Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Angleterre: Mode d'emploi


This web blog is a sort of lay-by for foreign readers with more time than sense. Often they ask "No Good Boyo, yes we know what Wales is. But what is this England of which you write about?"

I have therefore taken some time out of my schedule as agitator and vivisectionist to compile a brief guide to England and those who live there:

ENGLAND; WHAT IT IS?

A network of motorways and military bases on a broad isthmus between Wales and Scotland, England is among the world's leading entrepôts for tobacco and drink smuggling.

Like many other Germanic and Scandanavian tribes, the English have been cowed by self-doubt in recent decades, and have turned from beserking empire-hurlers into a nation of social workers, drones and emigrants.

Despite brief periods of independence in 954-1066 and 1649-1660, England has largely weltered under Norman, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, German, Belgian and again Scottish rule.

High taxation has kept the mass of the population impoverished, with potential leaders subsumed into the ruling elites through the enticement of civil service pensions. Anyone else with any sense has moved to a cottage in Wales.

Politics

All major parties are either run by Scots or soon will be. The Barnett Formula requires 2/3 of each cabinet to be made up of Scots of various types.

Welshmen were given their own country by the Here You Are Boys Act of 1998, but campaigns to let the English have one as well have been vetoed by the Labour government under the Parliament Act (Retention of Majority) of 2006.

Economy

Major English exports include all clever people and the Armed Forces. England has an extensive foreign investment programme, with franchises of drunk louts and plain, shouty women in the beach resorts of most Mediterranean countries. Imports include contraband toxins and child brides.

England has an extensive and influential European diaspora centred on the criminal community of Valencia, adulterous City commuters in Normandy and newspaper columnists in central Italy.

Culture

Britain transferred all rights to the English language over to the United States under the Lend-Lease Programme during the Second World War. This requires all English pop groups to sing with American accents with the exception of XTC, The Fall and other regional comedy acts.

English classical musicians are also required to have daft girly voices like Peter Pears or to look like dils (see Nigel Kennedy).

This has left the English with football and beer, both of which are consumed lukewarm according to the national taste.

In recent years cricket has been outsourced to South Asia, but rugby has acquired popularity among women who drive Range Rovers.

Health

The replacement of lard and cigarettes with Scotch bonnet peppers and crack has made the English diet more vibrant and diverse. Life expectancy and general cheeriness nonetheless remain stubbornly high, but forthcoming budgets are expected to address this.

21 comments:

The Jet Set said...

Spot on.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I've just received a very bad report on the English (to be dealt with in my next post) so I'm glad your own survey has quite a few pluses amid the minuses. Cheeky point about "berserker empire-hurlers" given the enthusiasm with which the Welsh joined in. Remember the film Zulu and all the Welsh lads at Rourke's Drift? There's got to be a PhD student in Cardiff who's doing a thesis about that movie.

M C Ward said...

I used to feel homesick.

Now I'm definitely moving back.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

A fine summation, missing only a category or two. Food and weather you can lump into one - soggy, grey and soul-destroying. Other semi-successful exports include laddishness, scruffiness, overt innuendo and Yank-bashing (to western Europe only). Most loveable English national characteristic - sporting hubris.

No Good Boyo said...

Good point Stay-At-Home, although each visit to Europe reminds me that scruffiness hasn't caught on as much as it might.

GB, I gather the Welsh role at Rourke's Drift was somewhat exaggerated in the film, but has entered Welsh folklore along with Churchill "sending the troops into Tonypandy", Merlin, Druids and the Kinnocks' being of this world.

Wardy, there's a pokey house with violent neighbours and a failing school with your name misspelled on it.

Smae, Jetset!

Gadjo Dilo said...

It’s hard to disagree with a word of what you say and it makes this ex-pat proud! We’ve been there, done that, and simply decided not to bother any more. To your "ENGLAND; WHAT IT IS?" one could just add the coda: "England; why does it need to be anything"?

Gyppo Byard said...

The lads at Rourke's drift were mainly Brummies; centuries of anti-Midland prejudice (as seen, for instance, in the number of effete southern dickwads who persist in theorising that Shakespeare can't possibly have written his plays on the grounds that he was from Warwickshire or the opinions of Jeremy Clarkson vis-a-vis British Leyland) resulted in the film producers portraying them as Welsh. This was but one of the many liberties taken with our proud Mercian history in the annals of film, but no matter - we're used to it.

