Britain Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Britain. Here they are! All 200 of them:

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.
William Wilberforce
Here in Britain, of course, it's Thank Fuck We Got Those Weird Jesus Bastards On The Boat Day
Warren Ellis
Yeah. Floyd is his batman." His what?" Batman, like in the British army, each officer had a batman, a personal servant." You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don't make you money than anybody I know.
Robert B. Parker (Mortal Stakes (Spenser, #3))
In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem. Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea. Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit. Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll.
David Walliams (Mr Stink)
Yesterday, the president met with a group he calls the coalition of the willing. Or, as the rest of the world calls them, Britain and Spain
Jon Stewart
Researchers from Britain's Keele University have found that swearing after an injury may help alleviate pain. Evidently, the pain that you feel is inversely proportional to the number of middle names you give Jesus.
Stephen Colbert
Sir, I shall not defeat you - I shall transcend you.
Benjamin Disraeli
America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.
Ringo Starr
We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in. "I claim India for Britain!" They're going "You can't claim us, we live here! Five hundred million of us!" "Do you have a flag …? "No..." "Well, if you don't have a flag, then you can't have a country. Those are the rules... that I just made up!
Eddie Izzard (Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill)
Why won't the light just shut up...? I swear I'll never drink again... someone please kill me..." -Britain (he was hung-over), Hetalia: Axis Powers
Hidekaz Himaruya
Actually—and this was where I began to feel seriously uncomfortable—some such divine claim underlay not just 'the occupation' but the whole idea of a separate state for Jews in Palestine. Take away the divine warrant for the Holy Land and where were you, and what were you? Just another land-thief like the Turks or the British, except that in this case you wanted the land without the people. And the original Zionist slogan—'a land without a people for a people without a land'—disclosed its own negation when I saw the densely populated Arab towns dwelling sullenly under Jewish tutelage. You want irony? How about Jews becoming colonizers at just the moment when other Europeans had given up on the idea?
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
It's good to leave behind all that is comfortable and known every so often. It opens one's mind to the wide world.
Kristen Britain (Blackveil (Green Rider, #4))
Do whatever you must, Karigan," he told her, his voice so quiet it would not carry, "to come back. You must come back. To me." ~King Zachary
Kristen Britain (Blackveil (Green Rider, #4))
England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
George Bernard Shaw
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.
Winston S. Churchill (Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches)
Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act which deprived a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
Mahatma Gandhi
And wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round.
Winston S. Churchill (Birth Of Britain, 55 B.C. To 1485 (History Of The English Speaking People #1))
The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States …
George Orwell
If you lay a finger on our pirates again, I'm going to kick your ass!
Hidekaz Himaruya
…This place was once like your Enchanted Forest is- home to tens of thousands of fairies. But that was many ages ago, before the Kingdom of Britain was established. In those early days, the fairies ruled over the land.
Christopher Daniel Mechling (Peter: The Untold True Story)
A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses.
George Orwell
Monty Python: A documentary series on everyday life in Great Britain.
Frank Portman (King Dork (King Dork, #1))
So in Europe, we had empires. Everyone had them - France and Spain and Britain and Turkey! The Ottoman Empire, full of furniture for some reason. And the Austro-Hungarian Empire, famous for fuck all! Yes, all they did was slowly collapse like a flan in a cupboard.
Eddie Izzard
I rate Morrissey (Steven Patrick Morrissey) as one of the best lyricists in Britain. For me, he`s up there with Bryan Ferry.
David Bowie
I once heard someone say morality was method. Do you hold with that? I suppose you wouldn't. You would say that morality was vested in the aim, I expect. Difficult to know what one's aims are, that's the trouble, specially if you're British.
John le Carré (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters...
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost)
The politics of the last twenty years in Britain are liars' politics. The problem is we are ruled by the weak and the small-minded, who are too stupid to know that they are weak and small-minded.
Irvine Welsh (Ecstasy)
But where, says some, is the King of America? I'll tell you. Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain.
Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
Am I Catholic or Protestant...? God, I don't know..." -Britain (after having a little too much to drink)
Hidekaz Himaruya
Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, had a lamp shade on her head. Again.
Y.S. Lee (The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency, #3))
The English feel schadenfreude even about themselves.
Martin Amis
Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.
Thomas Malory (Le Morte d'Arthur)
They come in injured and mangled, we put them back together, then they stand in my halls making demands. A thankless lot to be sure.
Kristen Britain (First Rider's Call (Green Rider, #2))
How carelessly imperial power vivisected ancient civilizations. Palestine and Kashmir are imperial Britain's festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modem world. Both are fault lines in the raging international conicts of today.
Arundhati Roy
Not all is certainty in our world, Karigan. If it were there'd be no opportunity for faith; and then it would be a very dull existence.
Kristen Britain (The High King's Tomb (Green Rider, #3))
Some police forces would believe anything. Not the Metropolitan police, though. The Met was the hardest, most cynically pragmatic, most stubbornly down-to-earth police force in Britain. It would take a lot to faze a copper from the Met. It would take, for example, a huge, battered car that was nothing more nor less than a fireball, a blazing, roaring, twisted metal lemon from Hell, driven by a grinning lunatic in sunglasses, sitting amid the flames, trailing thick black smoke, coming straight at them through the lashing rain and wind at eighty miles an hour. That would do it every time.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
We don’t live in a meritocracy, and to pretend that simple hard work will elevate all to success is an exercise in willful ignorance.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
Capitalist realism insists on treating mental health as if it were a natural fact, like weather (but, then again, weather is no longer a natural fact so much as a political-economic effect). In the 1960s and 1970s, radical theory and politics (Laing, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, etc.) coalesced around extreme mental conditions such as schizophrenia, arguing, for instance, that madness was not a natural, but a political, category. But what is needed now is a politicization of much more common disorders. Indeed, it is their very commonness which is the issue: in Britain, depression is now the condition that is most treated by the NHS. In his book The Selfish Capitalist, Oliver James has convincingly posited a correlation between rising rates of mental distress and the neoliberal mode of capitalism practiced in countries like Britain, the USA and Australia. In line with James’s claims, I want to argue that it is necessary to reframe the growing problem of stress (and distress) in capitalist societies. Instead of treating it as incumbent on individuals to resolve their own psychological distress, instead, that is, of accepting the vast privatization of stress that has taken place over the last thirty years, we need to ask: how has it become acceptable that so many people, and especially so many young people, are ill?
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
And I don't really have anyone upon whom I want to rain down my wrath," I said, because in truth I didn't. I always felt like you had to be important to have enemies. Example: Historically, Germany has had more enemies than Luxembourg, Margo Roth Spiegelman was Germany. And Great Britain. And the United States. And czarist Russia. Me, I'm Luxembourg. Just sitting around, tending sheep, and yodeling.
John Green (Paper Towns)
America's health care system is second only to Japan, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, well ... all of Europe. But you can thank your lucky starts we don't live in Paraguay!
Matt Groening
What is the biggest threat to your—our—national identity, Benjamin?" "Britain’s Got Talent?
John Wiltshire (Love is a Stranger (More Heat Than the Sun, #1))
Santo Rita Meata Mater Ringo Jonah Tito Marlin Jack Latoya Janet Michael Dumbledora the Explorer! Santo Rita Meata Mater Ringo Jonah Tito Marlin Jack Latoya Janet Michael Dumbledora the Explorer! I've summoned you from the depths of Hell. Show yourself!" (Britain) "You kolled?" (Russia) "I wasn't calling you!" (Britain) -Britain and Russia
Hidekaz Himaruya
The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits;- on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Matthew Arnold (Dover Beach and Other Poems)
You're a stubborn, ill-trained horse." she said The horse snorted and walked towards the North Road of his own volition. "Hey!" Karigan pulled back on the reins. "Whoa. Who do you think is in charge here?
Kristen Britain (Green Rider (Green Rider, #1))
I fall in love with Britain every day, with bridges, buses, blue skies... but it’s a brutal world, man.
Pete Doherty
Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk: Ground to dust and plowed with salt. Spain, France, Britain, America—burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again. Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing? This time, it will swing us clean to oblivion.
Walter M. Miller Jr. (A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1))
So this is where all the vapid talk about the 'soul' of the universe is actually headed. Once the hard-won principles of reason and science have been discredited, the world will not pass into the hands of credulous herbivores who keep crystals by their sides and swoon over the poems of Khalil Gibran. The 'vacuum' will be invaded instead by determined fundamentalists of every stripe who already know the truth by means of revelation and who actually seek real and serious power in the here and now. One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labor of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it casually slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover. An awful embarrassment awaits the British if they do not declare for a republic based on verifiable laws and principles, both political and scientific.
Christopher Hitchens
My point is that this Potter business has legs. It will run and run, and we must be utterly mad, as a country, to leave it to the Americans to make money from a great British invention. I appeal to the children of this country and to their Potter-fiend parents to write to Warner Bros and Universal, and perhaps, even, to the great J K herself. Bring Harry home to Britain—and if you want a site with less rainfall than Rome, with excellent public transport, and strong connections to Harry Potter, I have just the place.
Boris Johnson
I have a special "ah, here I am again, I know exactly what they are going to have for breakfast" feeling when I get back into Roman Britain, which is very nice.
Rosemary Sutcliff
Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it, or don't come here.
Tony Blair
I don't think wood was discovered in Britain until the 1970's. That's when I discovered it anyway.
Craig Ferguson
In our country for all her greatness there is one thing she cannot do and that is translate a person wholly out of one class into another. Perfect translation from one language into another is impossible. Class is the British language.
William Golding (Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1))
What a joy walking is. All the cares of life, all the hopeless, inept fuckwits that God has strewn along the Bill Bryson Highway of Life suddenly seem far away and harmless, and the world becomes tranquil and welcoming and good.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
Nothing - really, absolutely nothing - says more about Victorian Britain and its capacity for brilliance than that the century's most daring and iconic building was entrusted to a gardener.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Some say the Tudors transcend this history, bloody and demonic as it is: that they descend from Brutus through the line of Constantine, son of St Helena, who was a Briton. Arthur, High King of Britain, was Constantine's grandson. He married up to three women, all called Guinevere, and his tomb is at Glastonbury, but you must understand that he is not really dead, only waiting his time to come again. His blessed descendant, Prince Arthur of England, was born in the year 1486, eldest son of Henry, the first Tudor king. This Arthur married Katharine the princess of Aragon, died at fifteen and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. If he were alive now, he would be King of England. His younger brother Henry would likely be Archbishop of Canterbury, and would not (at least, we devoutly hope not) be in pursuit of a woman of whom the cardinal hears nothing good: a woman to whom, several years before the dukes walk in to despoil him, he will need to turn his attention; whose history, before ruin seizes him, he will need to comprehend. Beneath every history, another history.
