The political situation in Britain is lamentable.
There is no politician worth his salt one would entrust to lead the nation in a moment of crisis, let alone putting his or her own ambition to one side and working totally for the benefit of the country. It seems as if integrity and vocation are no longer of paramount importance as they are sidestepped and overtaken by the vulgar pursuit of power and self-gain.
There is a serious decline in the standards of politicians, not only in their perception of moral values but also in their intellectual ability to analyse and assess the complexities of issues which affect our livelihood as well as the prosperity of the nation as a whole. Their rhetoric verges on falsehoods and their every move is punctuated by cheap publicity to boost their popular standing.
Looking back at the political arena during the 1930s until the advent of New Labour and what it is today makes the parallel unpalatable. The political giants of those years have been replaced by midgets who fancy themselves, notably because of their background, and who trade on the achievements of their parentage. They lack the backbone of political skills, the thrust of a brilliant mind, the commitment of a crusader and the dignity and assurances of leadership.
Winston Churchill must ponder from the world beyond what has happened not long since he scaled the gates of heaven and became an observer of a mediocrity which he must loathe. The eunuchs that followed made his balls tremble and his spirit sink in desperation.
His ex-foreign minister Antony Eden would have been one of the greats, if it were not for his foolish Suez adventure, but now consigned to a less illustrious seat in heaven is reminiscing about his past glories and feels comforted that the people who now occupy parliament are much below his expectations.
Clement Attlee, Winston’s formidable partner in the Second World War, remains in the background as he always did but is cheerless because of what he sees as the deterioration of his beloved country. Aneurin Bevan, the father of the NHS and one of the great orators of his generation, looks down disdainfully on his socialist kinsmen who seem to him beyond salvation.
Harold Macmillan, the great magician, is above it all. He is amused by the whole scenario of a Conservative Party that no longer knows its mouth from its tail and is holding on to power at the expense of its traditional and long-cherished principles.
Ernest Bevin, the wily foreign secretary in the Attlee administration after the war, is giggling for he considers himself lucky not to have to deal with the monkeys that are now in parliament – and as a pensioner he’s quite happy in his heavenly environment; whereas Sir Stafford Cripps bemoans the good old days, when he was at the helm of the economy, and secretly mocks the present incumbent by the name of George Osborne.
Lord Butler, sitting at a distance from his tormentor Macmillan, and enjoying the same privileges as the good and the great among his peers, is keeping his usual cool and watching with his piercing eyes an incredulous situation where comedy and drama intermingle to produce a hilarious mishmash of pure farce.
He perceives his parliament becoming a motley of mediocrity that has a market appeal to a moronic enclave of people. For a moment he loses his composure and thinks that fate has perhaps brought him a revenge that he never sought by being eluded the premiership that went to Alec Douglas-Home instead. But being the honourable man he is, he considers such thoughts to be alien. He simply smiles with a graciousness that reveals all we need to know.
For people of a certain age who saw it all happen, can only bewail the good old days when politics were the domain of remarkable men whose skill, wisdom and determination to serve the nation was beyond doubt; an endowment which we truly miss in the wretched lot who govern us today.
We can only aspire and hope that Britain rises from the ashes before our own generation crosses the bar.