Great Britain Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Great 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
Monty Python: A documentary series on everyday life in Great Britain.
Frank Portman (King Dork (King Dork, #1))
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))
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 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
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
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))
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)
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))
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))
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)
There is only one hope for mankind - and that is democratic socialism. There is only one party in Great Britain which can do it - and that is the Labour Party.
Aneurin Bevan
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)
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
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)
Today, as a result of the policy of Macmillan's Government, Great Britain presents in the United Nations the face of Pecksniff and in Katanga the face of Gradgrind.
Conor Cruise O'Brien
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))
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)
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)
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)
Again, we find that the space standards of twenty-first century luxury are below the required minimum for dockworkers in 1962.
Owen Hatherley (A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain)
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)
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)
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
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)
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
[R]evolutions of government cannot be effected by the mere force of argument and reasoning;
David Hume (The History of Great Britain: the Reigns of James I and Charles I)
Hugs can do great amounts of good - especially for children." -Diana
Kate Petrella (Royal Wisdom: The Most Daft, Cheeky, and Brilliant Quotes from Britain's Royal Family)
A wine cellar requires order, forethought and good taste,’ the old man used to say. ‘These are the virtues that made Britain great.
Ken Follett (Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1))
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))
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)
According to an ancient and common tradition in the kingdom of Great Britain, this king did not die, but was transformed into a raven by the art of enchantment and, in the course of time, he shall return to rule again and regain his kingdom and his scepter.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
And now, Your Majesty," said Strange, "I think it is time we returned to the Castle. You and I, Your Majesty, are a British King and a British magician. Though Great Britain may desert us, we have no right to desert Great Britain. She may have need of us yet.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
I had long since realised that if there was greatness in Britain, then it lay in its everyday citizens, and not in its institutions.
Nikesh Shukla (The Good Immigrant)
The British obviously overlooked the fact that an American only has to be sold on the idea that his cause is just and he is capable of anything.
Paul Brickhill (The Great Escape)
C" is for colonies Rightly we boast that of all the great nations Great Britain has most!
Mrs. Ernest Ames (An ABC for Baby Patriots)
Great Britain be proud, be blessed, be bold! Show the world what are you made of; show them you are made of gold not bronze. Be proud, be blessed,be bold!
Euginia Herlihy (The Experiences of Life & Prayers)
As Morgenthau points out, small- and medium-sized states like Israel, Great Britain, France, and Iran cannot absorb the same level of punishment as continental-sized states such as the United States, Russia, and China, so that they lack the requisite credibility in their nuclear threats.
Robert D. Kaplan (The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate)
So,” he throttled shift knob into fifth gear half a block from a stop sign, “you’re from Great Britain.” “Yes. England. The North. Sheffield.” “Why you guys drive on the left?” “Obviously, because it’s right.” “I’m being serious.” “Are you?” “I’m askin, aren’t I?” “I don’t know. Tradition, I suppose.” “That’s a dumb-ass reason.” “Then perhaps you should start driving on the left.
Kevin Cole
Sugar plus coffee did reach Great Britain right around the time that steam engines finally hit their stride. Imagine that for a second: the British and stimulants, together at last! Shit got done.
K.B. Spangler (Greek Key (Hope Blackwell #1))
Whether it is North Korea, Sierra Leone, or Zimbabwe, well show that poor countries are poor for the same reason that Egypt is poor. Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty)
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))
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
In those days Great Britain was less wealthy than it is now, but it was also less complacent, and considerably less useless. It had a sense of humanitarian responsibility and a myth of its own importance that was quixotically true and universally accepted merely because it believed in it, and said so in a voice loud enough for foreigners to understand. It had not yet acquired the schoolboy habit of waiting for months for permission from Washington before it clambered out of its post-imperial bed, put on its boots, made a sugary cup of tea, and ventured through the door.
Louis de Bernières (Corelli's Mandolin)
Sometimes it rained, but mostly it was just dull, a land without shadows. It was like living inside Tupperware.
Bill Bryson (The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America)
Why should you and I struggle to pay our bills while some pisshead dopehead wanker spends OUR money on getting wrecked?
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Anybody who has been on Jobseeker's Allowance for more than six months must carry out some form of community work to earn their money
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
I’m the guy who finds the fucking cat
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
I believe the Law of the Land should allow migrants three months on benefits and then the benefits cease
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
We owe shelter and welfare to people who were either born here or people who show a desire to not only integrate but become useful members of society. And certainly, nobody else
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
For the most part policy-makers are too nervous about offending people, yet when BRITAIN really was GREAT that was the last thought on our minds.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Policies should also offer a solution. What a concept! Imagine that! A policy that sorted out all the shit in this country once and for all
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
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)
Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, Americans of all classes and regions joined together to fight a revolution against the rich, powerful, and entrenched hereditary monarchy of Great Britain for the right to govern ourselves. The Constitution our Founding Fathers wrote made it official—in America, power would be vested in the hands of the ordinary man, in “We the People.
KT McFarland (Revolution: Trump, Washington and “We the People”)
The new naval treaty permits the United States to spend a billion dollars on warships—a sum greater than has been accumulated by all our endowed institutions of learning in their entire history. Unintelligence could go no further! ... [In Great Britain, the situation is similar.] ... Until the figures are reversed, ... nations deceive themselves as to what they care about most.
Abraham Flexner (Universities: American, English, German)
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
I do have a sneaking admiration for anyone who has the intelligence to plan a ‘job’ properly and the courage to carry it out. As long as no one gets hurt and the target is a bank or an insurance company.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
When I was young I lived in several different countries, and we HAD to find work because there were no welfare state options open to us in those countries. And do you know what? We went out and found work. We had no choice.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
If overpopulation or lack of resources created poverty, then Hong Kong should be poor. Hong Kong has 20 times as many people per square mile as India, and no valuable natural resources. Yet Hong Kong is rich; the average income there is higher than in Great Britain or Canada. This is a recent development. In the 1920s, Hong Kong was as poor as India. But in a relatively short time it became rich because of one key ingredient: economic freedom.