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
The land of embarrassment and breakfast.
Julian Barnes
Who so pulleth out this sword from this stone and anvil is trueborn King of all Britain.
Rosemary Sutcliff
In Europe and Japan, bourgeois life lingers on. In Britain and America it has become the stuff of theme parks. The middle class is a luxury capitalism can no longer afford.
John N. Gray (Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals)
I like being in a country where when cows attack, word of it gets around. That’s what I mean when I say Britain is cozy.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it’s written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation’s OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation (think of Psyche!) Is a paling stout and spikey? Won’t it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It’s a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!
Gerard Nolst Trenité (Drop your Foreign Accent)
A hush of expectancy descended in the chamber as all waited to hear the request. What treasure could he want? Laren inventoried in her mind all the precious trappings of the castle she could think of -jewels, weapons, art-and she saw that the others must be doing the same. What did the Sacoridians possess that would be good enough for the Eletian prince? "My brother," Graelalea said, "requires many pounds of dark chocolate fudge and Dragon Droppings. We must visit the Master of Chocolate.
Kristen Britain
Fuck you and your First World problems! If every cunt that had taken their first ecky commited adultery by jacksie-rifling the first psycho fucker who smiled at them, not one worthwhile relationship in Britain would still exist!
Irvine Welsh
Myths have a very long memory.
Bryan Sykes (Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland)
Every moment of life mattered. Even the perfect snowflake that alighted on his palm and melted in seconds.
Kristen Britain (The High King's Tomb (Green Rider, #3))
A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.
George Orwell (Burmese Days)
We have not noticed how fast the rest has risen. Most of the industrialized world--and a good part of the nonindustrialized world as well--has better cell phone service than the United States. Broadband is faster and cheaper across the industrial world, from Canada to France to Japan, and the United States now stands sixteenth in the world in broadband penetration per capita. Americans are constantly told by their politicians that the only thing we have to learn from other countries' health care systems is to be thankful for ours. Most Americans ignore the fact that a third of the country's public schools are totally dysfunctional (because their children go to the other two-thirds). The American litigation system is now routinely referred to as a huge cost to doing business, but no one dares propose any reform of it. Our mortgage deduction for housing costs a staggering $80 billion a year, and we are told it is crucial to support home ownership, except that Margaret Thatcher eliminated it in Britain, and yet that country has the same rate of home ownership as the United States. We rarely look around and notice other options and alternatives, convinced that "we're number one.
Fareed Zakaria (The Post-American World)
Britain is relying on you, Bob, so try not to make your usual hash of things.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2))
This reminded him of Alvis Bender's contention that stories were like nations - Italy, a great epic poem, Britain, a thick novel, America, a brash motion picture in technicolor...
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
Yet, there was once a king worthy of that name. That king was Arthur. It is paramount disgrace of this evil generation that the name of that great king is no longer spoken aloud except in derision. Arthur! He was the fairest flower of our race, Cymry's most noble son, Lord of the Summer Realm, Pendragon of Britain. He wore God's favour like a purple robe. Hear then, if you will, the tale of a true king.
Stephen R. Lawhead (Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #3))
America is subsidizing what is left of the prestige and strength of the once mighty Britain. The sun has set forever on that monocled, pith-helmeted resident colonialist, sipping tea with his delicate lady in the non-white colonies being systematically robbed of every valuable resource. Britain's superfluous royalty and nobility now exist by charging tourists to inspect the once baronial castles, and by selling memoirs, perfumes, autographs, titles, and even themselves.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
The kind of people that say “political correctness gone mad” are usually using that phrase as a kind of cover action to attack minorities or people that they disagree with. [...] And I’m sick, I’m really sick– 84% of you in this room that have agreed with this phrase, you’re like those people who turn around and go, “you know who the most oppressed minorities in Britain are? White, middle-class men.” You’re a bunch of idiots.
Stewart Lee
Discover how to visit the past and bring yesterday's stories into our lives today
Gillian Hovell, 'Visiting the Past'
This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors
Winston S. Churchill
Some other facts I picked up: Welsh is an actual, currently used language and our next-door neighbours Angela and Gaenor spoke it. It sounds like Wizard. Baked beans are very popular in England. For breakfast. On toast. On baked potatoes. They can't get enough. "American History" is not a subject everywhere. England and Britain and the United Kingdom are not the same thing. England is the country. Britain is the island containing England, Scotland, and Wales. The United Kingdom is the formal designation of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a political entity. If you mess this up, you will be corrected. Repeatedly.
Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1))
Many people keep deploring the low level of formal education in the United states (as defined by, say, math grades). Yet these fail to realize that the new comes from here and gets imitated elsewhere. And it is not thanks to universities, which obviously claim a lot more credit than their accomplishments warrant. Like Britain in the Industrial Revolution, America's asset is, simply, risk taking and the use of optionality, this remarkable ability to engage in rational forms fo trial and error, with no comparative shame in failing again, starting again, and repeating failure.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)
Hey you, dragging the halo- how about a holiday in the islands of grief? Tongue is the word I wish to have with you. Your eyes are so blue they leak. Your legs are longer than a prisoner's last night on death row. I'm filthier than the coal miner's bathtub and nastier than the breath of Charles Bukowski. You're a dirty little windshield. I'm standing behind you on the subway, hard as calculus. My breath be sticking to your neck like graffiti. I'm sitting opposite you in the bar, waiting for you to uncross your boundaries. I want to rip off your logic and make passionate sense to you. I want to ride in the swing of your hips. My fingers will dig in you like quotation marks, blazing your limbs into parts of speech. But with me for a lover, you won't need catastrophes. What attracted me in the first place will ultimately make me resent you. I'll start telling you lies, and my lies will sparkle, become the bad stars you chart your life by. I'll stare at other women so blatantly you'll hear my eyes peeling, because sex with you is like Great Britain: cold, groggy, and a little uptight. Your bed is a big, soft calculator where my problems multiply. Your brain is a garage I park my bullshit in, for free. You're not really my new girlfriend, just another flop sequel of the first one, who was based on the true story of my mother. You're so ugly I forgot how to spell. I'll cheat on you like a ninth grade math test, break your heart just for the sound it makes. You're the 'this' we need to put an end to. The more you apologize, the less I forgive you. So how about it?
Jeffrey McDaniel
I have found that those who try to shield us from the truth, regardless of the reason, end up doing the greatest harm. Truth alone sets you free, not lies and omissions.
Jessica Dotta (Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege, #1))
Note to self: Overthrow government of magical Britain at earliest convenience.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
All monarchs I hate, and the thrones they sit on, From the hector of France to the cully of Britain.
John Wilmot (The Complete Poems)
When the British left, India was a multireligious, multiregional, multiethnic country, exploited, backward, and poor from colonialism.
Prem Kishore (India: An Illustrated History)
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, it is explicitly illegal in Britain to use a machine gun to kill a hedgehog.
John Lloyd (1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off)
The pleasant fact is that the British are not much good at violent crime except in fiction, which is of course as it should be.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
About a hundred or so years before you were born, a Dark-Hunter made the mistake of falling in love with his Talpina. Unfortunately for the rest of us, she didn’t pass Artemis’s test. Artemis was so angry, she stepped in and banished the Talpinas from us, and implemented the oh so wonderful you’re-only-supposed-to-sleep-with-them-once rule. As further backlash, Acheron came up with the never-touch-your-Squire law. I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to find a decent one-night stand in seventh-century Britain. (Talon)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter #2))
Often, just as when they were children, it was four against one when some argument came up. At least they no longer sat on him to force him to submit to their wishes.
Kristen Britain (Blackveil (Green Rider, #4))
Reveal yourself, mage! Only a coward stays cloaked in invisibility.
Kristen Britain (First Rider's Call (Green Rider, #2))
Yes." His gaze grew distant. "If I'd have the chance, if my position permitted, I would have pleaded with her not to accept the mission because of the danger, and because I couldn't bear the thought of..." "Of losing her?
Kristen Britain (Blackveil (Green Rider, #4))
Arthur’s fingers tighten on the silver-braided hilt: see how naturally it fits his hand! He pulls. The Sword of Britain slides from its stone sheath. The ease with which this is accomplished shines in the wonder in Arthur’s eyes. He truly cannot believe what he has done. Nor can he comprehend what it means.
Stephen R. Lawhead (Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #3))
In fact this is precisely the logic on which the Bank of England—the first successful modern central bank—was originally founded. In 1694, a consortium of English bankers made a loan of £1,200,000 to the king. In return they received a royal monopoly on the issuance of banknotes. What this meant in practice was they had the right to advance IOUs for a portion of the money the king now owed them to any inhabitant of the kingdom willing to borrow from them, or willing to deposit their own money in the bank—in effect, to circulate or "monetize" the newly created royal debt. This was a great deal for the bankers (they got to charge the king 8 percent annual interest for the original loan and simultaneously charge interest on the same money to the clients who borrowed it) , but it only worked as long as the original loan remained outstanding. To this day, this loan has never been paid back. It cannot be. If it ever were, the entire monetary system of Great Britain would cease to exist.
David Graeber (Debt: The First 5,000 Years)
I swear...I'll deliver the message for the love of my country.
Kristen Britain (Green Rider (Green Rider, #1))
But he's the king!
Kristen Britain (First Rider's Call (Green Rider, #2))
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain - which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad - Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying 'mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but', people apologizing to me when I conk them with a nameless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays - every bit of it. What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Speaker of the House of Commons to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ('Please Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.') What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardners' Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course. How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view. All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
There will never be slaves in Britain,' Godalming continued, 'but those who stay warm will naturally serve us, as the excellent Bessie has just served me. Have a care, lest you wind up the equivalent of some damned regimental water-bearer.' In India, I knew a water-bearer who was a better man than most.
Kim Newman (Anno Dracula (Anno Dracula, #1))
An enormous semiofficial drug-smuggling operation was established in order to improve Britain's unfavorable balance of payments with China—the direct result of the British love of tea.
Tom Standage (A History of the World in 6 Glasses)
We believe no more in Bonaparte's fighting merely for the liberties of the seas than in Great Britain's fighting for the liberties of mankind. The object is the same, to draw to themselves the power, the wealth and the resources of other nations.
Thomas Jefferson
A legacy that powerful does not disappear. Next to the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans were babies. Our modern nations like Great Britain and America? Blinks of an eye...The very oldest root of civilization, at least of Western civilization, is Egypt. Look at the pyramid on the dollar bill. Look at the Washington Monument—the world’s largest Egyptian obelisk. Egypt is still.......very much alive.
