Being British ain’t that Great

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“English Gentleman. Wayne Rooney. Manchester United. The Queen. Sherlock Holmes. Tea. etc, etc, etc…”

Barely a day went by during my ten years in the Far East without someone uttering one of those words at me. They were usually followed by a showering of praise and the occasional emulation of my accent. Brightening up someone’s day merely by being foreigner was really rather special.

Europeans might see us as larger-loutish football hooligans, but in Asia, particularly in Korea, the Brits have got a great reputation. It seems they don’t know our terrible secret: Being British really isn’t all that great.

I mean, what good does the UK actually do? Our government cuts benefits to the poor to benefit the rich; blames everything on immigrants; spies on us incessantly; propagates an outdated social class system, and bombs people for humanitarian aid. Plus we have an unelected, blue-blooded ruler by birthright that doesn’t pay any taxes. What a democracy!

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Westminster: Cuts from the poor to benefit the rich

What is unbelievably good luck for us Brits, is that many in Asia have forgotten our long and turgid history of tyranny in their continent.

Here’s a fun fact: Britain has been at war with (or involved in the killings of people from) Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Oman, Indonesia, Palestine, China, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Turkey, and Tibet all within the last 100 years or so. Britain went to war with China in 19th century because their government wouldn’t buy our drugs.

Singa-what? Speak English damn you!

Singa-what? Speak English damn you!

Then we’ve got an even longer history of general oppression, thievery, and slavery in British India, the Malay states, Borneo, Papua, plus a bit of Arabia and the Middle East.

I guess we’ve only got America and Russia to thank for taking the spotlight off of us.

A note from the Editor-in-chimp: The featured image was taken from here

2 Comments

  • Sorry, mate, but that post is as ridiculous as is is self-hating.

    I don’t see ‘Britain’ blaming everything on immigrants, I see one political party bringing up some valid problems with immigration and everyone blowing it out of all proportion. We have had one of the most absurdly generous benefits systems in the world for a long time that has created an underclass of lazy and inept people.

    ‘Unelected, blue-blooded ruler’??? I assume you mean the Queen? I am not one for the monarchy either, but I think you are overstating things. She rules overs us in word only and her family almost certainly create more money for this country than she takes up in unpaid tax.

    As for the wars, yes, Britain has fought with almost everyone in the days of Empire and recently been involved in mistaken wars in the Middle East. Not going to excuse them, but look at the unbelievable amount of good the British did as well and the richness of our culture and language. You only have to look at our former colonies and see that we are mostly on good terms with them (have a look at Japan’s ex-colonies). A lot of our military operations in Afghanistan have been humanitarian in nature as well. It has been a folly ultimately to try to civilise a nation before its natural time, but many of our intentions were good.

    Slavery, yes, again the Brits had a big slave trade (almost everywhere in the world did at the time, but also remember we were one of the first enlightened enough to abolish slavery too and actually fought for this cause.

    I think you should pause for thought and ponder what some other countries and cultures would have been like if that had stumbled on the privilege and power that the British had or presently that the Americans have. I’m not saying we were or are by any means perfect, but it isn’t a bad country at all, either past or present. Just stop and think how the world would be a different place if the Chinese or the Saudis were unchallenged as the most powerful country in the world.

    • Alright Chris. Now that Xmas, New Years, exams, and assignments are over, and that my girlfriend has returned home, I’m ready to reply to this now.

      First of all, thanks for commenting on my blog, I hardly ever get comments, so knowing that people actually read Monkeyboy Goes is great. I hope you’ll continue to comment from time to time.

      Anyways,

      While this post might be ridiculous, it certainly is not self-hating. I hate myself for a whole host of reasons (I’m not as intelligent as I’d like to be; I’m not always as sincere as I should be; I’m often late; I frequently double book myself; I stutter when I talk and find it hard to articulate myself; I’m shy; I’m forgetful as fuck; I can’t spell; I’m very sweaty, and I’m going bald. The list is endless really), but the things the UK government does / did in the past has nothing to do with my self-loathing. In comparison to the government, I’m as virtuous as the fucking Dalai Lama! The Houses of Parliament and my personality are not one and the same. Perhaps you think I was being unfair about British culture, but I didn’t mention that at all, did I. That’s a whole other post for another time.

      As far as I am aware, you’re not in the UK at the moment and I don’t know when the last time you were back, but perhaps when you do come back (which will be difficult to do if you’re planning on settling here with your wife) you’ll be as shocked as I was at seeing how mainstream anti-immigration and borderline racism has come. Barely a day goes by without immigrants, muslims and the poor being vilified by the hate-filled / glorified-bog-roll newspapers like the Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Times, and our vile tabloids. The right-wing papers have chipped so far into the unacceptable that casual racism has become ordinary (Did you see the Daily Express’ petition to ban Romanians from entering the UK?). It’s seeped so much into the public conscience that not only UKIP, but also The Tories and even Labour (!) are campaigning with anti-immigration policies. The Tories are even promising to get rid of the Human Rights Act! I can’t believe that’s even a policy; what fuckwits would vote for less Human Rights? “Oh, David Cameron, I am but a working class pleb. You with your millions and upper-class privilege make me your bitch.”

      We might have a generous benefits system, but surely that’s commendable? Would you really want to live in a world that leaves them to fend for themselves? Our society propagates the underclass with trickle down economics, unfair taxes, a rigged education system, minimal treatment for mental health, low wages, an undemocratic political political system that breeds apathy, a media oligarchy embedded in the establishment, and a whole host of shit. Our society creates them, and should take responsibility for its actions. But maybe you’re right. Maybe we shouldn’t be paying the underclass £45 a week. It’s a pitiful amount of cash and a complete waste of money that does nothing to solve the problems of poverty.

      You must understand that the underclass (be they lazy, uneducated, mentally ill, or even foreign) are not crippling the economy, don’t you? How can they? The amount of money they scrounge from ‘us’ pales in comparison to the huge piles of cash that corporations dodge, or banks get bailed out with, or private companies get subsidised by. Some Romanian family living off benefits on your street costs you fuck all when you think off all the money Starbucks should have paid in taxes. The reason the media consistently scapegoats foreigners, the poor and the underclass is that they’re easy targets, voiceless, different from their audience, and a distraction from the economic policies that keep their CEOs swimming in olympic-sized pools of dosh.

      Maybe you think I’m being unfair since England is not the only country with these problems, and you’d be right, of course. But people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

      Chris, I can’t imagine what kind of world we would live in if Saudi Arabia or China had had the ability to shape the world like Britain did. Though, I’m sure they’d fuck it up just as well as we did. Your comments about ‘civilising’ Afghanistan make me uncomfortable. I hope I’ve misunderstood you. You’re not saying that they’re incapable of ‘civilizing’ themselves and needed the West to do so, are you? Because then you’d sound like someone from the 1850s, and you should be busy carving up Africa, teaching the natives the wisdom of Christianity and to cover their shame, not getting your knickers in a twist over a post on my stupid blog. But I’m sure you’re not like that, right?

      Anyways, I’ve spent way too long (about 2 hours!) writing this (wow, I should really get a life). Add it to pile of self-loathing. I’m sure we could overcome our disagreements if we were to meet each other.

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