This is the title of an old Cat Stevens song. Today he is known as Yusuf Islam. The conversion to Islam happened decades ago but he is still very much a humanitarian and purveyor of peace. The song itself is the first track on “Tea for the Tillerman.” It relates to the urbanisation of the world and alludes to man’s obsession with “progress”; a bit sixties hey man, brown rice no socks, peace and love where’s the drugs etc. If you read the lyrics,
you can see where it’s coming from. Naturally, some of the subject matter relates a lot to issues of today. One could also argue that the power of the nimby (in this country anyway) has been significant enough to prevent
us from being overrun by the encroaching concrete jungle.
Then if you look beyond the UK, there are endless issues concerning pollution and deforestation. And it’s all in the name of giving the customer what they want. We want fast communication, every latest phone or pad. We want nice comfortable cars, centrally heated houses, massive televisions, cheap food and high street take-aways with all their packaging.
Then there is ordering online; out of sight, fresh air strangling diesel fired vans and lorries are blocking our roads just to get our whim purchases to our doorsteps. We also want the right to have the choice of our children’s schools, thus creating the great school run and all the well-publicised jams around our great institutions twice a day.
Whilst visiting a nearby school, I once expressed my surprise at the number of children turning up in cars. Access was narrow; it was little more than footpath across the village green. The head smiled and said:
“You want to see it on a rainy day!”
So where do the children play? Where can they go if their parents are reluctant to let them out of their sight for fear of falling prey to the countless number of paedophiles and axe-wielding madmen constantly roaming the wild savage streets?
Do they go up to their bedrooms with their social media and x boxes turning pale and weak from the lack of vitiman D? Are they taking constant selfies and showing them off to their friends and the millions of strangers who may also have access to all their pictures? Maybe I could send this suggestion to Mr Islam as an answer to his early seventies conundrum.
But when I went to the park the other day, there were lots of children around. Many were toddlers playing on the swings with their parents, enjoying a picnic in the warm summer sun. There were older children posing between themselves, multi-tasking between discussing their latest crush and telling everyone else about it on their phones. And yes, there was a park. In fact, there are many parks all over the country. They are all full of children. So is the countryside.
What’s the problem then? Is there a problem? The problem may be the rate of how we change. The Industrial Revolution was mind blowing in its day. The shift from agriculture to industry affected the majority of the population. Villages turned into towns and towns into cities. Great big ugly factory beasts rose up and filled our green and pleasant land. It happened across two or three generations. It was rapid progress.
But now? The current rate of progress makes the Industrial Revolution seem like a snails’ parade. We live in rapidly changing times. Because of the rate of change, these times are controversial.
Not everyone likes change. Can’t we go back to the days when the children played out making mud-pies until it was dark? Does progress dictate that it will never be the sam again? Shall I start a playing out movement where I secretly recruit children to go and play football in a cul-de-sac.
(I can be the ref! I have been CBR checked.) Or shall I just say that change is showing no sign of slowing down. What do I want in the future?
A cure for MS would be a start. So remember your history but hang onto your hats. The future is an incessant tornado. Thank-you for reading.