Monday, 25 February 2019


It’s been a week of identity crises. In the politics we have a new ‘party’ called TIG (The Independent Group) comprised of twelve Conservative and Labour discontents - understandably so given the far-rightness and far-leftness of the parties they were previously part of. These “Tiggers” are upbeat, nice people. who want to restore courtesy and pleasant behaviour to the lives they lead and I expect over the following weeks their following will grow.

A.A. Milne wrote in Winnie the Pooh:
Pooh: “Oh Tigger, where are your manners?”
Tigger: “I don’t know, but I bet they’re having more fun than I am.”

As their numbers grow the Tiggers will have more fun than they have been having up till now. But the identity crisis isn’t just only about antisemitism and Brexit…important though these are …it’s about who we are as a country. And I’m afraid that is the problem. As a mongrel nation our strength has always been our diversity, our adventurousness and our inventiveness.

But enough on both sides of the House want to return to a yesterday, a mythically nicer pipe-smoking yesterday when we made things and had holidays in the drizzle. Who we really are is a bit of a mystery…it may turn out that Jeremy Corbyn is Jewish if he goes back far enough.

And then my own identity got stolen. I barely use Facebook just wishing friends happy birthday and staring at the strange pictures that people post. I worry about Facebook like I worry about climate change and environment pollution. Facebook are the plastic bag litter louts of communication. With 2 billion users they are an existential threat to us all. And we ignore this because they are so omnipresent. Suddenly some bogus ”me” is sending out stuff on Facebook Messenger pretending to me.  He appears to be middle European and – I hate this – he can’t be stopped.

Meanwhile I have left Facebook - you try they won’t let you go that easily – and I’m going to go from Twitter and Instagram too.  Because I have lost control. Talking of which – and this isn’t just another moan – I had a problem with my Bank who’d failed to make a direct transfer from my account. I spent an hour on the phone trying to sort it. It was impossible getting round their charming incompetence.

One suggested.

“Why don’t you go to your local branch to sort this?”

Because they’ve closed it down I shouted….and then apologised. Manners , Richard, manners. Outside today the sun is blazing down and daffodils are doing that Wordsworth thing. And I’ve just read Sathnam Sanghera’s problems using one of those “switch your utility providers and save money” services. He ended up with two providers, being charged twice and then being cut off.  I’ve decided I’m better off being nice, loyal and avoiding technology I don’t like, use or understand but have foolishly flirted with.

 I’ll have more fun and daffodils will do for me.

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