Monday 21 June 2021

1991 starts to look like the Edwardian age

A woman on the BBC World Service talks gushingly about how everyone in the summer of 1991 was talking about Thelma and Louise and makes it sound like the long, hot summer of 1913.

My life changed forever that summer – and it seems very recent. And I didn’t see Thelma and Louise or really understand the spirit of the age then, though much more so than I do now.

Transgender rights were something I did not hear about for another quarter of a century. Single sex marriage came as a complete shock in 2005 when Catholic Spain instituted it, though unbeknown to me the Dutch had done so previously. 

I remember making a tableful of Scandinavians laugh in Budapest in 1993 when I said I thought the only people in Norway who got married were homosexuals.

In 1991 women vicars were a highly controversial proposal in England. There were 41 women MPs, more than twice the number twelve years before. The House of Lords, where I had my first permanent job, was overwhelmingly composed of hereditary peers.

In the summer of 1991 there was great joy that Eastern Europe was free from Marxist rule, apart from the Soviet Union which would break up at the end of the year. 

I had always known Communist Russia was no threat except to people behind the Iron Curtain and in the Third World, and that the Cold War, which was probably unnecessary, kept the peace in Europe. 

In the summer of 1991 wars broke out in Yugoslavia. Nationalism now seemed to me and most people the enemy of Europe. The European Union (the name the European Economic Community liked to be known by) seemed the solution. 

In fact it was not like that. European federalism had always been the great enemy of Europe and became a very much bigger problem after the Treaty of Maastricht, negotiated through the year and signed at the end of it.

The early 1990s were when Britain and America became very politically correct - a pejorative phrase that President HW Bush coined and put into currency in 1991. I, in those days a Democrat, thought he has burst a very nasty boil with the phrase. 

The culture moved very far to the left by the mid-1990s in America and in America's colony the UK, despite her Conservative government. 

I never imagined back then that it could move even further away from freedom. I thought we had reached the ne plus ultra.

I assumed so now, assumed there will be a big backlash, until I wrote this, but now I suddenly wonder - is this just the beginning?

1 comment:

  1. I assumed so now, assumed there will be a big backlash, until I wrote this, but now I suddenly wonder - is this just the beginning?

    The difference between communism and what we have today is that under communism people knew they were being subjected to propaganda. They knew they were being subjected to indoctrination. People in today's world, if they're under 40, have absolutely no idea that they're being propagandised. They have no idea that everything their teachers told them was propaganda and the every movie and TV show they see is propaganda.

    People under 40 in the modern West have also never experienced freedom. They don't realise that they're missing out on freedom. They just think it's normal to self-censor constantly and to agonise over whether they're sufficiently Woke.

    So unfortunately there's not likely to be a backlash.