Rick Riordan (The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1))
England and America owe their liberty to commerce, which created a new species of power to undermine the feudal system. But let them beware of the consequences: the tyranny of wealth is still more galling and debasing than that of rank.
Mary Wollstonecraft (Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark)
Oral myths are closer to the genetic conclusions than the often ambiguous scientific evidence of archaeology.
Bryan Sykes (Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland)
Maybe, she thought with some perversity, it wasn’t the gods who controlled the universe, but cats. Cats who toyed with humans as a puppeteer would a marionette.
Kristen Britain (Mirror Sight (Green Rider, #5))
Faced with a collective forgetting, we must fight to remember.
Reni Eddo-Lodge
London isn't a place at all. It's a million little places.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
The test of a progressive policy is not private but public, not just rising income and consumption for individuals, but widening the opportunities and what Amartya Sen calls the 'capabilities' of all through collective action. But that means, it must mean, public non-profit initiative, even if only in redistributing private accumulation. Public decisions aimed at collective social improvement from which all human lives should gain. That is the basis of progressive policy—not maximising economic growth and personal incomes. Nowhere will this be more important than in tackling the greatest problem facing us this century, the environmental crisis. Whatever ideological logo we choose for it, it will mean a major shift away from the free market and towards public action, a bigger shift than the British government has yet envisaged. And, given the acuteness of the economic crisis, probably a fairly rapid shift. Time is not on our side.
Eric J. Hobsbawm
The wind blowing across the British Isles was odorous with fear of asylum seekers, infecting everybody with the panic of impending doom, and so articles were written and read, simply and stridently, as though the writers lived in a world in which the present was unconnected to the past, and they had never considered this to be the normal course of history: the influx into Britain of black and brown people from countries created by Britain. Yet he understood. It had to be comforting, this denial of history.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah)
George: [On getting the M.B.E.] 'After all we did for Great Britain, selling all that corduroy and making it swing, they gave us that bloody old leather medal with wooden string through it. But my initial reaction was, 'Oh, how nice, how nice.' And John's was, 'How nice, how nice.
George Harrison (The Beatles Anthology)
SVR,” he said, which meant Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki, which was their foreign intelligence service. Like the CIA, or the DGSE, or MI6 in Britain. Then he said, “But we’re all still KGB really. Old wine, new bottles.
Lee Child (Personal (Jack Reacher, #19))
I want you to know that I have nothing against Orlando, though you are, of course, far more likely to get shot or robbed there than in London.
Boris Johnson
Miracles do not happen:"—'t is plain sense, If you italicize the present tense; But in those days, as rare old Chaucer tells, All Britain was fulfilled of miracles. So, as I said, the great doors opened wide. In rushed a blast of winter from outside, And with it, galloping on the empty air, A great green giant on a great green mare
Thomas Malory (King Arthur Collection (Including Le Morte d'Arthur, Idylls of the King, King Arthur and His Knights, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court))
To hear the tales told at night-time hearths you would think we had made a whole new country in Britain, named it Camelot and peopled it with shining heroes, but the truth is that we simply ruled Dumnonia as best we could, we ruled it justly and we never called it Camelot. Camelot exists only in the poets' dreams, while in our Dumnonia, even in those good years, the harvests still failed, the plagues still ravaged us and wars were still fought.
Bernard Cornwell (Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2))
By the time I had finished my coffee and returned to the streets, the rain had temporarily abated, but the streets were full of vast puddles where the drains where unable to cope with the volume of water. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you would think that if one nation ought by now to have mastered the science of drainage, Britain would be it.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
. . . and it came out that this King Arthur and his knights had done nothing of real note but to kill innocent dragons all around Britain: almost certainly a pack of lies, as Forthing admitted they had not possessed even any guns at the time, and unpleasant lies at that.
Naomi Novik (Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7))
Speaking of that - bitch, this is my country. I was born and raised in England. Great Britain colonised my family's homeland, and then that led my people to have the right to come to the UK to settle and have kids in that country. If the Brits could come to South Asia (and many, many other lands) to claim it as their own, then by gosh, I have the right to call England my home, and I will not get out because I'm told to... and neither will the rest of my people.
Tan France (Naturally Tan)
We have no quarrel with the German nation, One would not quarrel with a flock of sheep. But, generation after generation, They throw up leaders who disturb our sleep.
Alan Herbert
It is not an easy thing," she said, "to love more than one is loved.
Joan Wolf (The Road to Avalon (Dark Ages of Britain, #1))
The older you get the more it seems the world belongs to other people.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.
Zadie Smith
Besides, I'd seen a really nice pair of shoes yesterday in the mall and I wanted them for my own. I can't describe the feeling of immediate familiarity that rushed between us. The moment I clapped eyes on them I felt like I already owned them. I could only suppose that we were together in a former life. That they were my shoes when I was a serving maid in medieval Britain or when I was a princess in ancient Egypt. Or perhaps they were the princess and I was the shoes. Who's to know? Either way I knew that we were meant to be together.
Marian Keyes (Watermelon (Walsh Family, #1))
The Declaration of Independence . . . is much more than a political document. It constitutes a spiritual manifesto—revelation, if you will—declaring not for this nation only, but for all nations, the source of man's rights. Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet, foresaw over 2,300 years ago that this event would transpire. The colonies he saw would break with Great Britain and that 'the power of the Lord was with [the colonists],' that they 'were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations' (1 Nephi 13:16, 19). "The Declaration of Independence was to set forth the moral justification of a rebellion against a long-recognized political tradition—the divine right of kings. At issue was the fundamental question of whether men's rights were God-given or whether these rights were to be dispensed by governments to their subjects. This document proclaimed that all men have certain inalienable rights. In other words, these rights came from God.
Ezra Taft Benson
London is one of the world's centres of Arab journalism and political activism. The failure of left and right, the establishment and its opposition, to mount principled arguments against clerical reaction has had global ramifications. Ideas minted in Britain – the notion that it is bigoted to oppose bigotry; 'Islamophobic' to oppose clerics whose first desire is to oppress Muslims – swirl out through the press and the net to lands where they can do real harm.
Nick Cohen
British diplomats and Anglo-American types in Washington have a near-superstitious prohibition on uttering the words 'Special Relationship' to describe relations between Britain and America, lest the specialness itself vanish like a phantom at cock-crow.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
After a war of about 40 years, undertaken by the most stupid [Claudius], maintained by the most dissolute [Nero], and terminated by the most timid [Domitian] of all the emperors, the far greater part of the island [of Britain] submitted to the Roman yoke.
Edward Gibbon
Dear sir, Mr. B.J. Thing... er... we the people of Britain are fed up with being bombed. We had enough of it last time with old Hitler so will you just leave us in peace, you live your life and we'll live ours, hope you are well... please don't drop any bombs. Yours sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. J. Bloggs
Raymond Briggs (When the Wind Blows)
The Welsh are not like any other people in Britain, and they know how separate they are. They are the Celts, the tough little wine-dark race who were the original possessors of the island, who never mixed with the invaders coming later from the east, but were slowly driven into the western mountains.
Laurie Lee (I Can't Stay Long)
The prince's official job description as king will be 'defender of the faith,' which currently means the state-financed absurdity of the Anglican Church, but he has more than once said publicly that he wants to be anointed as defender of all faiths—another indication of the amazing conceit he has developed in six decades of performing the only job allowed him by the hereditary principle: that of waiting for his mother to expire.
Christopher Hitchens
This week, Zuma was quoted as saying, 'When the British came to our country, they said everything we are doing was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way.' But the serious critique of Zuma is not about who is a barbarian and who is civilised. It is about good governance, and this is a universal value, as relevant to an African village as it is to Westminster. If you are unable to keep your appetites in check, you are inevitably going to live beyond your means. And this means you are going to become vulnerable to patronage and even corruption. That is why Jacob Zuma's 'polygamy' is his achilles heel.
Mark Gevisser
It was known as the Sick Man of Europe. It was in every way poorer than now. Yet there were flowerbeds on roundabouts, libraries and post offices in every village, cottage hospitals in abundance, council housing for all who needed it. It was a country so comfortable and enlightened that hospitals maintained cricket pitches for their staff and mental patients lived in Victorian palaces. If we could afford it then, why not now? Someone needs to explain to me how it is that the richer Britain gets the poorer it thinks itself.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
Human beings are naturally flawed when it comes to time and memory. The past is forgotten, or it is believed bad things will not recur, and people become bound in their current problems. That which afflicted the grandfathers of their grandfathers is a distant, dim thing, and not as important as present concerns, no matter how trivial.
Kristen Britain
How does she do it? She makes it sound like she is so cut up to be giving them this information, and it's all just bumph out of her head. She never told them ANYTHING. I don't think she's given them the right name of any airfield in Britain except Mainsend and Buscot, which of course were where she was stationed. They could have easily checked. It's all so close to truth, and so glib--her aircraft identification is rather good considering what a fuss she makes about it. It makes me think of the first day I met her, giving those directions in German. So cool and crisp, such authority--suddenly she really was a radio operator, a German radio operator, she was so good at faking it. Or when I told her to be Jamie, how she just suddenly turned into Jamie. This confession of hers is rotten with error...
Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)
John: I'm experiencing an odd sensation. I think it might be patriotism. Spitfire: Steady. Too much of that can damage your health.
Paul Cornell (Captain Britain and MI13, Vol. 1: Secret Invasion)
The gift blesses the giver.
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
I regard anti-Semitism as ineradicable and as one element of the toxin with which religion has infected us. Perhaps partly for this reason, I have never been able to see Zionism as a cure for it. American and British and French Jews have told me with perfect sincerity that they are always prepared for the day when 'it happens again' and the Jew-baiters take over. (And I don't pretend not to know what they are talking about: I have actually seen the rabid phenomenon at work in modern and sunny Argentina and am unable to forget it.) So then, they seem to think, they will take refuge in the Law of Return, and in Haifa, or for all I know in Hebron. Never mind for now that if all of world Jewry did settle in Palestine, this would actually necessitate further Israeli expansion, expulsion, and colonization, and that their departure under these apocalyptic conditions would leave the new brownshirts and blackshirts in possession of the French and British and American nuclear arsenals. This is ghetto thinking, hardly even fractionally updated to take into account what has changed. The important but delayed realization will have to come: Israeli Jews are a part of the diaspora, not a group that has escaped from it. Why else does Israel daily beseech the often-flourishing Jews of other lands, urging them to help the most endangered Jews of all: the ones who rule Palestine by force of arms? Why else, having supposedly escaped from the need to rely on Gentile goodwill, has Israel come to depend more and more upon it? On this reckoning, Zionism must constitute one of the greatest potential non sequiturs in human history.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Offer me?" A shrill note of indignation entered her voice. "Young man, there are three things that make Britain great. The first is our inability at playing sports." How does that make Britain great?" "Despite the certainty of loss, we try anyway with the absolute conviction that this year will be the one, regardless of all evidence to the contrary!" I raised my eyebrows, but that simply meant I could see my blood more clearly, so looked away and said nothing. "The second," she went on, "is the BBC. It may be erratic, tabloid, under-funded and unreliable, but without the World Service, obscure Dickens adaptions, the Today Program and Doctor Who, I honestly believe that the cultural and communal capacity of this country would have declined to the level of the apeman, largely owing to the advent of the mobile phone!" "Oh," I said, feeling that something was expected. "Oh" was enough. "And lastly, we have the NHS!" "This is an NHS service?" I asked incredulously. "I didn't say that, I merely pointed out that the NHS makes Britain great. Now lie still.
