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September 28, 2009 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Rule Brittania

“Rule Brittania! Brittania rules the waves! Bretons never, ever, ever will be slaves!” That’s an anthem to be sung with vim and vigor. A strident chorus you can really get behind. It’s epic and sweeps you along with it. But it’s not really appropriate any more. In fact the closest we could get (and this is with apologies to a far better writer than I) would be: “We own all the big guns, we control the news. We fund all your armies, oppose us and you’ll lose. America, America, Aammmeeeeeericaaa!” Because America is the closest thing we have to an Imperial center in our modern world. Terrifyingly this means that for an all too long period Dubya was the equivalent of a retarded Emperor Palpatine.

But I want to recall the real Empire. The British Empire. Ahhhh, what heady days they were. Men were dashing, brave, mustachioed, snuff snorting, powerhouses of machismo; women were sensual, demure, willful, intelligent, conversational, intriguing forces of influence and standing, and young people were either little lord Fauntleroy or Oliver Twist. Authors were real informational powerhouses and not Dan Brown. The world’s greatest detective was Sherlock Holmes; not some lunatic with a latex obsession. If there was an x on a box it meant you had found treasure; not that you were wasting your life swapping obscenities with a hyperactive Tourettes-afflicted 12-year-old playing Halo. When the Red Ring of Death meant that the Rajah had served his special curry; not that you had to cry bitter tears of disappointment and shame at your mechanical ineptitude and curse Bill Gates for his product savviness. When a Chinese gold farmer involved actual effort and not just a complete lack of social skills. It was a time when you could be introduced to your fiancée’s family as an adventurer and be lauded, not scoffed at or thought of as a sexual deviant. And when a bumboy was a time-honoured position of staff and not, well that ones pretty self explanatory really.

The British Empire stood for something. Generally it was when a woman entered the room. Because manners were how we defined ourselves. Men honored women, if in an incredibly misogynistic fashion. Women were enormously important to us. It was of the utmost importance that we have a wife, and thus carry on the family line. Our country was defined by our women, because it was only when we were away from them that we had reason to home. And we were coming home from from all over the globe. There was no gilding of the lily in the phrase “Brittania rules the waves.” We did! Lock, stock and a brace of smoking cannons. In a time when the high seas were the only method of transport we sailed where we wished with impunity. We were the watery rulers of the known world and were constantly looking for ways to expand that circle of influence.

British rule gave the world a sense of community that it had previously lacked.

We brought the world together and fostered a new lingua franca still in common usage today. Even in seemingly hopeless circumstances we comported ourselves with only our concern for King and Country. When we were surrounded by thousands of screaming, murderous Zulu warriors, did we surrender like Frenchmen? No, of course not. We died so that Brittania’s legacy could stand with the motto: “The sun never sets on the Empire.” Essentially because “The sun never sets on the Empire, except for about three-quarters of an hour” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In fairness we did have a few minor problems. It could be argued that we were insufferably racist. Fair enough. Nothing has really changed globally, has it? Still a bunch of xenophobic, bigoted, uncultured louts. Except now instead of calling them darkies or kanakas it’s terrorist or insurgent. Usually these would be applied to anyone who looks shifty and seems to have spent any time in the Middle East recently. We were accused of misogyny. Well, can’t really argue with that. But in fairness it was a harder time. Wars weren’t the comparatively clean affairs that they are today. Though that didn’t stop women getting stuck in, and indeed being recognised for their efforts when they did. Jobs were fewer in scope and generally required a level of physicality that made equal opportunity eminently impractical.

So despite casually rampant racism, situationally appropriate misogyny, widespread indentured servitude, desperation level poverty and pandemic levels of STD infections, particularly chlamydia, it was a better time. We have moved into an age where equality is only as equal as the rabid feminists let it be. A time when the nancyboys want parades and TV shows not just casual, unspoken acceptance. A time where being physical in the workplace means for most of us that we might have to shift a box of paper every now and then. And we got all this for the low, low price of awesome. Modern life lacks awesome. We need to bring it back like sexy, and soon. Rule Brittania, bitches.


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Comments (7)

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  1. Andrew Waldock says:

    If you are so pro-British, why don’t you know how to spell ‘Britannia’.

  2. hank scorpio says:

    shut the fuck up

  3. Mikey says:

    If you’re so picky about grammar, why don’t you know how to use a question mark?

  4. smackdown says:

    because he’s thick as a brick

  5. Josh Cleary says:

    If you are so pro “literacy” how do you not understand satire?

  6. Lord Albertson Wuthering Bartholomew Standing Upright In Full Cricketing Splendor says:

    I am exceedingly glad, gladdish, gladnessism, and full gladdity that you have penned such a baritone comfunctory toward an understanding of modern britain.

    Speaking of grammar, I would call the sirs and madams attention to a couplet of the gentry, performing a rendition of notre dame’s great wedding failures:

    Note that, at 40 seconds, he asserts as you do that the sun itself is a slave to her majesty’s kingdom. I would also call sirs attention to some interesting grammar:

    Now I’m off to slap a feminist on the botty

  7. smackdown says:

    hey you owe me a shilling

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