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Leo
08-08-2010, 11:19 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/little-britain-how-the-rest-of-the-world-sees-us-2043190.html

the US section seems pretty spot-on to me...

Sick Boy
12-08-2010, 02:32 PM
I liked the similarities the one guy found between Britain and Japan.

Stuntrock
12-08-2010, 05:11 PM
England? That country whose latest two national football team coaches came from Sweden and Italy?

My favorite things about england : 2000 AD, Alan Moore, A Guy Called Gerald, Autechre, Coil, Donald Cammell, Seefeel, Pram, Nurse With Wound, Trevor Wishart, Judge Dredd, Kipling, Ballard, Nic Roeg, Hitchcock, Peter Milligan, Joe Ahearne, Cantona, Wire, Simon Pegg...

Mr. Tea
12-08-2010, 05:28 PM
Roxy Music, Jonathon Meades, Peep Show, Gilbert and George, Brian Blessed, Viv and Malcolm (R.I.P.), Charles Darwin, Grace Jones, self-deprecation, sarcasm, atheism, rainy barbeques, University Challenge, real ale, pubs, Worcestershire sauce, proper bacon, proper tea, cheddar cheese, curry, wild blackberries, vintage Jags, megalithic monuments, David Attenborough, Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery, Chris Morris, Aphex Twin.

Slothrop
12-08-2010, 05:34 PM
Your boys took one hell of a beating!!!

craner
12-08-2010, 05:43 PM
Inventive solutions for keeping out of the rain. Like railway carriages and umbrellas. That's what the English are best at.

grizzleb
12-08-2010, 05:50 PM
Roxy Music, Jonathon Meades, Peep Show, Gilbert and George, Charles Darwin, Grace Jones, self-deprecation, sarcasm, atheism, rainy barbeques, University Challenge, real ale, pubs, Worcestershire sauce, proper bacon, proper tea, cheddar cheese, vintage Jags, megalithic monuments, David Attenborough, Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery, Chris Morris, Aphex Twin.
Glad to see Tea giving a bit of Meades love. His documentaries are such a step away from the formulaic and mundane effluent that is presented to us in 99% of such TV. You read any of his novels? I've got one sitting here waiting to go when I've finished some others. Sounds pretty good from reviews/blurb but we'll need to see.

Oh, add Adam Curtis to that list too.

Stuntrock
12-08-2010, 06:04 PM
Also on foreign perception of english people : inbreading

Sick Boy
12-08-2010, 06:24 PM
As an english ex-pat, when I think of England I think of: builder's tea, pies, breakfast, dark beer and K Cider, London, squats, Indian take-away, baked beans, racist nans, wet bricks, round-abouts, little cars that all look the same, trains, Fruit Pastilles, JD Sports, juice concentrate, back gardens with ponds in them, door knockers and post flaps, crisps in pubs (esp. walker's cheese and onion), pirate radio, documentaries on prime time television, the news being eternally about missing children, "lemonade", sparkling or still, walk left stand right, please put your hood down sir, and people enjoying rocky beaches on cloudy, cold days.

Mr. Tea
12-08-2010, 06:25 PM
Also on foreign perception of english people : inbreading

D'ough!

alex
13-08-2010, 03:46 PM
juice concentrate

i owe my life to it

droid
13-08-2010, 04:43 PM
War, empire, imperialism and occupation, the arms trade, near-genocide... pretty much the same as most major European powers.

bruno
13-08-2010, 09:28 PM
for countries such as mine, chile, with little british involvement beyond historical commercial ties and the odd pirate attack, we are so removed from britain that it does not exist at all in daily life. mr. tea's list would draw a blank stare. david attenborough's voice would be replaced by that of an american actor. what is known? the english drink tea, and are miserable. england and britain are interchangeable, most would not know the difference. scotland and ireland? bagpipes and hobbits. you have a royal family, susan boyle, harry potter, the beatles and are engaged in pointless wars alongside america. we rooted for you against argentina. readers would recognise agatha christie and jane austen. some similarities: we excel at gazing at our navels, are not entirely comfortable with our neighbours, but we trade with them and welcome them with open arms. we long for a golden past of simple chilean values, but this little haven has long come under the spell of the outside world, including america. i suspect this situation is repeated elsewhere on this tiny globe.

Mr. Tea
13-08-2010, 10:52 PM
You make a pretty drinkable shiraz. I think that's worth mentioning.

Susan Boyle but no Attenborough. Oh dear. :(

bruno
13-08-2010, 11:14 PM
the wine can be quite wonderful, de martino and casa lapostolle come to mind but there are several young wineries. the de martino carménère is very good and economical.

yes, it's a shame about attenborough, i cringe when i see bbc docs on sale here narrated by oprah and so on, but there is always amazon.

bruno
13-08-2010, 11:19 PM
susan boyle's name will fade into the ether, cheer up ;)

luka
16-07-2011, 01:16 PM
sickboys opening post on this thread is his finest moment. lovely.

crackerjack
16-07-2011, 03:39 PM
I can never find this on YouTube, but dialogue from a favourite Likely Lads clip, in which returning squaddie Terry runs his thumb over the world.


"I bet we could go right round the world and you'd have a pat response ready."
"I've travelled man, I've seen a bit of the world now you know."
"What do you think of Koreans, for instance?"
"Not to be trusted. Cruel people. Much the same as all Orientals."
"That's a third of the world's population dismissed in a phrase. Russians?"
"Sinister."
"Egyptians?"
"Cowardly."
"Oh? I thought you might have saved that for Italians."
"No, no, they're greasy aren't they? Not as greasy as the French mind."
"Germans?"
"Arrogant."
"Spaniards?"
"Lazy."
"Danes?"
"Pornographic."
"Well that's just about everyone. Oh, Americans?"
"Well, they're flash aren't they?"
"So it's just down to the British is it?"
"Well, I haven't got much time for the Irish or the Welsh, and the Scots are worse than the Koreans."
"And you never could stand Southerners."
"To tell you the truth I don't like anybody much outside this town. And there's a lot of families in our street I can't stand either. Come to think of it I don't even like the people next door."
"I see, so from the distant blue Pacific through the barren wastes of Manchuria, to 127 Inkerman Terrace, you can't abide anyone."

craner
16-07-2011, 10:48 PM
Ha ha, thank you, I did enjoy that.

Benny B
17-07-2011, 07:48 AM
Hugh Grant and David Beckham :(

zhao
20-08-2011, 04:15 PM
oops

luka
06-02-2016, 11:17 PM
As an english ex-pat, when I think of England I think of: builder's tea, pies, breakfast, dark beer and K Cider, London, squats, Indian take-away, baked beans, racist nans, wet bricks, round-abouts, little cars that all look the same, trains, Fruit Pastilles, JD Sports, juice concentrate, back gardens with ponds in them, door knockers and post flaps, crisps in pubs (esp. walker's cheese and onion), pirate radio, documentaries on prime time television, the news being eternally about missing children, "lemonade", sparkling or still, walk left stand right, please put your hood down sir, and people enjoying rocky beaches on cloudy, cold days.

better than orwell

rubberdingyrapids
08-02-2016, 11:54 AM
english people seem to have far less of a clue about how they are/the uk is viewed by the rest of the world compared to other countries. just far less of a clue about they might appear. prob as they dont have to or just rarely seem to feel embarassed or apologise about anything english (eg - cameron's statements about empire). was thinking this while watching rick stein's colonial-romantic cooking travelogue programme on india on bbc 2 at the weekend. just totally, blissfully, clueless, compounded by the fact im not sure he really likes or knows all that much about indian food, never mind the country, beyond his proud reciting of em forster. had a similar issue with the simon reeve programme on greece last night. confidence+stupidity=lethal combination.

craner
08-02-2016, 02:44 PM
im not sure he really likes

So what exactly do you have to do to prove that you "really like" Indian food, then?

