Village Idiots Or Village Idiocy?
We are very fortunate in Great Britain to have clearly defined borders. Our status as an island has enabled us to avoid much of the evil and wickedness that has plagued continental Europe. Throughout history neighbour has turned upon neighbour and viciousness and persecution have been rife. Hitler did not start the persecution of the Jews. Particularly in France and the low countries, they were persecuted across the centuries. Between Poland and Romania there is an enmity that defies belief.
Much that is great in Britain has evolved from our island culture but we have not escaped the darker side of human nature. Much that is worst in Britain can be seen in the petty jealousies and behaviours of village life. Just as insidious and cruel as the persecution of the Jews is the way that gossip, resistance to change and selfishness runs deep in British village life.
They nearly always start with “I’ve lived in the village for more than X years…”. X needs to be at least 20 and for real seniority you need to be able to boast of 30 or 40 years residency. Then, according to this idiotic doctrine, you have some sort of right to impose your view of the world on your neighbours. Just because you were there first?
It is to the eternal shame of rural villagers in Britain that the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle Of Wight is to close. There is simply no market for onshore wind turbines in Britain because the “NIMBYs” (Not In My Back Yard) object at every stage and shove the problem of energy and ecology onto someone else.
I won’t be actively campaigning for, say, 10 wind turbines along the top of White Horse Hill but what right would any of us have to object? If you want to switch your kettle on or watch TV or enjoy a hot bath in the depths of winter, you need to be prepared to compromise, particularly if you want your grandchildren to enjoy a future on this planet. In any case, wind turbines have a beauty and elegance of their own. Look at the way that we now revere some of the great aqueducts built in the 19th century – before the days when the small minded, selfish, blue rinse brigade were able to resist any and all change.
It’s not just about planning and environment though. It’s a more general problem about attitudes towards others and our own selfishness. Gossip, whinging and a failure to welcome and include others and the change that they bring are the symptoms of this British disease. So next time you hear them start with “I’ve lived in the village for more than 40 years”, be careful. The chances are that what comes next is going to be selfish, small minded rubbish.