Bernie Bell: “There’s ‘nowt so queer as folk’”

 We’re just people – have our ups and downs, individually and collectively. Often, the only way I can deal with what’s happening around me is to remind myself that …..’There’s ‘nowt so queer as folk’.

Trump’s attitudes, and the increasing meanness in the British government’s attitude to people coming to this country, and even to people who are already here from other places, means that folk are thinking and talking a lot about the ‘Them and Us’ stance.

This got me thinking about the Neolithic people, again, and how much I admire them. They worked together, while still, it would appear, keeping their individuality as a person ( individual art-work) and as a group, within the larger group. It also got me thinking, again, how much I admire their leaders, whether they were straight-forward leaders/ priest-leaders or whatever they were – they really knew what they were doing.


The Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Orkney 

The people must have been amenable to being led in that way, but the leaders knew how to work with this to organize the people to work together. Look at the Ring of Brodgar – as Colin Richards pointed out, the stones were brought by different groups from their own ‘patch’, and the people then worked on their own section of the Ring, but they had to work together to produce the end result, or it would have been a mess. Maybe not so much a ring, as a load of random stones in a field!


The leaders organized it, and, presumably worked well with their people to hold the communities, and the wider community – what might be called the ‘nation’ now – together. The Ring of Brodgar is a perfect example of how it is possible for folk from different groups to work together to produce something for everyone – even if it is just a place to gather together – a place to gather together is a very important thing – we still have our Community Centres.

I grew up in Bradford in the 60’s/early 70’s, where there was a real mixture of people – Asian immigrants, Irish, (including my Mum and Dad), and East Europeans who had escaped from the Nazis. What this meant was the opportunity to encounter a lot of different kinds of lovely food, music, and styles of clothing. I used to go along Manningham Lane and stand and stare in the window of the Sari shop at the wonderful colours.

I digress a bit there – the point I’m making is…mixing, in harmony, is A GOOD THING. The ancient peoples, not just on Orkney, but at all those other sites which show that folk got together from a wide area, knew this, and their leaders knew this. It can work, with the right attitude and the right leaders.

Where are those leaders now? If only………….

Anyway – Brexit, Trump – once again, the Neolithic people show how advanced they were, not just in knowledge, but in a genuinely civilized attitude. And with good, strong, reasonable leaders. And Nick Card is now going round America telling of what they did – I wonder if anyone there will put these ideas together?

Written as a response to the column by Alec Ross: We Don’t Own the Franchise for Modernity and Technology

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