John Stossel (Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media...)
I know for a fact that if a country took me in and offered me assistance, I would be on my best behaviour forever! I would show total respect to the people of that nation and their laws. And I certainly wouldn’t expect special treatment.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
What's the use of a lague of nations if it's to be dominated by Great Britain and her colonies?" said Mr. Rasmussen sourly. "But don't you think any kind of a league's better than nothing?" said Eveline. "It's not the name you give things, it's who's getting theirs underneath that counts," said Robbins. "That's a very cynical remark," said the California woman. "This isn't any time to be cynical." "This is a time," said Robbins, "when if we weren't cynical we'd shoot ourselves.
John Dos Passos (1919 (U.S.A., #2))
A ‘discouraged worker’ is someone of legal employment age who has stopped actively seeking employment because he or she has simply given up looking, hence the term ‘discouraged.’ Well I’m fucking discouraged at having to pay for the lazy sod!
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
If a fairly substantial percentage of the money you and I work hard for is to be given to people too lazy to drag their arses out of bed at six o’clock in the morning, then we need assurance that they’re not spending our money on booze and drugs.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
If we bend over backwards to help immigrants and they throw that assistance back in our faces by committing crime then the punitive sentences should be double what would normally be expected, and upon serving their sentence they should be deported immediately.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
If you’re fit and healthy and capable of mending a fence or stacking shelves, and you’re not doing either of those things, then I say you don’t get the right to vote. I don’t want someone who’s too lazy to get a job making decisions on how this country should be run.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Chevalier d’Éon de Beaumont, had previously served France as both a male soldier in the Seven Years’ War and a female secret agent who infiltrated the Russian monarchy, successfully befriending and convincing a Russian czarina not to become an ally of France’s enemy Great Britain. No one was entirely sure of his/her gender, and he/she kept them guessing.
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Shakespeare Association (A Series of Papers on Shakespeare and the Theatre, Together with Papers on Edward Alleyn and Early Records Illustrating the Personal Life of Shakesp)
Well, in war, you can only be killed once. But in politics, many times.
Winston S. Churchill
Let the Cry-babies Howl! It’s GREAT Britain Again.
Jane Davis (My Counterfeit Self)
Though, by a just turn-about of things here below, Great Britain has become a colony of the United States, the English are not yet reconciled to the situation.
Jules Verne (In the Year 2889)
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))
Why should you and I pay for the lazy sods? They’ve given up looking for a job! Why should we pay for them? While you drag your arse out of bed and put in a shift, they sleep, play video games, watch Jeremy Kyle, eat and shit. And yet you and I have to pay for their very existence!
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Hitler’s model for domination and exploitation remained the British Empire. His inspiration for the future rule of his master-race was the Raj. He voiced his admiration on many occasions for the way such a small country as Great Britain had been able to establish its rule throughout the world in a huge colonial empire. British rule in India in particular showed what Germany could do in Russia. It must be possible to control the eastern territory with quarter of a million men, he stated. With that number the British ruled 400 million Indians. Russia would always be dominated by German rulers. They must see to it that the masses were educated to do no more than read road signs, though a reasonable living standard for them was in the German interest. The
Ian Kershaw (Hitler)
Our modern history begins in 1788 with the dumping of the human detritus of Britain ... Yet repositioned in the sunlight , they flourished. ...This was colonial Australia's great gift to the world: practical proof that, when it comes to human society, the soil is more important than the seed.
Richard Glover (Flesh Wounds)
Give me someone who was born elsewhere yet clearly demonstrates he wants to get involved over someone who was born here yet believes he/she has a right to the money you and I have worked so hard for
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Any immigrants found guilty of serious crime – rape, murder, violent gang membership – should be sent straight back to their country of origin. That ought to act as a deterrent. If they choose to bite the hand that feeds them, then they can fuck off. We don’t need people like that in this country.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
The language of Shakespeare is the first and lasting affirmation of the great changes that took place in the sixteenth century, leaving the Middle English of Chaucer far behind. In many ways, the language has changed less in the 400 years since Shakespeare wrote than it did in the 150 years before he wrote.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Wasplike with their long slender hulls, these were ships not seen in these waters before. They approached in a line, each flying a large American flag. To the hundreds of onlookers by now gathered on shore, many also carrying American flags, it would be a sight they would never forget and into which they read great meaning. These were the descendants of the colonials returning now at Britain's hour of need....
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
My policy is if they haven’t found a job in twelve months then they take the first one that’s offered them. And no choice in the matter. They’ve had twelve months to find the job they want, and they’ve done fuck all about it, so it’s time to grab them by the scruff of the neck and send them out to work. Agreed?  
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Limiting the power of government, in order to liberate the individual, was the great American revolutionary insight. Too much cooperation, avoiding conflict from ordinary people, these things aren’t acceptable in America although they may suit China, Indonesia, Britain, or Germany just fine. In America the absence of conflict is a sign of regression toward a global mean, hardly progress by our lights if you’ve seen much of the governance of the rest of the world where common people are crushed like annoying insects if they argue.
John Taylor Gatto (The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling)
In eighteenth-century Great Britain, “molly” was used so frequently to describe men, often gender deviant, who desired other men that the private homes or tavern rooms in which they congregated were called Molly Houses.
