Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Explain the Country Known As England to Me: It Just Doesn't Make Sense

England should not exist as a country. It makes no sense. They can’t even agree on a name. Is it England? Britain? Great Britain? Little Britain? United Kingdom? UK? Isn’t England the UK? Five names for the same island nation? Or should be go back to Britania? They have several choices for a national anthem: God Save the Queen, Land of Hope and Glory, or the popular Jerusalem. Is England different from the UK? Is their flag the Union Jack while the Navy flies the St. George’s Ensign? England, back to England, has no constitution, but an unwritten constitution which Parliament can change at any time. The Monarchy is a constitutional monarchy, but there’s no constitution! The Queen, the Monarch, is the head of state, but can only approve legislation passed by Parliament. She can’t veto or change proposed legislation. The purpose of the Crown seems to be Pomp and Circumstance, dedications, a source of material for TV shows and movies, and marketing royal marriages to commoners. The Crown recently married off a Prince of the Realm to an older divorcee, who’s an African American actress. The country made it through centuries with no formal Bill of Rights, but has adopted the Human Rights of the European Union, which it is about to drop out of. Brexit? Are they in? Are they out? Are they maybe in or out, or partially in or out? Does the Prime Minister, who opposed Brexit but now supports it, even know? The country is similarly mixed up on measurements, sometimes using metric and sometimes Imperial Units. They speak English funny, drive on the wrong side of the road, drink warm beer, and enjoy a bland cuisine featuring fish and chips. They’re not even sure if Shakespeare was Shakespeare or even know if Robin Hood existed, but they fervently believe the Lock Ness Monster, “Nellie” as they affectionately call her, exists. They’re puzzled by Stonehenge, a collection of rocks. Their greatest hero, James Bond, has been portrayed by Australian, Irish, and Scottish actors. Fleet Street still publishes real, large size newspapers, an oxymoron in today’s world. They play a boring form of football, often ending in 1-0 scores. The women wear those gaudy hats, which look like they came out of a menagerie. Vangelis, a Greek, composed the theme to the The Chariots of Fire movie about their greatest Olympic champions, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. They celebrate the 803 year old Magna Carta as the birth of British rights, but it simply resolved, temporarily, a tiff between lords and the despised King John. It had nothing to do with the rights of the common man or woman. Only three provisions have meaning today. Parliament is the ultimate law giver. It’s an historical anomaly. Power rests with the House of Commons, the elected lower house. The increasingly eviscerated House of Lords can delay but not block a bill. The Lords, once hereditary, now mostly appointed, can propose legislation and send back to the House of Commons, but that's it. Why keep the House of Lords? King Richard, the Lionheart, acclaimed as their greatest king, hardly ever sat foot in England after his Coronation at Westminster Abbey, probably couldn’t speak English, and is buried in France; yet a 30’ statute of him sits in front of Parliament. Parliament Square contains statues of famous Brits as well as foreign leaders. One is of Jan Christian Smuts, a South African leader who became commander of a large Boer unit during the Second Boer War. The British Army never defeated him. Smuts became Prime Minister of South Africa, a Field Marshall in the British Army, and an advisor to Winston Churchill. He lost reelection after World War II, just as Winston Churchill. Churchill's loss led to Britain's socialism and Smuts' loss tragically gave rise to Apartheid. British history has many great leaders starting with Queen Boudica in A.D. 60. The greats include royalty, prime ministers, and military. The greatest of all was Winston Churchill, who was only half British. His mom, Jenny Randolph, was American. The Brits claim a special relationship with America, a people who kicked them out on July 4. 1776, and then mauled Wellington’s best at New Orleans in 1815. They adore Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years as the British Empire reached its apogee. Yet when her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861 she became a recluse. Scotland Yard is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service. It has nothing to do with Scotland. Scotland Yard still can’t solve after 130 years the greatest cold case in its history: Jack the Ripper. England has several great universities. Two, Cambridge and Oxford, collectively known as Oxbridge, which sounds like a town in the Midlands, are always ranked among the world’s greatest. They don’t even make sense. They are both public and private universities, but their individual colleges are legally independent entities. You can’t even apply to both colleges for undergrad, and, if admitted, aren’t necessarily admitted to the constituent college of your choice. Bus drivers are in a league of their own. They love double decker buses, but the tour bus drivers seem to underestimate the height of low lying bridges, scraping the top off their buses. They sold London Bridge to Arizona and the Queen Mary to Long Beach. That's apparently a manifestation of the special relationship. Its great car marquees, Bentley, Jaguar, Range Rover, Rolls-Royce are foreign owned as is the world famous Harrod’s Department Store. On the other hand the country retains the non-marble Elgin Marbles and Gibraltar. How could a tiny island with a small population create a global empire covering ¼ of the planet and ¼ of world’s population – totally unfathomable How could a country of shopkeepers establish an global empire? How could the great empire exist in a country of rampant poverty. Obviously it was to see the world, to escape confinement on a dreary, wet island. Ironically while the natives fled the island, expatriates from the former colonies have flooded England. The Scot Irish in Ulster want to remain in the United Kingdom, but the Scots in Scotland want out. The country took 400 years to create the greatest empire in the history of the world, and dismembered it in a decade. Explain to me why ????? is a country

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