Kate Griffin (A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift, #1))
If I could change it all for you, if it were in my power to spare you, I would do so. If I could trade places with you, I would. But I can only be here with you, and I will tell you this: you are not broken, and every inch of you is dear to me and whole.
Kristen Britain (Firebrand (Green Rider, #6))
One if by land, two if by sea.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You do not come to the thee-ator and it will wither your soul." (Madam Leadora Seamstress for the Royal Magnificent Theater)
Kristen Britain (Blackveil (Green Rider, #4))
Being constantly looked at like an alien in the country you were born in requires true tolerance.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
Battles against Rome have been lost and won before, but hope was never abandoned, since we were always here in reserve. We, the choicest flower of Britain's manhood, were hidden away in her most secret places. Out of sight of subject shores, we kept even our eyes free from the defilement of tyranny. We, the most distant dwellers upon earth, the last of the free, have been shielded till today by our very remoteness and by the obscurity in which it has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to our enemies; and what men know nothing about they always assume to be a valuable prize.... A rich enemy excites their cupidity; a poor one, their lust for power. East and West alike have failed to satisfy them. They are the only people on earth to whose covetousness both riches and poverty are equally tempting. To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name of 'government'; they create a desolation and call it peace...
Tacitus
Several years ago, Great Britain funded a study to determine why the head on a man's penis is larger than the shaft. The study took two years and cost over 1.2 million pounds. The study concluded that the reason the head of a man's penis is larger than the shaft is to provide the man with more pleasure during sex. After the results were published, France decided to conduct their own study on the same subject. They were convinced that the results of the British study were incorrect. After three years of research at a cost of in excess of 2 million Euros, the French researchers concluded that the head of a man's penis is larger than the shaft to provide the woman with more pleasure during sex. When the results of the French study were released, Australia decided to conduct their own study. The Aussies didn't really trust British or French studies. So, after nearly three hours of intensive research and a cost of right around 75 dollars (three cases of beer), the Aussie study was complete. They concluded that the reason the head on a man's penis is larger than the shaft is to prevent your hand from flying off and hitting you in the forehead.
Various (101 Dirty Jokes - sexual and adult's jokes)
She was in big trouble now. "You stupid man," she said to the body on the floor. "Why did you have to lunge at me like that? Why couldn't you have left well enough alone? I told your father I wasn't going to marry you. I told him I wouldn't marry you if you were the last idiot in Britain." She nearly stamped her foot in frustration. Why was it her words never came out quite the way she intended them to? "What I meant to say was that you are an idiot," she said to Percy, who, not surprisingly, didn't respond, "and that I wouldn't marry you if you were the last man in Britain, and- Oh, blast. What am I doing talking to you, anyway? You're quite dead.
Julia Quinn (To Catch an Heiress (Agents of the Crown, #1))
I'll do my best.
Kristen Britain
His (Grant's) face has three expressions: deep thought, extreme determination, and great simplicity and calmness.
Amanda Foreman (A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War)
But any religion would be found lacking if judged solely by its human servants.
Joan Wolf (The Road to Avalon (Dark Ages of Britain, #1))
When you aren’t committed to the outcome of the game, there is no way you can win.
Kristen Britain (Green Rider (Green Rider, #1))
In these latter days, knighthood was an honor few Englishmen escaped.
Arthur C. Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1))
The banking institutions, my friends, are sailing under false colours. They are running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. And we should never forget it.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
According to Time Out magazine, at any given moment there are 600,000 people on the Underground, making it both a larger and more interesting place than Oslo.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
Islamophobia,’ the thought-crime that seeks to suppress legitimate criticism of Islam and demonise those who would tell the truth about Islamist aggression.
Melanie Phillips (Londonistan: Britain's Terror State from Within)
I don't really know; I'm not in the Operations Room, you see. All I do know is that the world has a Chief who was victorious when the powers of darkness struck at Him with everything they had. He has the plans today. The darkness won't last forever. There's a splendor beyond. ~Flying Officer George Dymory Ingleford, Enemy Brothers
Constance Savery (Enemy Brothers)
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings. I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Helen opened her eyes and gazed into the luminous blue of the sky. Was it crazy, she wondered, to be as grateful as she felt now, for moments like this, in a world that had atomic bombs in it—and concentration camps, and gas chambers? People were still tearing each other into pieces. There was still murder, starvation, unrest, in Poland, Palestine, India—God knew where else. Britain itself was sliding into bankruptcy and decay. Was it a kind of idiocy or selfishness, to want to be able to give yourself over to the trifles: to the parp of the Regent’s Park Band; to the sun on your face, the prickle of grass beneath your heels, the movement of cloudy beer in your veins, the secret closeness of your lover? Or were those trifles all you had? Oughtn’t you, precisely, to preserve them? To make little crystal drops of them, that you could keep, like charms on a bracelet, to tell against danger when next it came?
Sarah Waters (The Night Watch)
This is from "Marabou Stork Nightmares". Bernard's Poem: Did you see her on the telly the other day good family entertainment the tabloids say But when you're backstage at your new faeces audition you hear the same old shite of your own selfish volition She was never a singer a comic or a dancer I cant say I was sad when I found out she had cancer Great Britain's earthy northern comedy queen takes the rand, understand from the racist Boer regime So now her cells are fucked and thats just tough titty I remember her act that I caught back in Sun City She went on and on about 'them from the trees with different skull shapes from the likes of you and me' Her Neo-Nazi spell it left me fucking numb the Boers lapped it up with zeal so did the British ex-pat scum But what goes round comes round they say so welcome to another dose of chemotherapy And for my part it's time to be upfront so fuck off and die you carcinogenic cunt.
Irvine Welsh (Marabou Stork Nightmares)
Some say that because the United States was wrong before, it cannot possibly be right now, or has not the right to be right. (The British Empire sent a fleet to Africa and the Caribbean to maintain the slave trade while the very same empire later sent another fleet to enforce abolition. I would not have opposed the second policy because of my objections to the first; rather it seems to me that the second policy was morally necessitated by its predecessor.)
Christopher Hitchens (A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq)
Eenie, meenie, minie, mo” is based on a counting system that predates the Roman occupation of Britain, that may even be pre-Celtic. If so, it is a rare surviving link with the very distant past. It not only gives us a fragmentary image of how children were being amused at the time Stonehenge was built, but tells us something about how their elders counted and thought and ordered their speech.
Bill Bryson (Made in America)
Equally arresting are British pub names. Other people are content to dub their drinking establishment with pedestrian names like Harry’s Bar and the Greenwood Lounge. But a Briton, when he wants to sup ale, must find his way to the Dog and Duck, the Goose and Firkin, the Flying Spoon, or the Spotted Dog. The names of Britain’s 70,000 or so pubs cover a broad range, running from the inspired to the improbable, from the deft to the daft. Almost any name will do so long as it is at least faintly absurd, unconnected with the name of the owner, and entirely lacking in any suggestion of drinking, conversing, and enjoying oneself. At a minimum the name should puzzle foreigners-this is a basic requirement of most British institutions-and ideally it should excite long and inconclusive debate, defy all logical explanation, and evoke images that border on the surreal.
Bill Bryson (The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way)
Banks are nothing but old fashioned money lenders. They encourage you to borrow, to get in debt, and when you can't pay back the loan they take your home away. At least a money lender only breaks your legs.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Maintaining custom and ritual among their people outweighs the horror of the suffering that they are prepared to see their daughters undergo. Being judged by their community seems far more important than the risk of losing their little girl.
Hibo Wardere (Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today)
In Britain I found things to be very different. I have yet to meet a single English person who has actually admitted to anti-negro prejudice. It is even generally believe that no such thing exists here. A negro is free to board any bus or train and sit anywhere, provided he has paid the appropriate fare. The fact that many people might pointedly avoid sitting near to him is casually overlooked. He is free to seek accommodation in any licensed hotel or boarding house - the courteous refusal which frequently follows is never ascribed to prejudice. The betrayal I now felt was greater because it had been perpetuated with the greatest of charm and courtesy.
E.R. Braithwaite (To Sir, With Love)
The fact is that the British have a totally private sense of distance. This is most visibly seen in the shared pretense that Britain is a lonely island in the middle of an empty green sea. Of course, the British are all aware, in an abstract sort of way, that there is a substantial landmass called Europe nearby and that from time to time it is necessary to go over there to give old Jerry a drubbing or have a holiday in the sun, but it’s not nearby in any meaningful sense in the way that, say, Disney World is.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
In the words of Mr Thierry Coup of Warner Bros: 'We are taking the most iconic and powerful moments of the stories and putting them in an immersive environment. It is taking the theme park experience to a new level.' And of course I wish Thierry and his colleagues every possible luck, and I am sure it will be wonderful. But I cannot conceal my feelings; and the more I think of those millions of beaming kids waving their wands and scampering the Styrofoam turrets of Hogwartse_STmk, and the more I think of those millions of poor put-upon parents who must now pay to fly to Orlando and pay to buy wizard hats and wizard cloaks and wizard burgers washed down with wizard meade_STmk, the more I grind my teeth in jealous irritation. Because the fact is that Harry Potter is not American. He is British. Where is Diagon Alley, where they buy wands and stuff? It is in London, and if you want to get into the Ministry of Magic you disappear down a London telephone box. The train for Hogwarts goes from King's Cross, not Grand Central Station, and what is Harry Potter all about? It is about the ritual and intrigue and dorm-feast excitement of a British boarding school of a kind that you just don't find in America. Hogwarts is a place where children occasionally get cross with each other—not 'mad'—and where the situation is usually saved by a good old British sense of HUMOUR. WITH A U. RIGHT? NOT HUMOR. GOTTIT?