Michael Bronski (A Queer History of the United States (ReVisioning American History))
I know now that all people hunger for a noble, unsullied past, that as sure as the black nationalist dreams of a sublime Africa before the white man's corruption, so did Thomas Jefferson dream of an idyllic Britain before the Normans, so do all of us dream of some other time when things were so simple. I know now that that hunger is a retreat from the knotty present into myth and that what ultimately awaits those who retreat into fairy tales, who seek refuge in the mad pursuit to be made great again, in the image of greatness that never was, is tragedy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
Elliott and Philby existed within the inner circle of Britain’s ruling class, where mutual trust was so absolute and unquestioned that there was no need for elaborate security precautions. They were all part of the same family.
Ben Macintyre (A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal)
The Roman Empire necessarily became less Roman as it became more of an Empire; until not very long after Rome gave conquerors to Britain, Britain was giving emperors to Rome. Out of Britain, as the Britons boasted, came at length the great Empress Helena, who was the mother of Constantine. And it was Constantine, as all men know, who first nailed up that proclamation which all after generations have in truth been struggling either to protect or to tear down
G.K. Chesterton
Watching Nigel Farage rudely insult fellow members of the European Parliament today - the first occasion they were all assembled in Brussels since the tragic 'Brexit' referendum result - made me feel utterly ashamed to be British. Let it be known that Nigel Farage is the very epitomy of a narrow-minded 'Little Englander' who does not represent the vast majority of outward-looking people from Great Britain. His shameful and unofficial campaign to convince the British electorate to leave the European Union was peppered with lies and deceit. His populist and xenophobic rhetoric has also subsequently contributed to ugly scenes of racial abuse and hate crime directed at Eastern European nationals and ethnic minorities living and working in the UK, in the wake of the referendum result. Fellow Europeans, world citizens, let this be a wake-up call. Deny your own domestic peddlers of populism and nationalism the opportunity to follow the example of this unelected, disrespected maverick, intent on making a name for himself, for he has unwittingly unleashed a wrecking ball on Britain's future economic prosperity, cultural diversity and social harmony.
Alex Morritt (Impromptu Scribe)
Now I don't know much about finances, but I do know not to trust these smooth-faced wolves in sheep’s clothing. We trust these confidence tricksters because they know best, right? They'll be able to advise us, won't they? Yeah, they know best all right. They throw legal dust in our eyes, always keeping something back and dressing up their untruths with promises and alluring pound-note signs. But all the time they're making a killing out of us. A FUCKING KILLING!
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
We’re not from the same Britain,” Geoffrey said. “I don’t come from your grandfather’s Great Britain. I come from a rat-infested, coal-filled hole in England called Newcastle. My people were all miners, domestics, and dung shovelers.
Liz Rosenberg (The Moonlight Palace)
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” More important, all of Jefferson’s specific digs at the king were preceded by one self-evident fact that obliterated any and all justifications for monarchy, aristocracy, and colonialism until the end of time, even though neither its author nor his comrades truly believed it: All men are created equal. A
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
In this, they echoed the views of a generation brought up to think of Britain as Great, but now doomed in peacetime to watch the American ascendancy, decolonisation, queues, bureaucracy, socialism and other perceived indignities as the Empire declined.
Ben Macintyre (For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond)
Hundreds of thousands of men from both sides were drawn into a battle of attrition on a scale so immense that neither Germany nor France (nor even its ally Great Britain) could ever look on the war, or even the nature of war itself, the same way again.
Arthur Herman (1917: Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, and the Year That Created the Modern Age)
[Bill] Gates said he connected with [Eddy] Izzard even though it would appear they have nothing in common — but that might be the point the author is trying to communicate. "I've recently discovered that I have a lot in common with a funny, dyslexic, transgender actor, comedian, escape artist, unicyclist, ultra-marathoner, and pilot from Great Britain. Except all of the above," Gates wrote. "We're all cut from the same cloth. In his words, 'We are all totally different, but we are all exactly the same
Bill Gates
For Reuter, it was the last act of the Great War and something which reduced, if it did not remove, the shame of defeat and surrender. The message, for those who chose to think about it, was that Germany was down but not out - defeated but not reconciled.
Andrew Marr (The Making of Modern Britain)
If someone’s been signing on for six months with still no sign of finding gainful employment, then in order to continue to receive their Unemployment Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance they should complete at least 30 hours of compulsory work a week with the idea being that not only do they benefit their own communities, but this would also assist them in developing basic employability skills
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
This is an odd one. You have one country in the world where a word has a deeper meaning, it can really mess with design plans. ...But we have a difficult situation here so I guess we'll be looking at putting different sound chips in the dolls heading there [Britain].
Todd McFarlane
The very notion of Great Britain's "greatness" is bound up with Empire,' the cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, once wrote: 'Euro-scepticism and littel Englander nationalism could hardly survive if people understood whose sugar flowed through English blood , and rotted English teeth.
Andrea Levy (Six Stories and An Essay)
Brutalist architecture was Modernism's angry underside, and was never, much as some would rather it were, a mere aesthetic style. It was a political aesthetic, an attitude, a weapon, dedicated to the precept that nothing was too good for ordinary people. Now, after decades of neglect, it's devided between 'eyesores' and 'icons'; fine for the Barbican's stockbrokers but unacceptable for the ordinary people who were always its intended clients.
Owen Hatherley (A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain)
A rule which I cannot sufficiently recommend is, never to permit people to speak on subjects concerning yourself or your affairs, without your having yourself desired them to do so. The moment a person behaves improperly on this subject, change the conversation, and make the individual feel that he has made a mistake.... People will certainly try to speak to you on your own personal affairs; decline it boldly, and they will leave you alone....
