Turning back the clockin Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:40 pm
by Pepé Le Pew • | 2.720 Posts
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If you are Scottish, please ensure that your sense of humour is fully engaged before continuing.
A little while ago I was having an e-mail 'conversation' with an old chum of mine.
Lord alone knows why I didn't ring him or he me, but we didn't.
We chatted - as much as two two-fingered typists can chat, at any rate - about this and that. The conversation contained little of any consequence; we talked about the weather, how our respective spouses (spice?) were, holidays, neighbours, and, since we are both members of rifle clubs, the ballistics of FAC-rated air rifles at ranges of between 80 and 100 yards. Somehow this meandering, stilted and occasionally misspelled discourse wandered vaguely in the direction of the time of year and the imminent change of hour.
Then my chum, the inestimable Mr G. Hair, a resident of Disgruntled-on-the-Naze, Warwickshire, friend of Sir Donald Campbell and erstwhile denizen of Pendine Sands said something which made me think.
He said this, or something approximating this:
"Speaking of which, why do we have to be different to the rest of Europe?
Wasn't it originally kept this way to make it 'safer for kids to walk to school in the winter mornings', and in response to the perennial moans of the Scots?
Since 99% of schoolchildren are delivered to school in the civilian equivalent of armoured personnel carriers, and with the Scots being imminently independant (sic) and therefore able to do what they like, isn't it time we came into line with the rest of the continent?"
And this is what I thought:
Mr Hair's seemingly innocent missive, while conveying his quite understandable irritation, has inadvertently encapsulated the reason for this once proud countryís fall from its position as the pre-eminent nation in the world to that of global cur, slinking, whining and grinning under the table of civilisation.
And frankly, it makes my blood boil.
In the days of the Empire, when our sphere of power and influence spread from the Isles of Thanet and Sheppey to far-flung archipelagos in the midst of vast glittering oceans, we, The English, would have decided when the clocks went back.
In fact, such was our might that we decided when the sun itself rose and set.
The sun did as we bade it.
We paid no heed to the simpering locals in Bengal, or Rhodesia, or Christmas Island who came pleading to us in the dark with the whites of their eyes lit in fearful faces. We cared not that agricultural workers in Mauritius were obliged to rise at 02:00 to round up flocks of bananas which were grazing far and wide in the foetid jungles. We cared not that those same dusky farmhands risked attack by ravenous jungle-dwelling creatures in order to shepherd those same bananas to russet-roofed shanty towns on the coast where the bananas were humanely shot - mostly - and loaded by the punnet onto Bristol-bound barques.
And they did this so that English ladies could quite properly enjoy tropical fruits in the cool, dewy and immaculately-manicured gardens of Kensington, Godalming or Arundel.
If we wanted the sun to sink below the yardarm at 15:28 in order for our chaps to ease their solar topees from their perspiring brows, loosen their cravats and enjoy a little aperitif, then by God it did.
We gave the world democracy, civilisation and the rules to battledore and shuttlecock, and we made them grateful.
It is a measure of how close the English nation has come to a slide into the primitive, uncultured, uneducated savagery that characterised the world in its pre-Empire days that we now have to fit in with the rest of 'the continent' and their clocks.
Damn their Johnny-foreigner eyes, they should be the ones fitting in with us! Why should we be the lickspittle apologists, squirming, crawling and fawning to them? Why should those odious Frogs, Boche, Spics and Wops be the ones who decide when we need to prime our mantles and pump our Tilleys across this, Godís country?
For heavenís sake, itíll be the confounded fuzzy-wuzzies telling us when to snuff our candles next Ė if we can understand them and their mysterious tongue.
People may say "What about Scotland?"
Well, what about Scotland?
Why should we English be remotely concerned about a country 'up there' somewhere beyond Hemel Hempstead?
A country full of unpleasant red-haired men in skirts and women with arms like tractors, a country where it rains continually and the air is thick with unintelligible accents and clouds of biting midgets that appear whenever the wind drops.
If the Scots need to have a separate time zone to enable wee herdsman Archie McHerdsman to tug the leathery teats of his raggle-taggle herd of moth-eaten ginger cows, why should we care?
I fail to see what difference it would make anyway - the whole damned place is so gloomy that the only means people have of avoiding bumping into each other in the murk is to play bagpipes constantly, like some kind of caterwauling asdic.
Why should it be of any consequence to us? If the few children who live north of the border are 'a wee bit timorous o' the gloom' on the way to school for fear of being mown down by a bladdered ned on the way to its night shift in the throbbing shipyards of Cumbernauld, then make them stay at home.
How much is there to learn about peat anyway?
How did it all go wrong?
We stopped insisting that everyone else does what we want, thatís how.
We gave the world so much.
Forget the Egyptians and their ridiculous writing composed of thousands of tiny drawings of dung-beetles and whippets. What use to the rest of us are some large pointy things in the middle of the desert, and a huge stone Sphincter that was dragged there from Stonehenge?
They had no influence on civilisation.
Some say we owe it to the Greeks. It would be churlish not to acknowledge Ouzo and that Pythagoras invented the triangle, and nor should we forget that all those fascinating lesbians that fill we red-blooded chaps with such curiosity originate from one small Greek island.
The Romans? Candles and something to wear at a toga party.
We gave the world civilisation, and we forget it at our peril.