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Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
7 months ago

The melancholy gripping the nation goes way beyond the economy and our politicians.

We’ve spent the last 7 years being told that Brexit will mean the sky will fall in, oddly it hasn’t.

We’re a nation of racists, yet strangely people seem rather keen to come here.

The planet is boiling, yet weirdly we look out the window and everything appears okay. Although it is going to be warm for the next few days, so maybe we will all burn and die. But I doubt it.

We should feel guilty for slavery, a practice that is as old as humankind, is still going on today AND we spent a decent amount of time, money and lives fighting to stop it.

And finally our mainstream media seems intent on jamming this crap plus a load of gender nonsense down our throats further entrenching the feeling that we are all losing our minds.

Yeah, that about covers it.

Matt M
Matt M
7 months ago

Great comment Dylan, exactly right. This “crisis” is only in the heads of the journalists.

On Friday the ONS massively upgraded the UK’s growth record and it now turns out that far from being the G7 laggard since Covid we have actually grown faster than everyone but the US and Canada.

The always impending, forecast economic downturn is at odds with the packed pubs, shops and restaurants I see everyday.

We have full employment and high wage growth. Inflation is falling and you can now get 6% on two-years savings accounts in high street banks for the first time in two decades.

There is absolutely no incivility or unpleasantness among our people, no riots like in France. Even the public sector workers that had a sudden rush of blood to the head when the gas price shot up are starting to give up on their strikes (doctors will be the next ones to raise the white flag I suspect.

Global warming gave us a cold, wet summer (thankfully we might get an Indian Summer this week.)

Sure things could be much better but (deliberately) scrambling the world economy in response to Covid and Russian aggression was always going to have ramifications. We can get through them. Given time NHS waiting lists will return to their normal (high) levels.

Of course a sensible balancing of immigration with our capacity to expand public services, housing and infrastructure would be welcome. As would a solution to the dinghy invasion and a bit of pragmatism on green issues.

Best thing people can do to guard against melancholy is to turn off the TV.

Last edited 7 months ago by Matt M
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I agree with much here. But still believe there is real cause for a sense of frustration and despair. We are very very slowly realizing that the UK State is not just failing. Our decline is now systemic and irreversible. And we are trapped. There is no way out. The provincial/ peoples attempt to take down the anti democratic top down Diktat EU/Progressive Statelet erected since the 90s has failed. That revolutionary 30 year old New Order is totally entrenched and has overturned the way we govern (the quangocracy/supremacy of European laws) smashing the gears and levers of the Executive. The vast unelected Regulatory Blob & public sector does not just fail in a duty to perform effectively – it apoears to have detached itself from a genuine duty of care to people. They are now revealed as political actors bent on protecting both the pre 2016 Progressive New Order and its deranged new cultish credos of DEI and Net Zero. In the Soviet style NHS, cold eyed young doctors and consultants with their 2m pensions merrily strike whilst letting thousands die waiting on the 7m Long Lists. Over 50% of all deaths!! Just incredible. They do not blink an eye. The appalling scuzzy Home Office uses wfh as an excuse to undermine Tory Scum, processing 1 asylum claim a month from the gym. There is a proto civil war going on in the Blob but we pretend it is not there. We are right to despair because the Progressives are seen to rule absolutely. They have the weight of law, the civil service, the public sector and dominate the Media and Culture. Our culture is suffering – we know that the idea that the UK protects freedom of speech is a lie. Its too embarassing to acknowledge it. This Adminstrative Regulatory Order is not just ULEZ bossy; it is by its very nature authoritarian, addicted to Top Down Diktat it was schooled in by the EU. Neither Parliament nor media nor the Law fought the two year tyranny of Lockdown. Meanwhile, the shabby exhausted Non Nasty Non Functional Tories are revealed to largely be part of that Blairite Order – they either cannot or will not support freedom/business, nor reaffirm the fundamental values that enriched our society. So there is just no escape. The Progressive State is largely unelected and so is permanent..as our national decline will be. We look increasingly like an East Germany of the 80s, a quasi socialist undemocratic suffocated society. Cause for much melancholy I think.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Lord Jonathan Sumption KS, to his eternal credit, DID vociferously speak out against the COVID tyranny, it must be said.
Albeit to no avail, sadly.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

Well said. But he was indeed a lone voice. Remember how the human rights lawyers all said – there will come a time when even you sceptics will see that HR works for everyone, not just Islamists and those often hostile to the majority!! It will keep Jezza off your property maybe!!! Remember? Then lockdown comes to protect the NHS – and the whole London legal profession turned their backs on us with no hint of apology. We were locked up and not one (hello Keir) lifted a finger to protect the most basic rights. Lets pray one day we return to Common Law and connect again to proven ancient liberties and precedents- not endure the arbitrary vagaries of top down Net Zero CCC Diktat or outmoded international Fifties Refugee legislation exploited by legal charlatans. The Blairite revolution has ruined faith in so much. Add respect for our law to the list.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Perhaps encouragingly I do know four young Barristers who used to regard themselves as HR Warriors.
To their eternal credit they were all equally appalled by the response to COVID, and had an almost immediate Damascene conversion! So all it not lost.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

Five!! Its a start and encouraging!! I fear I just cannot shake the Melancholy. The scoundrel Khan is on radio promoting his shameless ulez grab & now free school meals…classic extensions of money hungry State and a Progressive/Leftist States Bailout culture. Meanwhile Equality mania has just sunk Brum Council. I honestly feel lockdown was an historical tipping point, entrenching and deepening both the powers of and cultural penetration of the GDR style Progressive Authoritarian Order and its ways of thinking. All polls show that 30 years of Human Rights & Equality laws have quashed traditional ancient English (Christian) attitudes – notably about self responsibility. Everyone demands and expects prosperity, good health a home as a human right. Why not when only a minority (stressed saddo middle classes) are actually paying more in tax than they take out in welfare and venefits in kind. The madness of furlough and the energy bailouts have made a mad Corbyn dream of Super Nanny Treasure Money Tree State the new reality….even if it will go the same way soon enough. This greviance and entitlement ethos..pumped out 24/7 by the toxic BBC…has possessed far more than Westminster and the Blob I fear. There is not one Vivek type here in our political system even arguing for the merits of wealth creation enterprise, cheap energy and true freedom. So how can it stop??

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Perhaps we are are about to return to where we were in 1641?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

Sage as ever CT. I fear you may well be right. Feels earthquakey..

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Sumption wasn’t a lone voice but you’re right he was one of very few voices. Prof Carl Heneghan, Prof Sunetra Gupta, Prof Karol Sikora also spoke out. Having voted for the Tories in 2019 I shall do my utmost to bury them as deeply as possible at the next GE. Their authoritarianism, and many other failures require them gone.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
7 months ago

For some strange reason, the Covid virus didn’t show much respect for the law, or for human rights, for that matter. It seems to be more concerned with health and public safety. Still, I guess that the next pandemic will be more amenable to the views of retired high court judges, so we’ll be OK.

