“Now, children, it’s time for you all to swear to Her Majesty The Queen. All together now:”
“FUCK OFF, HER MAJESTY!”
Seriously, now, this plan to make school-leavers swear allegiance to the monarch, if they can be bothered to, is a ridiculous one. It’s supposedly meant to instill British standards in people – that’s, an imported American ceremony, to make you feel more British. I hope schools don’t take it up, although it’s a depressing thought that they probably will, given the fervour with which they’ve started holding American-style Proms in the last ten years. That’s another horrible American import which we’re best off without.*
It’s strange, though, that the “British standards” the government is keen on instilling are never the British standards that Britain is actually famous for, and that Britons have been famous for for hundreds of years. They’re more interested in realising some mythical moral standard where everyone doffs their cap to their betters and helps old ladies across the street.** Such a world never actually existed, but that never stops people claiming it did.
* I don’t know many American teenagers, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the ones who don’t bother going to their prom, or hold an alternative one, are the only ones I would get along with.
** Whether they want to cross the street or not. “It’s for your own good, dear, now come over here with me.”
The scene: the office conversation, a quick conversation with a new member of staff whilst the kettle boiled. He was telling me all about his past, his former history of self-employment.
“… but you can’t do anything in this country nowadays, it’s terrible for small businesses, this government, it really is, they want to get control of every little thing…”
I thought: I know exactly what’s coming here.
“…it makes it impossible to run your own life…”
… any second now …
“it’s this Nanny State…”
BINGO! As soon as someone, especially a certain type of person, starts along that line of argument, they’re going to mention the Nanny State, which rules every aspect of our lives and tells us exactly what we can and can’t do. These are the people who believe that Christmas is being banned, or that the government has banned blackboards for being racist, and that it’s Political Correctness Gone Mad. And I don’t understand them. Do they never look at the world around them? Do they believe anything they hear or read?
He rambled on about how much better everything was in America – how life is far better, the taxes are lower, everyone is better off and lives a wonderful life without government interference.
“Yes, until they fall ill and can’t afford to pay for treatment,” I said.
“No, no, medicine is free in the USA too,” he replied.
“Really?” I said, because that really doesn’t square with everything else I’ve been told about the USA over the years.
“Yes, it’s all free, just as it is here,” he said. I was tempted to ask if the land is also flowing with milk and honey, with dollar bills and chocolate coins growing on the trees, but I’m not sure if he’d have realised where the joke was.