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Posts tagged “Britain

On Being The U.S’ Wingman. We Don’t Care.

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A very silly point of view. Britain is supposed to run after the Americans doing whatever it is they want when they want however we may feel and regardless of our doubts?

If we don’t:
“Britain, however, has degraded its position and credibility … While France is reasserting its claim to be a global power”.

What the British parliament did was in sync with what the British public want. The public may not always be right but it is folly to ignore them altogether. It’s their money that will be spent fighting wars, it’s their children/uncles/fathers who will be sent to war zones, it’s their cities that could be terrorised by bombers etc. Prestige of working alongside the U.S should never take precedence over first coming to an agreement that this is what must be done. Maybe the Prime Minister should have spent more time on propaganda before going to the MPs but I think in the end the decision not to back a Syrian attack at this point was the correct one. It may well not be the correct one when the full facts are in. We remember Iraq. France doesn’t because it wasn’t there. France was in Libya and Mali. But those countries are not Iraq and Syria and are not in the Middle East.

Good luck to France being the wingman who jumps when the U.S barks.


Loving Britain

There are few things that make one feel so smug about one’s country as reading something wonderful about her even though the praise has nothing to do with what one has done.

“The virtues possessed by the British people possessed in a higher degree than most other people, excepting only a few of the smaller nations, like the Swiss and the Dutch, were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, non-interference with one’s neighbour and tolerance of the different and queer …”

The Road to Serfdom, Frederich August von Hayek (1944) contrasting British liberalism against German autocracy

Horse meat or horseshit, we can’t tell anymore!

I really could do with a Byron beef burger right now. Horseburger. Beef, horse, beef, horse, I mean beef burger! Lord knows what is packaged in our food in Britain anymore. The hunt for cheaper and cheaper things but higher and higher profits is driving regard for truth, integrity and quality to hell. It simply isn’t possible for everything to get cheaper while at the same time we all get richer and companies make even more profits. More profits can only arise if people spend more and/or prices rise and people will only spend more if they earn more (or get more in debt) but if prices rise then things are not getting cheaper and if people earn more then profits are constrained. Simple economics; without higher productivity, something has to give. Next we thought we were buying spring water but it was actually purified passed water. Of course, there is no public health risk for afterall it’s full of vitamins 🙂

A Peculiarly English Crisis

Every few years the people of this mighty island known as the British Isles have an identity crisis. The Scots want out, the Welsh want in and the English are completely befuddled as to their ancestry. The Celts were here first but as I understand it then came the continentals – Normans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Romans i.e. virtually everyone from continental Europe. This is the ancestry the English deplore because, “We have a special relationship with America”. Our renegade political reprobates otherwise known as the Tories (the Republicans of the realm) will rather Britain go its own way, a Colossus bestriding the planet. These behemoths of paleolithic-era thoughtfulness are still  holding court in 1945. We have just won the war (with our comrades the Soviet Union and the US) and we sit on the UN security council. Germany doesn’t. Ha, ha!

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So who needs basket case Europe? Aren’t they those meddlesome continentals who can’t organise a Tea Party in Boston but want to define a sausage in several hundred pages of inane regulation? Every  Tory Prime Minister carries this cross: what then to do with the elephant next door. It’s big and we can’t deport it Down Under. “Ditch it”, cry the croaking faithful. And so we get David Camern, who kind of tries but can’t quite do it. Instead he plans a “whittled down” role for Britain whatever that means – that’s his vision. From a man who is short vision, that’s pretty bold.

I expect the next PM to reverse course. We are the 2nd or 3rd largest economy in Europe. 50% of our trade (providing the foreign exchange we need to import all the things we love to buy and that our businesses need) is with Europe. One key attraction of London as a financial centre is that it’s in Europe and inside the European Union. London provides a shield for companies who want to be in Europe but would rather comply with English than French or German law. America’s identity is turning increasingly Hispanic and America’s priority now is China. What planet are these Tories on? Yes, reform the bloated EU bureaucracy and let’s work together to change their ridiculous policy making but a whittled down role for Britain is pure fantasy. That’s like a bird wanting nothing more to do with the sky because it rained on it.

Britain: stuck in the wrong gear

It’s a ruinous policy to run a country on public opinion. To take power, yes, but not to run the country. As much as I believe in this thing we call democracy, I have come sadly, to see that the public is just too ill-equipped, too ill-educated, too ill-informed and, to speak frankly, too lazy to make the effort to understand any issue that requires more than two minutes of soundbites. We are a yeah but, yeah but, it’s like, it’s like, quick fix generation.

Throughout history the public were constantly fobbed off with games, free or subsidized bread, myths of gods and terrible retribution, mindless superstitions and the promise of jam tomorrow. Many of us are wont to think they were idiots who attended the old roman games pitching elephants against each other or lion against man or those who shouted jubilantly in the Nazi parades. It couldn’t happen here. Not now. Certainly, in all societies it’s been a surreptitious official policy to invent nationalistic jingoism or religious bogeymen to keep people cowed, tamed and obedient. There have been many revolutions for good democracies and freedom from rule by an entrenched elite but for one good reason they end in failure. In the one recent experiment to change society and put power in the hands of the people (communism), it didn’t take long for the same public to hand power to a tyrant and then also actively take part in obliterating anyone who did not agree with them. That experiment burned brightly for decades and then, like Icarus, crashed spectacularly. The good reason I think the public can’t be relied upon is as I’ve said before: too ill-equipped, too ill-educated ….

Europe has often led the way in wresting power from autocrats – Greek democracy, the Roman republic after overthrowing the Tarquins, the English Magna Carta, the French revolution – but after the illustrious achievements of our forebears (strictly, theirs for mine were in Africa but hey I’m a European now) what do we have? A 21st century version of the old Roman empire. Twentyfourseven television with 99% sports and/or crap and/or babble that counts as news, children who can’t add, adults who can’t spell, serious newspapers in death throes, and a public enchanted with a fantasy world of making a million, living large and lazily on the beach with a glass of champagne. This is in a time where we, in the West, face the biggest challenge to our collective economic future since the Depression.

This brings me neatly to the current European crisis. So here we are, trying to solve Europe’s problems and rather than Britain extending the hand of friendship and working together as best it can, what does our Prime Minister the uber privileged dunce from Oxford, David Cameron, do? He stands on a soap box and parrots selfishly about how everything the other Europeans do must be in Britain’s interest. Our way or the highway. OK, how are the French and the Germans and everyone else over there to take this fait accompli? Lying down? Fuck you they might say. We Brits have been fooled to think that our “special relationship” with America and the “special status” of the City of London will be the deux ex machina that rescues our ship. Well then, the public rabble are about to get their faces wiped off the shit that’s been blinding their eyes. Shit like this:

And this is from a Member of Parliament. It’s no wonder Brits are backing the Prime Minister in opinion polls. Too many people simply watch too many Battle of Britain re-runs on telly. We don’t take crap from Germany. We give it. While we were expected to forge a new Europe with the French and the Germans, instead, we have chosen to poke them in the eye.

It’s so damn exasperating sometimes.