Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
Foreword to the text below: this script has been misinterpreted as literally reflecting the views of Antigone1984. We wish to make it clear that that is not the case. The use of caricature to make a point is a well-established literary trope. We imagined the reaction of a stereotypical Little Englander or Empire loyalist to the admission by PM David Cameron that Europe was tanking as an export market for British exports. The xenophobic remarks we attributed to this fictional jingo were necessary in order to establish his authenticity: such a person would not have had the views or used the language of Bertrand Russell. Readers of this blog will be aware that we are warmly appreciative of all cultures, whether native or foreign. One of the main reasons for our opposition to the European Union is the belief that this essentially market-oriented essentially economic institution is systematically homogenizing the cultural and economic diversity of its component nations with a view to creating a vast walmartized continental market along the lines of that in the United States. Besides, we can hardly be regarded as xenophobic after choosing to spend nearly half our life on the Continental land mass. As to the replacement, in all but inessentials, of the Commonwealth by the Common Market, the export implications of this historic mistake are widely accepted among economists. Finally, we do admit that the blog is not always politically correct. We have put words in the mouth of our mythical Chauvin that might not be the preferred choice in the higher realms of diplomacy. In France we are used to hearing Brits like ourselves described as “les rosbifs”. It does not bother us. The next step after political correctness is censorship. We do not intend to go down that road. We thought that all this was obvious. Obviously, it was not. Hence this note.
19 June 2012
COMMONWEALTH v. COMMON MARKET
So Brit PM David “Dave” Cameron – Old Etonian descendant of King William IV – dons a sombrero and confesses to the G20 summit in Mexico that Blighty may have to find new export markets as a result of the collapse of commerce in the Eurozone.
Cor Blimey, Dave, we told you that yonks, ago.
For most of the twentieth century, Britain had a fully-fledged hyper-efficient fully-functioning mega-sized export market – the alliance of 40-odd states known as the British Commonwealth.
We well remember those days. Butter from New Zealand at five pence a half pound, milk at twopence a pint, two loaves for threepence, and a leg of Commonwealth lamb for no more than a guinea. Ah, those were the days!
In fact, the terms of trade were so favourable and the living so cheap that a fellow could work only five mornings a week – if he felt like it – and live like a king for the rest of the time. And that included a compulsory party, drinks and crumpet thrown in, every Saturday night. Elvis. Lonnie Donegan. Marvin Gaye. The Rolling Stones.
Enter stage right the Grocer from Broadstairs, PM Edward “Ted” Heath. Dazzled by too many nights out ogling the cancan dancers at the Folies Bergères or else clocking the Cabaret in Unter den Linden, pullover Ted marched us out of the Commonwealth and into the Common Market.
And overnight we lost it. Everything. The lot.
Including 0ur Commonwealth export market – countries with which it was easy to trade, not only because of historical ties, but also because everyone spoke the same lingo.
Our exports were now subject to the tender mercies of a ragbag of incomprehensible foreigners on the Continental Shelf.
Had we won two World Wars only for this? Only for the Huns and the Froggies to lord it over us at the end of the day?
The first thing that happened when we got into the Common Market was that prices rocketed. The second thing that happened was that they rocketed even more. And so it has continued till this day.
Our industries were destroyed in underhand competition from foreign conglomerates that had never heard of the words “fair play”. Our banks were sold to the Spaniards, our water to the French, our motor industry to the South Koreans.
Since we threw in our lot with Europe everything has gone to pot. Nowadays, in a family, both parents have to go out to work, if they can find any, the children are dumped with a child-minder, if they can find any. At night, dressed in rags, the family huddles together under a leaky roof, a chill wind whistling through the cracks in the window frames, dining, if they are lucky, on a few meagre mouthfuls of bread and dripping.
And now they tell us it was all a big mistake.
This Common Market thing isn’t working out, after all.
Well, it’s a bit bleedin’ late to be telling us all this now, Dave, well into the second decade of the twenty-first century. In fact, it’s 39 bleedin’ years too late. Not a thing has gone right since that ill-fated first of January 1973 when your predecessor Ted the Grocer surrendered our Anglo-Saxon birthright for a mess of garlic potage.
And now that everyone can see that things are not working out, along comes Dave with time on his hands – Ascot being come and gone and he no longer too keen on hanging out with his old chums around Chipping Norton now that they have had their collars felt by the Old Bill – and starts groaning on about how everything is going to the dogs in Europe and wouldn’t it be nice if we had some handy foreign markets to export to.
Well, don’t look to the Aussies or Kiwis for help this time, Dave, old boy. We limeys ditched them when we thought we didn’t need them any more and they kind of haven’t forgotten that. They are a bit like that, the Aussies and the Kiwis, you know, a bit like the Bourbons.
They don’t go in for niceties, those johnnies down under. “You whinging pommies, you know what you can do with your bleedin’ exports….” That’s how they will be thinking, Dave. Take care, Dave, take great care when you find yourself sidling up to them with cap in hand.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.