Boris Johnson
Emerson abandoned irony for blunt and passionate speech. 'This war has been a monumental blunder from the start! Britain is not solely responsible, but by God, gentlemen, she must share the blame, and she will pay a heavy price: the best of her young men, future scholars and scientists and statesmen, and ordinary, decent men who might have led ordinary, decent lives. And how will it end, when you tire of your game of soldiers? A few boundaries redrawn, a few transitory political advantages, in exchange for an entire continent laid waste and a million graves! What I do may be of minor importance in the total accumulation of knowledge, but at least I don't have blood on my hands.
Elizabeth Peters (Lord of the Silent (Amelia Peabody, #13))
But Empire building also bears the seeds of its own destruction. The closer a state comes to the ultimate goal of world domination and one-world government, the less reason is there to maintain its internal liberalism and do instead what all states are inclined to do anyway, i.e., to crack down and increase their exploitation of whatever productive people are still left. Consequently, with no additional tributaries available and domestic productivity stagnating or falling, the Empire’s internal policies of bread and circuses can no longer be maintained. Economic crisis hits, and an impending economic meltdown will stimulate decentralizing tendencies, separatist and secessionist movements, and lead to the break-up of Empire. We have seen this happen with Great Britain, and we are seeing it now, with the US and its Empire apparently on its last leg.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
This is going to be hideously trite,” he says. “Prepare yourself.” “Prepared.” “It’s Christmas. You love them. They love you. More than anything else, that’s what matters. Things will happen the way they happen, and you’ll sort out the way you feel about them, and it will be all right. And you’ll keep loving them, and they’ll keep loving you, and … God bless us, everyone.” I consider this. “Kind of a weak ending.” “I can’t help suspecting it would have resonated more if I were a sickly child in Victorian Britain,” he agrees wistfully.
Hannah Johnson (Know Not Why (Know Not Why, #1))
It was not until the year 1808 that Great Britain abolished the slave trade. Up to that time her judges, sitting upon the bench in the name of justice, her priests, occupying her pulpits, in the name of universal love, owned stock in the slave ships, and luxuriated upon the profits of piracy and murder. It was not until the same year that the United States of America abolished the slave trade between this and other countries, but carefully preserved it as between the States. It was not until the 28th day of August, 1833, that Great Britain abolished human slavery in her colonies; and it was not until the 1st day of January, 1863, that Abraham Lincoln, sustained by the sublime and heroic North, rendered our flag pure as the sky in which it floats. Abraham Lincoln was, in my judgment, in many respects, the grandest man ever President of the United States. Upon his monument these words should be written: 'Here sleeps the only man in the history of the world, who, having been clothed with almost absolute power, never abused it, except upon the side of mercy.' Think how long we clung to the institution of human slavery, how long lashes upon the naked back were a legal tender for labor performed. Think of it. With every drop of my blood I hate and execrate every form of tyranny, every form of slavery. I hate dictation. I love liberty.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child)
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.
Winston S. Churchill
This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII. At a point in the not-too-remote future, the stout heart of Queen Elizabeth II will cease to beat. At that precise moment, her firstborn son will become head of state, head of the armed forces, and head of the Church of England. In strict constitutional terms, this ought not to matter much. The English monarchy, as has been said, reigns but does not rule. From the aesthetic point of view it will matter a bit, because the prospect of a morose bat-eared and chinless man, prematurely aged, and with the most abysmal taste in royal consorts, is a distinctly lowering one.
Christopher Hitchens
In contrast to what many people in Britain and the United States believe, the true figures on growth (as best one can judge from official national accounts data) show that Britain and the United States have not grown any more rapidly since 1980 than Germany, France, Japan, Denmark, or Sweden. In other words, the reduction of top marginal income tax rates and the rise of top incomes do not seem to have stimulated productivity (contrary to the predictions of supply-side theory) or at any rate did not stimulate productivity enough to be statistically detectable at the macro level.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
...it occurred to me, not for the first time, what a remarkably small world Britain is. That is its glory, you see--that it manages at once to be intimate and small scale, and at the same time packed to bursting with incident and interest. I am constantly filled with admiration at this--at the way you can wander through a town like Oxford and in the space of a few hundred yards pass the home of Christopher Wren, the buildings where Halley found his comet and Boyle his first law, the track where Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, the meadow where Lewis Carroll strolled; or how you can stand on Snow's Hill at Windsor and see, in a single sweep, Windsor Castle, the playing fields of Eton, the churchyard where Gray wrote his "Elegy," the site where The Merry Wives of Windsor was performed. Can there anywhere on earth be, in such a modest span, a landscape more packed with centuries of busy, productive attainment?
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
Leave wasn’t an alternate economic or political model. It was a blank canvas which people could project their hopes, aspirations and frustrations onto. This was the only way you could get voters from the shires to vote with those from post-industrial towns in the north. It was a fantasy land of universal expectation.
Ian Dunt (Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?: Everything You Need to Know about Britain's Divorce from Europe)
Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is belied by other indices of social equality. Consider the ratio of salaries paid to top-tier CEOs and those paid to the same firms’ average employees: in Britain it is 24:1; in France, 15:1; in Sweden, 13:1; in the United States, where 80 percent of the population expects to be called before God on Judgment Day, it is 475:1. Many a camel, it would seem, expects to pass easily through the eye of a needle.
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
By the nineteenth century, society had given up burning witches. Yet the sexual exploitation of children continued. In late-nineteenth-century Britain, for example, men who raped young girls were excused because they did it to cure venereal disease. There was a widely held belief that children would take "poisons" out of the body. In fact, leprosy, venereal disease, depression, and impotence were part of a wide range of maladies believed cured by having sex with the young. An English medical text of the time reads, "Breaking a maiden's seal is one of the best antidotes for one's ills. Cudgeling her unceasingly, until she swoons away, is a mighty remedy for man's depression. It cures all impotence.
Patrick J. Carnes (Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-Hatred)
Most American view World War II nostalgically as the "good war," in which the United States and its allies triumphed over German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism. The rest of the world remembers it as the bloodiest war in human history. By the time it was over, more than 60 million people lay dead, including 27 million Russians, between 10 million and 20 million Chinese, 6 million Jews, 5.5 million Germans, 3 million non-Jewish Poles, 2.5 million Japanese, and 1.5 million Yugoslavs. Austria, Great Britain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and the United States each counted between 250,000 and 333,000 dead.
Oliver Stone (The Untold History of The United States)
Identify you as messenger...to other Riders." The words were gasped as if he were forcing air in and out of his lungs by sheer will to extend his life. "Fly...Rider, with great speed. Don't read m-message. Then they can't tor-torture...it from you. If captured, shred it and toss it to the winds." Then, because his voice had grown so faint, she had to lean very close to hear his final words. "Beware the shadow man." A cold tremor ran through Karigan's body. "I'll do my best," she told him.
Kristen Britain
Lisbon, to me, is the Lisbon of Pessoa. Just like London is Woolf’s, or rather, Mrs. Dalloway’s. Barcelona is Gaudí's and Rome is da Vinci’s. You see them in every crevice and hear their echoes in every cathedral. I’d like to be the child, or rather, the mother of a city but I neither have a home nor a resting place. My race is humankind. My religion is kindness. My work is love and, well, my city is the walls of your heart.
Kamand Kojouri
The world of men is a brutal place. And yet women visit our offices, approach us in the streets, and send us petitions with tens of thousands more signatures every year to ask for more freedom. They feel their safety comes at the expense of their freedom. And, gentlemen, the trouble with freedom is it isn't just an empty phrase that serves well in a speech. The desire to be free is an instinct deeply ingrained in every living thing. Trap any wild animal, and it will bite off its own paw to be free again. Capture a man, and breaking free will become his sole mission. Te only way to dissuade a creature from striving for its freedom is to break it ... I, for my part, am not prepared to break half the population of Britain. I am, in fact, unprepared to see single woman harmed because of her desire for some liberty.
Evie Dunmore (Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1))
[Israel's military occupation is] in gross violation of international law and has been from the outset. And that much, at least, is fully recognized, even by the United States, which has overwhelming and, as I said, unilateral responsibility for these crimes. So George Bush No. 1, when he was the U.N. ambassador, back in 1971, he officially reiterated Washington's condemnation of Israel's actions in the occupied territories. He happened to be referring specifically to occupied Jerusalem. In his words, actions in violation of the provisions of international law governing the obligations of an occupying power, namely Israel. He criticized Israel's failure "to acknowledge its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as its actions which are contrary to the letter and spirit of this Convention." [...] However, by that time, late 1971, a divergence was developing, between official policy and practice. The fact of the matter is that by then, by late 1971, the United States was already providing the means to implement the violations that Ambassador Bush deplored. [...] on December 5th [2001], there had been an important international conference, called in Switzerland, on the 4th Geneva Convention. Switzerland is the state that's responsible for monitoring and controlling the implementation of them. The European Union all attended, even Britain, which is virtually a U.S. attack dog these days. They attended. A hundred and fourteen countries all together, the parties to the Geneva Convention. They had an official declaration, which condemned the settlements in the occupied territories as illegal, urged Israel to end its breaches of the Geneva Convention, some "grave breaches," including willful killing, torture, unlawful deportation, unlawful depriving of the rights of fair and regular trial, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that's a serious term, that means serious war crimes. The United States is one of the high contracting parties to the Geneva Convention, therefore it is obligated, by its domestic law and highest commitments, to prosecute the perpetrators of grave breaches of the conventions. That includes its own leaders. Until the United States prosecutes its own leaders, it is guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that means war crimes. And it's worth remembering the context. It is not any old convention. These are the conventions established to criminalize the practices of the Nazis, right after the Second World War. What was the U.S. reaction to the meeting in Geneva? The U.S. boycotted the meeting [..] and that has the usual consequence, it means the meeting is null and void, silence in the media.
Noam Chomsky
The passageway smelled of smoke: burning wood, a torch, acrid. His head ached. Blood was wet and sticky upon his arm and on his fingers, and the orange glow of torchlight played from behind his back and over the corridor walls, leaping like a bonfire. There was a strange familiarity to it: the narrow walls in around him. And when he came to a wooden door set in the wall, he put his hand upon it and pushed it open. There was a room, and a pallet inside it; a small torch burned low in a socket upon the wall. A man lay upon the cot, his face bruised and battered, his hands curled against his chest bloody: and Laurence knew him; knew him and knew himself. He remembered another door opening, in Bristol, three years before, and a voice asking him to come outside his prison, in a Britain under siege. “Tenzing,” Laurence said, and, as Tharkay opened feverish eyes, went to help him stand.
