Monday, November 17, 2008

Reg Varney: His part in our downfall

This morning I quoted with approval Andrew Collins' thoughts on the passing of Reg Varney: "Anyone younger than 40 will presumably struggle to place Reg, but it is their loss."

Nil nisi bonum and all that.

But it has to admitted that there is a case against. Three years ago I quoted Jonathan Pearce's reaction to seeing one of the On the Buses films on television:
It was quite a shock watching the film. It was a reminder of how greatly Britain has changed since the early 70s.
For starters, the constant leeriness towards women, the assumption that any vaguely attractive woman was nothing more than mattress-fodder, makes even yours truly - no fan of political correctness - feel uneasy.
One of the main themes of the story is how the manager, in a drive to improve the efficiency of the layabout male staff, decides to hire a group of women drivers. The men regard this move as a disaster and a threat to "their" jobs (probably correctly).
What is particularly striking is how the shop steward of the bus-drivers' union makes it clear that as far as his union is concerned, women have no place in a bus, except either as a customer or as someone he can molest.
Now Chris Dillow has levelled a new charge against him:
His portrayal of Stan Butler did much to perpetuate the image of the 1970s worker as a bone-idle work-dodger; we forget today just how enormously popular On the Buses was. And this in turn might subconsciously have contributed to the popularity of Thatcherism.
How many of those who, when asked by Tories in 1979 whether the working class had become too big for its boots, conjured up a picture of Stan Butler and so voted for Thatcher?
He also believes Reg may be responsible for our current-day low savings ratio because of his patronage of the first "hole in the wall" cash machine.


Blognor Regis said...

Anonymous said...

If the late Reg is deemed somehow subtly sinister then it suggests things HAVE gone seriously wrong.

Perhaps his name should be excised and all 'OTB' materials destroyed.

I had that Berlin Wall in the cab once - nice fixture, that.