Today's post is an odd one which draws on the strange dichotomy inherent between the different classes of children—those who are well-off and those who are poor. Miss Snuffleupagus is wandering around a village fete, comparing the home-made cakes and simple games (and even simpler prizes) with the massive and massively expensive entertainments put on in the city; she compares the different price put upon different possessions by the children here and in the city.
I grab three bean bags, made out of stockings and beans and throw them at the homemade posts with coconuts on top. I hit one. It falls to the ground. I leap about happily, because I've won. And what have I won? I've won the coconut. I wonder what my kids would say to that. How boring they would find this place, and how irritated would they be to win a coconut. Their expectations are so different from the children here. One boy, about 10-years-old, excitedly explains to me that he won 2 lollipops from the 'lollipop dip'. My kids would have laughed in his face.
How bizarre it is that these children, who in monetary terms, for the most part, have far more than my children will ever have, yet, in tangible terms, have far less. I'm guessing that in their homes, converted from old barns, they don't have wide-screen televisions in every room. I'm guessing that they don't have the latest PSP games either. If they had, they would not be so keen to throw a coconut and delight in taking home their prize.
What privilege it is to have so little. What advantage these children have, to have been schooled in such a way so that they want to win a lollipop. They'll never meet my kids, not while they are young at least. They might meet my kids when they are older, when they've moved to London to take up their first job as bankers in the city, and they pop into McDonalds and my kid serves them the hamburger. Yes, I suppose one day, they will finally meet. And even then, I'm not sure that either child will know just how crucial the ability to appreciate that coconut was to their futures.
It is an interesting thing, is it not? As I have pointed out before, whilst I had an excellent schooling and good food, my parents strictly rationed my TV time—and, indeed, we had a little 12" black and white TV until I was about 14 or so, when my father got a bonus and went and bought our first colour TV and a video recorder. We never had a computer at all—no, not even a games console of any sort. Instead of designer trainers and the latest football top, I had clothes handed down from my father and my cousin; instead of MacDonalds' (or at least chips) every day, we had—very occasionally and as a special treat—fish and chips from the local shop, two or three times a year. We didn't get computer games and expensive electronics for birthdays or Christmas; our presents from relatives were usually capped at £10, apart from my parents who would spend anything up to about £25.
What we did have were things that encouraged us to think and invent and imagine: Lego was very popular and, of course, we were encouraged to read at every opportunity. My parents had collected an enormous number of books over the years (they were both English Literature students when they met at university) and had quite different tastes, so we were able—nay, encouraged—to read as many as we could.
I guess that the main difference is that we may not have had PSPs and games and TVs and such, but we were never starved of intellectual stimulus: we were never discouraged from thinking, imagining and creating our own worlds and stories and creatures. Our richness came from the encouragement of our intellectual development and not from a surfeit of expensive, designer goods.
And this is just another reason why I despise those currently running our schools, those who would merely have children tick the boxes and pass the exams; intellectual stimulus can be made from the cheapest, most mundane things (as Blue Peter always attempted to show); stimulating imaginations is, ultimately, cheap.
And whilst I am ready to acknowledge that many parents prefer to give their children goods in place of said stimulation, this is where our schools should take up the slack. But they are failing to do so: how are children meant to grow, and learn, and imagine when all that is considered important in education is how many increasingly worthless A*s you can get in a formulaic exam?
Allow children to imagine, and you open up the world to them; open up the world and they can imagine something bigger still—they can create universes of their own. Limit them, shut them down, and all that they have is a small box—trapped in it, they can rail at the world but ultimately never escape.
And that is why this load of fucking horseshit from Polly Toynbee, seen via Iain Dale, is not simply demagogic and unpleasant, but actively evil. [Emphasis mine.]
At one point during the lively discussion about how history should be taught, Douglas Murray said that one of the benefits of learning about great people in history is that it encourages children to think “that could be me” - a sense that individuals matter. Given how much of a Labour lover Toynbee is one would have thought that she might have agreed with this, given that it seems to fit with Brown’s “aspiration agenda.” However, she attacked Murray’s argument and said that to tell children that they could achieve greatness was to fill their heads with fairy tale nonsense. Apparently we live in a society where only the very rich achieve greatness. She went on to say that America’s notion that ‘anyone can make it if they work hard’ is simply a way of “keeping people in their place.” I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing, and during the Q&;A session I asked her to clarify her remarks and suggested that there was no better way of “keeping children in their place” than by telling them not to bother aspiring to greatness. I’m pleased to say that my questioning was met with general approval by the audience, but Polly just reiterated her notion that we live in a society where only the rich can make it etc. I then put it to her that not all great figures from history were born wealthy (or indeed achieved wealth), at which point she reverted to some safe ground - America bashing.
As a (relatively young) Conservative it is one of my core beliefs that individuals should aspire to better themselves, and society, through ambition and hard work. A world run by Toynbee would be a world where children are encouraged not to try, as “they’ll never make it in to the history book. That’s just where rich people end up.” Frightening stuff.
Toynbee is not on the side of the poor: never make that mistake. Polly Toynbee is one of those evil little cunts who would keep the poor in poverty, so that they may be rescued by the likes of Toynbee, that she may take her place in history.
Polly Toynbee—along with the rest of her ilk: the disgusting Champagne Socialists and "social reformers"—have destroyed ambition over the successive generations. They see the world as disgusting and full of evil; they deplore the acquisition of wealth but they not only crave it themselves, but are usually already wealthy.
The strange thing is that, whilst she deplores wealth, Polly seems to be obsessed with it; to her, having money is the only thing that matters. For Polly Toynbee, selfish old harridan that she is, nothing is more important than cash.
I still say that imagination is more valuable; I still say that being able to live your life in the way you wish, through making your own choices, is far more satisfying; I still say that money is not the be-all and end-all of life. It is why mothers stay home with their children, though they know that they harm their careers: because money is not the ultimate goal—happiness is.
If one views the Scriptures as moral philosophy rather than simply the ravings of nutters who believe in an imaginary friend, it is easy to see that they are right about some things: after all, the love of money is still the root of all evil. But that is too glib: it is the valuation of money, in and of itself, as the only thing that matters that leads to evil.
People with money may well have more possessions (or, as we have seen, they may not). Ultimately, it is the power to dream that sets us apart, and we should never stifle that in anyone, especially the poor: for anyone can dream, no matter their station or the size of their bank account, and to try to shut that down, as Toynbee would, is to remove all hope and, ultimately, all joy from life.
It is Toynbee and those like her who keep the poor in their place—and it is an evil thing to do. But how could it be otherwise: for Toynbee loves only money and, as we have just reminded ourselves, the love of money is the root of all evil.
What a fucking hideous, embittered little cunt she is. Perhaps she should meet with Miss Snuffleupagus, who finishes her post (so much more insightful than any of Polly's empty, tired drivel) thusly...
Back home, as I position my coconut prize in the middle of my front room's mantlepiece, giving it pride of place, I think about how unfair it is that my children have so much, and as a result, have so little. And I decide I must always keep this coconut, so that I can remember that in life, the simplest things, have the greatest rewards.
Indeed. I can't imagine Polly doing the same: can you? I imagine that the only thing that Polly has that resembles a coconut in anyway is her raddled, badly trimmed, old minge. Although it is probable that her heart is just as hard...