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ckn

Britain

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I knew a guy who got a middle aged nutcase from Siberia with a love of arguing.

 

Does she like rugby though?

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A cliche.

I have yet to come across a Frenchman who thought that French was a more important world language than English. The language schools of England are full of Frenchies.

my experience is slightly different. yes I'd agree when it comes to the more business minded people, but when I was a member of Rotary in Gannat in the Allier dept, there were certainly members who resented the dominance of English.

the most high profile example, thou is the profoundly anti- English William (Lemaire I think is his surname) on Telematin on French TV. Quite a few academics also resent the English language.

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my experience is slightly different. yes I'd agree when it comes to the more business minded people, but when I was a member of Rotary in Gannat in the Allier dept, there were certainly members who resented the dominance of English.

the most high profile example, thou is the profoundly anti- English William (Lemaire I think is his surname) on Telematin on French TV. Quite a few academics also resent the English language.

They might resent it but I know of nobody who says that French is more important worldwide.

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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.

You forgot to mention the price of a pint and the death of the Pub's as well.

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You forgot to mention the price of a pint and the death of the Pub's as well.

This is a real concern IMO. Pubs are more than about just getting p¡ssed up, they have been good hubs of the community up till recently.

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This is a real concern IMO. Pubs are more than about just getting p¡ssed up, they have been good hubs of the community up till recently.

True.  The sight of working men's clubs struggling especially makes me sad considering how vibrant I remember them from the 80s.

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This is a real concern IMO. Pubs are more than about just getting p¡ssed up, they have been good hubs of the community up till recently.

 

So if the pubs were still there we'd be bombing Syria and the smile would be on the other side Putin's French-speaking face?

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This is a real concern IMO. Pubs are more than about just getting p¡ssed up, they have been good hubs of the community up till recently.

 

Some still are. The good quality "modern" pub may have changed beyond recognition from the old spit and sawdust days, but they can still enjoy a real sense of community. The nearest pub to me holds about four big outdoor events each year for charity including an all day music festival, plus other smaller stuff inside throughout the year (for example at Christmas they have a carols night with a local choir and brass band with free food and hot toddies for those joining in).

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So if the pubs were still there we'd be bombing Syria and the smile would be on the other side Putin's French-speaking face?

Come again squire?

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Some still are. The good quality "modern" pub may have changed beyond recognition fromm the old spit and sawdust days, but they can still enjoy a real sense of community. The nearest pub to me holds about four big outdoor events each year for charity including an all day music festival, plus other smaller stuff inside throughout the year (for example at Christmas they have a carols night with a local choir and brass band with free food and hot toddies for those joining in).

That's great but the number of pubs that have shut within a couple of miles radius of me is pretty shocking.

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'Well blame Nu Labour and Alistair 'commie' Darling for helping kill the pub's with the beer tax.

Thank god for Sam Smith's and Weatherspoon's as at least you can get a cheap pint but even the Working Men's Club's and Social Sport's club's e.g. like Rugby and cricket club's are charging nearly £3.00 a pint.

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I'm not aware of any decent, well patronised pubs shutting. I'm aware of loads that hadn't changed their business model in decades closing down though. My local opened four years ago and is thriving. It has very little passing trade, serves a varity of exceptional beers, innovative food, is family friendly etc etc.

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Whether we intervene with military action or not, I doubt it will end terrorism. The world is such that we will never have total harmony amongst nations. Sadly, many people young and old will never see another sunset

 

I'm against military intervention not because I don't think Assad is a bad man but because a) I'm not convinced 100% that Assad's forces were to blame for the attacks and B) I'm far from convinced that the alternative to Assad will be anything like better.

 

It's nothing to do with a lack of compassion more the fact that it feels like we'll be bombing them and potentially toppling Assad for an end result that could be just as bad if not worse and then creates more enemies for our country. Look at the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have not been handled well and have created generations of animosity to the Western powers, meaning that we'll probably be dealing directly with Islamist terrorism for the rest of my life at least.

 

I don't think British people are uncaring for people across the world they just see a record of abject failure in military interventions like this one.

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I first performed in working mens clubs in the mid 90's and it was obvious then that they were on their way out. The people going were of a different generation where people went out dancing regularly. Social attitudes have changed and the same is true for drinking in pubs; people just like to stay in more and there are fewer men that spend most of their non-working hours in pubs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and I'm not sure this culture is anything to be missed.  

