This is England


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First published in Pluto Student Newspaper.



After a student was photographed urinating on a war memorial in Sheffield a few weeks ago, you could have expected us all take something from it and buck our ideas up. We aren’t animals, we’re academics.

But apparently the message didn’t get out to two UCLan students who went out on Halloween dressed as Madalaine McCann, and Adolf Hitler. Not respectively.

But who’d have expected any more as, the weekend after, on Remembrance weekend no less, we are met with the headline, as picked up by the Huffington Post in the United States “Miss England loses crown after bar brawl”.

Yes, the lovely Rachel Cristie, niece of Olympic athlete Linford, is the alleged instigator in a bust-up with Miss Manchester, Sara Beverly, over the Sky One Gladiator Tornado. The fairest maiden in all of England scrapping in a pub. Classy.

And not for the boys to be outdone, on Sunday it emerged that ‘Grandpa England’ (my words- I’m running with a theme here), the father of England Captain John Terry was filmed by News of the World journalists dealing cocaine. Ted Terry, who has been given a house, mortgage free, by his talented son resorts to crime to fund his jobless ‘luxury’ lifestyle. Great.

It is 2009. The ‘word’ on everyone’s lips, tweets and Facebook statuses is ‘Jedward’. Two largely talentless twins making fools of themselves on national television. These are our role models.

Yes my friends, apparently this is England.

In a world with few boundaries where everyone can see everything I often fall back on the idea: “what would my parents think?”

If that fails, maybe your parents are of a different school of thought, then ask, what would Facebook think? People who weren’t there when you came up with your hilarious idea, people who might be affected by what you are going to make a mockery of, what would your future employers think?

It might be sad, but it’s certainly true: we live in a digital world where potentially everyone can see everything. Huffington Post readers from across the Atlantic believe that someone who ‘we’ have ‘crowned’ Miss England decks people of a weekend. For all many Americans know, she could be married to Prince Charles.

Our own university is launching a P.R drive to raise its profile in a world where appearances are everything. Maybe we too should increasingly be thinking in the same way.

University is only a learning gap preparing us hopefully for bigger and better things. We will all have to sell ourselves in an ever-increasing crowd at the end of it. Who wants to end up Joe Bloggs 2:2 in English Literature, North Tower of the World Trade Centre- Halloween 2001, currently till trainer in a local convenience store?

Fortunately for Ms Christie, although she has given up her highly esteemed post after careful consideration, she now has her career as a potential Olympic heptathlete to concentrate on.

For some people there may not be repercussions, but for many people, there are. Think- what would your parents think?

Image commissioned exclusively for Pluto- By Imogen Wood.

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