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ckn

Britain

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I've had a bit of a rant building for a while and this week has topped it all...

 

Here's a summary of what I see happening with the UK, both internally and externally:

 

- We've badly annoyed the US over Syria.  This was an already skeptical US government who didn't really like us anyway but trusted us as a reliable ally.  The Republicans aren't much more favourable at the moment as Cameron openly touted for Democrat sympathies.  Ed Miliband is about as welcome there as herpes.  So, there's a soured relationship.  I've seen more than a few articles and opinions today and yesterday full of bluff and bluster that we should really be loosening the bond anyway.  Expanding that point, Russia, Iran, N Korea and other nations are rattling their sabres more and more, the US is getting fed up and there's a broad feeling in the political elite there of wanting to retrench back to isolationism, especially if their allies seem to be doing the same.

 

- We regularly state how much we want to get out of the EU.  We regularly deliberately annoy the French and Germans, the Spanish don't like us.  The Eastern European EU countries detest us for the loss of a not inconsiderable portion of their working youth, with a high proportion of them being the type of people no nation can really afford to lose.  We're proud of the international investment in the UK over the last decade or two but most people just don't understand that the biggest reason for that investment is that the UK is a nice cheap place to build things to sell to Europe without duties then send the profits abroad untaxed, leave the EU and where's the incentive for the companies to stay?

 

- But for Australia, Canada and NZ not treating us with contempt, the Commonwealth isn't exactly a good source of friends.  Even then those three nations are more like friendly acquaintances rather than friends.

 

- Our core international strength these days is our financial sector.  The US and EU would dearly love to see that broken.  If we keep pushing the EU away then we'll have no say at all when they bring in the taxes that will force international trade to make a choice between high cost international transactions based in London or cheaper in NY or one of the EU hubs.  The international financial industry isn't known for its loyalty and would happily sit anywhere in their world and direct their computers at NY rather than UK if it saved them a fraction of a percent in cost.

 

- We've now shown that when it comes to being one of the Permanent Seats on the Security Council that our threats are backed up with only a willingness to make more threats while our allies hold the stick.  Good luck next time we really want something done to protect our own interests.  International diplomacy at this level just doesn't work if you publicly say "not our problem".  It's OK if you're, say, Belgium who doesn't really want to be at the top table all the time and are content to let the EU lead, it's not OK for the UK who want to express independence.  The only reason we won't have the Seat removed from us by the UN is that it'd take 15 years of UN debate to make the decision then the US would just veto it anyway as not in their interests.

 

- Three decades of cowardly internal investment in terms of energy self-sufficiency has left us very vulnerable to being exploited by the less friendly states out there.  A minimal bit of investment spread over three decades could have had us in a far better place but no government wanted to broach the subject of new nuclear power stations.

 

- Our armed forces have been treated like a kid's plaything since the end of the cold war.  Cut, cut, cut, degrade pay and conditions, cut again, skimp a bit on investment, cut yet again, mess around with pensions, cut again.  All while pretending we've still got a willy to waggle.  Do one or the other, cut your military or be world military statesmen, you can't do both.  The biggest hint that the politicians just didn't get it was culling our admittedly lightweight aircraft carriers many years away from replacement then commissioning ego pieces of WW3 capable navy ships while treating nimble smaller warships capable of dealing with current threats, e.g. piracy, as if they're not needed.

 

- Our national morals are so shot that we genuinely look at genocides going on around the world and think "not our problem".  The BBC Panorama crew were in Syria and saw a Syrian jet drop napalm or thermite onto a school, 20 kids killed along with a good number of adults and plenty more seriously injured.  The overwhelming response of Britain was "not our problem".  To be fair, the rest of the world has slipped along the same way.  We still turn blind eyes to UK based arms companies selling weaponry to nutjob regimes around the world, after all it's tax revenue and what they do with them isn't our problem.  Anyone who thinks we have any international morals should read the work of General Dallaire on the Rwandan genocides and how he was ignored by everyone while nations still sold more and more arms and munitions to the government forces.  In the 1990s, governments genuinely avoided using the word genocide as it was such a taboo that we'd have to intervene if we knew one was going on, in the 2010s, it's so routine that government ministers talk about genocide as if they found a hair in their soup.  Maybe it'll be the same in the 2020s about chemical weapons.  No wonder the Israelis don't believe us when we say "never again" in response to the Holocaust.