Naomi Novik (Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8))
Attempts to locate oneself within history are as natural, and as absurd, as attempts to locate oneself within astronomy. On the day that I was born, 13 April 1949, nineteen senior Nazi officials were convicted at Nuremberg, including Hitler's former envoy to the Vatican, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, who was found guilty of planning aggression against Czechoslovakia and committing atrocities against the Jewish people. On the same day, the State of Israel celebrated its first Passover seder and the United Nations, still meeting in those days at Flushing Meadow in Queens, voted to consider the Jewish state's application for membership. In Damascus, eleven newspapers were closed by the regime of General Hosni Zayim. In America, the National Committee on Alcoholism announced an upcoming 'A-Day' under the non-uplifting slogan: 'You can drink—help the alcoholic who can't.' ('Can't'?) The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in favor of Britain in the Corfu Channel dispute with Albania. At the UN, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko denounced the newly formed NATO alliance as a tool for aggression against the USSR. The rising Chinese Communists, under a man then known to Western readership as Mao Tze-Tung, announced a limited willingness to bargain with the still-existing Chinese government in a city then known to the outside world as 'Peiping.' All this was unknown to me as I nuzzled my mother's breast for the first time, and would certainly have happened in just the same way if I had not been born at all, or even conceived. One of the newspaper astrologists for that day addressed those whose birthday it was: There are powerful rays from the planet Mars, the war god, in your horoscope for your coming year, and this always means a chance to battle if you want to take it up. Try to avoid such disturbances where women relatives or friends are concerned, because the outlook for victory upon your part in such circumstances is rather dark. If you must fight, pick a man! Sage counsel no doubt, which I wish I had imbibed with that same maternal lactation, but impartially offered also to the many people born on that day who were also destined to die on it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Do you love your country and your king?" Karigan paused. What a curious question. King Zachary was relatively new to the throne and she knew little of his policies or methods, but it wouldn't do to sound disloyal to a dying servant of Sacoridia. "Yes." "I'm a messenger...Green Rider." The young man's body spasmed with pain, and blood dribbled over his lip and down his chin. "The satchel on the saddle...important message for...king. Life or death. If you love Sacor...Sacoridia and its king, take it. Take it to him.
Kristen Britain
You’re not supposed to agree with everything I say. It’s okay to disagree. It doesn’t make you right and me wrong, and it certainly doesn’t make me right and you wrong. It’s just opinion. So it’s not whether you agree with my opinions or not that matter. What matters is that you respect them. And conversely that I respect your opinions. You can disagree with me, you can argue with me, and you can be different from me, but don’t ever try and shut me up.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
The sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders … I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.
Harry Leslie Smith
But you won’t abdicate." Of course not. It’s my duty to go on, to maintain the line. I can’t possibly fail in that. It’s as if you and I were throwing a ball back and forth to establish a record, and had been doing so for a millennium. You cannot drop a ball that has remained airborne through good effort for most of a thousand years. You cannot stop an unlikely heart that has been beating for so long. I would rather die than betray continuity, for its own sake if for nothing else. And Britain needs a king, just as it needs motormen and cooks and a prime minister. Just as it needs soldiers who will die for it if they must. It’s my job, or it will be, but you should know that I’ve never wanted it. I was only born to it, as if with a deformity, to which I hope I can respond with grace." Fredericka had been running her finger over the carpet, tracing a pattern in the way children do when they have learnt something overwhelming and are moved, but cannot say so. Freddy expected her to look up, with tears, and that in this moment she might have begun the long and arduous process of becoming a queen. She was so beautiful. To embrace her now, with high emotion flowing from her physical majesty, was all he wanted in the world. Her finger stopped moving, and she turned her eyes to him. Freddy?" Yes?" he answered. What’s raw egg? I read a recipe in She that called for a cup of raw egg. What is that?" After a long silence, Freddy asked, "Which part of the formulation escapes you? Egg? Raw? The link between the two?" The two what?" Fredericka?" Yes, Freddy?" Would you like to go dancing?" Oh, yes Freddy!" Come then. We will.
Mark Helprin (Freddy and Fredericka)
A year ago, I was at a dinner in Amsterdam when the question came up of whether each of us loved his or her country. The German shuddered, the Dutch were equivocal, the Brit said he was "comfortable" with Britain, the expatriate American said no. And I said yes. Driving across the arid lands, the red lands, I wondered what it was I loved. the places, the sagebrush basins, the rivers digging themselves deep canyons through arid lands, the incomparable cloud formations of summer monsoons, the way the underside of clouds turns the same blue as the underside of a great blue heron's wings when the storm is about to break. Beyond that, for anything you can say about the United States, you can also say the opposite: we're rootless except we're also the Hopi, who haven't moved in several centuries; we're violent except we're also the Franciscans nonviolently resisting nucelar weapons out here; we're consumers except the West is studded with visionary environmentalists...and the landscape of the West seems like the stage on which such dramas are played out, a space without boundaries, in which anything can be realized, a moral ground, out here where your shadow can stretch hundreds of feet just before sunset, where you loom large, and lonely.
Rebecca Solnit (Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics)
Some people owe everything they have to the bank accounts of their parents. I owe the state. Put simply, the state educated me, fixed my leg when it was broken, and gave me a grant that enabled me to go to university. It fixed my teeth (a bit) and found housing for my veteran father in his dotage. When my youngest brother was run over by a truck it saved his life and in particular his crushed right hand, a procedure that took half a year, and which would, on the open market—so a doctor told me at the time—have cost a million pounds. Those were the big things, but there were also plenty of little ones: my subsidized sports centre and my doctor’s office, my school music lessons paid for with pennies, my university fees. My NHS glasses aged 9. My NHS baby aged 33. And my local library. To steal another writer’s title: England made me. It has never been hard for me to pay my taxes because I understand it to be the repaying of a large, in fact, an almost incalculable, debt. ....The charming tale of benign state intervention described above is now relegated to the land of fairy tales: not just naïve but actually fantastic. Having one’s own history so suddenly and abruptly made unreal is an experience of a whole generation of British people, who must now wander around like so many ancient mariners boring foreigners about how they went to university for free and could once find a National Health dentist on their high street.
Zadie Smith
Our Chasers Aren’t Cheating! That was the stunned reaction of Quidditch fans across Britain last night when the so-called “Stooging Penalty” was announced by the Department of Magical Games and Sports last night. “Instances of stooging have been on the increase,” said a harassed-looking Departmental representative last night. “We feel that this new rule will eliminate the sever Keeper injuries we have been seeing only too often. From now on, one Chaser will attempt to beat the Keeper, as opposed to three Chasers beating the Keeper up. Everything will be much cleaner and fairer.” At this point the Departmental representative was forced to retreat as the angry crowd started to bombard him with Quaffles. Wizards from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement arrived to disperse the crowd, who were threatening to stooge the Minister of Magic himself. One freckle-faced six-year-old left the hall in tears. “I loved stooging,” he sobbed to the Daily Prophet. “Me and me dad like watching them Keepers flattened. I don’t want to go to Quidditch no more.” Daily Prophet, 22 June 1884
J.K. Rowling (Quidditch Through the Ages)
NOTHING should more deeply shame the modern student than the recency and inadequacy of his acquaintance with India. Here is a vast peninsula of nearly two million square miles; two-thirds as large as the United States, and twenty times the size of its master, Great Britain; 320,000,000 souls, more than in all North and South America combined, or one-fifth of the population of the earth; an impressive continuity of development and civilization from Mohenjo-daro, 2900 B.C. or earlier, to Gandhi, Raman and Tagore; faiths compassing every stage from barbarous idolatry to the most subtle and spiritual pantheism; philosophers playing a thousand variations on one monistic theme from the Upanishads eight centuries before Christ to Shankara eight centuries after him; scientists developing astronomy three thousand years ago, and winning Nobel prizes in our own time; a democratic constitution of untraceable antiquity in the villages, and wise and beneficent rulers like Ashoka and Akbar in the capitals; minstrels singing great epics almost as old as Homer, and poets holding world audiences today; artists raising gigantic temples for Hindu gods from Tibet to Ceylon and from Cambodia to Java, or carving perfect palaces by the score for Mogul kings and queens—this is the India that patient scholarship is now opening up, like a new intellectual continent, to that Western mind which only yesterday thought civilization an exclusively European thing.I
Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization 1))
It is in the nature of things to be lost and not otherwise. Think of how little has been salvaged from the compost of time of the hundreds of billions of dreams dreamt since the language to describe them emerged, how few names, how few wishes, how few languages even, how we don’t know what tongues the people who erected the standing stones of Britain and Ireland spoke or what the stones meant, don’t know much of the language of the Gabrielanos of Los Angeles or the Miwoks of Marin, don’t know how or why they drew the giant pictures on the desert floor in Nazca, Peru, don’t know much even about Shakespeare or Li Po. It is as though we make the exception the rule, believe that we should have rather than that we will generally lose. We should be able to find our way back again by the objects we dropped, like Hansel and Gretel in the forest, the objects reeling us back in time, undoing each loss, a road back from lost eyeglasses to lost toys and baby teeth. Instead, most of the objects form the secret constellations of our irrecoverable past, returning only in dreams where nothing but the dreamer is lost. They must still exist somewhere: pocket knives and plastic horses don’t exactly compost, but who knows where they go in the great drifts of objects sifting through our world?
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
You know, sometimes I don't understand what's wrong with us. This is just about the most creative and imaginative country on earth—and yet sometimes we just don't seem to have the gumption to exploit our intellectual property. We split the atom, and now we have to get French or Korean scientists to help us build nuclear power stations. We perfected the finest cars on earth—and now Rolls-Royce is in the hands of the Germans. Whatever we invent, from the jet engine to the internet, we find that someone else carts it off and makes a killing from it elsewhere.
Boris Johnson
Tinkerers built America. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, all were tinkerers in their childhood. Everything from the airplane to the computer started in somebody's garage. Go back even further: the Industrial Revolution was a revolution of tinkerers. The great scientific thinkers of eighteenth-century England couldn't have been less interested in cotton spinning and weaving. Why would you be? It was left to a bloke on the shop floor who happened to glance at a one-thread wheel that had toppled over and noticed that both the wheel and the spindle were still turning. So James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, and there followed other artful gins and mules and frames and looms, and Britain and the world were transformed. By tinkerers rather than thinkerers. "Technological change came from tinkerers," wrote Professor J.R. McNeill of Georgetown, "people with little or no scientific education but with plenty of hands-on experience." John Ratzenberger likes to paraphrase a Stanford University study: "Engineers who are great in physics and calculus but can't think in new ways about old objects are doomed to think in old ways about new objects." That's the lesson of the spinning jenny: an old object fell over and someone looked at it in a new way.
