Dick Witless looks back on a golden era that never was: 'Broken Britain'. As told to Thropplenoggin. A pioneer in the esoteric field of ethnosexography, pith-helmet aficionado, safari-suit devotee, boshmonger, Dr. Y.U. Thropplenoggin is currently seeking publisher for tales of sexual derring-don't, "In Like Thropplenoggin!"
Just one year ago, I knew precisely where we, as a nation, stood: knee-deep in the most pestilent mire this once-proud land had ever known. Blighty was blighted. The country hadn't just gone to the dogs, it was the dogs, and not the dignified bulldog of old, nor even some frightful Frankenmutt of new (a labradoodle, say), but a teeth-gnashing, drool-frothing pitbull, sporting a studded collar and leashed up to a gang of feral hoodies. Anthony Burgess saw it coming, we cried: drugs and dregs did equal droogs. The streets were no longer safe to walk on in daylight hours. It was like a Zombie invasion, only these zombies were drug-addled teenage goons reacting with the incendiary speed of savages.
Picture this: another innocent victim lies bleeding to death, having been sliced up like a side of roast beef at Sunday lunch. The ambulance arrives hours, if not days, later, and by the time it's ready to take the fallen hero (who had, no doubt, been neglected and ignored by the social services in his youth) to the no-man's-land that is a modern A&E waiting room, the tyres have been robbed by the very same hoodies who had stabbed this iconic idol. Just one more martyr for the lost cause that is 'Broken Britain', we'd sigh.
Not anymore. These days 'Broken Britain' is decidedly broken. Just yesterday, I saw an old man up who had fallen over on the ice. Within seconds, a bunch of yobs had surrounded him. But, instead of kicking his head in and robbing him of what few pence he had about his person, they were actually helping the old fellow up! Where there should have been "You're fuckin' dead, you are!" there was "Are you alright, sir?" I wasn't just flabbergasted, I was disgusted. And this sickening display was just the beginning.
Exhibit B came this morning, on the overcrowded train into London. In the red corner, a pregnant lady in need of a seat. In the blue corner, a hoodie with his iPods on slouching across two seats, volume drowning out conversation, and the whole coach too intimidated to even look his way, let alone challenge the reprobate. I sat and watched the whole sorry spectacle unfold as if it had been scripted, until the wholly unexpected happened: the hoodie, upon seeing the pregnant lady, only went and gave up his bally seat to her!
Staggered as I already was, this outrage was far from finished. Someone then took this opportunity to suggest his music was on "a tad too loud" and would he mind turning it down a bit. Would you believe it if I said the fool not only apologised, but folded up his iPods and put them away? You couldn't make it up!
"Why the hell aren't you punching her in the stomach and filming it for the Youbends?!" I bawled.
His answer? "Well, it's not the done thing, innit."
I was incredulous.
The final straw came when I saw the feral yob brigade en masse at a nature reserve. Surely they'd be busy molesting tadpoles or, at the very least, playing football with hedgehogs. No chance. They were building a nest box for some rare stoat or other. Typical of today's 'thugless thuggery' and 'can-do' mindset, social evils that are threatening to make the catch-all phrase 'Broken Britain' unusable.
Just what has happened to this sceptic isle? Wasn't life so much simpler when a yob was a yob, hurling abuse, upturning prams and trampling pensioners underfoot? These days, the ambulances arrive in a timely manner, there's snow in winter, and good news is everywhere. It's as if everyone has decided to live by the mantra: you could always not make it up.
Would the last person to leave 'Unbroken Britain' please turn off the light, which, no doubt, will be working irritatingly well, and not have required thousands of pounds in consultancy fees to have its bulb changed.
Whatever Happened To 'Broken Britain'? by Thropplenoggin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at thropplenoggin.com