Taide’s Weblog

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Britannia, uncool?

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Dear Britain,

I’m addressing you as Britain, although you may not remember who that is. You may think of yourself as English, Scottish, or Welsh, depending where your schizophrenia is heading today. Anyway, just to seize the faintly possible chance that you still remember yourself, I’m writing to you.

You aren’t what you used to be. No, I’m not referring to your colonialism or to your world power status. The former wasn’t as cool as the Queen Mum thought it was, and the latter comes and goes. I’m not referring to your economic situation either. Booms come and go, too. I’m referring to something that is missing in your BBC Radio Four’s morning opener – that medley of songs that used to include “Rule, Britannia”. Even when only played out for some fishing boats in the Irish Sea and around Dogger, it was still cool, and there was no reason to dump it.

Last year, I had the dubious pleasure to stay on Heathrow Airport for a few hours. No, I’m not talking about your chaotic new terminal. Chaos comes and goes, and if everything goes wrong, you can even tear it down. I’m talking about the smoking ban that is in force all over Heathrow Airport. If I wanted to smoke a cigarette there, I would have to walk some five kilometres – out of the airport, that is.
Don’t get me wrong: I can live without a cigarette, even after a long flight, and another flight ahead. My point is that this health fascism doesn’t look reasonable, and even less so in a country that used to be relaxed about small or meaningless issues. What made you so hysterical? Maybe you should check your diet.

Talking about hysterics, your good old aunt BBC… ahem… frowned on one of her listeners a year or two ago. You know, when you ran your Freeeeee-Alan-Johnston campaign. The listener they bashed had had the nerves to complain about the disproportionate share of airtime that the kidnapping of Mr Johnston in Gaza got. The BBC’s staff got that listener on the phone and gave him  what I would call “a serious dressing-down” in the BBC’s outsourced Over-to-You programme. They made him look pretty bad there. The only problem: he was absolutely right, and his stance, though politically not correct and possibly cold hearted, is one that I (and maybe many listeners) share, and didn’t dare to voice. The BBC staff however, in the name of corporate warm-heartedness and “He-is-our-colleague-and-we-are-so-worried” refused to take such evil listeners serious. Now they are whining because less people are taking them serious.
If you want to be trusted, be cool – don’t try that “bbc-and-listeners-all-one-caring-family” thing ever again, not even if you think that some criminals’ actions demand it.

About cold-heartedness, more generally-speaking: I think that your heart’s temperature is the problem now. You have become too warm-hearted. Well – not really. A warm heart doesn’t try to shine and bedazzle others – even strangers – all the time. A real warm heart is laid-back, moderately interested in other peoples’ lives, talking about the weather and making unacceptable jokes about Allah, Jesus, Jahwe, and Buddha. Agreed, one look at demographics shows that this is less easy than it was when Monty Python made the Life of Brian movie. But I think the REAL shit became evident for all the world when that royal kindergarden nanny died in a car crash in Paris, eleven years ago. No – not when she died, really, but when you all went silly about it and almost beheaded your Queen for not impersonating the howling nuisance that you had become. Once you started hanging it all out, your hearts started turning cold, boring, and uptight (see Heathrow and its smoking ban).

At the same time, many of your own people don’t find it cool to refer to themselves as British anymore. Probably because too many immigrants consider themselves British, huh? Now, many of you are just English, Scottish, Welsh.
Who cut your balls off? The Blair government? To make you more “European”?

Don’t get me wrong – Britain at the heart of the EU would be great, if Britain still remained Britain there. But to be honest, although I’m a commie, I would vote Tory in the next possible election if I was British. You need to rekindle your cool soul, and maybe Mr Cameron is just the right guy to do it. I see nobody at Labour who could do that at all. I doubt that anyone of Labour wants to do that anyway. They’ll rather ban Land of Hope and Glory at the next Last Night of the Proms.

Truly yours,
a concerned Kraut


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