 

- Another one on our national morals.  Pay day loans are so acceptable these days that no-one bats an eye at 2000-5000% APRs any more.  I saw one advert this morning inbetween overs in the cricket for a new one, Sunny, that has a USP (unique selling point) of having no late fees or charges if you're late paying, you "just" pay the 1971% APR interest on what's late.  No wonder a judge had sympathy and didn't jail an unregistered loan shark working a council estate who only charged 40% APR.  If we had any sense of financial responsibility as a country then we'd ban these things that are solely there to exploit the lowest paid people in the country.  As an aside on this, I have a friend who works at a debt management company, he told me last week about a young woman who had just taken an IVA through them less than a month ago but came to him asking his help in getting a loan to help her through "a short term issue"; on investigation, she wanted new carpets for her house and she couldn't understand why he got so frustrated and told her to think about saving up and paying cash rather than taking a loan at the usurious rates offered to those in an IVA for something that she really didn't need.

 

- We have a culture in companies where they deliberately pay minimum wage and grudge it so much that it's clear that they are only paying that because they're legally obliged to do so.  Unfortunately, many of these people are in caring career jobs.  Profit is everything.

 

I could go on but I'm off out to watch some sport...

 

So... that leaves us with Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands who think we're wonderful.  I wonder how many Wonga loans we can get them to take.

 

My impression of the UK now is like a narcissistic aging man who likes to tell everyone about how important we are and genuinely believing it when we're really all fur coat and no knickers.  Not the "sick man of Europe" we were in the 1970s but we do seem to have a worryingly persistent cough that's not going away.

 

I genuinely don't know how we'd fix it.  Our current generation of politicians are lightweights at best.  Sadly, Cameron is the best of the leaders there now, unfortunately he's still fairly naff and his heart is quite firmly set on keeping the Conservative traditions going of helping the wealthy and corporations while pretending anyone north or west of the midlands doesn't exist.  I wouldn't believe Miliband if he told me tomorrow was Sunday, I'd have to go check my calendar.  Clegg is a middle-manager out of his depth but I'd still have him as PM over Miliband.  It's a pathetic state of affairs that probably the most credible party leader in Britain is Alex Salmond.

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Britain is not a big deal anymore and several countries don't like us.

I can live with that, let's cut our cloth accordingly and stop playing the big shot. And start treating these countries that 'don't like us' in a reciprocal manner.

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Can't argue with that. You didn't add the behaviour of British tourists abroad. They make me ashamed to a human being, let alone British.

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I take it you weren't offered that job you went for a while back:(

I was.  I declined it as I genuinely felt I could not give it my full commitment.  I'm now taking a couple of months completely off to readjust my thinking.

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You'll be off somewhere better then?

Will you be having a garage sale?

Nope.  I'm quite happy to stay here and try to make it better despite the best efforts of others to ruin Britain.

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Can't argue with that. You didn't add the behaviour of British tourists abroad. They make me ashamed to a human being, let alone British.

I have a standing rule that I won't go on holiday anywhere I'm likely to see an English football shirt.

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Can't argue with that. You didn't add the behaviour of British tourists abroad. They make me ashamed to a human being, let alone British.

Don't know when you last went on holiday but some foreign tourists (aren't all tourists foreign lol) are equally as bad as the 'brits on the p↑ss' mob.

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Britain has its faults but personally I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Have to say this is my thinking. A lot of people I know start a "this country" rant but I have to say that I love living here. I have a decent lifestyle and freedom to do what I want, personally never had any issues with employment (although I have only been working 5 years).

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I've had a bit of a rant building for a while and this week has topped it all...

 

etc etc.....

 

But at the end of the day you have the freedom to say all of that so it ain't all bad.

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I'd like to know exactly which countries have populations that are in favour of intervention in Syria. We don't want to and the French and American public don't either.

Either everybody's morality is shot to pieces or the Western world is sick of sending young men to die on behalf of Arab civilians that resent Western "help" and will turn on us at the first available opportunity.

I'm not really sure what the rant about cutting armed forces whilst increasing international commitments was about either since you argued in favour of intervention in Syria. It seemed to me that parliament finally recognised that we're not the world police.

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I'd like to know exactly which countries have populations that are in favour of intervention in Syria. We don't want to and the French and American public don't either.

Either everybody's morality is shot to pieces or the Western world is sick of sending young men to die on behalf of Arab civilians that resent Western "help" and will turn on us at the first available opportunity.

I'm not really sure what the rant about cutting armed forces whilst increasing international commitments was about either since you argued in favour of intervention in Syria. It seemed to me that parliament finally recognised that we're not the world police.

1.  None.  Sometimes we have to do unpopular things though.  Do you think the population would support WW2 these days?  Especially if the Germans were clearly being honest about not wanting to fight Britain.

 

2.  Yes, morality is gone.  It's not just the middle-east, we don't care where in the world genocide happens, we'll ignore it anywhere.

 

3.  If a British government had said "we're proposing to step down from our permanent seat on the Security Council and really want a peaceful life nowadays" then positioned ourselves the way Germany has then I'd accept it if it got through Parliament.  We haven't though, we've kept the responsibility and privilege of having that Security Council seat yet now don't want to meet those responsibilities.  You can't cut your army so excessively since 1990 and still pretend to be Deputy Sheriff to the US's John Wayne.  It's either/or, not both.

