Growing up was an adventure. Scraped knees were the price that was paid for climing and occasionally, falling out of trees. Bicycles were a winged transport invented by the gods. Other neighborhoods were places to be explored, not feared.
From the age of 5 onwards, you were allowed to go to school on your own, even of you were shadowed for the first while to ensure that you didn’t get lost. The highway code was drilled into you so that you crossed streets safely, but you still crossed those streets.
Talking about schools, we had examinations, with the more academically minded going to Grammar School and the less so going to Seconday Schools or getting apprenticeships in the trades.
Playing Cowboys and Indians was not politically incorrect, and guns were toys that operated using rolls of percussion caps.
Whenever you got into a scrape, whether it be at school or elsewhere, you had to be pretty quick with your alibi, otherwise punishment would ensue swiftly and surely.
Finally, Britain was proud to be British. The war had ended a while ago, rationing had finished and we were pretty proud of who we were. Twiggy was the centre of the modelling universe, The Beatles were the centre of the music universe and Carnaby Street was the actual centre of the universe.
Oh how things have changed.
Climbing trees? no thank you – I wouldn’t want to get my new sneakers dirty.
Have an adventure? let me power up my Xbox with the latest game.
Play a game of football? hold on a second – my WII is around here somewhere.
Personal responsibility? fine for some, but don’t apply it to me.
Play outside? can’t do that, the sun is dangerous and besides that there are sexual predators lurking behind every hedge.
Policing? bad guys, there are no such people, they are all products of a disadvantaged upbringing.
Educational excellence? No one is allowed to fail, so how can anyone excel.
One final thought. Prime Ministers being a reflection of the nation. During the war we had Churchill, now we have Gordon Brown. Nuff said.