Queen Victoria (The Letters of Queen Victoria : A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence between the Years 1837 and 1861 Volume 1, 1837-1843)
Through Jimi Hendrix's music you can almost see the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and of Martin Luther King Junior, the beginnings of the Berlin Wall, Yuri Gagarin in space, Fidel Castro and Cuba, the debut of Spiderman, Martin Luther King Junior’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Ford Mustang cars, anti-Vietnam protests, Mary Quant designing the mini-skirt, Indira Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister of India, four black students sitting down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina, President Johnson pushing the Civil Rights Act, flower children growing their hair long and practicing free love, USA-funded IRA blowing up innocent civilians on the streets and in the pubs of Great Britain, Napalm bombs being dropped on the lush and carpeted fields of Vietnam, a youth-driven cultural revolution in Swinging London, police using tear gas and billy-clubs to break up protests in Chicago, Mods and Rockers battling on Brighton Beach, Native Americans given the right to vote in their own country, the United Kingdom abolishing the death penalty, and the charismatic Argentinean Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. It’s all in Jimi’s absurd and delirious guitar riffs.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
When I was young I lived in several different countries. This is before the EU and at a time when America only chased the Irish vote, not the English. We HAD to find work because there were no welfare state options open to us in those countries. And do you know what? We went out and found work. We had no choice
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
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)
One sweeping charge may be brought against the whole of Christendom, and that charge is neglect and abuse of the Bible. To prove this charge we have no need to look abroad: the proof lies at our own doors. I have no doubt that there are more Bibles in Great Britain at this moment than there ever were since the world began. There is more Bible buying and Bible selling,—more Bible printing and Bible distributing,—than ever was since England was a nation. We see Bibles in every bookseller's shop,—Bibles of every size, price, and style,—Bibles great, and Bibles small,—Bibles for the rich, and Bibles for the poor. There are Bibles in almost every house in the land. But all this time I fear we are in danger of forgetting, that to have the Bible is one thing, and to read it quite another. This neglected Book is the subject about which I address the readers of this paper to-day. Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.
J.C. Ryle (Practical Religion Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians)
The Government simply cannot make up their mind or they cannot get the prime minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful for impotency. And so we go on preparing more months more years precious perhaps vital for the greatness of Britain for the locusts to eat. - Speaking in the Address in Reply debate, after giving some specific instances of Germany's war preparedness
Winston S. Churchill
If any immigrants are found guilty of crime the punishment, for a minor crime such as shoplifting, should be double that of someone born or bred here. A bit harsh? Not really. The country will have bent over backwards to offer them assistance, they’ll have cost the British taxpayer money, and if they repay that by committing crime then they need to be sorely punished. The British Taxpayer who’s helped them should feel safe from any criminal activities that they themselves are inadvertently funding
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Jane, who is much better at reading guide books than I am (I always read them on the way back to see what I missed, it’s often quite a shock), discovered something wonderful in the book she was reading. Did I know, she asked, that Brisbane was originally founded as a penal colony for convicts who committed new offences after they had arrived in Australia ? I spent a good half hour enjoying this single piece of information. It was wonderful. There we British sat, poor grey sodden creatures, huddling under our grey northern sky that seeped like a rancid dish cloth, busy sending those we wished to punish most severely to sit in bright sunlight on the coast of the Tasman Sea at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and maybe do some surfing too. No wonder the Australians have a particular kind of smile that they reserve exclusively for use on the British.
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
If the police catch someone using their mobile phone whilst driving they should have the right to confiscate the person’s license with immediate effect, AND confiscate their car keys so they have to walk home. I don’t care if they’re 200 or 400 miles from home, take their keys off them. And no need to waste the court’s time over this one. They don’t go to court. The police should have the power to write out a year’s driving ban on the spot and force them to surrender their license. Anyone got any arguments over this one?
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
It shows a mediocre architect at the top of his game [on the Beetham Tower in Manchester]
Owen Hatherley (A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain)
In Britain or Germany or America you might with great luck find a new strain of mountaintop lichen or some sprig of previously overlooked moss, but in Australia take a stroll through the bush and you can find half a dozen unnamed wildflowers, a grove of Jurassic angiosperms, and probably a ten-kilo lump of gold. I know where I’d be working if I were in science.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
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)
The haughty nephew ... and an even haughtier wife, both convinced that Germany was appointed by God to govern the world. Aunt July would come the next day, convinced that Great Britain had been appointed to the same post by the same authority. Were both these loud-voiced parties right? On one occasion they had met, and Margaret ... had implored them to argue the subject out in her presence. Whereat they blushed and began to talk about the weather. ... Margaret then remarked: "To me one of two things is very clear; either God does not know his own mind about England and Germany, or else these do not know the mind of God." A hateful little girl, but at thirteen she had grasped a dilemma that most people travel through life without perceiving.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
He was said to ride hallooing through the night, to be ready to shoot, hunt, or swim anywhere in any weather, to be able to drink half a dozen young lieutenants from nearby garrisons under the table, to wake up his occasional guests by firing a pistol through their bedroom windows, to have seduced every peasant girl in all the villages, to have released a fox in a lady’s drawing room.
Robert K. Massie (Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War)
Heaven hath decreed that tottering empire Britain to irretrievable ruin and thanks to God, since Providence hath so determined, America must raise an empire of permanent duration, supported upon the grand pillars of Truth, Freedom, and Religion, encouraged by the smiles of Justice and defended by her own patriotic sons. . . . Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof. The
David McCullough (1776)
raiders, the United States wanted Great Britain to foot the bill for the entire war cost after Gettysburg, some $2 billion, the logic being that after Gettysburg, the Confederacy had abandoned offensive operations, except at sea. If the British hadn’t provided naval aid, the South couldn’t have prolonged the war and Great Britain was therefore liable for the extra astronomical expenses incurred.