rubberdingyrapids
08-02-2016, 03:33 PM
did you watch it? cos you have to have seen his face eating certain dishes and looking a bit confused/unsure what to say. in fairness, hes got a lot of enthusiasm, but hes like the presenters of so many tv docus, where they dont actually seem to be experts, but act as kind of proxies for the similarly un-knowledegable audience.

craner
08-02-2016, 04:49 PM
No, but I'm familiar with some of his oeuvre. He's a bit of a knob, but it sounds like you're being a bit harsh. I mean, it's not like anyone complained when Keith Floyd did this sort of thing.

rubberdingyrapids
08-02-2016, 04:51 PM
well they wouldnt would they. it was a diff era. and the internet wasnt around either.

craner
08-02-2016, 04:58 PM
Or maybe there were other reasons they didn't bother.

craner
08-02-2016, 05:02 PM
I mean, do you expect these guys to be anthropology professors as well as chefs?

rubberdingyrapids
08-02-2016, 05:11 PM
did you even read what i wrote? i said they should know something about the subject. ie the food, its history, etc. its not expecting too much. food is meant to be their specialised subject. i accept every chef cant know about every cuisine but if they dont, get one who does. its not a difficult concept to grasp.

though thanks for making it clearer to me who the audience for these sorts of programs is.

craner
08-02-2016, 05:16 PM
Well, like I said, I didn't watch it. I did read what you wrote, but I can't help it, I don't expect to be receiving a history lesson when I watch these programmes. Nor did I sit there fuming at Keith Floyd for being a colonial English cunt when he came to Wales in 1989 and took the piss.

craner
08-02-2016, 05:17 PM
though thanks for making it clearer to me who the audience for these sorts of programs is.

You're welcome.

Slothrop
08-02-2016, 05:51 PM
did you even read what i wrote? i said they should know something about the subject. ie the food, its history, etc. its not expecting too much. food is meant to be their specialised subject. i accept every chef cant know about every cuisine but if they dont, get one who does. its not a difficult concept to grasp.

I see your point here, but it's more a feature of modern documentary making than British cultural colonialism, isn't it? You can't just have someone telling you about something they know a lot about, you have to have James May asking them blokey questions about it and then frowning in concentration when they answer.

craner
08-02-2016, 05:58 PM
I hate that sort of programme, but (previously, anyway) Stein hasn't made that kind of thing.

HMGovt
08-02-2016, 06:00 PM
So what exactly do you have to do to prove that you "really like" Indian food, then?

My Rick Stein Eastern Odyssey cookbook and an exquisite curry I had at one of his places in Padstow, which I've no doubt he laboured over himself, suggest he does really like Indian food.

What makes this rubber dinghy bloke a pan-cultural panjandrum? Absolutely fuck all, I bet.

craner
08-02-2016, 06:11 PM
I just think that his post revealed more about how he views the English than, say, the rest of the world does. And it seemed a bit cruel dragging poor old Rick Stein into it, as if it's remotely comparable to Sue Perkins on the Mekong river or Stephen Fry in America or something. If the English have got anything to be embarrassed about it's Fry, but everyone loves him. At least Stein knows a lot about fish and can write good recipes for them.

craner
08-02-2016, 06:16 PM
I guess Michael Palin started all that off, didn't he?

baboon2004
08-02-2016, 07:23 PM
I quite like Rick Stein, and his curry recipes look pretty decent to me, but it's hard to deny he does sound like a bit of a knob during some of this programme ('it goes without saying that not everyone from the East India Company was liked by the Bengalis'):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPNIChzhx0s [enhanced here by making him sound like a hobbit]

it's not that he's particularly bad, it's more symptomatic of a format that does attempt to explain history at the same time as cookery, but does so in such a cursory way that it can only come off as staggeringly ill-conceived. Better if they just sidestepped history and politics altogether, if they're going to get a white English chef to present the programme.

vimothy
08-02-2016, 07:44 PM
confidence+stupidity=lethal combination.

Reminds me of some solid advice from Mark Twain: "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."

craner
08-02-2016, 08:23 PM
Yes, I agree with all of that (even though I still haven't seen the programme in question, but seen enough Stein stuff to get the drift) but I would only say your measured assessment makes a fundamentally different point to the original one made by Rubber Dinghy. That's the shit group think of current BBC documentary making that reduces everything to pseudo-dramaturgy and glib sound-bites: it's the idea that history has to be sold to a uneducated audience either through established historians or art critics debasing themselves or unleashing some idiot former Footlights performer or unfunny Comedy Club twat on an interesting part of the world.

Now that technique and style has polluted the cookery programmes, too; bit that's not Stein's fault, and however much of a knob he is (and he's just a bit of a knob, he's pretty good otherwise) he is a good food writer and a decorated chef. There's nothing fundamentally stupid about his programmes, or unwarranted in their commissioning.

craner
08-02-2016, 08:23 PM
That was a reply to Baboon, by the way.

craner
08-02-2016, 08:32 PM
Presumably if Atul Kochhar had made the same programme, then, it would've been alright?

craner
08-02-2016, 08:45 PM
The reason I wrote that was not necessarily to bait Baboon on his deployment of the category "white" but to make the point that I've seen Stein's programmes where he travels around cooking and he's invariably booked in to meet local top chefs and they never respond to him as if he's some bastard colonial invader come to steal their recipes, but always as an equal top chef. They just treat him like another talented human being in their field. That's the most important thing for them. Floyd got much more shit from Gaulish dragons in provincial kitchens in 1987 for trying to cook local peasant food, but nobody could claim that it had anything to do with colonialism.

droid
08-02-2016, 10:05 PM
If historical accuracy is the aim, then surely an English Chef in India should be taking their food away, not learning how to cook it?

baboon2004
08-02-2016, 11:11 PM
Presumably if Atul Kochhar had made the same programme, then, it would've been alright?

The script would surely have been changed to something much less boisterously colonial in the absence of a white British presenter (and yeah, I think whiteness is important here) ... so, yep, it would have probably been better. Plus it'd likely have been more informative if presented by someone who actually lived in India for decades.

[I didn't see this bit int he show, but from a review I just found - "Stirring the odd drizzle of Indian history into the mix, Stein dutifully acknowledged the profound poverty in Kolkata and much of Bengal, even if some of his remarks at other points – about 'all the happy cheerful people' in India and never feeling threatened there “because everyone’s just getting on with life” – weren’t exactly out of the post-colonial handbook." !!]

But we're both in agreement that it's not necessarily Stein's fault that he's given such ludicrous stuff to read. And I'm sure the other chefs do treat him with respect, because that's his field of expertise. I made one of his recipes tonight in fact, and it was damn good.

rubberdingyrapids
09-02-2016, 09:31 AM
well theres a lot of defensive (im sure hes a good chef and everything but who knew rick stein could inspire such passionate support?) angry posting in here. which is... interesting.

i never said stein was a 'colonialist', merely that he didnt seem to know anything about india that he hadnt learnt from someone writing about it during the colonial era. its almost as if nothing has happened of note since 1947. this *may* be specious thinking on my part about the whole series (ive not seen the whole thing) but it is what i watched, and if that doesnt sit well with you, well that says more about you than anything else.

yes, much of the programmes faults are simply those to do with genre, but that doesnt mean you have to just let the presenters off that lightly. and simply saying 'well i dont watch it for a history lesson', well i never said you should, but food has a history, and it is often one that can be related to external factors, and if you are doing a cooking programme that isnt simply about how to cook something (which i wish more cookery shows WERE about), then surely it is not expecting too much that a host of such a programme should know a thing or two about said food and its history. in fairness, stein's ignorance is somewhat benign, though im not sure this is really a particularly great thing.

