Sunday, 5 June 2016

Old white men

The last thing I'm going to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon is write blogs for you lot. Especially when we have special visitors from across the pond. Pictured above is a B52, one of three presently based at RAF Fairford for a big exercise. Having never seen a B52 in the wild I made the trip - and I wasn't alone in thinking this was a sight worth seeing.

There were a couple of old white men peering through a telescope, with their wives in tow. I heard one of the ladies grumbling, as indeed they do. "Have you dragged me all the way out here just to see that?" says she.

And that really is a typical attitude of your average British woman. Nevermind that the B52 is an iconic aircraft, recognised in famous artworks for its significance. Nevermind that it is a veteran of ever major US war since Korea. Nevermind that it's absolutely fucking massive and one of the largest flying machines ever made. And to see three of them? In England? That's an event.

But this is why air shows are predominantly male events. Nobody wants a moaning bag in tow who isn't the least bit interested. Despite this modern pretence that men and women are not differently motivated and the gender imbalance in STEM subjects is supposedly some kind of social conditioning, it really isn't. We're blokes. We like big stuff. We like things that kill stuff. And we love big stuff that kills stuff. We're wired that way. 

But we're also interested in traction engines, railways, cars; taking them apart, restoring them and putting them back together. We are inherently curious about what they do and how they work. And show me a woman who is equally impassioned by it and I will show you a woman who had a loving father who passed on that interest. As a rule, when it comes to this kind of thing, it's a bloke thing. Deal with it.

So when you see Labour politicians telling Remain canvassers not to bother with old white men, they're making an admission. They are saying it is impossible to convince the men who have worked all their lives in the real world, working in engineering and manufacturing. They who work with international standards, production rules and regulations, working with new materials, building our railways, roads, power stations and airports, acquiring expertise along the way. Somehow their views don't matter at all. Far easier to demonise them as bigots pining after a golden age.

Routinely we see academic screeds pathologising the male eurosceptic as though they were incapable of making a rational choice. Nevermind that those old men have engineering degrees and doctorates and take an interest in politics. As it happens, when it comes to EU issues they tend to be the most knowledgeable of all.

Whenever I go to a eurosceptic event in London, it's usually old white men. And if I have the misfortune to be cornered I can be kept for quite a long time as I am told the history of some or other piece of history in great depth. I am always thankful to be rescued by some kind passer by who sees the look of anguish on my face. But this is largely because they are preaching to the converted.

These are not men who do not know their stuff. Then look at the people telling us to remain. Effeminate metro types who've never once had their hands dirty. Legions of Chuka Umunnas who can barely conceal their contempt for ordinary people. And these are the people who presume to be the progressives.

They assume that their faddish and empty ideas represent the height of modernity. Tidal lagoons, wind turbines and the likes. Expensive vanity policies. And who is it so very often standing in opposition to their agenda? That's right. The old white men who pay for it. The scientists, the engineers and the makers of things. If they are saying Brexit is best, I'm going to listen to them.

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