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
7 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta


the Covid virus didn’t show much respect either for the opinions of Ferguson, Whitty, Johnson, Starmer, the WHO, and the China final solution was abandoned eventually as well (as a total failure), and the Wuhan Institute was innocent what a laughing stock of leaders.

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Superb analysis, depressingly accurate.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Excellent diagnostic Walter. Just in the last few days we hear of hard left Labour activists who run the RSPB a charity call Tory Politicians Liars. And now we hear that Councils are allowing their Staff to work from the beaches (from around the world).

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“There is absolutely no incivility or unpleasantness among our people”
Apart from the above sentence making me wonder what planet you’re from, the rest of your comment is excellent.

Matt M
Matt M
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Even online, I don’t encounter it (though I only really comment on UnHerd and maybe we are a more polite bunch than you find on Twitter). In the flesh, I have not noticed people becoming more unpleasant.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Indeed. Come and spend half an hour in a pharmacy, a doctor’s surgery, or an A&E department! Open your eyes and ears to reality. And feel the debilitating melancholy.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Both yours and Dylan’s acomments are spot on but I would add that the malaise in the public’s attitude could be remedied by completing some physical effort every day whether that be digging in the garden, constructive hobbies or more particularly helping one’s neighbour.
Physical effort is both good for mind and body and it is clear that the obesity which appears to be rife in our society is a direct result of both lack of fitness and a melancholic attitude.
I try to create a sweat every day and I got rid of my TV three and half years ago. People wonder why I am always happy and full of fun and one of the reasons is that I engage and talk to everyone I meet whether they want it or not – they always do in the end!!
I am 76 and been a farmer, a politician and a town planner – all very diverse but fascinating trades and that is my point really – get out, find new thoughts and make people smile by helping them to see life differently and this will gradually drive a better nation.
It probably helps that I am a Christian as well.

Matt M
Matt M
7 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Could not agree more Bruce.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
7 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Can’t argue with that, Bruce. This morning I walked about 4 miles, swam a mile in the gym, and was subsequently too knackered to do much in the way of weights.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I can argue with that. Not everyone is able bodied.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

But those who are, don’t take advantage of the outdoors, gardening, walking, etc as much as they should. We’ve move to our country house permanently and have left dysfunctional NYC and we’ve plunged ourselves into conservation efforts, town government and the church & the preservation of historical churches. Local governments are always in need of volunteer help. Pitch in folks!

Deborah Grant
Deborah Grant
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Great analysis. I’d add that indigenous Brits seem to want more for less.

The opposition, aided and abetted by Gen X broadcast media bosses, encourages the grievance culture. It’s busy airbrushing the cost of Covid and the effects of the Ukraine war from the reasons why politicians are – and will continue to – struggle with feeding the insatiable maw.

Labour’s manifest is a wish list, not a plan.

Last edited 7 months ago by Deborah Grant
Chipoko
Chipoko
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Very well said, Dylan. The erosion of British culture and identity by human rights lawyers and the Woking Class generally is profoundly disturbing for the population; not surprising that there is a pandemic of mental ill-health. I fear the damage inflicted is irreversible. UK is just one of the western ‘democratic’ states to be steadily dismantled by globalism and the rise of a legally entrenched authoritarian elite that brooks no challenge and is ruthless in distorting history in pursuit of its aims. We are witnessing the ideas of Marx in 21st Century guise: Change cannot be delivered without the total destruction of the existing (‘evil’) order; and the ensuing revolutionary regime will be managed and controlled by a small coterie of powerful individuals. Just read a biography of Lenin to see where it is all heading.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Nice to read your optimistic words, but I feel you are not experiencing the same UK as many of us. Come and spend time working for minimum wage in health care, it sounds like you need a reality check (with all due respect).

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago

The w crisis us expected to hit very badly in the coming decades and consternation is rational. It is simplistic to believe that not seeing devastation when you look out of the window means there is no issue.

Matt M
Matt M
7 months ago

I do not believe any forecasts whether environmental, metrological, epidemiological, financial, political or sociological. It is simply not possible to predict the future. You can improve measuring instruments to get a better resolution on what is happening now (like weather satellites that can see there is a warm front blowing in from the south etc). But beyond what can be seen now, everything in the future is unknowable. No amount of impressive looking modelling makes an ounce of difference.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Scientists who are better qualified than you believe otherwise. I would rather listen to them than you

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
7 months ago

You are not listening to scientists. You are listening to the predictions made by computers on the basis of what particular variables are inputted in to them. Given that the climate is the result of an enormous number of variables, combining in an infinitely complex interaction on a global scale , the idea that computer modelling can hope to produce anything meaningful is absurd. The models can’t even factor in something as basic but fundamentally important to the climate as clouds.
In addition, factor in that only scientists that produce results that are in accordance with climate alarmism will be showered with billions for research, career advancement and prestige positions, then putting simple minded trust in them is naĂŻve in the extreme. Conversely, scientists who dispute climate alarmism will be professionally ostracised, and lose jobs and opportunities. Clearly, in an environment where the stakes are so high for individual scientists’ careers, there is little chance that scientific truth can be discerned through objective data and free and open debate. As we saw with Covid, the threat of losing Chinese funding for their research was enough for corrupt the most senior scientists and have them brazenly lie about Covid’s origins.

Last edited 7 months ago by Marcus Leach
T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Great take Marcus. While there’s a tendency to spend alot of time ascribing malicious intent or even planned failure on the social planners, I think the Sunk Cost Dilemma is the actual driver of public administration tyranny.

You have vast enterprises that have pumped billions of dollars and man hours into computer modeling that relies on overly complicated algorithms. Jordan Peterson was originally part of the global climate planning and he talks about the extraordinary margin of error in each assumption.

If you’ve got 200 “Sustainability Goals” and distribute resources based on those goals and the goals themselves are based on assumptions derived from thousands of variables with massive margins of error, what do you get? A system that looks and appears pragmatic but is actually designed to make the distributed funds match up with the most radical interpretation of that data.

There’s simply been so much effort and resources pumped into the issue that Experts primary role has to be propagating confirmation bias.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
7 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

>Jordan Peterson was originally part of the global climate planning 
In what way? He is a clinical psychologist and inspirational speaker,

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
7 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I’d suggest re-reading parts I to IV of TS Kuhn’s excellent ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ for his careful discussion of how scientists work within a dominant paradigm, and how the dominant paradigm becomes dominant. It’s not really about ‘objective data’, which is a suspect notion in the first place – as is regularly declared every other day on UnHerd, when climate science lurches into the discussion. And if the dominant 1.5 deg paradigm is hopelessly (and provably) mistaken, there are plenty of climate scientists who would love to have that revelation associated with their careers, obviously!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
7 months ago

Well said, Thomas Kuhn is excellent.