Mr. Tea
09-02-2016, 01:06 PM
I remember seeing Stein on some programme years ago, I think he was in Provence, somewhere on France's Med coast anyway. He was giving a piece to camera while on a boat with all these local fishermen and was talking with great enthusiasm about the amazing food "these mere, simple fishermen" create. Or words along those lines, at any rate. I think a couple of them were giving him a Look. It was pretty funny.

you
09-02-2016, 03:11 PM
Sort of in reply to Baboon

Stein has the same producer as Keith Floyd. But Stein is, and I suspect this is a little pretentiousness on his part, more historic and political. He likes to quote a bit of literature and talk about history. He doesn't merely visit restaurants and top chefs and discuss food. His Venice to Istanbul series is a good example of this - he banged on about Marco Polo quite a bit. This, especially in a light BBC documentary format, can come off a little colonial... he wafts around, earnestly enthusing about local cuisines, and any historical content is woefully dated and glib... thus coming off a little 'linen'd-up patrician in exotic land'.

I do think he is dated though. He reminds me of Alan Patridge. He points at young chefs grinning and shouts 'I LIKE you!' He does say 'delish!' and 'yummo' a little too much (i.e. more than never). He also says, repeatedly, when self-satisfyingly quaffing Retsina 'what more could you want' which also makes me wince.

Nonetheless, I'd rather he attempted to bring in history however light and 'boisterously colonial' he appears rather than limiting his dialogue to just food and flavours. He does seem a little giddy and blinkered, like a pasty tourist, when he says that people are 'just getting on with life' but what else is he supposed to say in a small sound bite?

I've cooked a few of his things. I always feel they are missing something.

craner
09-02-2016, 10:15 PM
Maybe the reason we've got sidetracked by Rick Stein is because there's surely got to be a feeling amongst anyone who has grown up and been educated in British schools and watched British TV over the last 30 years that the British (and this is even if they know anything about it, as history teaching and its syllabus is such a moronic disaster) are anything BUT proud or comfortable with the colonial legacy. Cameron's comment comes in the slipstream of a trenchant Conservative historical revisionism that was turbo-charged by Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts, and their platform was treated as contentious and hotly disputed in British media and otherwise ignored, ridiculed or defamed in academic institutions. Now, I am not saying I am in their court on this, because I am not, but the reaction to them seemed to me to be loud and broad. The semi-educated British psyche is loaded with apologetics, not glorification, for Empire.

craner
09-02-2016, 10:18 PM
For clarification, I meant the GCSE syllabus, not A-level, the latter being generally excellent.

luka
09-02-2016, 10:57 PM
Well we're not French if that's what you mean

craner
09-02-2016, 11:05 PM
Not quite, but I can see your point.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:06 PM
Greece, Cyprus, Kenya, Suez, Aden, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria.

'Shame' implies regret, distaste, disavowal.

Mr. Tea
09-02-2016, 11:09 PM
Well we're not French if that's what you mean

"I can't have an affair! I'm not French! I must be the least French man on the planet. The only cheeses I eat are cheddar and red Leicester."

craner
09-02-2016, 11:17 PM
Well, that's my point, to the extent that anyone knows the details of these conflicts the reaction is certainly not "excellent, we kicked their ass, and delivered the benefits of British Empire!" Maybe more so, as those are all post- empire conflicts. If they're taught in schools, and I'm quite sure they aren't, it would be surprising and controversial if they were taught in the manner of triumph. I know that until last year the Middle East was taught at GCSE level and the main lesson that British children got from that was that the Israelis violently expelled Arabs from Palestine, which should surely please you. The declaration of war by all the surrounding Arab states on the new post-Holocaust Jewish state was not a factor at all.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:20 PM
You misunderstand me. If the British were truly ashamed of their colonial past then these conflicts would not have happened - or continue to happen.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:22 PM
I know that until last year the Middle East was taught at GCSE level and the main lesson that British children got from that was that the Israelis violently expelled Arabs from Palestine, which should surely please you. The declaration of war by all the surrounding Arab states on the new post-Holocaust Jewish state was not a factor at all.

Really? How was the violent expulsion of Arabs during the 1948 war covered without mention of the 1948 war?

craner
09-02-2016, 11:25 PM
Maybe the Falklands is the one exception, not much mainstream revisionism there. But with Iraq, for example, revisionism goes the other way, and I'm in a tiny minority making that case.

craner
09-02-2016, 11:29 PM
I don't know, ask the teachers. But my brother and my mother's next door neighbour's son were both surprised when I gave them the Israeli side of the argument, as if the expulsions had happened in isolation, and I was a bit concerned by that. Particularly as they had both passed the exams!

droid
09-02-2016, 11:31 PM
There's also the grotesque and perennial displays of nationalism, the self aggrandisment...

No doubt there are many British people deeply ashamed of Britain's past and opposed to Britain's aggression, but the national character projected by British media and politics is a poor reflection of those sentiments, and scratch the surface of many 'liberals' and you'll find a union jack.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:32 PM
I gave them the Israeli side of the argument!

Aha.

I think I see the problem here.

craner
09-02-2016, 11:34 PM
It's not a question of right and wrong here Droid, it's not our argument, it's the question of whether children are being taught history rather than propaganda, or if that's impossible, are you getting both sets of propaganda taught in an impartial manner.

craner
09-02-2016, 11:38 PM
Oh, don't be stupid. If you want I was playing Devil's Advocate. Do you think children, or students, should not be allowed to hear a counter-argument, even if it is an Israeli one?

droid
09-02-2016, 11:40 PM
lol. No, I was implying that your version of Israeli history would be so fantastical that even the most well informed student would express astonishment at its telling.

craner
09-02-2016, 11:42 PM
Grotesque displays of nationalism and flag-waving are not unique to the British, and it is not necessarily connected to colonialism. I think the Irish have some rather nasty expressions of nationalism if you look hard enough.

craner
09-02-2016, 11:43 PM
Well, that was not the case. I wasn't advocating for the Jewish state.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:43 PM
It's not a question of right and wrong here Droid, it's not our argument, it's the question of whether children are being taught history rather than propaganda, or if that's impossible, are you getting both sets of propaganda taught in an impartial manner.

Sure, Im saying that if British students were taught the true nature and extent of Britain's past actions then British society would have the same attitude as the Germans or Japanese towards military nationalism.

droid
09-02-2016, 11:50 PM
Grotesque displays of nationalism and flag-waving are not unique to the British, and it is not necessarily connected to colonialism.

I agree with the first part of this sentence. The second part seems dubious.


I think the Irish have some rather nasty expressions of nationalism if you look hard enough.

You dont need to look very hard in some places, but you will not find a street, park or house in the South festooned with Irish flags as a matter of course. Even this year, with all of it's connotations, national symbols are far less prevalent than I would have expected. Irish nationalism tends to be uneasily expressed... articulated though cultural achievements and anti-British sentiment rather than national pride.

craner
10-02-2016, 12:02 AM
Well, that's fine, you consider Britain to be analogous to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Even despite that reading, the British public do not, in my experience, ever mention Empire as a moment in time they are proud of or should return to. It's erased to an extent that Nazi Germany is in Germany. You don't teach it because you're ashamed of it. Saying you're pro-Empire in the UK is seen as eccentric and almost career suicide unless you're a niche historian or writer.

craner
10-02-2016, 12:06 AM
You could say the same about Britain, though. It's rare to see a Jack flying.

droid
10-02-2016, 12:08 AM
Well, thats not what I said, but how would you characterise the British Empire with its litany of racism, slavery and genocide? Benevolent, or one of the bloodiest in history?

And still, despite the claimed disavowal and lack of pride, the bombs continue to fall.

