Twenty years ago Britain wallowed in a public exhibition of gross sentimentality. The occasion was the untimely death of the Princess of Wales. For a fortnight weeping crowds thronged the area around Kensington Palace producing an ocean of floral tributes. There were similar scenes in many towns and cities. A visitor might have been excused for concluding that the favourite pastime of the British was to watch royal funerals on television, pausing now and again to rush out into the street and throw teddy bears at passing hearses.
It was nothing less than mass hysteria. In such instances when the mob takes over, all reasonable sentiment and genuine mourning are replaced by intense emotionality threatening violence. And indeed there were many threats issued by the crazed throng, especially to the Queen. In an ecstasy of irrational hatred the maudlin mob claimed the death of the princess and her paramour, late at night in a car being driven too fast through Paris, had somehow been contrived by the Duke of Edinburgh.
The mood was psychotic and ugly and if, as I did, you criticised the frenzy, you received death threats – as I did.
We can, I think, detect, a change in the nation’s character from that time twenty years ago which we might for convenience refer to as The Great Dianafication. Its symptoms erupt again every time something nasty happens, such as the many acts of Islamic terrorism and slaughter to which we have had to become accustomed.
Here again is the signature carpet of flowers, the mawkish inscriptions daubed all over the public spaces, the flying teddy bears and the now obbligato crooning by pop-singer-of-the-moment of some hideously sugary ballad. The telly omnipresent, of course, and whipping up the hysteria.
As i write, I notice we have entered upon a Second Dianafication and this time the occasion is the catastrophic apartments fire in Kensington.
Yesterday in a public meeting to discuss the fire and its tragic aftermath there was the spectacle again of mass emotionality threatening violence. Elizabeth Campbell, newly appointed leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, was asked to resign. No, she wasn’t asked: rather the mob howled for her blood. Speaker after speaker screamed and yelled incoherently from the public gallery. After each had spoken, he was hugged by fellow members of the crowd. When one who announced himself as Hamid ended his tirade with the words, “I’ve had enough!” the room boiled over in tears of anger.
Needless to say, if the whole purpose of the meeting was to discover the facts about the catastrophe, a parade of mass hysteria was no way to go about it.
Sinisterly, the newly-elected Labour party MP for the constituency, Emma Dent Coad, declared, “I agree entirely” when she was asked if she backed the petition of 1500 demanding Elizabeth Campbell’s resignation.
What makes these events so frightening is not the display of mass hysteria – worrying though that is – but the fact that this hysteria is being hijacked and exploited by politicians of the hard left.
For Corbyn and his gang, this – thanks again to the ubiquitous telly – widely publicised protest is one more useful ingredient in their revolutionary stew. It amounted to an advertisement for the nationwide discontent being whipped up by the Corbynistas. Corbyn has already promised a summer of co-ordinated strikes and “a march of a million” to culminate a “Red October” to sweep him into Number Ten.
As in war, so in a revolution, truth is the first category. The lie put about during the first Dianafication is that the death of the princess was the fault of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The tower block fire is being promoted as all the fault of the Tory government.
It is just another step towards the mob’s conclusion that all our ills are the fault of the Tory government. So let us bring down the Tory government – as Chavez and Maduro would say, “By hook or by crook.”
There will be more protests, more. floral tributes, more teddy bears and more cringingly awful crooning; more hugs, more tears and more riots.
There will be blood