I’m using bits of Harry Reid’s book, Outside Verdict, for some of the introductory background for my dissertation. I came across this piece in which he quotes Telegraph journalist Michael Henderson (Monday commentary: 19th August 2001) commenting on a typical Friday night in Leeds. It’s a pretty biting piece and I wonder if things have improved any in many parts of the country.
Leeds, on Friday night, offered a microcosm of a society that has lost its soul. When you had picked your way past the drunks in the streets near the ground you could visit one of several dozen bars in the middle of the city, all amplified noise and tat, each with its own heavily-muscled “doormen”.
Awash with money, and yet ugly beyond belief, our towns represent the landscape of modern England, and things are getting worse. How can any person who truly cares about this land not be disturbed by the vulgarity and unthinking hedonism of our young people, who are, without argument, the most feckless, the most aggressive, the most stupid in Europe? What’s more, they wear their ignorance as a badge of honour…
Everything is trivial, and disposable, and available for “the people”, with their diminished expectations. Those people have money, pots and pots of it, but there is no spiritual dimension to their lives. They have been neutered by junk television, junk newspapers, junk food, junk beer, junk pop music, junk advertising, junk films. A kind of affluent poverty exists, in which nobody feels anything except a permanent boredom.