 

It always makes me laugh watching the British soaps where the community all still revolve around the village or community pub. The reality is that British life is no longer like that for the vast majority of people.

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I first performed in working mens clubs in the mid 90's and it was obvious then that they were on their way out. The people going were of a different generation where people went out dancing regularly. Social attitudes have changed and the same is true for drinking in pubs; people just like to stay in more and there are fewer men that spend most of their non-working hours in pubs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and I'm not sure this culture is anything to be missed.

It always makes me laugh watching the British soaps where the community all still revolve around the village or community pub. The reality is that British life is no longer like that for the vast majority of people.

The idealised picture of British working class life never existed. It's no more true than the middle class chocolate box cucumber sandwich, summer picnic idea of Britain. Working class life was hard and miserable, whilst middle class life was just miserable.

The destroyer of community is the changing labour market. People who lived together worked together, socialised together and even worshiped together. They even had the same 2 weeks off work together and probably went to the same seaside town together for those 2 weeks. Consequently they married each other, were (non-familial) 'aunts' and 'uncles' to each other. etc etc. How many people work at the same place as their neighbour these days?

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The idealised picture of British working class life never existed. It's no more true than theirhmiddle class chocolate box cucumber sandwich, summer picnic idea of Britain. Working class life was hard and miserable, whilst middle class life was just miserable.

The destroyer of community is the changing labour market. People who lived together worked together, socialised together and even worshiped together. They even had the same 2 weeks off work together and probably went to the same seaside town together for those 2 weeks. Consequently they married each other, were (non-familial) 'aunts' and 'uncles' to each other. etc etc. How many people work at the same place as their neighbour these days?

While there is a lot of truth in what you say, the image of most of the community using the pub is not a myth. It was the place to go for the vast majority of people. Not everyone by any means but most.

And while life was hard, it doesn't follow that it was miserable. I grew up in, certainly by today's standards, hard times on a rough council estate. But I mainly have warm memories of it. Not rose tinted ones, ones remembering how hard it was but because pretty much everyone was in the same boat it seemed normal.

Which is quite handy because if I don't find a new job ASAP I could be heading back there!

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The idealised picture of British working class life never existed. It's no more true than the middle class chocolate box cucumber sandwich, summer picnic idea of Britain. Working class life was hard and miserable, whilst middle class life was just miserable.

True.

When I think back to my relatives. None of them would have gone to pubs as they didn't have money to waste. None of them would have paid money to watch live sport for the same reason.

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'Well blame Nu Labour and Alistair 'commie' Darling for helping kill the pub's with the beer tax.

Thank god for Sam Smith's and Weatherspoon's as at least you can get a cheap pint but even the Working Men's Club's and Social Sport's club's e.g. like Rugby and cricket club's are charging nearly £3.00 a pint.

Alistair 'commie' Darling?

Now that is a good one. Well done.

By the way I really enjoyed his speech at the Scottish Communist Party conference this year.

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While there is a lot of truth in what you say, the image of most of the community using the pub is not a myth. It was the place to go for the vast majority of people. Not everyone by any means but most.

And while life was hard, it doesn't follow that it was miserable. I grew up in, certainly by today's standards, hard times on a rough council estate. But I mainly have warm memories of it. Not rose tinted ones, ones remembering how hard it was but because pretty much everyone was in the same boat it seemed normal.

Which is quite handy because if I don't find a new job ASAP I could be heading back there!

It wasn't miserable because we were always in the pub! The morning after, however...

And while a lot of people did socialise in the pubs and wm clubs I don't think it was ever a majority. In the 70s in my (largely) working class town it was mainly people from certain groups: 16-25 year olds, older men and some married couples. And mostly at weekends.

But things do change. I wouldn't dream of suggesting to my better half spending a few hours of our leisure time downing quantities of alcohol. Throw in a bit (well, a lot) of food, then maybe...

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Times have changed Hornet though. Once upon a time most people would laugh at the idea of going out on an evening and paying money for a meal, especially a bloody *foreign* one!

But as time goes by and people become more 'sa-fisstickated' tastes evolve and popping round to the local is not seen as the only thing to do. I aren't trying to suggest that the pub was the only leisure activity available but it was the main way of socialising for most people.

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