MOD­ERN STEREO­TYPES

The voice of doom

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

Un­cle Jeremy is the fam­ily’s Moaner in Chief. The world’s go­ing to pot. It was never like this in his day. Yobs have van­dalised the vil­lage war me­mo­rial. Af­ter he has writ­ten to The Daily Tele­graph, he will be march­ing up the high street, armed with white spirit, to re­move the dis­gust­ing words painted thereon. Re­spect: that’s what’s lack­ing in the youth of to­day. Over-in­dulged, over­weight (thus a fu­ture bur­den on the NHS), and over here in Chip­ping Saintly, as if the flesh­pots of Chavmin­ster were not enough for them.

He’s read in the Wold­shire County Press that a vet­eran’s poppy col­lec­tion boxes were stolen in the shop­ping mall. Ap­palling! But it got on to Face­book – Jeremy is quite nifty on so­cial me­dia – and kind peo­ple re­placed the money, so there is a shred of de­cency left. Not that you’d think it read­ing about the fright­ful Leftie – what’s he called? Aaron B’stard? – who wants the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion to be shut down. He goes into the same drawer of loathing and hope­ful come­up­pance as the trolls men­ac­ing the fam­ily of poor Mrs Gor­ing who whacked a hunt sabo­teur. Hero­ine, in his view. Bloody man fright­ened her horse.

Jeremy is of an age, and there is so much to be cross about that his daugh­ter, Imo­gen, is wor­ried about his blood pressure. Don’t get him on to Brexit, Trump, the BBC, Prince Andrew (“odi­ous twerp”) or his grand­chil­dren’s thank-you let­ters – nonex­is­tence thereof. “And if they do write them or, God for­bid, text, it is in a lan­guage that owes noth­ing to the ex­pen­sive ed­u­ca­tion I am fund­ing. Since when did spell­ing and gram­mar be­come ex­tinct?”

A wa­ter­shed mo­ment on mod­ern ed­u­ca­tion was when a team on Univer­sity Chal­lenge failed to iden­tify the first lines of the most fa­mous First World War po­ems.

BE – be­fore email – Un­cle Jeremy would have been writ­ing fu­ri­ously in green ink on lined pa­per. To­day, the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice, he will weep (linen hand­ker­chief in hand) softly for his grand­fa­ther and his fa­ther, for what they fought for and won, and what has been lost, con­clud­ing that An­gela Merkel is the only world leader with any balls.

‘Since when did spell­ing and gram­mar be­come ex­tinct?’

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