Niall Ferguson seems to doing OK btw.

craner
10-02-2016, 12:18 AM
But I'm not defending these things, or even worrying about Niall, I'm simply stating that we now live in a small country that does not express any obvious pride in its colonial history.

droid
10-02-2016, 12:20 AM
But yet continues to invade, threaten and attack other countries at an alarming rate.

craner
10-02-2016, 12:22 AM
Hence the objection to the over-streched implication of Rick Stein in, what, Khartoum?

craner
10-02-2016, 12:24 AM
As part of NATO, of junior partner in other coalitions.

craner
10-02-2016, 12:25 AM
You seem to be more impressed by British power than even most jingoistic Tories are, right now.

vimothy
10-02-2016, 12:48 AM
What's the argument that goes from Britain's continued foreign misadventures to it being overly nationalistic and not sufficiently ashamed of its past?

rubberdingyrapids
10-02-2016, 09:50 AM
Maybe the reason we've got sidetracked by Rick Stein is because there's surely got to be a feeling amongst anyone who has grown up and been educated in British schools and watched British TV over the last 30 years that the British (and this is even if they know anything about it, as history teaching and its syllabus is such a moronic disaster) are anything BUT proud or comfortable with the colonial legacy. Cameron's comment comes in the slipstream of a trenchant Conservative historical revisionism that was turbo-charged by Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts, and their platform was treated as contentious and hotly disputed in British media and otherwise ignored, ridiculed or defamed in academic institutions. Now, I am not saying I am in their court on this, because I am not, but the reaction to them seemed to me to be loud and broad. The semi-educated British psyche is loaded with apologetics, not glorification, for Empire.

from 2014 (ie from the last 30 years):

http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/inlineimage/8301/British%20Empire.png

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/07/26/britain-proud-its-empire/


By three to one, British people think the British Empire is something to be proud of rather than ashamed of – they also tend to think it left its colonies better off, and a third would like it to still exist

droid
10-02-2016, 09:52 AM
What's the argument that goes from Britain's continued foreign misadventures to it being overly nationalistic and not sufficiently ashamed of its past?

That if Britain truly faced up to its horrific past (as the Japanese did) then committing those foreign misadventures (enabled by nationalism) would be abhorrent to the population and therefore untenable for governments.

At least the Russians are honest about it.

rubberdingyrapids
10-02-2016, 11:15 AM
in my experience, you find plenty of people who definitely wouldnt DEFEND empire, as this is no longer the done thing, its a matter of what is deemed publicly acceptable, but they wouldnt CRITICISE it either, as that would be admitting guilt, and therefore some responsibility for something terrible, and why admit it was something terrible, when - as that yougov survey indicates - there was nothing to really be ashamed of. 'i mean, yeah some bad things were done, but plenty of good came of it, and everyone was doing it, just get over it, why bang on about the past, etc etc'. being 'non' something isnt the same as being 'anti'.

droid
10-02-2016, 11:19 AM
Quite, or as Monbiot put it:



Deny the British empire's crimes? No, we ignore them

...Elkins reveals that the British detained not 80,000 Kikuyu, as the official histories maintain, but almost the entire population of one and a half million people, in camps and fortified villages. There, thousands were beaten to death or died from malnutrition, typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery. In some camps almost all the children died.

The inmates were used as slave labour. Above the gates were edifying slogans, such as "Labour and freedom" and "He who helps himself will also be helped". Loudspeakers broadcast the national anthem and patriotic exhortations. People deemed to have disobeyed the rules were killed in front of the others. The survivors were forced to dig mass graves, which were quickly filled. Unless you have a strong stomach I advise you to skip the next paragraph.

Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women's breasts. They cut off inmates' ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/23/british-empire-crimes-ignore-atrocities



Well, that's fine, you consider Britain to be analogous to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

rubberdingyrapids
10-02-2016, 11:39 AM
have to admire the faith of the commenters -

http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/15784897


I'll go further, George: it's not even worth the effort of ignoring it. We had the largest empire the world has ever seen - do really think anyone could have made that omelette without breaking some eggs?

droid
10-02-2016, 03:18 PM
The lie in the soul.

Mr. Tea
10-02-2016, 09:52 PM
A few years ago I'd have sided with Craner on this sort of issue, or maybe tried to tread some kind of middle ground, but these days I'm more inclined just to agree with droid. I mean, Nazi Germany's concerted effort to eradicate an entire race of people may be unique in modern history* but in terms of the sheer awfulness of some of the things that were done we're up there with the worst of them, and the scale and longevity of the empire makes the comparisons quantitative as well as qualitative. At the very least, the British Empire was often no better than those of the other major European colonial powers and in some instances may well have been worse.

But in any case, to react with "But-but-but, the French! And the Belgians! And the terrible, terrible Germans!" starts to look like just the sort of whataboutery people on the hard Left are often accused of (sometimes not without cause, it has to be said) when the topic under discussion is Russia or militant Islamism.

*and then again, it may not, considering the Kurdish holocaust of 1915, the Herero massacre of 1904 - though of course that's Germany again - and even the policies of the Australian government with regard to Aboriginal people until well into the last century

craner
10-02-2016, 10:03 PM
But I've never made one single argument in support of the British Empire, so I'm a bit confused about what's actually going on here.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:19 PM
The early European empires where based on economic and trade plunder; supremacism and racism where part of it, but not the motivating factor. Communism was based on a humanist ideology; its crimes where not central to the theory. Even early Fascism, in its Italian form anyway, was not necessarily racist or anti-Semitic, although it was nationalist and elitist.

However, Nazism and Japanese Imperialism were both defined by their racist and genocidal aims. They wouldn't have existed without those defining aims.

So that's the distinction I would make. Maybe it's a fine one, maybe not. If you think I'm letting Italian Fascism off the hook here, it's possibly too fine for you.

Mr. Tea
10-02-2016, 10:22 PM
See your comment earlier about Germany and Japan. It's the need to follow up any admission of "Yeah, I guess we were pretty bad" with "But come ooon, we weren't that bad."

It's something people of all political persuasions do all the time, and I know I've done it myself. Lots of people like to do it in reverse about their own country and/or the USA.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:32 PM
But how far do you take it? I'm with you, and to an extent Droid. But also Britain destroyed its Empire and finances fighting Fascism, and America almost tore itself apart over the issue of slavery during the civil war. So, no, whatever their crimes, I do not think they are in the same bracket as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

droid
10-02-2016, 10:44 PM
The British empire was without question far, far worse than imperial Japan. It would have taken the Nazis decades to match it's death toll.

Britain codified and exported systems of racist control and hierarchy that remain in place today. The empire deliberately committed repeated acts of genocide.

Kenya was less than 60 years ago. Malaya was the model for Vietnam.

The legacy is manifold & insidious.

droid
10-02-2016, 10:45 PM
But also Britain destroyed its Empire and finances fighting Fascism.

Britain destroyed its empire fighting Naziism, not fascism, and also, it had little choice.

droid
10-02-2016, 10:49 PM
However, Nazism and Japanese Imperialism were both defined by their racist and genocidal aims. They wouldn't have existed without those defining aims.


I dont think this is true, but if this is true for Germany and Japan, it must also be true of the colonisation of the US.

Imperialism is implicitly racist.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:51 PM
Yes, sorry I meant Nazism. Although the Italians got rolled up in it.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:52 PM
America is not Imperialist.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:55 PM
Britain had a choice. Many in Chamberlain's cabinet were eager go cut a deal with Hitler, and even in Churchill's.

craner
10-02-2016, 10:57 PM
For example, Lord Halifax.

craner
10-02-2016, 11:11 PM
Sorry, I missed the point of your post Droid. The colonisation of the American territory after the Lousiana Purchase, the Wild West, all that. Again, though, different argument. See your point, however.

droid
10-02-2016, 11:26 PM
Not to state the obvious but Id go even further.

We live in a world irrevocably shaped by European colonialism and systems of dominance developed over 500 years of brutality. This dominance was carefully shifted to the economic, financial and industrial realms in the post WWII period. The periodic 'military misadventures' of the West are attempts to enforce this dominance. It is only in the very recent past that the developing world has begun to escape from this paradigm.

There may be quibbles about body counts etc, but what has never been counted is the opportunity cost of colonialism. The nations and peoples utterly destroyed, taking with them diversity in thought, political & economic systems, philosophies, ways of doing things. Entire societies strangled in the cradle.

Britain was a fundamental, and arguably, the most important actor in all of this.

droid
10-02-2016, 11:28 PM
Im not bashing the bible here. This should be read in a tone of jaded cynicism.

droid
10-02-2016, 11:30 PM
And even for those who escaped annihilation, its very difficult to explain the psychological effect colonialism has on its victims. Look at race in the US.

