Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Welcome to the Benighted Kingdom

A while ago, I asked for comments on a satirical piece I was including in a series of short stories. It was about the clichés that attach to various nationalities. Joe, the creator of an online role-playing game, went visiting the various geographical locations in the game and here’s what the bit about the USA became:

"Joe found this herd mentality interesting and spent some time acclimatising in various places. His frequent trips to the Americas made him wonder whether it had been wise to give residents so much freedom to adapt the in-world environment to suit their own preferences. Each state he visited proclaimed its pride in being part of the USA and yet the differences between them were so extreme that he began to wonder what ‘United’ meant. The south thought the north was populated by effete homosexuals while the north failed to understand the semantic lapses that led their southern counterparts to confuse the words ‘bride’, ‘groom’ and ‘first cousin’. The western states claimed to be the true representatives of American history, those in the east celebrated a long European ancestry. The only thing that united them was a general agreement that God was American. And, except for a few individuals in Kentucky and Tennessee, every single resident had wonderful teeth."

The reason I quote it here is that, despite my (supposedly) funny insistence on the differences between states, in the international arena they really are UNITED, and all the stronger for it. Americans from all over are proud to chant their allegiance to ‘USA, USA’.

So what? Well, it’s because here in the UK, a tiny minority of our elected ‘leaders’ are braying their triumph at the fact that our Prime Minister (Prime Minister! God help us.) has told the other 26 countries in the EU to eff off. So here we are again, the Britain that seems to think it still has an Empire, that now ‘rules the waves’ with aircraft carriers which have no planes on them, in a position of tremendous power as a minority of one. The rest of Europe will carry on doing the thing Cameron ‘vetoed’ (look the word up, Prime Minister), they’ll at least try to look beyond their own self-interests and their borders and, with luck, they’ll save the Euro, re-emerge as a relevant force in world affairs, and maybe, in some idyllic future, become the USE.

So much for democracy. We didn’t elect a coalition government and we certainly didn’t give a mandate to just 10% of our elected ‘leaders’ to dictate foreign policy. But that’s what we’ve got. Their views on Europe and, more importantly, on Britain, are outdated, irrelevant and harmful. The ‘bulldog’ whose spirit they claim to represent was replaced ages ago by the poodle that George Bush dragged into his adventures like Tintin and Snowy. Don’t get me wrong – Britain still has inner strengths and pride, a history and a present of greatness, but that’s not the Britain that Cameron and his beasts belong to.

It’s all about power, isn’t it? Cameron caved in to please his party’s hard-liners, Clegg, the supposedly pro-European Deputy Prime Minister (Deputy Prime Minister! God help us.) let him get away with it because it’s the only way he can hang on to a cabinet post. Meanwhile, any vestigial power we had as a nation has evaporated. Brilliant, Cameron.

As they put on their earnest, serious faces and tell us it’s for our own good, every single UK citizen is diminished by their insulting, patronising attitudes to diplomacy and to us.

Wait, though. We may not be part of a United States of Europe, but at least we’re a United Kingdom. Oh yeah? Not for much longer. Another consequence of Cameron’s folly may well be that, up here in Scotland, we vote for independence.

Great job, Prime Minister.

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  1. I am not going to pretend to understand what the heck is going on, but, living in France I sense a certain, how can I say...coolness from my French friends. It is not really directed at me but when I offered my feelings about the UK ( feelings I have always had) they are this. Island mentality?
    Ah, oui, c'est ca! They said. Phew. I am 'reinstated' as a true franglais/european/citizen of the world.

  2. Hm. Down here in the Antipodies (sounds like a cure for a disease, dunnit?) we look at Europe and wonder why our currency suffers because of you lot. While I basically agree with your thesis, that Britain standing bravely(sic) alone really is stupid, I think it's time we let the banks fail. Let Greece and Ireland and Portugal (anybody else?) default and start afresh. You can't keep baling in a boat with no keel.

    Oh, and the standing bravely alone? Maybe your pollies are trying on the Churchill look?

    And please DON'T get me started on minority government. And she's a redhead, too. Grrrrrr.

  3. Thank you, Michael, but it's all self-evident really, isn't it?

    Helen, one of the first reactions my wife and I, both ardent Francophiles, had when we heard of that prat of a PM's idiocy was 'Right, that's it, we move to France'. It's still an option.

    Greta, all the indicators suggest that you're certainly doing something right down there. On the other hand, I've never understood why you agreed to keep Mrs Windsor as your head of state (or whatever her official title/function is).

  4. Excellent, thoughtful post, Bill. But I've nothing sensible to add!

  5. Thanks Rosemary. As for adding something, maybe a scream of frustration? I'll join you.

  6. If Scotland separates from England, then Aberdeenshire should immediately declare its independence from Scotland. Economically that would make good sense, and it would prevent the otherwise inevitable southwards flow of political power and influence to the central belt, ie Glasgow lawyers and Edinburgh Civil Service mandarinos. "Independence" from England will mean complete dependence on dodgy foreign businessmen who will proceed to Tramp over local people sans souci. Post-union, Doricland should make treaties with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India to form a new trading bloc. If necessary, Alec Salmond could be offered liposuction by subscription, to help maintain his charisma.

  7. Wise words, Donnie, and an acute analysis of the options open to us. Your ideological idyll, however, sets the perfect scenario for a despotic take-over of the region by a major stakeholder, and the majorest one we'll have will be not Soapy Salmond but Donald Trump.

  8. If the confusion is about my last comment, Diane, let me explain.
    Soapy Salmond is Scotland's First Minister.
    Donald Trump isn't, but by waving money at them, he has seduced many of our elected representatives, nationally but more specifically in Aberdeenshire, to let him destroy the beautiful links you saw on one of your visits to build a golf course.
    Money is king. All hail Trump, Thane of Balgownie Links.

  9. Hey, that reminds me! -
    High time for another episod!

  10. OK, ok....