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Saturday, 3 March 2007

Risible but nonetheless touching tributes

Two pieces of transatlantic nonsense that have come to my attention this week. The first is by a would-be author who has started an online petition for the UK to pay reparations to the rest of the world as a way of giving publicity to what is by all accounts an appallingly written and utterly risible amateur history of the world. No need even to mention this halfwit by name. However, it's touching in a naive sort of way that this dolt believes Britain to have been so globally influential.

The second is by the recondite commentator Irwin Stelzer in the Speccie. Stelzer pleads with Britain not to criticise the US for fear this will precipitate America to withdraw from world affairs altogether. Framed in a sort of childrens' playground threat that 'I won't be your friend any more' it laughably analyses international relations in terms of a middle class dinner party. Again, it has a sort of naive charm.

I am rightly proud of the links between the British and American peoples; we share a common culture and heritage, a common set of beliefs, a common determination to uphold the Good. Our peoples will continue to share these bonds whatever else happens. What's happening at the moment, to lapse into Stelzerian anthropomorphism, is that our next door neighbours have replanted their garden in some hideous parody of all the principles of gardening. It's an embarrassment to the neighbourhood. And painful to live next door to. Being true friends and good neighbours, we've said so. We've even warned that we may have to put a fence up so we can't see it. Our neighbours are mad back at us - we're off their Thanksgiving card list this year.

But one thing we both know - that if either of our houses catches fire, or we see a burglar trying to break in, we'll each still be the first there for eachother. And that's because we're both grown up and responsible, and not schoolchildren squabbling in the playground.

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