Dec. 16th, 2016

kortirion_among_the_trees: (Looking Out)
This is one of the most important summative pieces to have appeared in a long time.  It goes to the root of absolutely everything: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n24/tom-crewe/the-strange-death-of-municipal-england  For years now I've had the feeling that I'm living in a post-apocalyptic landscape, amidst crumbling ruins where nothing works - and this is why.  And with every passing year the scale of the collapse becomes more and more stark.  The only suitable analogy I can think of is Eastern Europe post-1989 (minus the crime) - how long will it take before we reach that level?  There is no question that it's only a matter of time (to be hastened by Brexit, whenever it finally happens).

Viewing it from the perspective of my period - the golden age of local government* - puts the current state of affairs in a particularly tragic light.  It's a pity the article doesn't admit the many failures of municipal governnment in its glory days: the corruption, the mismanagement, the inhumanity.  That would have made the portrait much more nuanced.  But overall, its benefits unquestionably outweighed its deficiencies, and its destruction is indeed tantamount to the destruction of functioning society.  'Sliding off a cliff' indeed.

(*Oh the happy hours I have spent reading about the LCC and the politics of School Board elections and satires of municipal socialism and Chamberlain's destruction of small Birmingham businesses...  As Kipling said, 'what should they know of [21st c.] England who only [21st c.] England know?' Even the fraction of its past that I'm familiar with is enough to realise how tremendous has been the loss, the hollowing out.  Virtually all the things that 'made England great' - which is to say, all the things that gave genuine grounds for hope in a time that was in many respects even more barbaric, and certainly as ideologically nasty as our own - are gone.  But hey, who needs to know about that stuff when you can just blame immigrants?)

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