Phineas
Phineas
7 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Climate change media driven and Attenborough a leader full of fear mongering and false science. BBC and The Guardian both group think leaders and of course the Greens.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Mathematical models of climate change are imperfect but fit past data and accord with the laws of physics which state imply if heat is w then an object heats up. Fortunately nobody serious listens to deniers like you, especially when they have no understanding of scientific method which you exhibit

T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago

Nobody serious uses the term “Climate Denier.” It’s a mechanism to shut down nuanced debate. Sorry, game is up.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

The climate is an open ended, chaotic system. Very hard to model. Climate models also struggle to incorporate clouds. Blindingly following scientific consensus brought us eugenics, and in an indirect way, the slaughter of six million in concentration camps. It also created Lysenkoism, and the starvation of 30 million people.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

(Applause)

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
7 months ago

We struggle to predict the weather 7 days in advance. Yet weirdly we can predict the weather 50 years ahead. If you think about it, really think about it. It’s ridiculous.
The planet is greening and we’re still told we’re doomed.
Oh and scientists. Yes scientists who have grants and jobs depending on measuring the climate. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe. Just maybe some of these scientists might have a vested interest in portraying the very worst case scenarios.

Last edited 7 months ago by Dylan Blackhurst
Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
7 months ago

Whose bread I eat, his song I sing. — from the German.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago

7 days? My weather app can’t predict the weather for tomorrow with any accuracy. Great comments, by the way. Gives me some hope that there are more than just a few who see through this cloud of cow dung.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
7 months ago

The Imperial College pandemic modelling software (the same one that was wrong, by orders of magnitude, about CJD and bird flu) is available on git hub. If you still have faith in scientific modelling after reviewing it, then I’m really keen to hear why.

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
7 months ago

You probably weren’t around in the seventies when a new ice age was predicted to be freezing us by now. But you must remember Al Gore’s prediction that seas would have risen by now and consumed entire countries. Why the blind faith in ‘science’? Scientists are every bit a susceptible as teenagers to group think and demonisation of disapproved groups of the day.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

35 years of failed predictions and you still blindingly trust the climate change industrial complex.

What happened to:
*The collapse of agriculture
*Increased storms
*Increased forest fires
*Ice free arctic
*Increased droughts
*Pacific islands submerged under rising seas

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And you don’t see that?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

There are reliable and readily available statistics for all these things.
*Ag yields and production continue to increase, across virtually every crop type – many orgs measure this including FAO with the UN
*Hurricane frequency is no higher than historical levels – NOAA
*Forest fire frequency and acreage burned has dropped slightly over the last 20 years – NASA
*The world is 5% greener than it was 20 years ago, an area twice the size of the continental US – NASA
*80% of coral islands in the Pacific have increased in size since aerial records started during WWII – many well documented studies. Simply search coral islands growing

Last edited 7 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s all happening if you check the facts!!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago

Some people will only listen to what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. If you can find a scientist that knows how we can curtail a solar flare, stop a volcano from erupting or even alter the angle of earth’s axis, then I’ll listen.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

True! If/when a major vulcano erupts solar panels and all climate summits will have been in vain.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Are you a scientist?

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
7 months ago

‘The planet is boiling, yet weirdly we look out the window and everything appears okay. Although it is going to be warm for the next few days, so maybe we will all burn and die. But I doubt it.’

You are confusing weather with climate. Of course the climate scientists may all be wrong, but looking out of the window on a chilly morning won’t be the evidence you need to prove they are.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Exactly.

Phineas
Phineas
7 months ago

‘Planet is boiling’. Really? What planet?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Phineas

This statement comes from the UN Secretary General.

Liam Brady
Liam Brady
7 months ago

Agree. I also think social media has had a huge negative impact. That’s why I’ve shut down toxic Twitter, Fakebook etc.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago

“the most obvious cause is material: the insecurity built into Britain’s faltering economic model”
I don’t think so. The most obvious cause is the disintegrating network of family and community relations that once bound people together, gave them support, and gave them opportunity (and expectation) to support one another. What gives people energy and lifelong satisfaction isn’t (just) material outcomes, but the sense of significance and meaning that comes from being wanted, needed, appreciated… loved.
“It’s the economy, stupid”? No – it’s people, stupid.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kirk Susong
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I’d argue that pricing an ever increasing number of young families from owning a family home contributes massively to disintegration of communities. If people can’t set down roots and have to shift house every few years at the landlords behest they’re not going to get involved with their neighbours or local area. Living precariously week to week and having little disposable income also prohibits people from joining clubs, sports teams or even going for a few pints up the local so they don’t meet others in their area.
Finances (or lack of them) play a massive part in my opinion

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m all for land use reform and planning reform. But average family size is smaller than it was decades ago, and average family home size is larger than it was decades ago – and yet, here we are in our melancholy. Most people would like to have more space, and to pay less for it – but the size of your home is not a central determinant of long-term life satisfaction, not by a long shot.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kirk Susong
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Is that right? I thought builders were squeezing room (and house) sizes down from previous standards. Rather like the Mars Bars of our distant youth


Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

It’s not the size of the homes that’s the issue, it’s the fact an ever increasing number is owned by an ever decreasing percentage of the population. Condemning youngsters to a lifetime of unstable renting is no way to build communities or improve happiness

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I don’t believe this is the case at all. Most people didn’t own their own homes until the 70’s, and were poorer, but it didn’t stop them from getting involved in the community.

The general apathy has come from somewhere else and I believe it’s due to the ever increasing neglect the rest of the country has been subjected to, plus the materialistic mindset of having to keep up with the Joneses. People actively don’t want to get involved in anything cultural, they either can’t be bothered, or aren’t interested, and THAT is the problem. People feel disconnected from each other and from the country and culture they live in. I suspect it has come from the general hate the media has placed on anything British that is the problem; we are considered ‘old-fashioned’, ‘boring’, or ‘problematic’, which has caused people to view our own culture with disdain.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, and the resulting melancholy drives people to drugs, crime, unhealthy behaviour, and “unpleasantness” to others (to quote from above). Think most of the people on this thread are somewhat blinkered to the different facets of our society!!

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

The reason the British state is paralysed is relatively simple, I think: fifty years of creeping centralisation has concentrated power in the hands of a tiny elite that is quite incapable of dealing with the sheer complexity of a modern economy.

