Angry. Now, there’s a word.
It’s a well-endorsed truth that all the things that come closest to us use good Anglisch. Those Norman-French and other imports are only for the poncy stuff. So the root here is angr– and that’s rooted deep in Old Norse and elsewhere.
It’s often a good thing. It get things done. It narrows one’s options, and focuses the mind marvellously on what matters. Anger in others tells us as much of their character as we need to know.
Despite the gloss the schoolmen try to put on him, Shakespeare’s Henry V is a bastard. Not genetically, but psychologically. Shakespeare keeps giving us hints (and the presentation of Hank Cinq stems directly from twisted Prince Hal). Consider the way Henry plays with the conspirators in Act II, scene ii; his cruel joke on the common soldier, Williams, in the fourth Act; his cynical wooing of Katharine. And this:
I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight:
If they’ll do neither, we will come to them,
And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Enforced from the old Assyrian slings:
Besides, we’ll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.
No way can that be delivered with bombast.
So, to my own cold anger
It stems from the coincidence of two horror stories — one of the present, one implied for the future — i9n today’s press.
Hospital A&E units recorded their worst ever performance in the week before Christmas as NHS emergency care services struggled to deal with an unprecedented number of patients arriving, new figures released today show.
What the NHS calls type 1 A&Es, emergency departments based at hospitals in England, treated and either admitted or discharged just 83.1% of arrivals within the politically important four-hour target in the week ending Sunday 21 December.
The NHS Constitution says that 95% of patients should be dealt with within that four-hour timeframe, a deadline ministers have promised to meet.
The 83.1% is the lowest performance against the target since records began in 2004. It came in the week that emergency departments faced a new record high number of A&E patients – 289,530.
Lay aside the macro-economic Big Issue, the Elephant-in-the-room, or (to deploy the ultimate cliché) David Cameron’s repetitious tripe about his long-term economic plan for hard-working families. Get this, folks: the “plan” extends all the way to Election Day on May 7th — after that you and your family are on their own.
What’s left is what has made Britain tick this last seventy years: Nye’s Health Service, free at the point of need from cradle to grave, and Rab Butler’s flawed-but-visionary education system, which delivered the shift from a predominantly working-class population to the bourgeoisification of suburban Britain.
Both are now being dismembered by the toff-class. As Kevin Maguire (I trust, in anger) declares:
Can the stupid party be this stupid?
The anger that attacks on the NHS and education can generate are just what is needed to motivate Labour grass-roots members to tramp streets, knock on doors, stuff envelopes, work on phone-banks. And the Tories (and their LibDem co-conspirators) are stoking up just that. They do offend our sight And not a man of them… Shall taste our mercy.
That’s a bit of good news, this dull, grey first week of January.