Ron Chernow (Grant)
But I should think our patriotism was warped and stunted indeed if it did not embrace the Greater Britain beyond the seas—the young and vigorous nations carrying everywhere a knowledge of the English tongue and English love of liberty and law. With these feelings, I refuse to speak or think of the United States as a foreign nation. They are our flesh and blood.… Our past is theirs. Their future is ours.…
Robert K. Massie (Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War)
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)
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)
The Home Office informs us that there are around 400 ex-offenders from overseas currently seeking refuge in this country. One geezer, who has 78 offences to his name, managed to escape deportation on the grounds that he’s an alcoholic! Drinking alcohol, it seems, is illegal in his homeland, so because he claims he’ll be persecuted and tortured we’ve said, “Oh, bad show, old chap. Tough call that. Enjoy a spot of scotch myself from time to time. Quite understandable. Well why don’t you stay here at our expense? You’ll be able to fondle and grope any woman you like. We’d never deport you for that, I can assure you. You’ll be perfectly safe here.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
But, Bill, old scout, your sister says there's a most corking links near here." He turned and stared at me, and nearly ran us into the bank. "You don't mean honestly she said that?" "She said you said it was better than St. Andrews." "So I did. Was that all she said I said?" "Well, wasn't it enough?" "She didn't happen to mention that I added the words, 'I don't think'?" "No, she forgot to tell me that." "It's the worst course in Great Britain.
P.G. Wodehouse
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)
John Milton has, since his own lifetime, always been one of the major figures in English literature, but his reputation has changed constantly. He has been seen as a political opportunist, an advocate of 'immorality' (he wrote in favour of divorce and married three times), an over-serious classicist, and an arrogant believer in his own greatness as a poet. He was all these things. But, above all, Milton's was the last great liberal intelligence of the English Renaissance. The values expressed in all his works are the values of tolerance, freedom and self-determination, expressed by Shakespeare, Hooker and Donne. The basis of his aesthetic studies was classical, but the modernity of his intellectual interests can be seen in the fact that he went to Italy (in the late 1630s) where he met the astronomer Galileo, who had been condemned as a heretic by the Catholic church for saying the earth moved around the sun.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Unemployed people will use any number of excuses including discrimination for reasons such as disability, race, sexual orientation, religion, sex or age, or maybe there’s a shortage of jobs in their area. Well if that’s the case then they can travel to wherever the work is and go into digs. I work in construction management and regularly work with steel erectors from Ireland or Newcastle, electricians from Cardiff, fixers from Sheffield or Birmingham, steel fixers from Romania, carpenters from Poland, canteen girls from Romania, scaffolders from Lithuania, and concrete gangs of Indians, and they all travel wherever the work is and they all live in digs. We all do. It’s the nature of our industry.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
For all its celebration of markets and individual initiative, this alliance of government and finance often produces results that bear a striking resemblance to the worst excesses of bureaucratization in the former Soviet Union or former colonial backwaters of the Global South. There is a rich anthropological literature, for instance, on the cult of certificates, licenses, and diplomas in the former colonial world. Often the argument is that in countries like Bangladesh, Trinidad, or Cameroon, which hover between the stifling legacy of colonial domination and their own magical traditions, official credentials are seen as a kind of material fetish—magical objects conveying power in their own right, entirely apart from the real knowledge, experience, or training they’re supposed to represent. But since the eighties, the real explosion of credentialism has been in what are supposedly the most “advanced” economies, like the United States, Great Britain, or Canada.
David Graeber (The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy)
IN PHILADELPHIA, the same day as the British landing on Staten Island, July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress, in a momentous decision, voted to “dissolve the connection” with Great Britain. The news reached New York four days later, on July 6, and at once spontaneous celebrations broke out. “The whole choir of our officers . . . went to a public house to testify our joy at the happy news of Independence. We spent the afternoon merrily,” recorded Isaac Bangs. A letter from John Hancock to Washington, as well as the complete text of the Declaration, followed two days later: That our affairs may take a more favorable turn [Hancock wrote], the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the American colonies, and to declare them free and independent states; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.
David McCullough (1776)
Wasplike with their long slender hulls, these were ships not seen in these waters before. They approached in a line, each flying a large American flag. To the hundreds of onlookers by now gathered on shore, many also carrying American flags, it would be a sight they would never forget and into which they read great meaning. These were the descendants of the colonials returning now at Britain’s hour of need, the moment captured in an immediately famous painting by Bernard Gribble, The Return of the Mayflower.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
It is impossible now to estimate how much of the intellectual and physical energy of the world was wasted in military preparation and equipment, but it was an enormous proportion. Great Britain spent upon army and navy money and capacity, that directed into the channels of physical culture and education would have made the British the aristocracy of the world. Her rulers could have kept the whole population learning and exercising up to the age of eighteen and made a broad-chested and intelligent man of every Bert Smallways in the islands, had they given the resources they spent in war material to the making of men. Instead of which they waggled flags at him until he was fourteen, incited him to cheer, and then turned him out of school to begin that career of private enterprise we have compactly recorded. France achieved similar imbecilities; Germany was, if possible worse; Russia under the waste and stresses of militarism festered towards bankruptcy and decay. All Europe was producing big guns and countless swarms of little Smallways.