Alex Moscow
Alex Moscow
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That and the fact that much of the nation’s wealth is siphoned off by large corporations, many of which aren’t UK companies, and funneled to their shareholders. While these companies have made millions and billions, a lack of investment has left much of our infrastructure in a perilous state. There is now no money left to pay for it. So, the burden falls on the public purse.

Paul T
Paul T
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Moscow

Your comment doesn’t make sense.

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Or human beings

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Summed up nicely!

Julie Curwin
Julie Curwin
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

That and the “death of God”. As a psychiatrist, I’ve come to see much of what we call depression these days as more of a spiritual malaise than the biochemical imbalance our materialist worldview tells us that it is. When we have lost touch with the sacred, we are adrift. And modern Britain has definitely lost touch with the sacred.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Julie Curwin

Nah.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

As the first step is the start to a journey so is your one word a beginning to a potential balanced and considered response. But you haven’t made it.

Paul T
Paul T
7 months ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

She is, quite accurately, telling us she doesn’t believe anything she doesn’t already believe in. You must remember those kids from school; “oh yeah, who told you that?” “I read it in a book” “Do you believe everything you read but haven’t seen?”

There is no reasoning with these people.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago

So, as a nation we are very depressed. Young men commit suicide as never before (young women talk a lot about committing suicide but the men just get on with it).
Yesterday I was very depressed. Nobody could talk to me without a bad reaction. I was depressed about what is happening in the world, about how things always seem to get worse, about how a forthcoming general election is going to make things worse, about the weakness of our politicians, about how cold we will be this winter because we can’t afford to heat the house…
So I DID something. I went for a very long walk and, suddenly, things seemed better. I could have dug the garden or cut the grass, anything physical.
Today, the idea of DOING something has disappeared, especially for young people. They sit every day staring at screens, telling each other how bored and distressed they are, which makes things worse and worse and worse.

Matt M
Matt M
7 months ago

I just had a quick look at the ONS England and Wales figures on suicide. You wouldn’t know it from this article but they have been falling for 40 years!
(Registered suicides per 100k people)
1981: 14.5 (men 19.2, women 10.5)
2021: 10.7 (men 16.0, women 5.5)
The only reason this has become the “most common cause of death among young men” is because other causes of death – particularly fatal road accidents – have decreased.
I had a look at the diagnosed depression figures (2019 – Great Britain) from the ONS.
No or mild symptoms: 90% (16-39 years old: 89%, 40-69: 90%, 70+: 95%)
Moderate to severe symptoms: 10% (16-39: 11%, 40-69: 10%, 70+: 5%)

Last edited 7 months ago by Matt M
Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

There was a good article (it might have been on Unherd) about how poor psychologists are at diagnosing depression as a predictor of suicide. They aren’t even close. Great stats.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

A key reason why psychological therapies work is down to people feeling safe, and telling the truth in the consulting room. People can be awfully good at hiding the truth, even from themselves.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

You seem determined to use (2019!) statistics to avoid what is apparent when you work in the health care sector. When I’m dispensing increasing numbers of prescriptions for antidepressants for 16 year olds, my awareness of how things are right now is clear.

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago

I couldn’t agree more! I discovered this years ago when I had my first dog. My work days often ended in a tangle of unfinished tasks and new anxieties. So I would take her for a long walk. By the time we got back the telephone was silent and dinner beckoned. Lovely.
I noticed that this simple pleasure usually engendered a new attitude and sometimes a creative idea or two with my morning coffee.
And then bang! zoom! I’d start all over again!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Walking my dog in the English countryside was my greatest pleasure as a child.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Agreed, and it still is.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
7 months ago

Historically, when economic, political and social conditions had deteriorated to such levels as we are seeing today – the onus would fall on young males with nothing left to lose and everything to gain, to metaphorically kick over the table and set fire to the whole thing. A form of Coppicing-effect for an overgrown civilisation if you will

However, the rise of the Male Sedation Hypothesis has blocked this natural process from occurring. Online virtual worlds, such as pornography, gaming and such may pacify the potential for violence among sexless young men, providing a counterfeit sense of sexual fulfillment and reducing motivation for real-life mate competition.

Without the removal of these sedatory blockers, I wonder whether we can ever achieve the critical mass needed to shake ourselves out of this malaise
?

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Jobs
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jobs

Indeed. Capitalism’s final and greatest triumph. The money hoarders have won.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
7 months ago

The British state lies in bed staring at the ceiling, waiting for death. It cannot build houses, it cannot build railways; it cannot dig a hole in the ground and fill it with water; it cannot fix schools that are falling down. The simplest task is too difficult, and anyway, why even bother?

The merest hint of homophobia, transphobia, sexism, or racism, though, acts like a clanging alarm clock and a double espresso with a side order of amphetamine.

AC Harper
AC Harper
7 months ago

Is Britain really broken or are there too many people making money by telling us that Britain is broken? Would this article have had a different tenor if the photo at the head of the article shown a shopping mall on Saturday or a Protestant Charismatic Christian service on a Sunday (other religions and holy days are available).
Talking only about the bad stuff and ignoring the good stuff is corrosive. And it makes it too easy for The Powers That Be to do nothing.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

They are doing nothing anyway, no matter how bad the stuff gets.
Check out the use of “monkey dust” in one of our poorest cities, Stoke on Trent.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
7 months ago

