BY PAUL NEWALL
Bono was one of my first heroes, I bought all of U2’s records and in my wide-eyed desire to make the world a better place I read a little too much into their earnest lyrics as was the case with many teenagers during the 1980’s. I was travelling towards the left at a speed my parents found disconcerting, so much so that they orchestrated “chance meetings” with Labour moderates in order to deprogram me from the cult of Trotskyism. Alas, to no avail – I was determined to fulfil my revolutionary destiny.
This butterfly-like transformation was brought to a grinding halt when my girlfriend fell pregnant and reality slapped me in the face. I suddenly found myself having to think about providing for my new family ….. the revolution would have to be postponed. As time and responsibilities took their toll on my communist beliefs and I started a slow walk to the small c conservative right, my erstwhile role model got to be extremely rich but his politics if anything became more radical and woke. There hardly seemed a day where the newspapers or telly weren’t running a story about Bono trying to cure the world’s ills one battle at a time and at some point he even became the acceptable face of anti capitalism.
Though I no longer shared Bono’s politics I did share his desire to save the rain forests and feed the world but it struck me that he never shied from asking for money from both governments and ordinary people yet his personal worth seemed to be growing at geometric rates. Bono’s persona started to take on the same facets as a TV evangelist from the US – he didn’t mention God, but I always felt that the more money we gave him the more that God loves us.
This month St Bono entered the European political arena with an amazingly enigmatic opening shot:
“Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling ”
It struck me that he was channelling his inner Marcus Aurelius as per the movie Gladiator, famously overplayed by Richard Harris who said :
“There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish… it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter.”
If I’m honest I think that the holy one is backing the wrong horse. The place that is both fragile and beautiful is Great Britain. Our society has transformed over centuries from a brutal medieval theocracy into a liberal paradise, an evolution that came to a juddering emergency stop at the tail end of the twentieth century. First John Major, and then more importantly Tony Blair, started a social engineering revolution that would change the whole face of our country.
John Major signed us up to the Maastricht treaty which the “bastards” in his inner circle knew would hand over huge tranches of our sovereignty to the newly-formed European Union. The infighting and the financial crash caused by his slavish desire to be part of the European Currency Unit, a proto Euro currency, caused him to get obliterated at the polls in 1997 and the people elected Mr Blair, who was as much a Euronationalist as Major was but he was a more enigmatic character.
The Labour government embarked on a programme of social engineering unknown in the history of our country. Immigration steadily crept up due to changes in the law on both immigration and asylum seekers as well as free movement from within the newly formed EU. Their now admitted aim was to “Rub the right’s nose in diversity” but the overall plan was a Ponzi scheme where low-paid imported labour would compensate for low productivity and the tax gains from prosperous businesses and would fund a redistribution revolution of wealth. But this relied on continuous growth in both immigration and GDP .
Opposition was silenced by new laws that constrained freedom of speech that outwardly were meant to increase equality. Anyone who questioned the new orthodoxy was labelled a racist, xenophobe or bigot …. remember Gillian Duffy anyone ? However there was a large bluebottle about to drop in the ointment, as I said the whole house of cards was balanced on ever increasing GDP and immigration and our country’s earnings took a wallop in the crash of 2008. Immigration stayed at a level above 200,000 a year but because of the crash the new arrivals were competing with newly unemployed British citizens and its hard to call a million extra unemployed people bigots for complaining about being undercut in the labour market.
Our tolerant liberal society has polarised, yet I still see our liberal heritage shining through the melee, there is a new classic liberal movement emerging and the right, instead of being ugly and racist, is questioning and curious. The arguments of reason are coming from small c conservatism – Douglas Murray, Nigel Farage and Carl Benjamin come to mind and this time we see the violence and hobnail boots coming from my old pals on the left. It’s almost as if our society has the ability to shift its DNA to counter threats from radicalism.
Bono had his time, riding the red wave of the early eighties and became a national treasure but his support of a rotting supranational structure makes him very much yesterday’s man.
I have a message for him should he deign to read this article:
Achtung Baby! It’s October Boy and your unforgettable fire has gone out and you’re on the wrong side of the War.
Guest Writer Paul Newall is a child of the 1960’s from a traditional Labour-supporting household. Paul dabbled with Trotskyism in the 1980’s but then “grew up and thanks to having responsibilities I slowly migrated across the political spectrum until instead of hating Maggie Thatcher I admired her for beating my side in the miners strike”.