Getting the clap

I read on other conservative websites that the clapping lark is now getting out of hand. It might have been justified first time round, just about, but now we are into North Korean territory. True conservatives, who value liberty, I learn, will not descend to this infantile sheep-like group-thinking sloganizing mind-manipulating Stasi Maoist NHS-worshipping emotive nonsense. Nor will they submit to the emotional blackmail of risking being ‘fingered’ as the only person in the street who did not clap, a path that can only end in the denouncing of neighbours and family to the security police, and a totalitarian state. Some boast that nobody in their street, or even their village, is clapping. Take that.

Yet I shall continue to clap and thereby risk our collective descent into totalitarianism. Why? It’s simple. Because everyone else is doing it, that is, the ordinary and, to be sure, simple-minded folk who live on my street. Why are they doing it? Because these simple-minded credulous folk – builders, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, shop workers and the like (higher status professionals, intellectuals and artists live elsewhere) – want to show their appreciation of those who are putting their lives at risk treating victims of the virus in often very difficult conditions, and because it seems the gesture is appreciated by those NHS staff.

But there is something else. It struck me the first time when I was dragged down from my study by my wife to join in. There was the sudden realisation, the powerful sense, of being part of a community. Of, dare I say it, all being in it together. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that we have recaptured, even if is a pale reflection of the original, something of that old wartime spirit. I tuned into the radio afterwards and listened to Ian Dale speak to John McDonnell. McDonnell, who had just come in from the street, could not speak because he was so moved. And neither could Dale. Another memorable moment. And I warmed to John McDonnell, who despite all else is a Londoner, the only politician who gives a straight answer, and a decent man, as I found when I lived and worked in his constituency.

Of course, I did not want to be ‘fingered’ as a non-clapper either. Or pilloried by my wife on social media. But perhaps there is a trade-off here too. It does matter what other people think of you, and it’s right that you should care what they think. There may even be times to keep to yourself what you really think. Perhaps it is just a matter of civility. 

Yes, community does matter, and it should matter to conservatives too.     

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9 Comments on Getting the clap

  1. Yes, let’s all be touchy and feely (while maintaining social distance) and sing blasphemous psalms of praise to our godlike “carers”, many of whom are potentially dangerous immigrants whose medical qualifications aren’t worth the papyrus they’re written on.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t seen any of my nearest neighbours “clapping for carers”, for the simple reason that most of my nearest neighbours are very old and unable to afford private medical insurance. Their intimate and humiliating experience of the NHS, during many decades of gradual physical and mental decline, amounts to being patronised and bossed about by people who don’t speak English and don’t look English either.

    And there are questions to be asked.

    1. How many of those who have died “with” the virus or “after contracting” the virus have really died “of” the virus? My estimate of the real number of extra deaths is about a tenth of the official numbers.

    2. How many extra deaths have been caused by the closing of schools? (Don’t forget that the schools were closed not because of expert advice but because lazy “teachers” had stopped turning up for work.)

    3. If the NHS is so good, why are we still paying vast amounts of money to the EU that could be spent on the NHS instead?

    4. Are there any Christians in the UK? Under Domitian and Diocletian the sacraments were administered despite the danger of violent death, but newborn infants and elderly penitents are now going to hell without the benefit of baptism or extreme unction, and there isn’t a word of protest from the clergy.

    5. OFCOM has attacked a local Londonistan TV channel for daring to let the idiot David Icke express his silly opinions. Can we expect opinions that aren’t quite as silly to be silenced too, soon?

    6. I haven’t got a 6, but imagine me growling and screaming and shaking my fists at a Britain that has gone even madder than it used to be.

  2. That war time spirit…. would that be the same one we are so often told never existed, the one we are told we must not harp back to? It’s ok now though, it can be wheeled out to serve a purpose.
    Yes, of course people like to feel they belong to something, and they used to in communities of long standing, with deep rooted connections.
    That old spirit came from those connections, now people are disconnected, a muddle of this and that.
    We now live in a Nation where we don’t know what we can do or say from one week to the next, so a state sanctioned clap along must seem like a safe bet.
    If people want to clap that’s fine they should go ahead and do so for whatever reason they may have. If they don’t want to for whatever reason, then that’s no one else’s business.

    Warming to McDonnell…… one of the many politicians who would see more of England turned into an ‘International transit camp’, to quote the author’s own words.

    • Great comment. I couldn’t agree more. Where McDonnell, went wrong, I’m not sure. Perhaps it was his reading of Karl Marx, probably second hand. R H Tawney would have been a much better bet.

  3. ” who despite all else is a Londoner” And you thereby identify the single biggest problem with this country. Let’s ignore the opinions of those inside the M25 for five years. We’ll have better answers for our particular circumstances and Londoners might grasp a tenth of how the rest of the country feel.

    • Obviously, I meant ‘local’, and showing solidarity with local people. John, I understand, lives in Hayes, which is admirable. Not much left now of Hayes as it was, except for the labels on old EMI records, and not much left of ‘Londoners’ in any meaningful sense since London became an international transit camp. I think you are confusing the remaining Londoners with the global liberal elite who run the country and owe no allegiance to any place except their offshore tax havens.

  4. Of course, I did not want to be ‘fingered’ as a non-clapper either. Or pilloried by my wife on social media. But perhaps there is a trade-off here too. It does matter what other people think of you, and it’s right that you should care what they think. There may even be times to keep to yourself what you really think.

    Such feelings are understandable. And yet when you read such writers as Viktor Frankl and Solzhenitsyn they are very clear that societies go down the totalitarian road very quickly only because good people do NOT speak out. They do not say, this is wrong. They do not say, this is unacceptable. And they stay silent for the very same reasons the author gives here

  5. Its happening in leafy suburbia too and what is rather frightening is that children (presumably) are chalking about it on pavements: “I [love heart emoji] the NHS”. This is a bit Hitlerite or Stalinist to my mind. However, as JM says, it is not an entirely simple matter. Perhaps a parallel can be drawn with the situation where your country is involved in a war (as far as I’m concerned the Iraq war would be an example) which the individual may question, but still take his hat off to the soldiers. Thus, let’s indeed take our hats off to NHS staff but that should not prevent us fearlessly raising questions about healthcare provision at a later time (the world may envy the NHS but how many countries have adopted it as a working model?)

    • I think comparing “I heart the NHS” to Hitler is the most insane thing I have ever read. If this is really “to your mind” please have a long hard look at yourself.

      • “… have a long hard look at yourself.”

        Thou ought to do likewise, Andrudge. Hard to understand what joy morlocks and trolls get crawling out of caves to comment on sane websites.