Thursday, 11 September 2008

GOOD BYE ENGLAND, WE LOVE YOU...




All Shook Up: “We have no ideals left to which we can be asked to aspire to
on an inherently, almost subconscious, level. Our idea of Britishness is rooted
in the notion of history and a sense of belonging by birthright to a superior
tribe - it's not one which can easily be extended to incomers. Much as we might
be uncomfortable with this fact, and wish to reinvent it...we've thrown out our
Land of Hope and Glory and can't find its successor.”

The bearing of these remarks, I should surmise perhaps, is a mere
summing up, and not as might wrongly be supposed, in any spirit of support for
an imperial philosophy of state. Nor, in the name of an idea, would it be
presumptuous to assert that England is a very different nation today, or that
in her case one might consider the really decisive loss to have been
virtues, which are, in a quote, “something that is inborn, and subtle , and
everlasting...something like a solid principle, and masterful like an instinct -
a disclosure of something secret - of that hidden something, that gift of good
or evil that makes racial difference, that shapes the fate of nations”


Joseph Conrad, who thus endeavoured to formulate the conditions, was
peculiarly perceptive on this point. Unfashionable though they may sound to us
today, his words nevertheless make it clear, if only for rhetorical purposes,
how completely the genius of those who once took pride in the thought that they
were God‘s Englishmen has become diluted by egalitarian ideologies implying
that we have ceased to be British, ceased to be the defenders of invincible
Armadas, the “pugnacious and unconquerable bulldog race.”

There is an old biblical saying that God rejects the proud and gives
grace to the humble. Humility, therefore, is doubtless a praiseworthy thing. But
- to the best of my belief - if the evolution of the civilized world depended to
a considerable degree on English national or racial ingredients, it is
nevertheless the case that their chief and foremost contribution to it has been
the long and fortuitous history of a Charmed Life, rather than the humility of
those who can surrender themselves, for the sake of pity, to pacific or passive
influences. There are further considerations, of course, which point in the
direction of development which, in a country the size of Britain, is not perhaps
at liberty to desist, but essentially it is England and the English spirit for
which we mourn.

“A nation behaves like itself,” it has been succinctly said. And
accordingly, in a contribution to the 1939 edition of The English Genius, its
central doctrine could still be expressed as follows: “What pleases us we take
from Europe, what displeases us we leave to Europeans; for only accidentally to
we consider ourselves as such.”
Few, even a short while ago, would have liked to
read this differently. But we live in the age of “Confederalism” and its
mastering doctrine abdicated, the new policy of this country and its
discontinuity with her old traditions has become quite unmistakable. And to the
extent this is an issue, not of national polity but of the logic of events, it
must clearly lead to results that are in profound contradiction with the age-old
assumption that its own inherent genius is the soul and body of a nation.

But whether we admire it or not, and regardless of whether or not it is
to be subsumed under a confederate ethos, this , at all events, is the very
genius which conquered the world, ’Hellenised’ it and formulated the conditions
under which the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number was
actually going to be achieved. Imperial or not, one might as well admit that
it has brought into existence laws and rules of behaviour that we now recognize
as universal; liberties not so much of Englishmen as of all men; rights that are
constituent elements of our very own time. And that, in fact, is why we are
compelled to say, when brought face to face with the enduring quality of certain
unalterable codes of British conduct, with “that perfection”, finally, “of
moral, intellectual, and professional qualities” which Trevelyan called “The
Nelson Touch”, that This was their finest hour...!


Dreamy


16 comments:

mutleythedog said...

Did England make the world? Odd idea if you ask me..
It is in an English Pub where I shall finally seduce you Ms Dreamy with me witty banter and hilarious yet insightful remarks which will make you weak that the knees...

Richard Havers said...

Spot on Dreamy. I'm tossing up whether to play Jerusalem or Land of Hope and Glory...

I was further up in the hills visiting some friends with Mrs. H a few weeks ago and they had other friends staying for the weekend; they were all Scottish. The lady visitor at one point said to me that she didn't understand how I could be proud of being English. I was quite taken aback. "Are you proud of being Scottish?" I asked.

