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THE SUMMER OF LOVE and Political Fallout

David Rutherford reflects on a generational change and
ponders the next step for Mr Blair




The summer of love, a man on the moon, Woodstock, being only 32 I am unable to remember these events, but I am beginning to wonder how much they have impacted on not only my life but also my peers.

My generation seems to be somewhat of an unsettled generation which is surprising given the amount of hope and love that surrounded the era from which we were 'sired'. Maybe though this is just a reflection of turning 30, when some of our peers have 'made it' and others a realising they just possible might not. I'm not certain though that it's a simple as a 30-something malaise.

Let's look at the facts, we grew up in an era of almost unprecedented hope. When house doors remained unlocked if not open all day. Our parents were happy for us to play outdoors and out of sight all day. Visiting the local park was unlikely to bring us into contact with condoms and needles. It was an era pre-high school shootings and HIV. An era in which we could and did walk to school, an era in which our parents in the main had jobs for life should they choose. Then it all changed. Commercialism set in, computerisation entered the work place in force and management consultants became de facto hatchet men.

Sometime in our teens the world finally lost it's innocence, leaving us to cling onto programms such as the Waltons, the Wonder years and latterly Dawsons Creek as the only rememberance of how it was or is supposed to be. Though having said that perhaps every generation of 30-year-olds could say "It wasn't like that in my day".

Oour generation is getting married later, if at all, has become less reliant on each other, for goodness sake we don't even need to be in physical contact to procreate.

Only last week a case in the United States, involved a child being born, who's father was dead prior to conception, the mother was a surrogate and the egg belonged to a donor - in effect the child was ownerless. The dead man's wife who had commisioned all this, could walk away from the child should she so choose and the state could do nothing about it - no one was legally responsible for this child. Can it really be right for a child to be born in such circumstances?

Taken to the extremes a child of mine could be born twenty, who knows, a hundred years after I have long be dead and buried. A child of mine could be a martian colonist for goodness sake, but there again perhaps that's what the scientists have in mind. I can see it now, a shuttle loaded with test tubes launching off to colonise the universe - it certainly gets over the problem of surviving the long journey! But will our seed be leaving for a better life or will they be the work force for a latter day meglamaniac bought to build a new civilisation like the slaves of ancient Egypt or Rome. An extreme view perhaps, impossible - sadly not, already happening - possibly!

Set against all that, the ozone hole is getting bigger, the polar caps are melting, freak waves are becoming to frequent to be regarded as freak anymore. Forest fires rage across the planet and desertfication continues to spread. Perhaps Mother Nature has had enough of us.

Whish brings me back to the begining, the summer of love, a man on the moon & Woodstock. Innocence, hope and happiness, replaced by worry, suspicion and guilt about what we have done and what we can do. That's why people supported the pertol blockade, why they protest at world bank meetings, why the jury didn't convict the GM Protestors and why we don't trust our politicians.


POLITICAL FALLOUT - AUTUMN CHILLS FOR BLAIR

Perhaps it was the momentary sight of my exhalation caught in the chill of the night or the faint smell of a bonfire lingering in the damp air that prompted me to note that summer had passed and that autumn had arrived. Either way being a child of the autumn, it was a marker that another year has gone by in life's great journey. Yet any thought of mourning the passing of another year was rendered impossible by the crispness of the air, the clarity of the night sky and the overwhelming sense of awe at just being alive to experience these simple things.

Oh to be English in a country that still has seasons! But what will this winter bring Mr. Blair & Labour? As we head towards the long nights, I'm sure he has plenty of soul-searching ahead of the election possibly to be held next spring.

A European sympathiser caught out by our Golden Olympics, a leader of a nation imbued with a renewed sense of worth on the back of our athletes' successes and a public who are demanding more of the same please. Cries for increased funding so we can build on Sydney and extend our tally of gold in Athens. An opponent in Mr. Hague who it seems is far more in tune with public opinion than for all his protestations Mr. Blair seems to be. Yes winter promises to be a long deep one for Labour.

In sporting parlance it was all going so well for Labour up to half time, but like Kevin Keegan, the Mananger didn't really know how to get the best out of his star player - Mo Molam and ended up substituting her. The Chancellor who has played a strong game but is blowing a bit now and looks as if he may run out of gas altogether before the final whistle, the manager is certainly hoping he gets a second wind. Mandleson his enforcer who prefers to play at the back took an early knock, went off for repairs and is now nursing himself back to form out on the wing. Poor little Robin Cook has been all but anynomous in the middle of the park.

Set against this the opposition lead by Hague and Portillo started slowly and have gradually fought their way onto the game and having caught the pace of the game now threaten to take control of it. They are however slightly handicaped by Ann Widecombes tendancy to give the ball away too easily. If Hague can get Ken Clark into the match late on, the opposition may just sneak it come full time.
It promises to be a interesting winter, whether you're a red or a blue fan, let's just hope it's a good game and that next summer Britain is still looking good for Athens.


© David Rutherford 2000


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