Tuesday, September 1, 2015

United Kingdom

Also known as Great Britain, though the term “Great” may now be an anachronism, it is comprised of four separate countries. These are England, which is an overseas territory of Germany; Scotland, which is an overland territory of England, still far too young to leave the nest and go it alone as an independent nation; Northern Ireland: which is really a part of the Republic of Ireland, except that the English conquered it and refuse to give it back; Wales, which should be pronounced Wal-ès, this being the old Anglo-Saxon word for “an outcast”, “a foreigner”, or “an outsider”.

In addition, though England has given up its Empire, and the British Commonwealth is now simply “The Commonwealth”, the United Kingdom’s “assets” remain global, being comprised of: Akrotiri, a military base on the island of Cyprus; Anguilla, a tax haven in the West Indies; Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which I include only because I enjoy being ironic; Belize, a tax haven in the Caribbean; Bermuda, an “offshore finances market” in the Caribbean; British Antarctic Territory, a stake in the ground for a future oil field; British Indian Ocean Territory, a refuelling station for US aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean; British Virgin Islands, a holiday home in the Caribbean; Cayman Islands, yet another tax haven in the Caribbean; Dhekelia, yet another military base on the island of Cyprus; Falkland Islands, a thumb in the nose of Argentina; Gibraltar, a thumb in the nose of Spain; Guernsey, a thumb in the nose of France; plus the Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The United Kingdom is ruled by an old lady with white hair and a degree in advanced elocution (no, not Margaret Thatcher, she died; though the description applies there too), though it has been suggested, for about forty years now, that she may abdicate in favour of her son, who does not need elocution as he only speaks to horses and plants, or her grandson, who most definitely does need elocution lessons, though he only speaks to journalists.

Given that I am a citizen of this esteemed land, and do not wish to have that citizenship revoked on the grounds of extreme sarcasm or radical satire, I propose to say nothing more than this; or only to point out that the novels of Charles Dickens may actually have been written by Tobias Smollett, while the philosophical writings of Francis Bacon were surely written by William Shakespeare, whose hunchbacked body may now be found at a tourist relic centre at Leicester Cathedral, close to that other made-up character of history Guy False, or Faux in the French, pronounced Fawkes.

The concept of a “United Kingdom” is one that is cherished in England, and especially among Londoners, but it is also self-evidently a fantasy-realm that bears no resemblance to reality; indeed, it would be far more accurate, looking at the 2015 General Election results, let alone the troubles in Northern Ireland throughout the 20th century, to call it a “Disunited Kingdom”; even “The City-State of London and its Environs” would be more accurate.

Marks for: Start with Chaucer and Roger Bacon, and keep counting

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