Mark Steyn (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon)
(Talking about the movement to deny the prevalence and effects of adult sexual exploitation of children) So what does this movement consist of? Who are the movers and shakers? Well molesters are in it, of course. There are web pages telling them how to defend themselves against accusations, to retain confidence about their ‘loving and natural’ feelings for children, with advice on what lawyers to approach, how to complain, how to harass those helping their children. Then there’s the Men’s Movements, their web pages throbbing with excitement if they find ‘proof’ of conspiracy between feminists, divorcing wives and therapists to victimise men, fathers and husbands. Then there are journalists. A few have been vitally important in the US and Britain in establishing the fightback, using their power and influence to distort the work of child protection professionals and campaign against children’s testimony. Then there are other journalists who dance in and out of the debates waggling their columns behind them, rarely observing basic journalistic manners, but who use this debate to service something else – a crack at the welfare state, standards, feminism, ‘touchy, feely, post-Diana victimhood’. Then there is the academic voice, landing in the middle of court cases or inquiries, offering ‘rational authority’. Then there is the government. During the entire period of discovery and denial, not one Cabinet minister made a statement about the prevalence of sexual abuse or the harm it caused. Finally there are the ‘retractors’. For this movement to take off, it had to have ‘human interest’ victims – the accused – and then a happy ending – the ‘retractors’. We are aware that those ‘retractors’ whose parents trail them to newspapers, television studios and conferences are struggling. Lest we forget, they recanted under palpable pressure.
Beatrix Campbell (Stolen Voices: The People And Politics Behind The Campaign To Discredit Childhood Testimony)
Extremism stifles true progression in all fields of human advancement; it is a detriment to everything but war, tribalism and the personal power of Nietzschean entities, striving only for the narcissistic vindication of their ego and will. The enlightened mind knows that all is challengeable, ergo questions all and thus, learns and grows; progression. The weak and narrow mind makes its beliefs sacrosanct; fearful of challenge, their creed becomes unalterable, defended with violence. Political extremists, much like religious zealots, are the latter. They destroy what they cannot convert. They annihilate those they cannot control, or force to conform. They have found no peace in life, no love, and so promote war and division, as emotional cripples – inflicting their own pain and misery and malignant stupidity on the world. Their language binds people together, but only by stirring the darkest excesses of the soul; language of hate, and intolerance, fear and conspiracy, and the need for vengeance. In war-scarred Europe, these cripples direct mass-psychology, and would make the world in their own likeness; mutilated by violence and tribalism and hate.
Daniel S. Fletcher (Jackboot Britain)
The country was passing through turbulent times. British Raj was on its last legs. The World War had sucked the juice out of the British economy. Britain neither had the resources nor the will to hold on to a country the size of India. Sensing the British weakness and lack of resources to rule, different leagues of Indians sniffed different destinies in the air following the imminent exit of the British: a long stretch of Nehru Raj, Hindu Raj extending from Kashmir to Kerala not seen since Emperor Ashoka in third-century BCE before the emperor himself renounced Hinduism and turned a non-violent Buddhist, a Muslim-majority state carved out of two shoulders of India with a necklace-like corridor running through her bosom along Grand Trunk Road, balkanisation of the country with princes ruling the roost, and total chaos. From August 1946 onwards, chaos appeared to be the most likely destiny as it spurted in Bengal, Bihar, and United Provinces, ending in the carnage of minority communities at every place. The predicament of British government was how to cut their losses and run without many British casualties before the inevitable chaos spread to the whole country. The predicament of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, was how to achieve his dream of Muslim-majority Pakistan carved out of India before his imminent demise from tuberculosis he suffered from, about which—apart from his doctor—only a handful of his closest relations and friends knew about. The predicament of Jawaharlal Nehru, the heir apparent of the Congress Party anointed by Gandhiji, was how to attain independence of the country followed by Nehru Raj while Gandhiji, a frail 77-year-old at the time, was still alive, for God only knew who would be the leader of the party once Gandhiji’s soul and his moral authority were dispatched to heaven, and Nehru couldn’t possibly leave the crucial decision in the hands of a God he didn’t particularly believe in. Time was of the essence to all the three.
Manjit Sachdeva (Lost Generations)
Cixi’s lack of formal education was more than made up for by her intuitive intelligence, which she liked to use from her earliest years. In 1843, when she was seven, the empire had just finished its first war with the West, the Opium War, which had been started by Britain in reaction to Beijing clamping down on the illegal opium trade conducted by British merchants. China was defeated and had to pay a hefty indemnity. Desperate for funds, Emperor Daoguang (father of Cixi’s future husband) held back the traditional presents for his sons’ brides – gold necklaces with corals and pearls – and vetoed elaborate banquets for their weddings. New Year and birthday celebrations were scaled down, even cancelled, and minor royal concubines had to subsidise their reduced allowances by selling their embroidery on the market through eunuchs. The emperor himself even went on surprise raids of his concubines’ wardrobes, to check whether they were hiding extravagant clothes against his orders. As part of a determined drive to stamp out theft by officials, an investigation was conducted of the state coffer, which revealed that more “than nine million taels of silver had gone missing. Furious, the emperor ordered all the senior keepers and inspectors of the silver reserve for the previous forty-four years to pay fines to make up the loss – whether or not they were guilty. Cixi’s great-grandfather had served as one of the keepers and his share of the fine amounted to 43,200 taels – a colossal sum, next to which his official salary had been a pittance. As he had died a long time ago, his son, Cixi’s grandfather, was obliged to pay half the sum, even though he worked in the Ministry of Punishments and had nothing to do with the state coffer. After three years of futile struggle to raise money, he only managed to hand over 1,800 taels, and an edict signed by the emperor confined him to prison, only to be released if and when his son, Cixi’s father, delivered the balance. The life of the family was turned upside down. Cixi, then eleven years old, had to take in sewing jobs to earn extra money – which she would remember all her life and would later talk about to her ladies-in-waiting in the court. “As she was the eldest of two daughters and three sons, her father discussed the matter with her, and she rose to the occasion. Her ideas were carefully considered and practical: what possessions to sell, what valuables to pawn, whom to turn to for loans and how to approach them. Finally, the family raised 60 per cent of the sum, enough to get her grandfather out of prison. The young Cixi’s contribution to solving the crisis became a family legend, and her father paid her the ultimate compliment: ‘This daughter of mine is really more like a son!’ Treated like a son, Cixi was able to talk to her father about things that were normally closed areas for women. Inevitably their conversations touched on official business and state affairs, which helped form Cixi’s lifelong interest. Being consulted and having her views acted on, she acquired self-confidence and never accepted the com“common assumption that women’s brains were inferior to men’s. The crisis also helped shape her future method of rule. Having tasted the bitterness of arbitrary punishment, she would make an effort to be fair to her officials.
Jung Chang (Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China)
Fame requires every kind of excess. I mean true fame, a devouring neon, not the somber renown of waning statesmen or chinless kings. I mean long journeys across gray space. I mean danger, the edge of every void, the circumstance of one man imparting an erotic terror to the dreams of the republic. Understand the man who must inhabit these extreme regions, monstrous and vulval, damp with memories of violation. Even if half-mad he is absorbed into the public's total madness; even if fully rational, a bureaucrat in hell, a secret genius of survival, he is sure to be destroyed by the public's contempt for survivors. Fame, this special kind, feeds itself on outrage, on what the counselors of lesser men would consider bad publicity-hysteria in limousines, knife fights in the audience, bizarre litigation, treachery, pandemonium and drugs. Perhaps the only natural law attaching to true fame is that the famous man is compelled, eventually, to commit suicide. (Is it clear I was a hero of rock'n'roll?) Toward the end of the final tour it became apparent that our audience wanted more than music, more even than its own reduplicated noise. It's possible the culture had reached its limit, a point of severe tension. There was less sense of simple visceral abandon at our concerts during these last weeks. Few cases of arson and vandalism. Fewer still of rape. No smoke bombs or threats of worse explosives. Our followers, in their isolation, were not concerned with precedent now. They were free of old saints and martyrs, but fearfully so, left with their own unlabeled flesh. Those without tickets didn't storm the barricades, and during a performance the boys and girls directly below us, scratching at the stage, were less murderous in their love of me, as if realizing finally that my death, to be authentic, must be self-willed- a succesful piece of instruction only if it occured by my own hand, preferrably ina foreign city. I began to think their education would not be complete until they outdid me as a teacher, until one day they merely pantomimed the kind of massive response the group was used to getting. As we performed they would dance, collapse, clutch each other, wave their arms, all the while making absolutely no sound. We would stand in the incandescent pit of a huge stadium filled with wildly rippling bodies, all totally silent. Our recent music, deprived of people's screams, was next to meaningless, and there would have been no choice but to stop playing. A profound joke it would have been. A lesson in something or other. In Houston I left the group, saying nothing, and boarded a plane for New York City, that contaminated shrine, place of my birth. I knew Azarian would assume leadership of the band, his body being prettiest. As to the rest, I left them to their respective uproars- news media, promotion people, agents, accountants, various members of the managerial peerage. The public would come closer to understanding my disappearance than anyone else. It was not quite as total as the act they needed and nobody could be sure whether I was gone for good. For my closest followers, it foreshadowed a period of waiting. Either I'd return with a new language for them to speak or they'd seek a divine silence attendant to my own. I took a taxi past the cemetaries toward Manhattan, tides of ash-light breaking across the spires. new York seemed older than the cities of Europe, a sadistic gift of the sixteenth century, ever on the verge of plague. The cab driver was young, however, a freckled kid with a moderate orange Afro. I told him to take the tunnel. Is there a tunnel?" he said.