H.G. Wells (The War in the Air)
The majority of these old farts are content to crash out in a drunken stupor on the backbenches. They just want to pick up their company directorships at £200,000 a year, claim for everything they ever spend personally on expenses and make sure not to rock the boat. I have better things to do with my time than to waste it by voting a different yarn-spinning joker-in-the-pack in. Whoever's in power is not going to affect me in any way. And if you believe otherwise then you can truly nail your colours to the mast of stupidity
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
If a fairly substantial percentage of the money you and I work hard for is to be given to people too lazy to drag their arses out of bed at six o’clock in the morning and put in a shift, then we need assurance that they’re not spending our money on booze and drugs.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
A Duke regenerative biologist, Imke Kirste, working with mice, found that two hours of complete silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus, the brain region related to the formation of memory. Studies of humans in the United States, Great Britain, Holland, and Canada have shown that after passing time in quiet, rural settings, subjects were calmer and more perceptive, less depressed and anxious, with improved cognition and a stronger memory. Time amid the silence of nature, in other words, makes you smarter.
Michael Finkel (The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit)
Shekiba was born at the turn of the twentieth century, in an Afghanistan eyed lasciviously by Russia and Britain. Each would take turns promising to protect the borders they had just invaded, like a pedophile who professes to love his victim. The borders between Afghanistan and India were drawn and redrawn from time to time, as if only penciled in. People belonged to one country and then the other, nationalities changing as often as the direction of the wind. For Great Britain and the Soviet Union, Afghanistan was the playing field for their "Great Game," the power struggle to control Central Asia. But the game was slowly coming to an end, the Afghan people ferociously resisting outside control. Chests expanded with pride when Afghans talked about their resilience. But parts of Afghanistan were taken—little by little until its borders shrank in like a wool sweater left in the rain. Areas to the north like Samarkand and Bukhara had been lost to the Russian Empire. Chunks of the south were chipped away and the western front was pushed in over the years.
Nadia Hashimi (The Pearl That Broke Its Shell)
Maria Orsic, a stunning beauty and an unusual medium was not an obscure personality. She was known to many celebrities of the era and had a fleet of very powerful admirers and friends both in Germany and abroad; famous, brilliant and influential people like Charles Lindbergh, Nikola Tesla, Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, Henry Ford, Eva Peron, and the most illustrious figures in the spiritualism, parapsychological and psychical research in Great Britain. This was reported by Allies intelligence and documented by OSS operatives in Europe.
Jean-Maximillien De La Croix de Lafayette (Volume I. UFOs: MARIA ORSIC, THE WOMAN WHO ORIGINATED AND CREATED EARTH'S FIRST UFOS (Extraterrestrial and Man-Made UFOs & Flying Saucers))
Many of his early engines were quite astounding. They were no faster or more powerful than other designs, and yet they were more expensive, less efficient, and much worst at starting. Despite this, he improved on them in such a way that they would frequently not start at all.
Stephen Pile (The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain)
Revolution was the great nightmare of eighteenth-century British society, and when first the American Revolution of 1776, then the French Revolution of 1789 overturned the accepted order, the United Kingdom exercised all its power so that revolution would not damage its own hardwon security and growing prosperity. Eighteenth-century writing is full of pride in England as the land of liberty (far ahead of France, the great rival, in political maturity), and saw a corresponding growth in national self-confidence accompanying the expansion of empire.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Two literary figures bridge the gap between the mediaeval age and the Renaissance. They are Sir Thomas Malory, the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, and the first 'poet-laureate', John Skelton. In their entirely separate ways, they made distinctive contributions to the history of literature and to the growth of English as a literary language. ........ Le Morte D'Arthur is, in a way, the climax of a tradition of writing, bringing together myth and history, with an emphasis on chivalry as a kind of moral code of honour. The supernatural and fantastic aspects of the story, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are played down, and the more political aspects, of firm government and virtue, emphasised. It was a book for the times. The Wars of the Roses ended in the same year as Le Morte D'Arthur was published. Its values were to influence a wide readership for many years to come. There is sadness, rather than heroism, in Arthur's final battle.. ...... John Skelton is one of the unjustly neglected figures of literature. His reputation suffered at the hands of one of the earliest critics of poetry, George Puttenham, and he is not easily categorised in terms of historical period, since he falls between clearly identified periods like 'mediaeval' and 'Renaissance'. He does not fit in easily either because of the kinds of poetry he wrote. But he is one of the great experimenters, and one of the funniest poets in English.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) was a profoundly important analysis of human states of mind - a kind of early philosophical/ psychological study. He sees 'melancholy' as part of the human condition, especially love melancholy and religious melancholy. His concerns are remarkably close to those which Shakespeare explores in his plays. Ambition, for example, Burton describes as 'a proud covetousness or a dry thirst of Honour, a great torture of the mind, composed of envy, pride and covetousness, a gallant madness' - words which could well be applied to Macbeth.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Many Americans often refer to Elizabeth II as ‘Queen Elizabeth of England’ - however, as any Brit will tell you, that’s wrong - they’ll say she is in fact Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But of course they’re wrong as well. Her majesty is in fact Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Jack Goldstein (101 Amazing Facts)
As for Japan, the rejection of the racial equality clause and, by implication, of Japan’s status as a Great Power equal to France or Britain doomed those Japanese politicians arguing for an accommodationist, pro-Western slant to their country’s foreign policy, especially toward the United States.
Arthur Herman (1917: Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, and the Year That Created the Modern Age)
Dominated by Zionism's particular concept of nationality, the State of Israel still refuses, sixty years after its establishment, to see itself as a republic that serves its citizens. One quarter of the citizens are not categorized as Jews, and the laws of the state imply that Israel is not their state nor do they own it. The state has also avoided integrating the local inhabitants into the superculture it has created, and has instead deliberately excluded them. Israel has also refused to be a consociational democracy (like Switzerland or Belgium) or a multicultural democracy (like Great Britain or the Netherlands)—that is to say, a state that accepts its diversity while serving its inhabitants. Instead, Israel insists on seeing itself as a Jewish state belonging to all the Jews in the world, even though they are no longer persecuted refugees but full citizens of the countries in which they choose to reside. The excuse for this grave violation of a basic principle of modern democracy, and for the preservation of an unbridled ethnocracy that grossly discriminates against certain of its citizens, rests on the active myth of an eternal nation that must ultimately forgather in its ancestral land.
