Posts Tagged ‘British’

Brexit: Grow Up and Stop Scaremongering.


The main problem with the whole referendum “debate” is that both sides are resorting to scaremongering, distortion and outright lies. This is dishonest and dishonours the whole process. It’s far to serious and important and issue to be trivialised by such juvenile tactics.

If, as I suspect, we vote to remain “in”, it will because people have believed the scare stories and decided “better the devil you know” rather than at least trying to make an informed choice. I’ve done my best to do so, and have made up my mind as to how I’ll be voting.

A plague o’both houses.

I’m certainly no fan of Gove (quite the reverse!), but this is one of the few reasoned arguments I’ve seen from the Leave Camp:

This classic from Tony Benn:

Sargon of Akkad’s critique of Project Fear:

Boris’ Brexit Lies:


Special Relationship? More Like Special Needs.


I’ve always been sceptical about the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and the USA. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes that it’s always been more special to the British than the Yanks. “It’s our common language, shared values and history” its proponents say. Nonsense. Sure, it used to be a British colony, but that was over 200 years ago and the America then bears as much resemblance to today’s America as an amoeba to a dog. And as for the language and culture, don’t make me laugh.

Our politicians cling to this “special relationship” to feel important, hoping some of the power and influence will rub off; the class wimp hanging round with the bully. A former great power that has never really accepted its loss of that status, that the world moved on a long time ago. Look at Thatcher’s adulation of that old fool Reagan; Blair’s sycophancy towards Bush. For the Americans, it’s all about self-interest. By slavishly obeying their orders, our government is not acting in the interests of Britain. Has our involvement in their wars made us safer? No.

We are the lamp post to their dog, little better than a giant aircraft carrier (how prescient of George Orwell to call Britain Airstrip One in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four). It makes me want to vomit. To be allies, even friends is one thing, but we should be sceptical and critical. Our politicians need to grow some balls and put our interests first.

The relationship can be simply summed up:

American President: Jump!

British PM: Yes sir, how high? And may I kiss your arse too?


Time To Be A Little Less British. Complain.


We British are supposed to be good at queuing. Some race memory of all those queues for rations during the war, perhaps. And once in a queue, we stoically put up with it, though with some grumbling.

I saw a good example of this recently. I was attending a Doctor Who convention, and there was an autograph session. By the start time, there were probably three hundred people patiently waiting in the queue. We assumed that we would file past the seated guests in turn. But no, someone decided to put everyone into separate queues. There was the predictable grumbling at this, but that was all. Virtually everyone accepted it like good little sheep.

A few, too few, people (including me) were sufficiently angered to complain. How very un-British of us, but it worked: I went to the boss and got what I wanted. After, I looked at the queue with some contempt. Stop being so British, I thought, stop grumbling and complain. If enough of you do it, they will have to do something. You’ve paid the organisers a lot of money to let yourselves be treated like this (some tickets were £130!) What on earth is wrong with you all?

I wondered if this could stand as a symbol for modern Britain. Mired in austerity that is impoverishing millions, where are our indignados? Reading the Daily Mail or The Sun and believing the propaganda. I often wonder if it’s worth getting angry about, but of course it is. If no one did, They would get away with far more than they already do. I just wish more people felt the same, that more people would cast off the mantle of British reserve and grumbling and shout back. Surround Them and shout until the walls crash down on their unworthy heads.

Man Cannot Live by (Horse)meat Alone


I think it’s time we all calmed down about the horsemeat “scandal”. While I agree that it’s distasteful (no pun intended) that horsemeat, in whatever percentage, has turned up in some processed food, the world hasn’t ended. Horsemeat is not toxic, and is widely eaten in other cultures. Apparently, it’s lower in fat and healthier than beef. It is, therefore, probably far healthier than some of the “meat” that is used quite legally in a lot of processed food.

I would have been more concerned if unfit meat had been discovered, something that posed a genuine risk to human health. Apart from the slight risk that the veterinary drug bute might be present, this hasn’t happened. How many drugs are animals that we intend to eat pumped full of? Anti-biotics, growth promoters and God knows what.

I think this whole “scandal” shows more about the British attitude to animals than anything else. This is a country that allows animals being transported to slaughter more space than a human commuter: if animals were carried in the same conditions that your typical tube traveller has to put up with, there would be an outcry. Remember the foot and mouth crisis of 2001? The thousands of livestock animals slaughtered for having something not dangerous to humans, and which most infected animals would recover from? With the smoke from pyres blackening the skies all over the country? Where were the protests then? The silence was deafening. The only objection I remember was when a cute calf was threatened with death. Only then did people shout, and even then, they didn’t question the mass slaughter.

This has the hallmarks of something similar. We are more concerned that a noble old racehorse, or that Penelope’s old pony, has ended up in a cheap burger, than with the fact that the Food Standards Agency has had its budget slashed. More concerned with thinking certain species as cute, than with livestock being fed the ground up remains of other animals. More concerned to have cheap meat, then moaning when we find out what’s in it. If the British took their attitude to animals to its logical conclusion, they would all become vegetarians.

Perhaps one day, the British will be able to have a sensible, grown-up debate about such things. I won’t hold my breath.

Nick Cohen: Writing from London

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