I mean, when did you ever hear Shakespeare, Elgar or Tolkien portrayed with the correct accents?

On most of your 'Inggerland' comments you're spot on. I would merely hypothesise that the English are the world's greatest outsourcers. The monarchy, 90%of the colonial administration, all the best fighting troops - all co-opted foreigners (Scots, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Gurkhas, Anzacs etc).

Now the English sit around sipping assorted frothy things which claim falsely to be coffee and pay Poles to do all the smegging work for them.

Ah to return to Southeast Asia and masquerade as an upper-class Englishman from central casting (an entertaining conceit that provided me with the happiest years of my life). Much better than having to deal with the sordid reality up close.

No Good Boyo said...

Gadjo, you're right that confident nations simply are and never cast glances over the shoulder at what lesser races are doing. The English certainly pass that test, especially as they wouldn't be able to understand the dashed foreigners anyway.

Gyppo - I think there were some Welshmen at Rourke's Drift, but we like to keep quiet about it now. Not to be confused with O'Rourke's Drift - a term used in my social circle for any conversation about Chelsea FC or Guinness conducted with Tom "Kneecapper" O'Rourke after nine PM.

Terry Heath said...

You need to ad to "High taxation has kept the mass of the population impoverished..." ...because the subsidy junkie Celtic nations have been a constant drain English resources over the centuries.

Now Wales have their own Parliament, do you think they’ll vote for a “God Bless England” Bank Holiday as a small thank you for their over generous neighbours to the East? It’s the least you could do.

Terry Heath said...

I love this para though...

"Welshmen were given their own country by the Here You Are Boys Act of 1998, but campaigns to let the English have one as well have been vetoed by the Labour government under the Parliament Act (Retention of Majority) of 2006. "

So true, so true!

No Good Boyo said...

Terry, welcome to my world!

When we get St David's Day off as an official toast-the-health-of-Mediaeval-clerics holiday we might consider your God Bless England proposal.

Terry Heath said...

Thanks No Good Boyo. I promise to do the same when we toast-the-health-of-Turkish-medieaval-godknowswhat-day:-)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Re secessionism, I recall comedian Jeremy Hardy having a idea about dealing with the devoutly unionist Orangemen in Northern Ireland: after Scotland and Wales have left, England can leave too, leaving N. Ireland as the only remaining part of the United Kingdom. (But, happily, things are quieter there now, so we probably shouldn't rock the boat.)

M C Ward said...

May I also add England's decline into a complacent decadence, as witnessed by the elevated number of TV programmes about antiques, gardening and DIY?

No Good Boyo said...

My fellow Celt John "Shuggie" MacLeod once noted the curious English fondness for combining murder with DIY - Christie, the Wests. Casts a more sinister shadow on those programmes, eh MC?

Ah, Jeremy Hardy, le Trot qui rit. I rather like him, especially for an aperçu along the lines of "Of course our media is biased. The BBC often reports 'Black day as stock market falls'. A black day for traders, perhaps, but a bright day for anarcho-syndicalists."

Gadjo Dilo said...

Yes, that sounds like him! I could never take his far-left politics entirely seriously (though I 'spose it's not his fault he's the most middle-class-sounding person ever) but his comedy could be as sharp as a commissar's trouser crease.

Maria said...

Your "fellow Celt" - I take it your tongue is firmly in your cheek, old mongrel (like the rest of us) darling?

Phil A said...

Scarily accurate in many respects. I would take issue with the anti American thing.

Certain sections of the English up themselves classes (and some pratty expats in the US), have made a professional living looking down on them, but do not hate them.

Large swathes if the English like and admire the US and emulate them, hence the almost impossibility of singing in anything other than an American accent and the popularity of American wrestling, Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonalds, Light beers such as Bud, ER, Lost, Heroes, holidays in Florida, etc.

It is only largely the left leaning political elite and their dupes, that actually hate the US/Americans.

This is probably more likely an import from the continent as a requirement of some EU regulation and is I believe now mandated under the EU Project Continental Patrician Political Thinking Regulations.

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