Id say it will take another century at least before the scars fade here, but we're an unusual case.

droid
10-02-2016, 11:32 PM
Britain had a choice. Many in Chamberlain's cabinet were eager go cut a deal with Hitler, and even in Churchill's.

Sure, but lets dispense with the idea that the war was based on any moral imperative or opposition to fascism, it was about geopolitics.

Had Hitler expanded first to the East and set about eliminating the Slavs, I doubt the rest of Europe would have been too bothered, in moral terms certainly.

Agree that Italian fascism had little to do with race.

Mr. Tea
11-02-2016, 11:20 AM
Britain had a choice. Many in Chamberlain's cabinet were eager go cut a deal with Hitler, and even in Churchill's.

I was going to make this point but you've made it for me. Throughout the '30s many people in Britain, from the man on the Clapham omnibus up to (and especially) the government and the royal family, had a generally favourable view of Hitler. And even well into the war, there was still as a sense that Germany was basically a rival upstart that needed to be taught a lesson (again). A rival isn't someone ideologically opposed to you: he's someone who wants the same thing you want for yourself, for himself. I think it was only later that the Nazis became the peerless exemplar of human evil that they still are in the popular imagination.

And I don't think "We can't be all that bad, we fought the Nazis after all" is really much of an argument. The UK and, later, the USA deserve credit for preventing Hitler's domination of the Atlantic and freeing Western Europe after the Wehrmacht had already spent itself on the Eastern Front, sure, but if any one country should be regarded as Nazi Germany's nemesis, it's obviously the USSR. Does that diminish any of Stalin's unimaginable catalogue of crimes? Of course not.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 12:42 PM
That if Britain truly faced up to its horrific past (as the Japanese did) then committing those foreign misadventures (enabled by nationalism) would be abhorrent to the population and therefore untenable for governments.

In what sense are Britain's foreign misadventures "enabled by nationalism"? Nationalism is not exactly a major force in Britain, even among "the people" (who, in any case, are less than enthusiastic about its foreign wars). Still less is it a force among its decision makers, the political and cultural elite, who are motivated by (if anything) the idea that the nation itself (as a unit of political organisation) is bad, since the nation gives rise to nationalism, and nationalism to Hitler.

sufi
11-02-2016, 12:52 PM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pkj2m


In the 1950s, Britain looked back on its epic war effort in films such as The Dam Busters, The Cruel Sea and The Colditz Story. However, even at the time these productions were criticised for being class-bound and living in the past.
Journalist and historian Simon Heffer argues that these films have real cinematic merit and a genuine cultural importance, that they tell us something significant not only about the 1950s Britain from which they emerged but also about what it means to be British today.
His case is supported by interviews with stars including Virginia McKenna, Sylvia Syms and Sir Donald Sinden, with further contributions from directors Guy Hamilton (The Colditz Story) and Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters).


this was on late the other night, kind of grimly fascinating,

The narrator (clearly seduced by the whole phenomenon) takes us thru several "classic" ww2 films, made in the 50's when the people who fought were still around to approve their retcons which underlie much of postwar british jingoism

Most of all, very scary how familiar they all are, at a fairly subconscious level, having seen them all (mostly in institutional settings like school or on the bbc) as a kid, though i guess maybe less so to millennials?

droid
11-02-2016, 01:03 PM
In what sense are Britain's foreign misadventures "enabled by nationalism"? Nationalism is not exactly a major force in Britain, even among "the people" (who, in any case, are less than enthusiastic about its foreign wars).

The sentiments underlying public support for military escapades are, in Britain (and probably most other places) invariably tied to idea of nationhood & the validation of a nations and a peoples place in the world. As well as achieving practical aims (occasionally) projections of military power are evidence of strength, an ability to dominate and influence. Be it under the guise of military humanism or through conflict with official enemies all but the most vociferous opposition crumbles under appeals to the flag, support of the troops and national unity once a campaign begins.

Nationalism is its own propaganda, providing both the justification and impetus for conflict.

None of this is news to anyone Im sure.


Still less is it a force among its decision makers, the political and cultural elite, who are motivated by (if anything) the idea that the nation itself (as a unit of political organisation) is bad, since the nation gives rise to nationalism, and nationalism to Hitler.

Elites may or may not believe in the nation (and I disagree with this assessment), but they certainly know how to exploit nationalism.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 02:09 PM
A state might go to war for any number of reasons; the "validation of a nation's and a people's place in the world" seems pretty far down the list of motivating factors nowadays. (Western elites are more concerned with the issue of the non-existence of nations - how to promote the idea, how to more fully realise it, etc.)

When western states band together in coalitions to overthrow governments who are felt to have violated the international order in some fashion, it has nothing to do with fostering a sense of nationhood in their own people (which is not the same as "nationalism"), but to protect (however ineptly) a global system that most of their own people feel little to no loyalty to or affinity for.

luka
11-02-2016, 02:52 PM
good to see you on board with the globalist NWO agenda vimothy. sort of talk that usually gets you labelled a conspiracy theorist

vimothy
11-02-2016, 03:08 PM
Only if you use phrases like, "globalist NWO agenda". Otherwise, the idea that we have superseded the nation is not exactly radical.

luka
11-02-2016, 03:15 PM
I'm on your side vim!

luka
11-02-2016, 03:17 PM
Couldn't agree more

vimothy
11-02-2016, 03:50 PM
Outrageous.

droid
11-02-2016, 03:52 PM
A state might go to war for any number of reasons; the "validation of a nation's and a people's place in the world" seems pretty far down the list of motivating factors nowadays. (Western elites are more concerned with the issue of the non-existence of nations - how to promote the idea, how to more fully realise it, etc.)

When western states band together in coalitions to overthrow governments who are felt to have violated the international order in some fashion, it has nothing to do with fostering a sense of nationhood in their own people (which is not the same as "nationalism"), but to protect (however ineptly) a global system that most of their own people feel little to no loyalty to or affinity for.

Regardless of the true motivations of 'elites', what I said was that nationalism is an enabler. It is exploited and fostered in (often) the crudest terms to elicit consent from populations. In that sense elites ARE interested in fostering a sense of nationhood because it is a sentiment that is easily manipulated, hence the framing of issues as 'threats' to the nation, or questioning/confirming 'Britain's role on the world stage' or worries Britain is 'soft' on whatever enemy currently needs bombing.

Again, the phenomenon is so pervasive it seems idiotic to even point it out.

rubberdingyrapids
11-02-2016, 03:54 PM
the elites may not be as interested in nationhood (not sure about that though), but they seem to do a good job of making sure those who are are responded to (or rather pretend it doesnt matter to them, and they are only talking about it to appease large swathes of the general public). nationhood seems like a dirtier concept but its still hugely emotive. even if all right thinking people like to act as if it doesnt have any sway anymore. dont see how anyone could deny this really, in light of the last 5 or so years of british politics

http://www.democraticaudit.com/?p=18239


The referendum on UK membership seems like a concession to an older Britain that has not caught up with reality and is still coming to terms with post-imperial decline, which membership of Europe has always so acutely symbolized. Nevertheless, we should not underestimate the capacity of populist Euroscepticism to exploit what remains a fundamental failure of the European Union, its inability to democratically recognise and represent those citizens who increasingly feel themselves left behind by European integration. While cultural and economic life-worlds Europeanise, political life seems resolutely stuck in out-dated conceptions of the people and the nation, reproducing fantasies of imagined communities, and providing no realistic challenge to supranational elitism.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 04:40 PM
I don't think anyone is denying the idea that loyalty to particular nations is important in European politics. What I am denying is the idea that without it, we would not participate or even see wars like those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc, etc (although, droid is talking about nationalism, which to my mind is a specific political ideology, and not the same as the much more generic loyalty to a nation).

Mr. Tea
11-02-2016, 04:44 PM
...the political and cultural elite, who are motivated by (if anything) the idea that the nation itself (as a unit of political organisation) is bad, since the nation gives rise to nationalism, and nationalism to Hitler.

