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Making Unwanted History – Part One

The stark times faced since China allegedly opened a COVID-19 Pandoras Box will feature as the biggest existential event any of us will ever confront. The whole sorry episode eclipsing all other historically significant life events we’ve experienced, or will experience.

I’m no historian, but I’d posit there can’t have been a global disaster on this scale. Throughout the centuries there’ll been more deadly epidemics which’ve taken countless lives; however the fewer opportunities for global travel prior to 1980’s (allowing for virus spread) would surely’ve negated pathogens maanifesting pandemics on this scale.

Like readers who read Samuel Pepys diaries, chronicling life during London’s Great Plague in 1666, centuries hence our progeny will, over various media conduits, read about this stark time in world history.

This unwanted accolade of living a coronavirus affected existence, a catalyst to my pondering other major archival landmarks that’ve occurred during my half century, or so, on Earth.

During my tenure on this dysfunctional planet, they’ve been innumerable historical landmarks. For example, the year I was born saw the assassination of US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, along with The Beatles emergence with their first hit Please, Please Me.

Footnote – I’d like to clarify at this juncture, despite conspiracy theorist assertions to the contrary, yours truly wasn’t the alleged shadowy figure behind the picket fence in Dealey Plaza on 22nd November 1963. I never colluded with, or even met, Lee Harvey Oswald; or indeed have ever visited downtown Dallas, Texas. I doubt that, even with their lax gun laws, the US would allow a seven-month old child to purchase a Carcano Model 91/38 infantry rifle…… Or indeed any other firearm!

Later, in 1968, saw two further turning points in US political and human rights history, when JFK’s brother Bobby, along with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr were both slain in cold blood. That year also saw my footballing amours Leeds United make club history after reigning victorious in the League Cup and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals. The first major trophies secured by the club.

The year after, as a wide eyed, open mouthed six year old, I recall watching grainy monochrome pictures broadcasting the first crewed mission to land on the Moon. With picture quality similar to that of a pregnant woman’s ultrasound in contemporary times, this historic event wasn’t the clearest watch TV audiences have experienced.

However, yours truly can boast I was alive to see astronaut Neil Armstrong’s inaugural moonwalk, a scene where he uttered the iconic words “One small step for man. One giant leap for……. Jeez, what’s a Walmart shopping trolley doing up here?!

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In 1970, I was around to witness what, in my opinion, was the greatest national side to ever grace a football field. As a young boy, in satellite beamed pictures from the Mexico World Cup, I watched awestruck as the brilliant Brazilian team despatched all comers, including England, on their way to the nations third tournament win.

The side, including the legendary Pele, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostoa, Rivelino and captain Carlos Alberto, exhibiting a flair, skill and style of play which was the main catalyst to a decades long love of the game.

When Carlos Alberto held aloft the Jules Rimet trophy, after destroying the Italians 4-1 in the final, with childlike enthusiasm, yours truly concluded I’d never see another World Cup winning side who’d win this tournament so magnificently….. And, fifty years on, I still haven’t.

A few years later, came the Watergate scandal which led to US president Richard Nixon’s resignation. As a child, despite absolutely no understanding of the stories narrative, I deemed this affair to be the most boring scandal I’d thus far stumbled upon. An opinion which, despite its huge ramifications for United States’ political landscape, I still hold.

My indifference to learn more about the affair means I still don’t have a great understanding of what led to Nixon’s resignation. All I can relay with certainty about the episode is Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were responsible for unearthing the Republican’s political skullduggery.

In 1979, as a fresh faced 16 year old, I became acquainted will the odious political doctrine of Thatcherism. This ‘pleasure’ consequential of the historic inauguration of Margaret Thatcher as UK’s first ever female prime minister.

Being indifferent about the subject of politics, I’m not informed enough to attempt a deeply erudite descriptive of Thatcher’s dogma. Instead, endeavouring to describe this doctrine with the following high level observations:-

Her governments 1979 ‘To Do List’ on ascension to the parliamentary throne were as follows – Splinter the trade union movement, virtually obliterate the UK’s heavy engineering industries, encourage selfishness and division amongst the proletariat, line the pockets of your already minted cronies and keep 40% of the public happy to ensure re-election under the UK’s first past the post electoral edicts.

Ok, as I’m 800 words into this narrative and I’ve only got to the beginning of the 1980’s regarding major historic events during my lifetime, I’m concluding this essay at this juncture. Tomorrow I’ll write a sequel with the cunningly enigmatic titled ‘Making Unwanted History – Part Two’.

Keep well folks!!

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