Friday, September 01, 2006

Squashed Princess

According to Hywel Williams "Nine years on... it's clear [Priness] Diana's death did not change Britain at all"

Well he's going out on a limb there isn't he? I mean we were told nothing would ever be the same again - the nation mourned the queen of hearts didn't it? Surely nine years is a bit early to start making such astonishingly radical pronouncements.

Although at the time I was gutted and so was my girlfriend of the time's daughter. She was irritated because TV was essentially cancelled for a week as the media whipped itself into a deeper and deeper frenzy and I was irritated because me and my friends were about to start a fantasy death league where we all had a list of ten famous people and the first one to get a death was the winner and was to be got drunk by the others.

We were to start in a few days time and I had both Diana AND Mother Teresa (who died on the same day) another gambling victory narrowly missed damn it.

The horrific atmosphere that grew to a head over the days after her death led to friends of mine being attacked for saying they didn't care she'd died and liberal commentators wank themselves into a lather in their attempt to demonstrate how deeply they had been effected by the death of a woman in a car crash.

At the time I was a seller of Socialist Worker and the experience was quite instructive. Firstly, some of our regular sellers refused to sell the paper for several weeks until it had all died down, but also our sales went resolutely up.

Selling outside the post office at some god awful time in the morning one postie looked at me funny as he went in and then I spotted him hanging around the gate peering at me from the corner of his eye. I smiled cheerily, inwardly wondering whether he was about to go for me. He then walked up to me, sideways. I swear to god he walked sideways, and said out of the corner of his mouth - "what do you think about Diana then?"

I shrugged and said "A woman has died in an accident, I'm sure her kids are upset but why should I care more about her than all the other car crash victims this week." He burst into the broadest smile I have ever seen and almost hugged me, shouting "That's what I think! I didn't know her why should I care?"

It was obvious that many people thought this way but the atmosphere was such that you simply were not allowed to think it. A nation united in grief etc, etc. hence his relief at finding someone he could actually admit to not giving a toss to.

The irony of course was her death came not long after the death of Ayatollah Khomeine where the UK press had ridiculed the mass grieving in Iran and then, weeks later, attempted to justify an equally vile moral swamp where the life of one pampered spoilt hypocritical Royal and her arms dealer boyfriend meant so much more than the lives of thousands of the poor non-people.

I thought this was all pretty obvious at the time, but apparently it took some people nine years to work it out.

Note: I'm off to Glasgow tonight so I may not post again until Monday - although who knows?


badmatthew said...

SWP member fails to comprehend that people might disagree with him and indeed have very different emotional responses. No big surprise there then.

Jim Jay said...

Pish posh Mr Bad M.

I abdure you to come into the light and beneficient love that is the hard left and rethink your attitude to what I wrote.

I, ever so eloquently, wrote about the moral climate of a time when we in the UK were only allowed to feel one thing and that I felt a warm glow at the fact that by being a brave little soldier and making public a position of 'I'm not mourning' a good number of people felt less like a freak for having a natural reaction to the death of a stranger.

I think the support I gave to those people helped them at that time.

At the time I was definately empathsing with people who had a wholy different emotional response to myself. I felt joy at her death, the majority of those I spoke to simply did not care - the position that I'm closer to today but did not hold at the time.

People were literally afraid to speak and more than one person was physically attacked during this period for not joining the grief. I think this was very wrong.

Commentators like the one I mentioned were the ones who absolutely 100% refused to acknowledge any position but their own existed and genuinely thought the nation was united in grief.

They were the ones who failed "to comprehend that people might disagree with" them not me - I was very aware that others did not agree.

My girlfriend for one was disappointingly effected with grief and I didn't mock her nor ignor her - although I didn't pander to it either.

Socialist Worker that week was very good incidently. The front cover was on the arms trade and Diana's death was dealt with sensitively but without mock grief by Chris Harman insde the issue. It was a paper that could be sold and bought in good conscience by all.

I think your comment isn't accurate in its interpretation of what I've said and i think it's a little unfair to say i didn't comprehend something when i clearly did and essentially accuse me of the very thing i was complaining about.

But I also refused then and refuse now to deny my own feelngs on the matter. At te time I was pleased she was dead and now I don't care. I will not hold her up as more important than the other car crash victims that year who did not make the papers because they were not rich, well connected and pretty, in an obvious sort of way.