Uh, if this means what I think it means, I have to ask if we've even been living in the same country for the last six years. Are you seriously saying the British establishment is keen to disavow or disown the very concept of the UK as an entity?

droid
11-02-2016, 04:47 PM
I think it would be much, much more difficult to commit overt acts of aggression against other states without appeals to nationalism.

The point when patriotism crosses that line is ambiguous I agree.

droid
11-02-2016, 05:02 PM
Uh, if this means what I think it means, I have to ask if we've even been living in the same country for the last six years. Are you seriously saying the British establishment is keen to disavow or disown the very concept of the UK as an entity?

I think Vim's schtick is that this is the clandestine aim of the post-westphalian liberal project.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 05:07 PM
I think that without some form of political unity, warfare in general would be very difficult. But there's no reason why that community should centre around the nation (still less around nationalism). People are capable of going to war for all sorts of reasons, did so for many millennia before the advent of the nation, and will doubtless do so for many millennia after its disappearance.

Mr. Tea
11-02-2016, 05:19 PM
I think Vim's schtick is that this is the clandestine aim of the post-westphalian liberal project.

Someone should tell David Cameron, I'd sure he'd find it fascinating.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 08:29 PM
Perhaps, although it's possible that Cameron is already familiar with the "clandestine", "conspiracy theory" known as "globalisation".

luka
11-02-2016, 09:42 PM
Lol sock it to em vim. They're living in the 19th century

craner
11-02-2016, 10:20 PM
Cam can't wait to give up office and check into the Bilderberg group and play his part in running the world.

droid
11-02-2016, 10:34 PM
I think that without some form of political unity, warfare in general would be very difficult. But there's no reason why that community should centre around the nation (still less around nationalism). People are capable of going to war for all sorts of reasons, did so for many millennia before the advent of the nation, and will doubtless do so for many millennia after its disappearance.

Prior to the nation we had tribalism, religion & coercion - and we no doubt will again.

But the fact is, once a group reaches a certain size, or once some kind of democratic or representative system comes into play, you need to manufacture consent and quell dissent. Nationalism has been one of the most effective ways to do this. Examples abound.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 10:35 PM
Damn it, Luka!

trza
11-02-2016, 10:47 PM
what about those liverpool supporters who left during the 77th minute.

craner
11-02-2016, 10:52 PM
Nationalism in Europe is rampant. But on a small scale, ironically encouraged by the EU. They have funded micronationalisms, for example Wales, Scotland, Catalonia, Venice, to undermine the Nation State, and build the European project. It's a mad concept that simply encourages more recidivism, backward thinking and self-destrucive politics. Wales is a prime example. The Welsh cultural and political elites have built on the ridiculous Welsh Language Act, forcing state school kids to study the Welsh language up to the age of 16, rather than something useful like German, and all public sector bodies to publish in Welsh and English with no extra funds for translation and material publication (everything duplicated in ink on paper sent out with envelopes which about 90% of the population ignore and throw away because they don't speak or read Welsh).

droid
11-02-2016, 10:54 PM
The counterargument being that regionalisation can lead to more democratic, accountable and sustainable societies - in theory.

craner
11-02-2016, 10:56 PM
And this is still seen as a progressive cause.

craner
11-02-2016, 10:59 PM
Maybe, but it seems to lead to impossible coalitions and more nationalist crap. A bit like Israel, actually.

droid
11-02-2016, 11:00 PM
Well, decentralised, accountable, democratic and local structures of governance are progressive - anarchic even.

craner
11-02-2016, 11:08 PM
Not in practice. Certainly not in Wales, which limps on by leaching off EU funds for useless projects which invariably get shut down, because they're useless and uselessly expensive.

droid
11-02-2016, 11:11 PM
Dont know much about Welsh devolution, but there have been plenty of encouraging noises in Spain.

craner
11-02-2016, 11:13 PM
And it encourages the worst sentiments, for example the Scottish argument was loudly nationalist, but was actually based on the idea that they would be absorbed by the benevolent EU structure and gorge on North Sea oil, but as both of these fantasies have collapsed the SNP have clung onto the chimera of left wing nationalism. Which may work for them, because the left Scots are not going to vote for Corbyn, but it's not a pretty outcome either way

craner
11-02-2016, 11:15 PM
But if Catalonia breaks away, followed by the Basques, how will Spain continue to exist? And if it doesn't, why is that good?

droid
11-02-2016, 11:17 PM
You're just desperate to maintain the last vestiges of empire. Upper lip quivering with outrage at the prospect of Australia ditching the queen.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 11:19 PM
If you look at war in the 21st century, it's increasingly being fought by international coalitions and non-state transnational organisations (such as ISIS). It's not 'about' fostering nationhood, or validating the Nation State - it doesn't necessarily even feature two states fighting one another.

craner
11-02-2016, 11:20 PM
No I'm not, I'm asking questions that I want answers to, because I abhor nationalism as much as I do religion.

luka
11-02-2016, 11:22 PM
It's wasted on em vim I gave up years ago. They're readers. They just read shit and repeat it. Basically devices which record and play back. Me and you are different

craner
11-02-2016, 11:22 PM
And monarchy. I'm an atheist, an internationalist and a republican. So you've got me wrong on two counts there, Droid.

luka
11-02-2016, 11:24 PM
We're visionaries
We see the patterns taking shape. We see the fractal nature of reality. Leave them in their guttenberg galaxy.

vimothy
11-02-2016, 11:25 PM
Aargh!

droid
11-02-2016, 11:28 PM
lol

craner
11-02-2016, 11:29 PM
I almost immediately regretted that posturing.

Mr. Tea
14-02-2016, 11:05 AM
Perhaps, although it's possible that Cameron is already familiar with the "clandestine", "conspiracy theory" known as "globalisation".

Alright, if you could can the megawatt sarcasm for a moment and maybe engage with what I'm saying here:

Doesn't this sit rather at odds with the non-stop barrage of soft-nationalist sentiment and imagery we've been subjected to for the last decade or so, both from the government (the one in Westminster, I mean) and other sources? As I recall it started towards the end of the last Labour regime with constant fretting about "Britishness" and "British values" - perhaps as a reaction to Blair's unbridled enthusiasm for devolution, multiculturalism and (notwithstanding his desperate desire to be George W. Bush's bestest buddy) Europe - but really kicked into overdrive in 2010. Then we started getting these endless wranglings about "Englishness" as distinct from "Britishness" - "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" - the fact that hardly anything these days can be called "British" without the qualifier "Great" in front of it - the ubiquity of Victoriana in branding, and all the Empire nostalgia that represents - and now the very real possibility that the UK could leave the EU, or at least put it to a referendum that could quite possibly be carried with a substantial margin.

You have to admit that this does not, on the surface, look like a country run by people who think "the [concept of] the nation is bad".

luka
14-02-2016, 02:45 PM
Learn to distinguish between the things people say and the things people do.

Mr. Tea
14-02-2016, 04:32 PM
If the UK leaves the EU, as is looking increasingly likely, that will constitute a rather different thing from criticising the EU or threatening to leave it, would it not?

I'm still waiting for someone to explain how this will hasten the demise of the UK as a nation state.

craner
15-02-2016, 09:59 PM
The UK won't leave the EU. The vote will be too close for comfort, but not that close.

craner
15-02-2016, 10:01 PM
The only thing threatening the UK Nation State is Scottish Independence, but the oil price is playing havoc with the argument right now.

craner
15-02-2016, 10:08 PM
Nationalism, in it's smallest forms, is the European zeitgeist, ironically as the EU has promoted and stoked this for years. The whole thing will unravel, but not because the UK will vote to leave, because we won't, but because of immigration, migration, tax and currency. Sovereignty is just an intellectual argument compared to these real, gut-level instincts and interests

craner
15-02-2016, 10:10 PM
So, I think, but I'm not sure, that I disagree with Vim.