Don DeLillo
Ireland, like Ukraine, is a largely rural country which suffers from its proximity to a more powerful industrialised neighbour. Ireland’s contribution to the history of tractors is the genius engineer Harry Ferguson, who was born in 1884, near Belfast. Ferguson was a clever and mischievous man, who also had a passion for aviation. It is said that he was the first man in Great Britain to build and fly his own aircraft in 1909. But he soon came to believe that improving efficiency of food production would be his unique service to mankind. Harry Ferguson’s first two-furrow plough was attached to the chassis of the Ford Model T car converted into a tractor, aptly named Eros. This plough was mounted on the rear of the tractor, and through ingenious use of balance springs it could be raised or lowered by the driver using a lever beside his seat. Ford, meanwhile, was developing its own tractors. The Ferguson design was more advanced, and made use of hydraulic linkage, but Ferguson knew that despite his engineering genius, he could not achieve his dream on his own. He needed a larger company to produce his design. So he made an informal agreement with Henry Ford, sealed only by a handshake. This Ford-Ferguson partnership gave to the world a new type of Fordson tractor far superior to any that had been known before, and the precursor of all modern-type tractors. However, this agreement by a handshake collapsed in 1947 when Henry Ford II took over the empire of his father, and started to produce a new Ford 8N tractor, using the Ferguson system. Ferguson’s open and cheerful nature was no match for the ruthless mentality of the American businessman. The matter was decided in court in 1951. Ferguson claimed $240 million, but was awarded only $9.25 million. Undaunted in spirit, Ferguson had a new idea. He approached the Standard Motor Company at Coventry with a plan, to adapt the Vanguard car for use as tractor. But this design had to be modified, because petrol was still rationed in the post-war period. The biggest challenge for Ferguson was the move from petrol-driven to diesel-driven engines and his success gave rise to the famous TE-20, of which more than half a million were built in the UK. Ferguson will be remembered for bringing together two great engineering stories of our time, the tractor and the family car, agriculture and transport, both of which have contributed so richly to the well-being of mankind.
Marina Lewycka (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian)
The Romantic journey was usually a solitary one. Although the Romantic poets were closely connected with one another, and some collaborated in their work, they each had a strong individual vision. Romantic poets could not continue their quests for long or sustain their vision into later life. The power of the imagination and of inspiration did not last. Whereas earlier poets had patrons who financed their writing, the tradition of patronage was not extensive in the Romantic period and poets often lacked financial and other support. Keats, Shelley and Byron all died in solitary exile from England at a young age, their work left incomplete, non-conformists to the end. This coincides with the characteristic Romantic images of the solitary heroic individual, the spiritual outcast 'alone, alone, all, all alone' like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and John Clare's 'I'; like Shelley's Alastor, Keats's Endymion, or Byron's Manfred, who reached beyond the normal social codes and normal human limits so that 'his aspirations/Have been beyond the dwellers of the earth'. Wordsworth, who lived to be an old man, wrote poems throughout his life in which his poetic vision is stimulated by a single figure or object set against a natural background. Even his projected final masterpiece was entitled The Recluse. The solitary journey of the Romantic poet was taken up by many Victorian and twentieth-century poets, becoming almost an emblem of the individual's search for identity in an ever more confused and confusing world.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
I HAD TO GO to America for a while to give some talks. Going to America always does me good. It’s where I’m from, after all. There’s baseball on the TV, people are friendly and upbeat, they don’t obsess about the weather except when there is weather worth obsessing about, you can have all the ice cubes you want. Above all, visiting America gives me perspective. Consider two small experiences I had upon arriving at a hotel in downtown Austin, Texas. When I checked in, the clerk needed to record my details, naturally enough, and asked for my home address. Our house doesn’t have a street number, just a name, and I have found in the past that that is more deviance than an American computer can sometimes cope with, so I gave our London address. The girl typed in the building number and street name, then said: “City?” I replied: “London.” “Can you spell that please?” I looked at her and saw that she wasn’t joking. “L-O-N-D-O-N,” I said. “Country?” “England.” “Can you spell that?” I spelled England. She typed for a moment and said: “The computer won’t accept England. Is that a real country?” I assured her it was. “Try Britain,” I suggested. I spelled that, too—twice (we got the wrong number of T’s the first time)—and the computer wouldn’t take that either. So I suggested Great Britain, United Kingdom, UK, and GB, but those were all rejected, too. I couldn’t think of anything else to suggest. “It’ll take France,” the girl said after a minute. “I beg your pardon?” “You can have ‘London, France.’ ” “Seriously?” She nodded. “Well, why not?” So she typed “London, France,” and the system was happy. I finished the check-in process and went with my bag and plastic room key to a bank of elevators a few paces away. When the elevator arrived, a young woman was in it already, which I thought a little strange because the elevator had come from one of the upper floors and now we were going back up there again. About five seconds into the ascent, she said to me in a suddenly alert tone: “Excuse me, was that the lobby back there?” “That big room with a check-in desk and revolving doors to the street? Why, yes, it was.” “Shoot,” she said and looked chagrined. Now I am not for a moment suggesting that these incidents typify Austin, Texas, or America generally or anything like that. But it did get me to thinking that our problems are more serious than I had supposed. When functioning adults can’t identify London, England, or a hotel lobby, I think it is time to be concerned. This is clearly a global problem and it’s spreading. I am not at all sure how we should tackle such a crisis, but on the basis of what we know so far, I would suggest, as a start, quarantining Texas.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
The Atonist nobility knew it was impossible to organize and control a worldwide empire from Britain. The British Isles were geographically too far West for effective management. In order to be closer to the “markets,” the Atonist corporate executives coveted Rome. Additionally, by way of their armed Templar branch and incessant murderous “Crusades,” they succeeded making inroads further east. Their double-headed eagle of control reigned over Eastern and Western hemispheres. The seats of Druidic learning once existed in the majority of lands, and so the Atonist or Christian system spread out in similar fashion. Its agents were sent from Britain and Rome to many a region and for many a dark purpose. To this very day, the nobility of Europe and the east are controlled from London and Rome. Nothing has changed when it comes to the dominion of Aton. As Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe have proven, the Culdean monks, of whom we write, had been hired for generations as tutors to elite families throughout Europe. In their book The Knights Templar Revealed, the authors highlight the role played by Culdean adepts tutoring the super-wealthy and influential Catholic dynasties of Burgundy, Champagne and Lorraine, France. Research into the Templars and their affiliated “Salt Line” dynasties reveals that the seven great Crusades were not instigated and participated in for the reasons mentioned in most official history books. As we show here, the Templars were the military wing of British and European Atonists. It was their job to conquer lands, slaughter rivals and rebuild the so-called “Temple of Solomon” or, more correctly, Akhenaton’s New World Order. After its creation, the story of Jesus was transplanted from Britain, where it was invented, to Galilee and Judea. This was done so Christianity would not appear to be conspicuously Druidic in complexion. To conceive Christianity in Britain was one thing; to birth it there was another. The Atonists knew their warped religion was based on ancient Amenism and Druidism. They knew their Jesus, Iesus or Yeshua, was based on Druidic Iesa or Iusa, and that a good many educated people throughout the world knew it also. Their difficulty concerned how to come up with a believable king of light sufficiently appealing to the world’s many pagan nations. Their employees, such as St. Paul (Josephus Piso), were allowed to plunder the archive of the pagans. They were instructed to draw from the canon of stellar gnosis and ancient solar theologies of Egypt, Chaldea and Ireland. The archetypal elements would, like ingredients, simply be tossed about and rearranged and, most importantly, the territory of the new godman would be resituated to suit the meta plan.
Michael Tsarion (The Irish Origins of Civilization, Volume One)
Any true definition of preaching must say that that man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is 'an ambassador for Christ'. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address these people. In other words he is not there merely to talk to them, he is not there to entertain them. He is there - and I want to emphasize this - to do something to those people; he is there to produce results of various kinds, he is there to influence people. He is not merely to influence a part of them; he is not only to influence their minds, not only their emotions, or merely to bring pressure to bear upon their wills and to induce them to some kind of activity. He is there to deal with the whole person; and his preaching is meant to affect the whole person at the very centre of life. Preaching should make such a difference to a man who is listening that he is never the same again. Preaching, in other words, is a transaction between the preacher and the listener. It does something for the soul of man, for the whole of the person, the entire man; it deals with him in a vital and radical manner. I remember a remark made to me a few years back about some studies of mine on “The Sermon on the Mount.” I had deliberately published them in sermonic form. There were many who advised me not to do that on the grounds that people no longer like sermons. The days for sermons, I was told, were past, and I was pressed to turn my sermons into essays and to give them a different form. I was most interested therefore when this man to whom I was talking, and he is a very well-known Christian layman in Britain, said, "I like these studies of yours on “The Sermon on the Mount” because they speak to me.” Then he went on to say, “I have been recommended many books by learned preachers and professors but,” he said, “what I feel about those books is that it always seems to be professors writing to professors; they do not speak to me. But,” he said, “your stuff speaks to me.” Now he was an able man, and a man in a prominent position, but that is how he put it. I think there is a great deal of truth in this. He felt that so much that he had been recommended to read was very learned and very clever and scholarly, but as he put it, it was “professors writing to professors.” This is, I believe, is a most important point for us to bear in mind when we read sermons. I have referred already to the danger of giving the literary style too much prominence. I remember reading an article in a literary journal some five or six years ago which I thought was most illuminating because the writer was making the selfsame point in his own field. His case was that the trouble today is that far too often instead of getting true literature we tend to get “reviewers writing books for reviewers.” These men review one another's books, with the result that when they write, what they have in their mind too often is the reviewer and not the reading public to whom the book should be addressed, at any rate in the first instance. The same thing tends to happen in connection with preaching. This ruins preaching, which should always be a transaction between preacher and listener with something vital and living taking place. It is not the mere imparting of knowledge, there is something much bigger involved. The total person is engaged on both sides; and if we fail to realize this our preaching will be a failure.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Preaching and Preachers)
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights And Duties: Reflections On Our Conservative Constitution)
The ruinous deeds of the ravaging foe (Beowulf) The best-known long text in Old English is the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf himself is a classic hero, who comes from afar. He has defeated the mortal enemy of the area - the monster Grendel - and has thus made the territory safe for its people. The people and the setting are both Germanic. The poem recalls a shared heroic past, somewhere in the general consciousness of the audience who would hear it. It starts with a mention of 'olden days', looking back, as many stories do, to an indefinite past ('once upon a time'), in which fact blends with fiction to make the tale. But the hero is a mortal man, and images of foreboding and doom prepare the way for a tragic outcome. He will be betrayed, and civil war will follow. Contrasts between splendour and destruction, success and failure, honour and betrayal, emerge in a story which contains a great many of the elements of future literature. Power, and the battles to achieve and hold on to power, are a main theme of literature in every culture - as is the theme of transience and mortality. ................ Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition. It is full of human speech and sonorous images, and of the need to resolve and bring to fruition a proper human order, against the enemy - whatever it be - here symbolised by a monster and a dragon, among literature's earliest 'outsiders'. ....... Beowulf has always attracted readers, and perhaps never more than in the 1990s when at least two major poets, the Scot Edwin Morgan and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, retranslated it into modern English. Heaney's version became a worldwide bestseller, and won many awards, taking one of the earliest texts of English literature to a vast new audience.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)