The dis-United Kingdom (continued from page 94) ...

Malcolm Redfellow

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There's a neat vamp on a well-known theme in the current issue of Prospect Magazine. The piece — a full 4,000 word job — in an issue bannered Broken Britain, by venerable Neal Ascherson, is headed:
Scotland: Normal nation, neurotic neighbour
The Union has been in decline for decades. The root problem is not turbulent Scots, it is a very English failure to develop a healthy nationalism south of the border
Since it's on-line, there's no need for me to gloze it here. Follow the hot-link and see if your distance varies.

The intro, itself, is worth the trip:
I was a guest, one day, at a royal banquet at Windsor Castle. The table, set with immaculate Victorian china and Georgian silver, stretched far into a distance where a white speck must certainly have been Her Majesty, and the dark blob Árpád Göncz, then President of Hungary.

Servants waited behind the chairs, in which Brits and Hungarians alternated. Windsor’s ancient stock of Tokaj was served. Hungarian neighbours, reluctant to be impressed, conceded it was wonderful. Conversation began. And then it happened.

The pipe band of a Highland regiment, in full tartan splendour, tramped in and began a slow march around the table with a gigantic clamour of bagpipes. Talk became instantly impossible as they made two lengthy circuits of the hall. The Brits looked decorously at their plates, as if nothing was going on. But the Hungarians looked wildly around. Your Queen—what does she mean by this?

I also wondered what she meant. But then I reflected how the Emperor Augustus no doubt brought loyal costumed Gauls to perform at his banquets. Habsburg emperors probably ordered ferocious Croats to dance with their weapons at dinners for foreign guests. So didn’t British kings and queens want to show visitors that they, too, had tamed barbarous tribes from the distant mountains and trained them up to imperial service?
 


sgtharper

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There's a neat vamp on a well-known theme in the current issue of Prospect Magazine. The piece — a full 4,000 word job — in an issue bannered Broken Britain, by venerable Neal Ascherson, is headed:

Since it's on-line, there's no need for me to gloze it here. Follow the hot-link and see if your distance varies.

The intro, itself, is worth the trip:
That reminds me of a story I heard many years ago, can't remember where, about a Russian officer invited to dinner with teh Officers of a Scottish regiment. The dinner proceeded well with the guest obvioulsy enjoying himself and in due course the plates were cleared and the port and cigars circulated. At this point and when everbody was sitting comfortably, the mess doors were opened and in trooped the Pipes and Drums in full Highland fig and belting out "Hielan' Laddie" for all they were worth. They paraded around the Mess table several time, playing their full set before halting at the head of the table whereupon the Pipers played a ten-minute selection of traditional pipe-tunes. The guest, from their first appearance, was in a state of bemusement, shock even, never having seen or heard anything like it in his life. He appeared completely baffled, if not astonished, at the kilted and bear-skinned cacophony surrounding him, and then slowly, a smile was seen to appear, gradually replaced by an expression of excited discovery and realisation. At this point he grabbed the arm of the officer to him and with evident glee inform him, "They're playing a tune!"
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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I hereby nominate bag-piping for one of the longest-running jokes in English literature:


A thug, a braggart, a cheat ... and worst of all , a bagpiper!
The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones;
Ful byg he was of brawn and eek of bones ...
Wel koude he stelen corn, and tollen thries;
And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
 

Telstar 62

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Irish and Scottish Anglophobes have been predicting the demise
of Her Majesty's United Kingdom for decades.....:cool:
 

DJP

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Neal Ascherson said:
I also wondered what she meant. But then I reflected how the Emperor Augustus no doubt brought loyal costumed Gauls to perform at his banquets. Habsburg emperors probably ordered ferocious Croats to dance with their weapons at dinners for foreign guests. So didn’t British kings and queens want to show visitors that they, too, had tamed barbarous tribes from the distant mountains and trained them up to imperial service?
No they didn't and that is a childish thing to say.
 

Levellers

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The English are ruining the UK from the inside. Normally placid Leicester City fans upon finding themselves mixing with foreigners.

 


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