Mr. Tea
15-02-2016, 10:31 PM
Nationalism, in it's smallest forms, is the European zeitgeist, ironically as the EU has promoted and stoked this for years. The whole thing will unravel, but not because the UK will vote to leave, because we won't, but because of immigration, migration, tax and currency. Sovereignty is just an intellectual argument compared to these real, gut-level instincts and interests

OK, fair enough, I see that.

Regarding Scotland and "the chimaera of left-wing nationalism": isn't it possible, in fact fairly likely, that a lot of the Scots who voted Yes in 2014 and for the SNP last year are not in reality woad-stained, orange-wigged Braveheart fantasists but basically intelligent and rational people who (understandably) don't want their country being run by a universally dreadful Tory government in Westminster that virtually none of them voted for, and (also understandably) not having much faith in Labour to provide effective opposition or substantially challenge the neoliberal orthodoxy should they ever get back into power?

Mr. Tea
15-02-2016, 10:40 PM
If I lived in Scotland - or had been living there 18 months ago - I'd probably have voted Yes. Although as you say, the price of oil going into freefall has complicated that a bit.

Perhaps the most grating aspect of the whole thing was seeing left-wing Scots fantastically reinventing their country as somehow inherently peaceful, socialistic and green - and definitely not, you know, a fundamental cornerstone of the British Empire and the birthplace of industrial capitalism or anything like that.

craner
15-02-2016, 10:50 PM
Yes, it is, but I've always said that that is a very short-sighted, small-minded way of looking at things. As if Scottish conservatives don't exist (they do). And therefore, in post- UK Scotland, say 10 years from now, a Scottish conservative party may well wipe the floor with an irrelevant SNP. It's a hypothetical, but not a ludicrous one. More ludicrous is to believe that the Scots are inherently left-wing, whatever happens ever.

craner
15-02-2016, 10:51 PM
There we are, we came to the same point, I think.

Mr. Tea
15-02-2016, 10:52 PM
Or the home of two recent prime ministers not famous for being shy of war or hostile to big business interests and the financial services industry.

craner
15-02-2016, 10:55 PM
Cheap political points that will have no relevance to the argument in 10 years.

Mr. Tea
15-02-2016, 11:10 PM
Yes, it is, but I've always said that that is a very short-sighted, small-minded way of looking at things. As if Scottish conservatives don't exist (they do). And therefore, in post- UK Scotland, say 10 years from now, a Scottish conservative party may well wipe the floor with an irrelevant SNP. It's a hypothetical, but not a ludicrous one. More ludicrous is to believe that the Scots are inherently left-wing, whatever happens ever.

I think there is a huge gulf between "inherently left-wing" and "left-wing compared to the present Tory government", which is busy privatizing things even Thatcher didn't dare meddle with. There is a widespread notion that the centre of gravity of politics in Scotland is, very generally, somewhat to the left of that in Westminster - which, again, is not difficult. I'm not saying I believe this as a cast-iron fact but I remain open to the possibility that it might be basically true.

For what reason do you think it's likely, or even "not ludicrous", that a Scottish conservative party would "wipe the floor" with the SNP? Bear in mind that even in England, the Tories didn't "wipe the floor" with Labour last year - they got in because of our hopelessly broken electoral system. Let's suppose the oil market recovers, or imagine it hadn't tanked in the first place - why would an independent Scotland of the 2020s ditch a party that has successfully severed ties with Westminster, reversed the endlessly punishing austerity policies and is forging closer links with Europe while England languishes in xenophobic isolation?

I'm not saying the SNP is automatically going to fix all of Scotland's problems any more than Corbyn is going to be England's socialist Messiah, but I think it's at least plausible they could make things better for most people there than they are at present, or will be by the next general election.

droid
15-02-2016, 11:16 PM
The question for Scotland is clear. Remain chained to an anchor headed to the depths of a reactionary, neo-liberal abyss, or try and find another way. Id give 'em ten more years at best.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2016, 01:42 PM
The question for Scotland is clear. Remain chained to an anchor headed to the depths of a reactionary, neo-liberal abyss, or try and find another way.

Well yeah, this is basically what it looks like.

craner
16-02-2016, 02:10 PM
So are we saying that if the UK elected the correct political party, then Scottish independence wouldn't be a thing? Is the movement that wafer-thin?

Mr. Tea
16-02-2016, 03:54 PM
I think it would be far less of a thing. Do you think the success of the SNP in recent years is uncorrelated with the evisceration of the welfare state and the biggest real-terms fall in earnings since records began?

craner
16-02-2016, 04:38 PM
Sure, to an extent, but from voting SNP in a general election to actually voting for Scottish independence should be a massive leap. It doesn't seem to me obvious that the two things should be related. How can anybody guarantee that a democratic scotland will always been ruled by a party that is in favour of a welfare state?

(And that's if you even agree that the welfare state has been eviscerated, which I don't particularly.)

luka
16-02-2016, 06:38 PM
This is one of the things oliver is convincing on tea I suggest you concede graciously

craner
16-02-2016, 09:08 PM
Ssh, I'm angling for a ruckus on welfare.

droid
16-02-2016, 10:20 PM
The trend in the uK is clear and has been almost unremitting since Thatcher. Blair put an end to any hope of reversal. Britain has been the most right wing (economically speaking) state in Europe by a mile for the last 25 years. It would take a seismic shift in Scottish sentiment and politics + years of attrition for Scotland to catch up.

An independent Scotland in a generally social democratic regionalised Europe is a viable alternative - or was, at least, until Europe went insane.

droid
16-02-2016, 10:28 PM
Its not hard to see what lies in England's future. Just look across the pond. The only options now are to accelerate or delay the process.

The Scots see this as clearly as everyone else and will be gone given another chance, especially after the dirty tricks in the last campaign - which is why Cameron will never allow a loss in an EU referendum.

droid
16-02-2016, 10:37 PM
(And that's if you even agree that the welfare state has been eviscerated, which I don't particularly.)

Ahahahahaha


Nearly 90 people a month are dying after being declared fit for work.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figures

luka
16-02-2016, 10:43 PM
What do you do for a living droid?

droid
16-02-2016, 10:47 PM
I work in a University, though perhaps not for much longer.

craner
16-02-2016, 10:57 PM
He's baiting you Droid, because he knows what my job involves.

droid
16-02-2016, 10:59 PM
Oh, I know.

craner
16-02-2016, 11:07 PM
I'm up for a debate on the pros and cons of the ESA Capability for Work Assessment, or DLA vs. PIP, or Universal Credit vs. Tax Credits, anytime, anywhere.

droid
16-02-2016, 11:08 PM
I can see why you're such a hit with the ladies.

luka
16-02-2016, 11:10 PM
I work in a University, though perhaps not for much longer.

IT stuff?

droid
16-02-2016, 11:11 PM
No. And thats all youre getting.

luka
16-02-2016, 11:12 PM
Why? Is it shameful?

craner
16-02-2016, 11:12 PM
I can see why you're such a hit with the ladies.

Pathetic.

droid
16-02-2016, 11:13 PM
lol

craner
16-02-2016, 11:23 PM
I'm guessing that you know nothing about the UK benefits system, but you have a chance to prove me wrong.

vimothy
17-02-2016, 01:14 AM
You have to admit that this does not, on the surface, look like a country run by people who think "the [concept of] the nation is bad".

The resurgence of what you called "soft nationalism" (usually called "civic nationalism") is <i>reactive</i>. It arises because old political structures are breaking apart, and people want to ground the new ones that are forming in some sort of community, or at least maintain the fiction that nothing is really changing.

Hence, "civic nationalism", the acceptable face of nationhood. <i>Anyone</i> can be British, as long as they conform to British values (such as civic nationalism, openness to diversity, tolerance of other cultures, and the usual question begging platitudes).

The people are not exactly enthusiastic about this. They would prefer their traditional understanding of nationhood, just as they would prefer their traditional understanding of the state (as a nation state, - not a satrapy of an international trading block - grounded in a shared ethnic identity).

