The Judge RANTS!
Somewhere In The Region Of...
(Yes, Challinor dear boy, you got in first on this. I had a lie-in on Sunday morning. It's not going to stop me anyway, d'ye hear?)
Following on from Saturday, I hereby declare that the Guardian can go fuck itself.
And I don't just mean on general principles, although they would deserve a period of intense self-copulation merely for their betrayal of any lingering commitment to progressive values (however defined) and their determination to be the media outlet of choice for the Ministry of Perpetual War and the George Smiley Memorial Home.
This piece from yesterday takes not only the biscuit but the entire annual output of McVities, Nestlé, Nabisco and Bahlsen combined.
To set the scene: to commemorate the fact that Queen Elizabeth The Eternal Welfare Claimant had managed to not die yet, the government of Greater England commissioned a bijou celebratory tome-ette extolling the virtues of the latest product of hereditary monarchy and of the Greatest and Most Perfect Union in the History of the World, the Solar System, the Universe, Space (GaMPU) over which she reigns (seemingly for ever and ever. Hallelujah!).
The contract - for it would be a denial of the entrepreneurial spirit not to outsource the work in the same way that darkie-warehousing and cripple-kicking has been - was handed to a company called DK Books. This company - which, in a rare departmental mis-step, seems not to have on its board any Tory MPs or peers at all as far as I can tell - used to be called Dorling Kindersley back in the days before marketing bods realised that a large part of the consumer mass cannot handle brand names which extend beyond two syllables (or even two letters). It was most famous in my youth for producing books on sex education for kiddies and other such outrages against the traditional British values of happy ignorance and coy embarrassment.
The Big Idea (which, in being an Idea and also Big, we must therefore assume could not have come from a member of the government) was to distribute the finished volume to every school child in the Queendom (in my day, we just got mugs on such glorious occasions).
Alas, this grand plan ran into a little local difficulty. Because education is a devolved matter, it was for the governments in Caerdydd and Edinburgh to decide whether the book was handed out to the future ingrates of their respective colonies. When the education ministries in these happy lands looked at the book, they felt that to hand it out it to every licklun and wee'un would be ill-advised, especially at a time when it is deemed desirable to stamp on any further burgeoning sentiment against GaMPU in general, and its drawing of attention to its bizarre constitutional arrangements (i.e., no constitution at all) in particular. The work was not merely monarch-centered - as one might expect - but also so Anglocentric as to be a reminder of what was lost when Rudyard Kipling and Winston Churchill were no longer available to write school history textbooks.
And so the respective colonial administrations - much to the 'dismay' of their obvious betters in the Imperium - wilfully decided that any schools wanting to give their young charges a foretaste of the sort of self-regarding, self-abusery propaganda to which they would be subjected throughout their adult lives would have to ask for copies to be sent to them.
So far, so Imperial. But go back and read the Guardian piece again (if you didn't the first time, and who could blame you if you didn't). See if you can spot a recurring motif in the terminology used.
Come back when you've done that, if you would be so good.
In case you didn't quite catch what was so insulting about the report, let me highlight a few things:
If it is offensive to describe a nation which was in existence for some six or seven centuries before England was ever invented as a 'region' once, then it follows that to repeat the slur at least twice more is more offensive still. And not just three times over, either; the effect is not cumulative but exponential.
The propaganda purpose of the whole exercise is summed up in that weasel phrase, "...how the four nations came together as one...". It is a barefaced lie: there was no 'coming together' as far as we were concerned. As I have pointed out before, English rule over our land came about by a process of invasion, conquest, occupation and colonisation rather than anything voluntary in nature as implied in the text; Scotland - strongly against the will of its people - was sold out by its parasitic land-owning class; and I'm sorry, but NornIrn isn't a nation at all; merely an occupied zone of someone else's. Unless the author meant Kernow, which I strongly doubt. And why is 'Prince of Wales' in scare quotes?
So how is my nation's history delineated in its official timeline? Thusly:
There is a certain appositeness I suppose in marking the key points in the story as being, a) the crushing of the natives (and this official publication can't even be arsed to spell 'Glyndŵr' correctly); b) the exploitation of our mineral resources for the benefit of Empire; and c) the turning of our land into a combination of theme park and English chavs' shit dump. These three events encapsulate accurately the way in which the Greater English have regarded - and continue to regard - our land and its people.
(And by the way, 'Snowdonia' is actually called 'Eryri' and 'Mount Snowdon' is called 'Yr Wyddfa'; these are the names they have borne since time immemorial, and we're pig fucking sick of the English changing our place-names to suit their own prejudices or incapabilities.)
But why take offence at this? After all, even allowing for the fact that we are long used to offhand terminology and descriptions being used by those near to the sclerotic heart of Empire (especially those who would seek to lay claim to the description of 'liberal' or 'enlightened'), 'region' is just a word, isn't it?
Yes, it is. At least, in as much as a word is a word is a word and you want to isolate it from its contexts and meanings. But to do so is to reduce all words to the Scrabble®-board level of significance. The offence in the use of the word 'region' in this context is essentially twofold:
- It inevitably belittles the status of a nation if you describe it as a 'region'. For to describe it thus is the clear placing of that nation in a subservient and subjugated position to some other entity. This is clearly the way the term is used in terms of the so-called 'United Kingdom', implying that Cymru and Alba are mere parts of a supposed 'British nation'.
This just in: there is no such 'British nation'. Never has been. Those who claim otherwise have either been propagandised into terminal credulousness, or are simply unable to distinguish between 'a nation' and 'a state'. That 'Britain' is a State (make your own jokes up here, chums; it's gone 0100 and I'm in no mood for japery) is obviously true. But a 'nation'? If it were, then why describe it in that third screenshot above as a 'union' of four 'nations'? It simply isn't possible logically for a nation to be a sub-unit of another nation. Down a level from 'nation' you can only have 'regions', and that is the assumption which has been made here and in every other similar context.
(The reason 'nations' is used in that example above is, of course, to try to butter us up with the thought that - at least when it suits them - the imperial power is capable of according us some basic respect. But only when it suits them).
- But there is a second element to the use of the word 'region' - or, rather, of the
underlying sentiment of it - which is probably unique to England and the English.
For the word 'region' and its derivatives is seldom if ever used by the English (especially the metropolitan sub-species thereof which dominates the setting of public discourse in a State in which all power and influence is so hyper-centralised) in any approving or even emotionally neutral way. It always carries a clear overtone of the condescending, the dismissive or the outright sneering; they even use it in that manner about other parts of their own country; consider how the metropolitans - even those whose own origins may lie far outside The Great Wen - habitually speak of those parts of their land which comprise not-London, and of the people who live there. 'Region' in this usage is therefore a put-down, even if sometimes only unconsciously so.
So those of us living in England's insular colonies are being insulted at two different levels: firstly, our nationhood itself is effectively denied; and secondly, even in that denial we are traduced, as it places us not in the second rank of consideration, but in the third ('The British Nation' > 'A region of 'The British Nation'' > 'a mere region').
We are of course - as with the war in Ukraine - being propagandised (and - on that subject and the matter of propaganda and information control - I recommend this article by independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone). For once, however, it looks like it has been seen through as being the risible dishonesty it is. But, as ever, we must continue to be watchful.