 

I'm very, very strongly of the opinion that I want us to be part of a peace-making force where necessary to stop genocides.  If that means we, as a first world, have to tighten our belts a bit more to afford being peacemakers then so be it.  (Note, there's a massive difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper)  I recommended General Dallaire's work above, I recommend again that you even read some of the interviews he's done to show you what happens when the first world steps back and pretends genocide isn't happening, 800,000 African civilians died but then that's not our problem, we only sold them the weapons to do the killing.  If reading his work doesn't make you want to pick up our 21st century army's big stick and beat genocidal leaders into a pulp then I despair.  Unfortunately, too many people see it as "not our problem" and "we've too many of our own first world problems to bother with anyone outside of our borders".  I'll reiterate that it's my held belief that if we went back to 1939 now that we'd probably vote to stay out of WW2 as that nice Mr Hitler said he wanted to be our friend, remember that in 1939 only the lightest hint of the Holocaust was visible outside of Germany and Hitler genuinely didn't want to fight us.

 

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

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1.  None.  Sometimes we have to do unpopular things though.  Do you think the population would support WW2 these days?  Especially if the Germans were clearly being honest about not wanting to fight Britain.

I don't think the population in 1939 wanted WW2 either. Hence the policy of appeasement. Everybody could see that even if the Germans didn't attack the UK directly if they ruled the continent then we would be cut off.

 

2.  Yes, morality is gone.  It's not just the middle-east, we don't care where in the world genocide happens, we'll ignore it anywhere.

This has always been true. Hence Mao's great famine and cultural revolution went unpunished, as did the Khmer Rouge's killing fields and Stalin's famine in Ukraine.

The UN was set up to discourage external intervention in a country's internal affairs. It designed to prevent one country invading another not to prevent massacres.

 

3.  If a British government had said "we're proposing to step down from our permanent seat on the Security Council and really want a peaceful life nowadays" then positioned ourselves the way Germany has then I'd accept it if it got through Parliament.  We haven't though, we've kept the responsibility and privilege of having that Security Council seat yet now don't want to meet those responsibilities.  You can't cut your army so excessively since 1990 and still pretend to be Deputy Sheriff to the US's John Wayne.  It's either/or, not both.

 

I'm very, very strongly of the opinion that I want us to be part of a peace-making force where necessary to stop genocides.  If that means we, as a first world, have to tighten our belts a bit more to afford being peacemakers then so be it.  (Note, there's a massive difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper)  I recommended General Dallaire's work above, I recommend again that you even read some of the interviews he's done to show you what happens when the first world steps back and pretends genocide isn't happening, 800,000 African civilians died but then that's not our problem, we only sold them the weapons to do the killing.  If reading his work doesn't make you want to pick up our 21st century army's big stick and beat genocidal leaders into a pulp then I despair.  Unfortunately, too many people see it as "not our problem" and "we've too many of our own first world problems to bother with anyone outside of our borders".  I'll reiterate that it's my held belief that if we went back to 1939 now that we'd probably vote to stay out of WW2 as that nice Mr Hitler said he wanted to be our friend, remember that in 1939 only the lightest hint of the Holocaust was visible outside of Germany and Hitler genuinely didn't want to fight us.

 

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

The thing is that you are wrong about the UN security council seat coming with "responsibilities".

The UN was set up to prevent conflicts such as WW1 and WW2. The great powers would be allowed to intervene in the internal affairs of other states only under strict rules. One such rule is that it did not tread on the toes of another great power hence the veto power.

As a great power, at the time, we were given a permanent seat. We probably no longer "deserve" it in terms of military power but then nobody bar the USA does either. But at no time was there the idea that the UN security council members were supposed to intervene - quite the reverse.

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I don't know where we get the idea that Britian's morality has been lost.

Are we comparing the last hundred years to that highly moral foreign policy that we exercise during previous hundred years, the time of the British Empire?

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I don't know where we get the idea that Britian's morality has been lost.

Are we comparing the last hundred years to that highly moral foreign policy that we exercise during previous hundred years, the time of the British Empire?

Quite.

The problem is that we have been brought up on a fairy tale version of WW2 whereby the brave British sacrificed their empire to save Europe from the Nazis.

Inconvenient facts such as appeasement or the alliance with Stalin (and his subsequent occupation of Eastern Europe) are glossed over. Not to mention the terror bombing tactics we employed.

The reality was that if Hitler had limited himself to gassing the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped etc in Germany, there would have been no war. He wanted to conquer Europe and that is something that threatened our (and French) interests - that is why we went to war.

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