I liked this article, but I find it very odd that the word “purpose” only appears in it once – right at the top. I think that is what he’s getting at in the penultimate paragraph when he writes of “reformist exertion”, but the thought is only half-baked.
And I think “purpose” is the operative word here. Whether we are talking about a depressed individual or a depressed country, providing a purpose is key in getting the person/state out of the depressed torpor and actively moving towards a future that he/she/they can believe in. As Viktor E. Frankl observed in “Man’s Search For Meaning”, purpose can even make the difference between someone surviving the horrors of a concentration camp, or giving up and dying.
Another fabulous read on why a sense of purpose is so important and can even change history is “Lincoln’s Melancholy” by Joshua Wolf Shenk. Lincoln was of course a very poorly man and could quite easily have done himself in: but he found a purpose and a meaning in his political work and in being part of America’s story and struggles and so managed to carry on – making a huge mark on history as he went.
It should be borne in mind that a purpose is always something external to oneself: a beloved child to be cared for, a novel unfinished, charity work, whatever. This purpose-giving thing gets the person/country out of the darkness of their own heads and thoughts, and, if all goes well – believing that there is a point to life after all.
And that’s where I run into slight dififculties with Aris’s article: it focuses entirely on this problem as something uniquely English, something which England has seen time and time again, England, England, England…and thus perfectly underlines why England has such a problem, now and in the past. It’s because the country and its people, as island dwellers, are rather given to navel-gazing and thinking you are the only ones with any given problem. (See: the hysterics over getting 30,000 or so illegal immigrants a year. Obviously it would be much better to have zero illegal immigrants – but my God: there are several countries across Europe with FAR greater numbers than this to deal with. They’d be overjoyed to “only” have 30K people coming in per year).
The empire created Britain and gave it purpose for several hundred years. Then that crumbled and Britain tried to find purpose in the EU but couldn’t believe in it enough (collectively) to make it work. Brexit held out the promise of a new purpose but it hasn’t quite materialised, leaving the Remainers angry, irrational and resentful and Leavers disappointed and disillusioned.
Not a good place to be and there’s no easy way out. But knocking off the persistent navel-gazing and engaging a bit more with what’s going on in the world outside of the island and what you can reasonably contribute towards it would be a good step. You can deride this as empire nostalgia, delusions of “Global Britain” or even distraction from urgent issues at home – but keeping Britain in some way outward-looking might in some way provide the impetus for the rejuvenation you need within.
As far as individuals are concerned, I read Penny Mordaunt’s idea for the revival of national service with interest. I think that’s a great way to instill discipline and a sense of service and community in young people. If they ever threatened to abolish it in Austria, I’d be on the barricades, I think it’s a great thing.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
7 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I don’t think “Global Britain” was ever not a thing, we have been global since the empire so I struggle to understand how we can be “more” global than we already are. We have been outward looking for a very long time which is where the apathy if the Victorian age came from: the elites cared more about the struggles of far-flung countries within the Empire instead of the people starving and freezing to death at home.

It just seems to be a narrative for the economic-liberal to spout despite offering no sight into what it means. A “Global Britain”, to me, would be exporting more than it is importing, trying to enhance the world with things we have built or made but we hardly export anything nowadays. This is why China is so powerful now, we essentially gave it to them by letting them create everything and actively weakened ourselves.

Last edited 7 months ago by Chelsea King
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

A well said thoughtful comment. I do think there’s a lot to be said for national service.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Thanks, Clare. We’ve clashed a bit recently, but clearly we agree on some things!

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I have never met anyone who supports national service that actually has to do it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago

The author is clearly a depressive type, and therefore sees only that which afflicts him. So for instance, he writes just as the economic performance figures coming out of the pandemic are revised upwards (yet again) and better than those on the continent. I dare say he’d find such news even more depressing, since it renders his own outlook misguided.

That’s not to say there aren’t the usual challenges of a nation in finding a way through the technological and cultural upheavals that continue to gather pace; rather, that it’s completely wrong-headed to ascribe these challenges as somehow uniquely ill-met in the UK compared to economic rivals. The comparative data now emerging (tellingly ignored by the msm) beggars only his own miserablist outlook.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Murray
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Depressed? Who is depressed, certainly not I!
Come on Roussinos, pull yourself together, ‘we’ have never lived in such benign times, at least not since the heady days of the ‘Pax Romana.’
The only depressing thing this year is that the Gods decided to give us a June heatwave just before the school holidays, followed by an indifferent summer, and finally another heatwave just as the school holidays ended.
I look forward to global warming or climate change or whatever it is called with bated breath.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Easy for you to say! Those who live in Africa and other affected regions feel differently.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

What about the US?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

The cost of living increases have clearly not impacted you
.

odd taff
odd taff
7 months ago

I’ll give you a clue. This morning I spent a few hours hacking back undergrowth from footpaths alongside a lot of other old gits. It’s my usual start to the week and the exercise and company sets me up for the week. Nobody organises us, we have no health and safety regulations, and no diversity training. It’s a happier place than any work place in modern Britain.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  odd taff

Well done. That’s community which makes all the difference.

Max Price
Max Price
7 months ago

I don’t think the most obvious cause of “depressed Britain” is economic at all. In fact it’s probably the other way around. Dylan Blackhurst basically says up thread what my thoughts are. Although I’d add the fall in Faith, the breakdown of family and less community engagement are also factors.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
7 months ago

“those readers who have some experience of the disorder of the mind we now call depression will know that the opposite of that dire state is not happiness but energy”
Absolutely true.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Yes, true.

DenialARiverIn Islington
DenialARiverIn Islington
7 months ago

I’m surprised that it is not more commented upon; but there is no doubt that we are suffering from a prolonged non-shooting Civil War in Britain. It’s not ALL about Brexit; but that lit the fuse to a fight about what Britain is and who runs it. The Remainer’s have been running a Campbell lead “Project Propaganda” since at least 2019 in which disinformation has been shamelessly used but which is now, at last, running out of steam as macro economic reality simply refuses to comply with the narrative. Obviously, this has involved a lot of “talking down” Britain – after all, if reality doesn’t tell the right story you have to make it up and, let’s not forget, the other side “lied to the people” (that is, the result was “wrong”).
Our institutions were convinced by the narrative and misreported on the economy. It’s not as though they were lying – they genuinely bought the argument and adjusted their models according to what they had been persuaded was the truth. The fact that they wanted to believe that is not really a defence though – they are supposed to be scientifically impartial – but they are human and their access to villas in Tuscany and Provence had been made marginally less easy. The constantly negative messaging from our institutions was bound to cause consternation – how could it not?
The denouement has probably only just happened of late and is encapsulated by the NatWest/Farage scandal (and it truly is a scandal). The Remainer’s were not really getting what they wanted (a re-join vote) and were forced to overreach. Actually, the ousting of Boris Johnson over a piece of cake that wasn’t eaten was also overreach but they managed to get away with that because Boris is Boris. Anyhow, folks, the fight for democracy is not over and won’t be for some time yet. Remainer’s remain cross and are not allowed to be wrong. We cannot allow ourselves to give in – a democratic vote is a democratic vote. Whether or not you like the outcome (I am agnostic), that’s the only route to the future.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
7 months ago

Many of us recognise the zombie-like state and feeling of living a half life having payed the household bills and then watching the rest of monthly earnings being eaten up by credit card (minimum) repayment having enduring a few years of shrinking revenues hardly even covering groceries.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Finally, someone who is in touch with reality on this thread!