"Yes" she replied, "But that's different. How could anyone be proud of being English."

The conversation went on with me battling against the elements saying I thought it was just bollocks that she, and others in Scotland, had this bizarre attitude that nationalism was fine if you were a poor put upon country like Scotland, but not if you were English. It's actually what's at the root of the issues over Scottish Independence.

Bob said...

A beautiful description of what is in fact megalomania based on things that happened in the past. My country (Holland) used to be a great country too, conquered the world an enslaved and sold natives just like england. 'We' invented the stock exchange among other things.
That's all over now. Get over it. Others have taken the lead and whining over the past isn't going to help.

percy stilton said...

your dreams are like lovely literature Miss Dreamy....

Selena Dreamy said...

Thank you for that Percy. You’re a true gentleman.

But please remember that I also have a beautiful smile - and some stunning cleavage...

Miss D.

Selena Dreamy said...

Did England make the world? Odd idea if you ask me..

Even though the recognition - or the frivolity of it - may not excite a great deal of cordiality from those peoples and races which appear to have registered a very different impression, almost certainly, Mutley, most of us would probably say that nothing is so characteristic of our time than an increasingly identifiable Anglo-Saxon way of life.

Particularly so when expressed in terms of an increasingly predominant Anglo-American entrepreneurial society, with its emphases on political internationalism, commercial pragmatism and the material pressures to succeed.

In fact, it is impossible, in my view, to do justice to the Anglo-Saxons without reaching the conclusion that they fill a larger part in the mental horizon of our time than that occupied at any other time by any other race, nation, or people to whom the term ‘civilized’ has with justice been applied...

Dreamy

Selena Dreamy said...

(Holland) used to be a great country too, That's all over now. Get over it. Others have taken the lead and whining over the past isn't going to help.

Spoken in the true spirit of gracious rivalry, Bob. Once a great maritime power, rivalling Britain’s 17th century, Holland now is a public service society which creates idols in the image of cannabis and tulips, but has neither visions nor dreams to add...

...nor am I dreaming of reacquiring the past Albion has lost, I’m dreaming of reacquiring the future which Britain’s declining science and technology are rapidly losing...

Selena Dreamy said...

No answer for you, Richard.

You and I are climbing the same pole - call it the double helix effect...

Selena Dreamy said...

It is in an English Pub where I shall finally seduce you Ms Dreamy with me witty banter and ...

...and hopefully some traditional Earl Grey tea at the Ritz, Mutley, plus scones with jam and Cornish cream rather than your famous MEN’S RULES 20-point seduction plan - as presently featured on your blog?

It’s more like a list of your worst sins!

D.

mutleythedog said...

As you will have noticed I am becoming more civilised every day...that is why I have rules... oh do you think this why I have been divorced twice so far? Oh by the way doesnt tea come from India?

All Shook Up said...

...nor am I dreaming of reacquiring the past Albion has lost, I’m dreaming of reacquiring the future which Britain’s declining science and technology are rapidly losing...

I wonder if Britain is dreaming and if so what about... somebody should prod it awake and ask. Somewhere, we lost our edge and strength (look at the jurors' verdicts in the recent terror and power station protest trials). We're snoring in a boozer's dead slumber. I refuse to believe all is lost.. but Jeez too many people need a kick up their lardarses and I can't see who's going to do it.

Selena Dreamy said...

look at the jurors' verdicts in the recent terror and power station protest trials...

...bizarre, to say the least. Topped only, if at all, by the fact that Sharia law has now been officially adopted in Britain (see today's Times)

From Magna Carta to Sharia Law - here, writ plainly, is the hand of Allah!

Selena Dreamy said...

...why I have been divorced twice so far?

Gosh, Muts, you're wicked!!

Selena Dreamy said...

Well, folks, I'm off to Sotheby's now - look out for my gold Laboutin platform stilettos...

...mmmaaaa they just can't be contained!

Anonymous said...

I am happy to see the English language is not entirely decomposed, and I rejoiced in reading your article, not only for its wonderful construction, but also for its content.

Selena Dreamy said...

Thank you for your kind words, A., so much appreciated!