I tend to think of revolutionaries as angry young men. Fidel Castro comes to mind. Che Guevara also. Young people, with their whole lives in front of them, are more likely to revolt against conditions that they find intolerable than old people.
I was no revolutionary in my youth. If I was in revolt against anything, it was against boring sameness. The sixties were a revolt in style. We just wanted something a bit different. We weren’t revolutionaries like Castro and Guevara. At least, I wasn’t. Nor were most of the people I knew. There wasn’t much to revolt against anyway. It wasn’t as if Britain in the 1960s was a peasant society under the yoke of robber barons.
So it’s a little odd, late in life, to have found myself becoming something of a revolutionary. It’s living life the wrong way round. At my age, I should be gardening and feeding pigeons and nodding off to sleep in front of the TV.
But instead, I find myself hating everything that happens, and getting more and more alienated, and dreaming of stringing up politicians and pundits from lamp posts. I’ve become an angry old man. And I’m far from being the only one.
But I think I may just be an old reactionary, reacting against a revolution that is in progress, rather than engaging in one. I’m not so much a revolutionary as a counter-revolutionary.
The revolution of which I speak is a quiet revolution. The smoking ban is part of it, and the principal reason why I hate it. But the emergence of a totalitarian EU superstate is another major part of it. And so is doctrinaire Green global warming dogma. And petty bureaucracy at every turn. There’s been no coup, no marches or demonstrations, no cheering crowds greeting revolutionary new leaders. The modern revolutionaries have taken over without any fuss or fighting.
For the strange thing is that our modern revolutionaries aren’t angry young men either. They are mostly much the same age as I am. They are in some cases people I knew. They are people who have climbed the greasy pole to the top of the political class, or the top of the medical profession, or the mass media, or the universities, and who are using their positions, late in life, to affect a revolution that they have probably dreamt about since their teens. They want to create a single, smoke-free, windmill-powered, European superstate. It’s what they’ve dreamed of all their lives, and worked assiduously to achieve. It’s utterly impractical, but it’s their dream, and it’s what they’ve patiently worked for.
In fact, we don’t seem to have any angry young men these days. Last I heard, student politics was completely dead. The rioters in Britain’s cities last year wanted TV sets, not political change. The only people who are revolutionaries these days are people who were revolutionaries 40 years ago, and who have secretly remained revolutionaries ever since. Manual Barroso, the Maoist President of the European Commission, comes to mind.
So what will happen once these elderly revolutionaries have set in place their monolithic, undemocratic, totalitarian European superstate, with windmills and smoking bans stretching from the Baltic to the Mediterranean?
Well, most probably, the non-revolutionary generation coming up behind them will dismantle the whole thing, and return everything to the way that it was before. And they’ll dismantle it all because it just doesn’t work. The EU doesn’t work. Smoking bans don’t work. And windmills don’t work either.
So the reward our elderly revolutionaries will most likely reap will be to see their whole life’s work torn up in front of their eyes, smoking bans, windmills, EU, and all, as they watch helplessly from their nursing home beds.
All I can say is: I can’t wait for it to happen. So that I can go back to doing some gardening, and feeding the pigeons, and falling asleep in front of the telly.