‘Middle England’. It’s not just the invasion from London you may be thinking about, it’s vastly more complex than that, and on many fronts.
Lee Being is a Taunton refugee from culture-war-torn London. A singer/songwriter and budding writer of other things yet to be written. A former London nightlife luminary, seeking the quiet and sensibility of real England with tales to tell of what has befallen our capital from the true, gritty end. No longer blinded by the leftist ideologues; now a staunch classical liberal; libertarian; upwinger; opting for a fresh three-dimensional politic as opposed to the standard two dimensional swing-o-meter much favoured by Peter Snow.