Shlomo Sand
The Bretton Woods saga unfurled at a unique crossroads in modern history. An ascendant anticolonial superpower, the United States, used its economic leverage over an insolvent allied imperial power, Great Britain, to set the terms by which the latter would cede its dwindling dominion over the rules and norms of foreign trade and finance. Britain cooperated because the overriding aim of survival seemed to dictate the course. The monetary architecture that Harry White designed, and powered through an international gathering of dollar-starved allies, ultimately fell, its critics agree, of its own contradictions.
Benn Steil (The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order)
Therefore, good-bye Columbus? Balzac once suggested that all great fortunes are founded on a crime. So too all great civilizations. The European conquest of the Americas, like the conquest of other civilizations, was indeed accompanied by great cruelty. But that is to say nothing more than that the European conquest of America was, in this way, much like the rise of Islam, the Norman conquest of Britain and the widespread American Indian tradition of raiding, depopulating and appropriating neighboring lands. The real question is, What eventually grew on this bloodied soil? The answer is, The great modern civilizations
Charles Krauthammer (Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics)
Garibaldi; the England that is the enemy of tyranny, the foe of autocracy, the lover of freedom, that is the England I would fain here represent to you to-day. To-day, when India stands erect, no suppliant people, but a Nation, self-conscious, self-respecting, determined to be free; when she stretches out her hand to Britain and offers friendship not subservience; co-operation not obedience; to-day let me: western-born but in spirit eastern, cradled in England but Indian by choice and adoption: let me stand as the symbol of union between Great Britain and India: a union of hearts and free choice, not of compulsion: and
Annie Besant (The Case for India)
The United States had been created through an act of disloyalty. No matter how eloquently the Declaration of Independence had attempted to justify the American rebellion, a residual guilt hovered over the circumstances of the country's founding. Arnold changed all that. By threatening to destroy the newly created republic through, ironically, his own betrayal, Arnold gave this nation of traitors the greatest of gifts; a myth of creation. The American people had come to revere George Washington, but a hero alone was not sufficient to bring them together. Now they had the despised villain Benedict Arnold. They knew both what they were fighting for - and against. The story of American's genesis could finally move beyond the break with the mother country and start to focus on the process by which thirteen former colonies could become a nation. As Arnold had demonstrated, the real enemy was not Great Britain, but those Americans who sought to undercut their fellow citizens commitment to one another. Whether it was Joseph Reed's willingness to promote his state's interests at the expenses of what was best for the country as a whole or Arnold's decision to sell his loyalty to the highest bidder, the greatest danger to America's future cam from self-serving opportunism masquerading as patriotism. At this fragile state in the country's development, a way had to be found to strengthen rather than destroy the existing framework of government. The Continental Congress was far from perfect, but it offered a start to what could one day be a great nation. By turning traitor, Arnold had alerted the American people to how close they had all come to betraying the Revolution by putting their own interests ahead of their newborn country's. Already the name Benedict Arnold was becoming a byword for that most hateful of crimes: treason against the people of the United States.
Nathaniel Philbrick (Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution)
father. To Britt Arthurs, If you’re reading this, then Kay and the others have successfully found you. I regret that I cannot come with them, for more than anything I would like to be there for you. I would love to see what you do and the new goals you accomplish! But I am needed here, in this time. And as much as I would wish it, my place is not with you in the future. But that does not change how proud I am of you, or how much I love you. Camelot is strong, and Britain is great because of your court and because of you. I know you can do it again, in your time. Though it is a different situation, I know you will continue to do many great things, and you will change the world for the better. So please, Britt. Remember me, and know that I love you, and I will always think of you with a parent’s pride and joy. You will ever be my Britt, my daughter, and my King. With all my love, Your father It took Britt several minutes before she could stop crying.
K.M. Shea (Endings (King Arthurs and Her Knights, #7))
The world of 1906...was a stable and a civilized world in which the greatness and authority of Britain and her Empire seemed unassailable and invulnerably secure. In spite of our reverses in the Boer War it was assumed unquestioningly that we should always emerge "victorious, happy and glorious" from any conflict. There were no doubts about the permanence of our "dominion over palm and pine", or of our title to it. Powerful, prosperous, peace-loving, with the seas all round us and the Royal Navy on the seas, the social, economic, international order seemed to our unseeing eyes as firmly fixed on earth as the signs of the Zodiac in the sky.
Violet Bonham Carter (Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait)
We have now reached a level in which many people are not merely unacquainted with the fundamentals of punctuation, but don’t evidently realize that there are fundamentals. Many people—people who make posters for leading publishers, write captions for the BBC, compose letters and advertisements for important institutions—seem to think that capitalization and marks of punctuation are condiments that you sprinkle through any collection of words as if from a salt shaker. Here is a headline, exactly as presented, from a magazine ad for a private school in York: “Ranked by the daily Telegraph the top Northern Co-Educational day and Boarding School for Academic results.” All those capital letters are just random. Does anyone really think that the correct rendering of the newspaper is “the daily Telegraph”? Is it really possible to be that unobservant? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Not long ago, I received an e-mail from someone at the Department for Children, Schools and Families asking me to take part in a campaign to help raise appreciation for the quality of teaching in Great Britain. Here is the opening line of the message exactly as it was sent to me: “Hi Bill. Hope alls well. Here at the Department of Children Schools and Families…” In the space of one line, fourteen words, the author has made three elemental punctuation errors (two missing commas, one missing apostrophe; I am not telling you more than that) and gotten the name of her own department wrong—this from a person whose job is to promote education. In a similar spirit, I received a letter not long ago from a pediatric surgeon inviting me to speak at a conference. The writer used the word “children’s” twice in her invitation, spelling it two different ways and getting it wrong both times. This was a children’s specialist working in a children’s hospital. How long do you have to be exposed to a word, how central must it be to your working life, to notice how it is spelled?
