Britain has found a new heroine in the lady who set a hose on the Just Stop Oil protesters who vandalised a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. When several ecomaniacs started throwing orange powder paint across the plants of a display showcasing sustainability on Thursday, one middle-aged woman grabbed a hose and ever so casually soaked the intruders until she was stopped by a security guard.
As this most irritating of scenes unfolded at one of the most civilised events on Earth, I’m sure you were thinking the same as me: if only she had been within arm’s reach of a water cannon. Yet her remarkably restrained response to the selfish outrages committed by radical activists sums up the dignity of ordinary, decent people in the face of this offensive bunch of over-privileged rabble rousers.
The well-deserved drenching was emblematic of a Britain that has had it up to here with the sublime entitlement of campaigners who think they can spoil someone else’s hard work – and a day out to Chelsea – because they have something to shout about climate change.
We later learnt that the garden spoilers included Naomi Goddard, 58, a reported “flood expert” from Hebden Bridge, who warns of disaster in her quiet corner of West Yorkshire while apparently struggling to acknowledge the area has been prone to flooding for centuries.
She was joined by charity worker Stephanie Golder, 35, an activist from Southend, Essex, and support worker Rosa Hicks, 28, who doesn’t appear to see the hypocrisy in hectoring about the environment while having reportedly taken a year out to study in Australia. Privilege doesn’t even cover it. Don’t these women have jobs to go to?
While the Chelsea Flower Show was being shamelessly oranged, another trio of mimseys were kidnapping lambs from the King’s Sandringham estate, supposedly in the name of animal welfare.
Seemingly oblivious to the potential distress caused to the lambs by being separated from their flock, militants Rose Patterson, 33, Rosa Sharkey, 23, and Sarah Foy, 23, filmed themselves holding the animals in a van in a stunt anyone with any knowledge of farming knows will have left the bleaters terrified.
Despite apparently lacking understanding of livestock care, these morons actually think they are in a position to lecture others on animal welfare. Indeed, many “animal rights” activists appear blissfully unaware that being a herbivore does not make you an expert on anything, except perhaps vitamin B-12 deficiency. Yet on they go, ramming their marginal and extremist views down everyone else’s throats.
Sadly, entitlement seems to be becoming something of a running theme in this country. This week, we learnt that borrowing has risen to the second highest level ever for April, driven in part by surging welfare payments. More than five million people are now on out-of-work benefits according to some estimates, despite there being hundreds of thousands of job vacancies.
We all thought the era of people being better off by not working had ended with the introduction of Universal Credit. And yet, in this strange post-pandemic period, some people who could work are simply choosing not to. While that may be their right in a free society, where does it leave the rest of us?
All those people shunning jobs are necessitating an immigration policy that sees hundreds of thousands of workers imported into the country to plug the shortages. As Thursday’s immigration figures from the Office for National Statistics confirmed, net migration stands at an unprecedented 606,000. This, in turn, is fuelling a mass housing shortage and sky high rents along with a scarcity of school places and doctors’ appointments. It will inevitably place enormous pressure on Britain’s infrastructure, but our culture has become so consumed by me-me-me that nobody wants to connect the dots.
Of course, successive governments are to blame for creating a high tax, low wage economy where younger generations can no longer afford to get on the housing ladder. And, as well as failing to build enough houses, our elected representatives have been remiss in neglecting to train more homegrown medics, preferring the cheaper solution of issuing health visas to foreigners instead.
Similarly, by allowing campuses to be flooded with overseas students, they might well be limiting the number of British university entrants in a bid to keep tuition fees down for those lucky enough to gain a place.
Still, it is not just the fault of the powers that be that, to ape the famous Saatchi & Saatchi slogan from the 1970s, Britain isn’t working. These days, people seem to need to be actively encouraged to go out to work when it used to be a given.
Once upon a time, Britons had a moral impulse to work because they didn’t want to become a burden on the state. The consensus was that you shouldn’t take something out if you hadn’t put anything in, yet that seems to have evaporated into a narcissistic presumptuousness that you can do as little as you want and expect others to pick up the tab. People increasingly seem to think they are entitled to an easy life – paid for by the rest of us.
While I appreciate there has been a troubling rise in mental health issues and anxiety, particularly among the young, I cannot help but think that some of this could be down to a lack of purpose in life. For it used to be thought that work was positive for helping to manage conditions like mild depression by giving sufferers a sense of belonging and accomplishment.
Work was also a calling, a chance to help yourself, your family and even strangers. And thankfully, some young people – the most ambitious of them – still understand this. Ask a graduate trainee or an apprentice if they would like to work hard in an office and they will probably say yes. But their voices are drowned out by a metropolitan elite that appears so hooked on the convenience of Zoom that it has forgotten it is supposed to be passing on knowledge to the next generation.
These lazy elites were given a leg up, but now it’s a case of pull the ladder up, and damn the rest. Why should they care that others don’t have the luxury of working from home, so long as they can get their recycling bins emptied on time, and their organic food boxes delivered straight to the door? Some will be cheering on the antics of a small minority of Greta Thunberg devotees, who seem intent on getting in the way of people with actual jobs.
Many of the ills in this country today, from its sinking economy to the troublemaking of radical protestors, can be associated with our wider social crisis. Frankly, it’s a miracle that the fury of the sensibles has so far been contained to a bit of hose-waving.