Steve White
Steve White
7 months ago

I think the crisis starts with “what’s the meaning of life?” There was a sense of purpose in previous more Christian generations, and then there was a period of stability that sort of built on the bones of ones ancestors. There was a sense of humanity and community that still stood on many of the same principles, although the fundamental worldview behind that culture had been mostly lost, the cultural shell lived on. Now, with postmodernism and the more complete abandonment of that mostly empty shell, comes a more complete loss of meaning, and therefore purpose. Which Aris describes as “ a numbed blankness of feeling, or pangs of melancholy nostalgia for a lost contentment now impossible to imagine.” ,and a “black cloud of affectless lethargy” that drains life of purpose.
If we were to look at this from a more Biblical perspective, we might conclude that God is pulling His merciful hand of common grace away from a people who have abandoned Him, and the timeless truths that grounded the prior culture to its spiritually transcendent moorings.
If we were to look at it though politics, we might conclude that a shift in leadership or vision might be the solution. If we were to look at it through science, we might conclude that too much screen time, and some therapy might be the fix, or perhaps a prescription of pills. Either way, it seems with the idea that “biblical Christianity might actually be true” out of the picture, it seems that all other contenders that would say “built your life on this reality” seem to be out of ideas for moving forward. Perhaps a search for and recommitment to first principles is in order. I would suggest that people need universal principles upon which to base the particulars of their lives upon. That a person is indeed made up of a mind, a body and a soul. 
However, even with that epistemological assumption , one would probably need to reject the clerical clowns in charge of dolling out their dumbed down and corrupted views of what biblical Christianity is. There was a time (1640s) when a Westminster Assembly did just that, and put together the Westminster Confession of Faith, along with a larger and shorter catechism. In addition they also defrocked about 40% of the corrupt and incompetent clergy of their day. Today the number might need to be larger.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve White
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

People also need to be able to afford housing and food 
.(sigh)

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
7 months ago

The MSM in this country is enough to drive anyone to despair. Not only does it put the most catastrophic spin on any news story it also speculates in dire terms about news that has not happened and perhaps never will. Coupled with the nannying, fannying, bureaucrats and politicians there is b****r all to do to affect our surroundings. Young men particularly need challenge, endeavour, a chance to do meaningful work. The health and safety nit pickers cannot tolerate anything taking place, even amongst the strongest and fittest members of society, without a full risk assessment being done. Given the choice I think the Gauleiters would rather young men took their own lives than run the risk of death by health and safety failure. The Pooters must accept that boredom is a bigger threat to the young than potential danger. Some serious philosophical questions must be asked and answered.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago

Depression as with all emotional affliction is caused by overthinking and then reacting to those thoughts. Creating the space for awareness of thoughts and feeling through “ right mindfulness” or appropriate meditation practice will train people to not react and treat each passing thought and feeling like a cloud floating across the sky on a summer day: insubstantial and temporary. That is the only way to attain true hapiness

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago

Yes – try to approach current affairs and all that’s around you like a great drama series or piece of theatre. Of course you are not in control, no more than you understand it all, so sit back and take it all in; you have no role in it other than this – to take an open, interested, compassionate interest. To the extent that we do that well, we’ll find ourselves both happier and more informed. Do not be idle as Burton wrote, but realise the difference between ‘good work’ (paying attention, looking after you and yours, financially, emotionally, do the dishes, joyful things etc – which actually makes you happier) and dysfunctional ‘work’ (psychological gaming -‘ain’t it awful’, avoidance, numbing, self-righteous indignation etc) – that gives a sugar rush of emotional satisfaction and a corresponding crash into misery or meaninglessness.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

OMG! I’m not going to even try. That is such an ignorant comment.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It is you who is ignorant

Peter Watson
Peter Watson
7 months ago

Godlessness

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watson

Pure and simple.

William Cameron
William Cameron
7 months ago

Why ? Because the citizen is at the mercy of a legal system that is the enemy of the good citizen – and the public sector is at the mercy of a complexity of laws which render the country ungovernable.
And we are bombarded by a media determined to see everything through a negative lens.

Last edited 7 months ago by William Cameron
David Hewett
David Hewett
7 months ago

I agree the melancholy allegedly gripping the nation goes way beyond political and economic determinants. Melancholy is not clinical depression, for me at least, it refers to a generally prevailing zeitgeist, and that has many other determinants not directly addressed in the article.
None of the comments made in this thread directly addresses the role of both educationalists in the school system and so called influencers on social media in creating the current mood. These two components were not around in the seventeenth century and the flow of ideas within the population at large was a tiny fraction of the information storm we live in today. Arguably both what is taught in our schools and what is constantly presented to those who derive their information from screens are major determinants. Their effect has been to institutionalise a prevailing mindset of doom amongst many.
Contemporary journalism reinforces this by way of sensationalising negativity and pouring scorn upon positive influences. Add to that the superficiality of much mass and social media commentary coupled with a barrage of misinformation it is hardly surprising that levels of anxiety have risen so much.
Another factor is the general intolerance of any opinion or analysis that does not conform to the current received wisdom regardless of the fact that much of it formed is formulated in a manner which is independent of the facts. The fear is disapproval is far stronger amongst those raised by helicopter parents; progeny who lack resilience in the face of difficulty.
This suggests that until the current fad of being “always connected” will need to pass before optimism may flourish, and that pinning hopes of a new and better era on either of the two technocrats offering to be the next Prime Minister is a futile delusion.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
7 months ago

A copy of Anatomy of Melancholy is my second oldest possession, after my Bible. Apologies for a punk verion of Thomas Piketty (“Punketty”?), but during a “normal” period, such as the one preceding the publication of Anatomy of Melancholy, wealth tends to concentrate in fewer hands. (Note for American readers: some of us Europeans still think that loosening the grip of the elite on weatlh can be a good thing.)
You need a Black Death, a World War or a major Civil War to de-concentrate it. The problem is that, of late, we have had the wrong sorts of crises. The banking crash made the poor poorer and the pandemic not only made the poor poorer, but the rich richer.
I like the closing quote in the article: “… that may happen at last which never was yet.” t suggests that, rather than a post-liberal, Burton was a proto Wilkins Micawber.
I just did a count of the articles on Unherd’s Web page. Ten are about sex, gender and psychology and thirteen are about everything else. I am counting this article as one of the ten, but it is one of the few that makes it clear how the psychological can relate to wider issues. So thanks, as always, to Aris Roussinos.
P.S. how old is that photo? The Lucozade bottle is pre-2018 , if I am not mistaken.

Last edited 7 months ago by Peter Kwasi-Modo
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Exactly a war would do it. I bet there wasn’t much depression during WW2 everyone had a sense of purpose.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago

A better idea would be three afternoons of compulsory sport in every school and a musical and craft education for every child. But no doubt Labour will continue down the road of turning our kids into lard-arsed mouse potatoes in the name of being ‘child-centred’.

Andrew D
Andrew D
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Mouse potatoes?

