The English people today are addicted to the rhythms of their own industrial and imperial valediction: they like saying goodbye to the past, and saying goodbye to the past is the single biggest thing they can’t say goodbye to.
So wrote Andrew O’Hagan in the Guardian last weekend, and he was accurate at least as regards his own article. He’s unfortunately not alone in expressing regret about a supposedly backwards-looking working class by looking back nostalgically to the future-oriented proletariat of years past. There may be something right about his description of today’s working class cut off both from their commonality and their common history (although the exact time of this common past seems unclear; was it the ’70s, or some time before George Orwell?); but nostalgia, I think, is always and necessarily false. Read more↴