They can't have either, as it happens. True nationhood is exclusive by definition, hence unthinkable and impermissible according to the liberal consensus. The nation state makes little sense without a nation to attach to (it certainly makes little <i>moral</i> sense), and in any case, has already been superseded by the process of globalisation, understood to be a sort of naturalistic fact that cannot be altered, only accepted and managed with varying degrees of success.

luka
17-02-2016, 09:56 AM
Apart from vimothys dark allusions to 'the people' he's so obviously right that he's basically just spouting truisms. You lot are mad. Globalisation doesn't exist cos of keep calm and carry on posters? Leave it out

I can only assume 'the people' means I, Vimothy.

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 10:44 AM
This is one of the things oliver is convincing on tea I suggest you concede graciously

OK, I wouldn't pretend to be half as politically clued up as Craner is but I'm still not convinced by all these hypotheticals. I mean:


How can anybody guarantee that a democratic scotland will always been ruled by a party that is in favour of a welfare state?

You can never guarantee anything, of course, but I have to ask why anyone would be against the welfare state. Out of normal people who don't own substantial shares in private healthcare, private prisons and so on. Bear in mind that under a quarter of the eligible electorate voted Tory last year. In Scotland that percentage was significantly smaller still, which would tend to indicate that Scottish voters who are not in the wealth bracket that unambiguously benefits from Tory policy (i.e. nearly all of them) are somewhat less deluded than many people in England about the government's diabolical track record even by their own criteria for success, and the even worse prospects for the next four years.

So rather than try to quantify just how progressive or conservative the average Scottish voter is in comparison to the average English voter, I think it probably makes more sense to consider whether people are going to vote for a party that clearly does not represent their best socioeconomic interests. I bet loads of people who are small-c conservatives - people generally in favour of things like families, the church, private enterprise - are horrified at what's happening to the country. At any rate, you certainly don't have to be a Marxist to be unhappy with what's happening right now (I'm not, and I am.) And given how things are going in Westminster, a lot of Scottish people have weighed up the pros and cons and decided to vote for a party whose raison d'etre is secession from the UK.

And if you define "the UK" as "the collection of regions administered by the laws passed in Westminster", then I'd very much like to vote for a party that wanted England to secede from the UK. The problem there is that the only major English nationalist party is made up of xenophobic cranks and dickheads, and is for the most part to the economic right even of the Tories (despite their occasional attempt to cash in on the zeitgeist of resentment against the super-wealthy with a bit of cheap banker-bashing).


(And that's if you even agree that the welfare state has been eviscerated, which I don't particularly.)

Well all I can say is that you must be fortunate enough not to have had to claim benefits - or attempt to claim benefits - in the last six years, and that no-one you know works in an NHS hospital, that no-one you know is disabled or has a long-term serious illness, that you don't have any young cousins or family friends who've given up on a university education because it would be life-long financial suicide. And so on and so on.

My girlfriend's dad is only alive because he lives in Wales. The chemotherapy drug he takes isn't available on the NHS in England because - sigh - "there just isn't the money". I guess he'd just have had to keep calm and carry on.

craner
17-02-2016, 11:04 AM
The benefits system has in no way been "eviscerated".

luka
17-02-2016, 11:08 AM
Well that's clearly not enough craner. We want a counter argument

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 12:34 PM
The benefits system has in no way been "eviscerated".

I was unemployed for three months last year, and you know how much I got in benefits? The square root of fuck all. Housing benefit was a non-starter as apparently my girlfriend was meant to pay a grand in rent each month by herself, on a salary at the time of not much over thirty grand. I applied for JSA and literally everything I was told on my first visit was flatly contradicted by what I was told when I went back there, what I was told over the phone or info I found on the DWP website. The entire system is meant to be as off-putting as possible and you're a dupe if you think otherwise. And I had some savings and was able to get a job before I'd eaten into too much of them, so don't think I'm not aware that I'm one of the lucky ones - the way this government is treating disabled people and those with long-term illnesses amounts to mass manslaughter.

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 12:37 PM
And Luke, where did I say anything that could even vaguely be construed as "globalization doesn't exist"? The discussion's been fairly interesting over the last couple of pages, let's leave the straw-man bollocks out of it.

luka
17-02-2016, 12:47 PM
this new persona doesnt suit you tea. feels forced.

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 01:17 PM
this new persona doesnt suit you tea. feels forced.

It's not new, it's just that you're not used to seeing me arguing from a position to the left of someone else here. Or agreeing with droid!

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 01:26 PM
He's baiting you Droid, because he knows what my job involves.

What does it involve (if you can say)?

luka
17-02-2016, 01:38 PM
its the newfound aggression i was commenting on tea. nice to see you take up a lefty position.

droid
17-02-2016, 01:55 PM
It's not new, it's just that you're not used to seeing me arguing from a position to the left of someone else here. Or agreeing with droid!

I find the new persona very convincing, admirable even.

luka
17-02-2016, 02:05 PM
I don't think it's congruent

luka
17-02-2016, 02:05 PM
But I agree he needed to be more assertive

droid
17-02-2016, 03:34 PM
I'm guessing that you know nothing about the UK benefits system, but you have a chance to prove me wrong.

Youd be surprised, its an aspirational model for our version of the Tories.

Youre in the belly of the beast and Im sure you have all sorts of technical arguments regarding the acidity of stomach juices and thickness of intestine walls, but from an external POV the trends are clear.

We have the privatisation of welfare provision, deliberate attempts to block or delay access to benefits, targeting of the disabled, sick and terminally ill and the relentless demonisation of the unemployed.

And then there's the numbers:

Unemployment benefit 94 -2106 as % of GDP

http://i.imgur.com/NVceYLf.png

Family & Children:

http://i.imgur.com/smnc3w7.png

Unemployment as % of total welfare spend:

http://i.imgur.com/4Mt4UxY.png

Housing as % of total welfare spend:

http://i.imgur.com/GKq9Y4W.png

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 03:53 PM
its the newfound aggression i was commenting on tea. nice to see you take up a lefty position.

I wasn't going for aggression exactly, it's just that I dislike having my position mischaracterized, especially as something as daft as "globalization doesn't exist", which would be a bit like denying the existence of gravity.

But anyway - forward the revolution, comrades!

craner
17-02-2016, 05:45 PM
Those graphs are impressive, Droid, but not quite as dramatic as they look initially.

Since 2010, the government has continued reducing the JSA personal allowance by pegging the annual increase below previous rates; but there has been no major cuts to the personal allowance. Certainly not eviscerated.

Housing benefit is a mean-tested benefit so, yes, if you live with a partner earning 30 grand you're unlikely to qualify for help with rent. But that's always been the case.

I'm sounding more contentious than I really mean to be; of course there have been cuts to welfare, and these have come in all sorts of crafty and even cruel forms. But it's not being eviscerated, or dismantled: the main body remains quite robust.

craner
17-02-2016, 07:29 PM
Baboon, I'm a supervisor at a Citizens Advice Bureau, before that I was a benefits caseworker. I know the iniquities of the DWP and HMRC inside out; I've written plenty of tribunal submissions challenging inept or cursory capability for work assessments, or pernicious JSA sanctions. I'm not defending any of these sorts of things, although they are defensible in a lot of cases, I'm just questioning the hyperbolic claim that the benefits system has been eviscerated.

baboon2004
19-02-2016, 02:45 PM
ah ok. Interesting if no doubt often depressing work.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boy-no-arms-legs-told-7391220?ICID=FB_mirror_main - obviously these type of cases are arising way more often (i.e. more than never) than would be true of system that was working in any way. So whether or not we say that benefits have been eviscerated or not, clearly the emphasis has shifted to denying benefits wherever possible (those leaked jobcentre memos from a few years back), and in this targeting the especially vulnerable. Obviously the existence of food banks also show that the system ain't working, and is ideologically motivated. And workfare blah blah blah

https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/europe-fairest-paid-leave-unemployment-benefits/ - the headlines on this are interesting, tho' not read the whole report yet. At least maternity leave is reasonable in the uk.

Mr. Tea
11-06-2016, 07:27 PM
FAO droid (and George Monbiot): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-36339524