Doug Shannon
Doug Shannon
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yup, slumped in front of a PC instead of a TV I guess. Or a phone, or tablet or Xbox.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Surprised you’ve never heard that expression before.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
7 months ago

Great article. Once again though the symptoms are analysed in depth with a cure skated lightly over. I really like the author’s writing and feel that he may hold different political perspectives to me but I would still be interested to know how he would go about the “vigorous, reformist exertion” – an actual programme would be favourable but might take too long for an Unherd article. The trouble with the philosopher-king model is who chooses the king and who holds them to account? Parliamentary democracy is the closest we have to the model – how many French or American presidents have been kicked out mid-term even when on the wrong track? For all the faults of our political system the revolving door at No. 10 (and No. 11 and the cabinet offices) at least gives a chance for cream to rise to the top in a way impossible in most other forms of government even if at the moment it is not happening. Similarly, with a planned economy, who decides what the “right track” is and when to change (see Japan or Italy)? China is a terrible model to follow – you can’t compare a developing economy to a developed one. German model seems best to me (private industry guided rather than directed by the state).

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Putting power and responsibility back into the hands of MPs rather than unaccountable quangos would be a start, however I’m of the impression that most MPs wouldn’t want it. To most it’s simply a stepping stone in their career after which they’ll move on to some well paid lobbying job

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
7 months ago

For a country that has been so enthusiastic about contracting out and privatising functions of the state, the one useful thing the British government might do is contract out the role of government itself.

john d rockemella
john d rockemella
7 months ago

How about the low depression caused by the fact we knowingly see the corruption by politicians selling out our democracy, selling out to big pharma, the corruption and complete taxation to bring a country to its knees. The inability to be able to live a free and decent life without interference. Nothing feels fun or unique, all we are told is climate crisis, pandemic crisis, all of which are manufactured, then all of this is repeated by dumb media and Politicians and scientists who are mad loonies! Propoganda everyday, followed by more lies then some more lies followed. The country needs to go back to go forward, our technological route trajectory is taking us down a path of digital slavery, great for the world elites, but horrendous for humanity. We were social beings, evolutionary changes are making us regressive, go back we made a wrong turn!!!

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
7 months ago

Comments here tend to focus on cultural issues- lots of mentions of ‘the blob’ for example. But surely the article is right to draw attention to simple economic and political facts about the country. Taking housing for example. To me this seems one of the biggest problems this country faces and yet neither Sunak nor Starmer put it as one of their top priorities. And it barely gets mentioned here – unlike the blob! Solve the housing problem and the collective mood of the country would rise considerably I suspect.
One reason we seem to struggle with this is that the house owning baby boomers are regarded as the key demographic for winning elections, and building houses is not a major issue for them, in fact not building houses is more to their taste for obvious reasons.
One explanation for the problem that many Unherd readers will no doubt rush to is immigration (and this is quite separate from the asylum issue.) I have some sympathy with this. Unfortunately immigration has sky rocketed since Brexit for some reason. But nevertheless I really don’t think this goes to the root of the problem. If unemployment was high the immigration argument would have some merit but its not. Producing jobs is something the UK does seem to do reasonably well. So if unemployment is low then surely that means that a very high proportion of the populous, including immigrants, are in work – doing jobs that that are necessary to keep the economy growing. So the problem remains we just don’t have the housing to serve the needs of our economy.
The problem is deeper still than governments pandering to baby boomers. And this deeper reason, I believe, gives us some insight into the causes of many other problems we face. On the one hand we shy away from the top down social democratic model which is the norm in most European countries, we look more to the US model of letting the market decide. But then on the other hand when the market does decide we often don’t like the results. The trouble is we can’t have it both ways. Whether we like it or not we are a European country which culturally and physically is very different from the US (we haven’t got the space that they have for one thing)
In this country at least housing clearly can’t be treated like any other good to be traded according to the laws of supply and demand. For one thing land and environmental concerns puts an absolute limit on supply (particularly in the UK) – unlike biscuits. Also, unlike biscuits, it is an absolute necessity not a choice. But governments seem unwilling to really accept that this is an issue that just can’t be left to the market, (they seem to half accept it!) and that they really need to get a grip.
So the root problem is that culturally we inhabit a kind of no-mans-land between the out-and-out free market ideology of the US and the more high tax social democratic model of European countries. It’s a Schizophrenic state that Brexit didn’t resolve I’m afraid. Economically we have to choose because the half way house is the worst of both worlds. Denmark (typical of the European model) and the US (free market) are both economically more successful than us.

Last edited 7 months ago by Martin Butler
William Hickey
William Hickey
7 months ago

What a load.

Your indigenous population is being shamed, muzzled and replaced and you wonder, why the melancholy?

Your rulers are alienated from their own citizens. What the people want is ignored in favor of the rulers’s luxury beliefs.

Why aren’t we happy?

Same in Ireland, same in Scotland.

If Burton took one look at London today, he’d have a much simpler diagnosis than Aris does. It would be undeniable.

Except, of course, for so, so many of us.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
7 months ago

very few read history these days etc etc blah blah, our young are lying down or dirt bagging (the motivated ones), and the slow train crash that is the contemporary state of civilization is proceeding inexorably. The primitive drives of the humananimal are dominant as they have always been , and the four horsemen are fidgiting in their stables. Seems that it twill be so for many generations till the collective WE realize that for I to be ‘happy”, ALL will need to be “happy”. Still, there is some satisfaction in attempting to guide the young towards a vaguely meaningful ‘survival plan” plus there is some interest to be had in viewing this part of history from within it – having hopefully benefitted from the aforementioned reading of history and thereby managed a modicum of personal stability – both financial and psychological……..

Aidan Barrett
Aidan Barrett
7 months ago
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
7 months ago

I don’t know that that people in general (let alone Britons in particular) are more depressed than they were in the past. Apart from anything else, that would depend on how you define “depression” and distinguish it from words such as “sadness,” “anxiety,” “stress” or “unhappiness.” Moreover, I don’t know the correlation between personal states of mind and collective ones. In times of peace and prosperity, after all, some people feel dejected enough to kill themselves. In anxious times, on the other hand, some people nonetheless feel optimistic enough to carry on in spite of everything.
 
I do know, however, that there has long been a wide gulf between the suicide rates of men and women. Far more men than women resort to suicide, at least partly because many women who attempt suicide actually seek help more than they seek death and choose methods accordingly. That gulf is reversed when it comes to depression, however, partly because the language that women use to describe it (and the visual or behavioral cues that they indicate it) differ from one sex to the other I’ve written elsewhere that this discrepancy is the ultimate result (so far) of a problem that originated during the Agricultural Revolution among elite men and became more serious, very gradually at first, because of later technological revolutions that have affected more and more men. This process has involved replacement of the male body, by both machines and the state, as the source of a healthy masculine identity. In short, boys now grow up in a world that has no room for men, as such, which leaves some passive and chronically depressed (those who drop out of school and out of society) but leaves others aggressively destructive and self-destructive (those who attack society). Both groups produce the stats on male suicide.
 
