Kevin Myers: Imperial myth and modern delusion have become triumphant in the British mindset
Published 19/10/2010 | 05:00
Aphasia is the phenomenon by which the ability to understand or communicate can be lost. It is usually an affliction of individuals, but it also affects communities.
Ancient skills can, within a generation, simply vanish. This can be due to technology -- parchment giving way to paper, and the horse-cab to the carburettor. But other shifts are less easy of explanation. What has happened to the British ability to make things?
The people who gave the world the Spitfire, the Mosquito and the Lancaster, within a generation were incapable of making anything that flew, and so France became the undisputed leader of both the military and civil aircraft industries in Europe. Comparable collapses were occurring in the motorbike industry. Dust now gathers where once BSA, Norton and Triumph once made some of the great machines of the world.