UK Joint Committee: We are Doomed
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  • Lexington Green

    It seems like it is always Americans who see all the untapped potential in England.

    I am reminded of this vivid paragraph in one of my all time favorite books, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. In that book London is the chief city in a global network of English speaking people called Atlantis — in about the mid-21st Century. Victoria II is on the throne. The world has gone through some cataclysm, but there are four major “phyles” that have survived: Han, Hind, Nippon and Atlantis — i.e. China, India, Japan and the Anglosphere. I do not look forward to decline for England. I look for the rise of a global, Anglophone Atlantis.

    I cannot resist quoting this passage, where the word Anglosphere was first used, and where London is still the city of opportunity, drawing people to it from all corners of the world, as it has been for centuries, and as it should continue to be for centuries to come:

    After a simple dinner of beer and pasties in a pub on the fringes of the City, they rode south across the Tower Bridge, pierced a shallow layer of posh development along the right bank of the river, and entered into Southwark. As in other Atlantan districts of London, Feed lines had been worked into the sinews of the place, coursing through utility tunnels, clinging to the clammy undersides of bridges, and sneaking into buildings through small holes bored in the foundations. The tiny old houses and flats of this once impoverished quarter had mostly been refurbished into toeholds for young Atlantans from all around the Anglosphere, poor in equity but rich in expectations, who had come to the great city to incubate their careers. The businesses on the ground floors tended to be pubs, coffeehouses, and music halls. As father and daughter worked their way east, generally paralleling the river, the lustre that was so evident near the approaches to the bridge began to wear thin in places, and the ancient character of the neighborhood began to assert itself, as the bones of the knuckles reveal their shape beneath the stretched skin of a fist. Wide gaps developed between the waterfront developments, allowing them to look across the river into a district whose blanket of evening fog was already stained with the carcinogenic candy-colored hues of big mediations.

    (The Joint Committee should be asked to read the book.)

  • WigWag

    Dylan Thomas was Welsh and it isn’t entirely clear that the Welsh want to remain in the United Kingdom. If Scotland breaks free of Great Britain it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Welsh independence movement get stronger.

    The British can “rave at the end of day” until their blue in the face. The “dying of the light” seems like it’s just around the corner.

  • Jim.

    Britain’s decline was only assured once its people became convinced that their way of life was no better than others, and that the way of life that had gotten them the power and status they had before was not the way of life they wished to lead.

    I’m not usually a big supporter of “all you have to do is believe in yourself” boosterism. That’s not “all” you have to do. You also have to be right — in the case of nations, you have to have a culture worth having, with beliefs and practices that help rather than hinder your national interests.

    Britain had it, in the 19th century. America had it, in the first half of the 20th.

    We could have it again, if we wanted it. The gameboard has changed, and it’s tougher now. But that doesn’t change who we could be.

  • Toni

    Well, I think Obama and the Democrats want nothing to do with talk of austerity, budget-cutting and fiscal responsibility that’s all the rage in Europe now. As the euro crisis began, he tried to get France and Germany to expand their budgets to stimulate the world economy. Non and nein, they said.

    But Britain is our mother ship. Surely she will produce another leader who believes in her greatness and brings out the best in her people. But if she never does, she will always be the country whence sprang the philosophic political and economic underpinnings of the freedoms enjoyed by Americans, Indians, and many others.

    Yep, I’m an Anglophile, almost as grateful to Great Britain as to America.

    And the U.S. may also find a leader better aware of Britain’s strengths as an ally than the current one.

  • The British can “rave at the end of day” until their blue in the face. The “dying of the light” seems like it’s just around the corner.

  • Dylan Thomas was Welsh and it isn’t entirely clear that the Welsh want to remain in the United Kingdom. If Scotland breaks free of Great Britain it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Welsh independence movement get stronger.

    There is a clear majority against independence even in Scotland. The idea of Welsh independence is a joke, not least because the Welsh know perfectly well that their standard of living would collapse without subsidy from London. The part of the UK that actually might be able to find a majority in favour of independence is England, where an awful lot of people are fed up with being governed by MPs who represent socialist whingers from the Celtic fringe.

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