It’s true that political polarization has become dystopian and that economic hardship has become endemic for many people. And it’s true that the proposed solutions have not been enough to inspire confidence. But having read the comments so far (58), I’m surprised that no one has mentioned beauty as a possible, or at least partial, antidote to the more dismal features of modern life. In the 1960s or 1970s Look Magazine (or Life or Collier’s) published what soon became the most famous work of one photojournalist. It showed the dreary façade of a slum in New York: one identical visual feature after another—relentless rows of blank window, say, next to rows of sooty fire-escapes—says enough about the anonymity, emptiness and facelessness of poverty in an industrial society. On the sill of one window, however, sits a bright red geranium. Someone in that apartment has defied alienation by asserting his or her joy over the fragile beauty of a living thing. I can’t provide more information than that, but I’d sure appreciate it if someone could help me find the photo!

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
7 months ago

Britain feels depressed because the media have been feeding an unending, sensationalised diet of doom, gloom, and criticism for years. Stanley Holloway had something to say on the subject, in his song ‘My Word you do look queer’, the final verse of which goes;
I crawled in the street and I murmured, ‘I’m done.’
Then up came Old Jenkins and shouted, ‘By gum!’
‘My word you do look well!
My word you do look well!
You’re looking fine and in the pink!’
I shouted, ‘Am I?… Come and have a drink!
You’ve put new life in me, I’m sounder than a bell.
By gad! There’s life in the old dog yet.
My word, I do feel well!’

Glyn R
Glyn R
7 months ago

We are a depressed nation because the so-called elite have spent the past two decades at least undermining everything about our culture, national identity and history and destroying aspiration and self-reliance in the process. They made once attractive and human scale towns and cities into bleak and ugly wastelands, destroyed education and aspiration. Asset stripped the country and hollowed out industry and manufacturing, small private enterprises such as running a shop have been made a nightmare because of punitive taxation. They are now coming for property owners, taxes one way or another will rise exponentially.They censor and pillory those who dare speak out or resist. They wanted to knock any vestige of rooted, conservative resilience out of the population – that was Blair’s stated desire – and they succeeded.

Last edited 7 months ago by Glyn R
j watson
j watson
7 months ago

And when exactly was the rose tinted age when this wasn’t the case? If indeed it has much substance to it.
Any analysis of the trend in diagnosis of mild depression does not have a consistent threshold over time. The categorisation of mental health conditions is constantly evolving (rightly or wrongly). So at best we only have v crude assumptions for any extended time period conclusions.
One has only to read Shakespeare to see there is v little new in the human condition – ‘… it is a melancholy of mine own, …which, by often rumination, wraps me in the most humorous sadness’ (As You Like it).
On the same theme didn’t Charlie Chaplin famously say that life was a tragedy when seen in close-up but a comedy when in long shot?
Poverty increases chances of being miserable for sure. Struggling to feed the kids or similar going to make a difference to any of us. Having no chance of your own home and space too. So it’s common sense that ‘material’ factors come into play, but we know it’s more than just that too.

Last edited 7 months ago by j watson
Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
7 months ago

“… and that may happen at last which never was yet.” So not so much a post-liberal as a proto-Wilkins Micawber.

Saul D
Saul D
7 months ago

Where are the intrepid heroes? The doers of deeds, who are building world leading technologies or world-leading companies?

James Kirk
James Kirk
7 months ago

Another diatribe by another parasitic journalist who depresses people for a living. What does he suggest? Singing songs on the lifeboat?

Ian Cory
Ian Cory
7 months ago

Why is Britain so depressed? This reminds me of that old saying that if you can remember the 1960s you were not there. Well I do remember the 1960s but admittedly not old enough to be psychically absent. However I’m obviously not here because I’m not “depressed”. That self-diagnosis must be the most co-opted in history.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ian Cory
Steve Houseman
Steve Houseman
7 months ago

Fabulous all. The comments cover so much I’m left breathless which admittedly doesn’t take much at my age. Breathlessness that is. Which I don’t find depressing by the way.
It was an Aris article that lead me too Unherd although I don’t always agree with him. Through unherd the whole period of Covid was made more than bearable. Nothing stunning here just thankfulness
..a good thing if one is positive
.or ‘energetic’. Testimony.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Never ever had such a vast collection of grim words all tied together. A pure contribution to my vocabulary:)

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
7 months ago

The death of industry in this country is a major factor.

In Scotland we have a devolved government that not only delivers worse services, but charges us more in tax for the privilege.

The one industry that consistently delivers more in gross value added per person and engineering innovation, northeast Scotland’s oil and gas industry, is under relentless attack from both Westminster and Scotland’s own “Nationalist” government, which seems more interested in cultivating dependence than independence.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

.

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Andrew Soltau
Andrew Soltau
7 months ago

The collective human culture is exhibiting the hallmark symptom of severe clinical depression, contemplating suicide – ecosphere destruction, www3 


Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
7 months ago

Depression (in humans) is (or always was) a medical condition.
Feeling low is not depression in a medical sense – despite the fact we have an epidemic of self diagnosed mental illnesses these days.
The country, as far as I know, is not suffering clinical depression – but the social commentariat is suffering a weird self inflicted state of low moral.

Peter Yarral
Peter Yarral
7 months ago

It is incredible that so much discussion from contributors that are clearly academic intelligent historians,at least in their own estimations neglect the root cause of melancholy, dysfunction,depression and hopelessness. None call out the truth. The rejection of Christ Jesus and the worship of the Creation and not the Creator. “The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants as the result of their deeds” The Titanic is a few hours from hitting the iceberg and the crew are pontificating about the power of the engines but no one has the courage to change course.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Yarral

If you look closely at the photo that accompanies this article, you will the man slumped over is wearing a cross. So where was Jesus then?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

He was probably Scotch and therefore beyond the pale.
I gather about 70% of the “sturdy beggars “ that currently infest the capital are Scotch.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
7 months ago

I think you may wish to stay off the scotch, gramps! You tend to get a bit racist when imbibing. Though you’re not much use sober either, mind you.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Speak for yourself WOKE WARRIOR.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

When I came to the end of the essay I found myself exclaiming in surprise, because it seemed so abrupt, so anti-climatic. I was expecting more.

Tim Cross
Tim Cross
7 months ago

“Hope refresheth..” Hope in what?
Hope has to be grounded in something solid – and eternal – not short term political expediency. Everyone is a person of ‘faith’; the question is what do they put your faith in. If you read, listen and believe in our media we’re all going to be dead by Fri. So, don’t believe in, or have faith in, here today, gone tomorrow politicians or in any media outlet – find something that provides genuine hope. Any ideas what that might look like?

Christopher Darlington
Christopher Darlington
7 months ago

Just finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul. The similarities are startling