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
In Anglo-Saxon Britain as elsewhere, slaves were valuable property, worth each about eight oxen; in Ireland a female slave represented a unit of currency, like a dollar or a euro.4 Moreover, slavery in Anglo-Saxon Britain applied not merely to the captives themselves, for slave status could also be inherited, as had been the case among the Thracians of antiquity. We cannot know how many of the British poor sold themselves and their children into bondage, but the number must have been significant, for attempts at reform were made repeatedly. Kings Alfred the Great and Canute (1014–35) tried, with uncertain success, to restrict slavery, especially with regard to daughters. Nonetheless, about one-tenth of the eleventh-century British population is estimated to have been enslaved, a proportion rising to one-fifth in the West Country.5 So embedded were slaves in the economy of the British Isles that the Catholic Church, quite a wealthy institution, owned vast numbers of them.6
Nell Irvin Painter (The History of White People)
An amusing, if rather pathetic, case study in miracles is the Great Prayer Experiment: does praying for patients help them recover? Prayers are commonly offered for sick people, both privately and in formal places of worship. Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton was the first to analyse scientifically whether praying for people is efficacious. He noted that every Sunday, in churches throughout Britain, entire congregations prayed publicly for the health of the royal family. Shouldn’t they, therefore, be unusually fit, compared with the rest of us, who are prayed for only by our nearest and dearest?* Galton looked into it, and found no statistical difference.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
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)
The Renaissance did not break completely with mediaeval history and values. Sir Philip Sidney is often considered the model of the perfect Renaissance gentleman. He embodied the mediaeval virtues of the knight (the noble warrior), the lover (the man of passion), and the scholar (the man of learning). His death in 1586, after the Battle of Zutphen, sacrificing the last of his water supply to a wounded soldier, made him a hero. His great sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella is one of the key texts of the time, distilling the author's virtues and beliefs into the first of the Renaissance love masterpieces. His other great work, Arcadia, is a prose romance interspersed with many poems and songs.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Between 1793 and 1797, the French would lose 125 warships to Britain’s 38, including 35 capital vessels (ships-of-the-line) to Britain’s 11, most of the latter the result of fire, accidents and storms rather than French attack.15 The maritime aspect of grand strategy was always one of Napoleon’s weaknesses: in all his long list of victories, none was at sea.
Andrew Roberts (Napoleon the Great)
What the songs do,’ Shirley confides, ‘is take me into that world [of the past]; they take you back centuries. In a twelve-verse song, you can be transported, and I think that’s such a strength in a song, that it can take you on a journey. Sometimes you don’t even know what sort of journey you’ve gone on, because a lot of the meanings have eroded over the years, and you just get glimpses of lives. Not through the words of a great playwright or poet or author, but just through the minds and mirrors of ordinary people. I think one of the reasons the country’s in such trouble is that nobody’s connected to it, to their ancestors or what’s gone before. And if other people’s lives aren’t important, I don’t know how your own can be.
Rob Young (Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music)
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)
The now-famous yearly Candlebrow Conferences, like the institution itself, were subsidized out of the vast fortune of Mr. Gideon Candlebrow of Grossdale, Illinois, who had made his bundle back during the great Lard Scandal of the '80s, in which, before Congress put an end to the practice, countless adulterated tons of that comestible were exported to Great Britain, compromising further an already debased national cuisine, giving rise throughout the island, for example, to a Christmas-pudding controversy over which to this day families remain divided, often violently so. In the consequent scramble to develop more legal sources of profit, one of Mr. Candlebrow's laboratory hands happened to invent "Smegmo," an artificial substitute for everything in the edible-fat category, including margarine, which many felt wasn't that real to begin with. An eminent Rabbi of world hog capital Cincinnati, Ohio, was moved to declare the product kosher, adding that "the Hebrew people have been waiting four thousand years for this. Smegmo is the Messiah of kitchen fats." [...] Miles, locating the patriotically colored Smegmo crock among the salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, sugar and molasses, opened and sniffed quizzically at the contents. "Say, what is this stuff?" "Goes with everything!" advised a student at a nearby table. "Stir it in your soup, spread it on your bread, mash it into your turnips! My doormates comb their hair with it! There's a million uses for Smegmo!
Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)
All three of the English types I have mentioned can, I think, be accounted for as the results of the presence of different cultures, existing side by side in the country, and who were the creation of the folk in ages distantly removed one from another. In a word, they represent specific " strata" of folk-imagination. The most diminutive of all are very probably to be associated with a New Stone Age conception of spirits which haunted burial-mounds and rude stone monuments. We find such tiny spirits haunting the great stone circles of Brittany. The "Small People," or diminutive fairies of Cornwall, says Hunt, are believed to be "the spirits of people who inhabited Cornwall many thousands of years ago. "The spriggans, of the same area, are a minute and hirsute family of fairies" found only about the cairns, cromlechs, barrows, or detached stones, with which it is unlucky to meddle." Of these, the tiny fairies of Shakespeare, Drayton, and the Elizabethans appear to me to be the later representatives. The latter are certainly not the creation of seventeenth-century poets, as has been stated, but of the aboriginal folk of Britain.
Lewis Spence (British Fairy Origins)
For a quarter-century British governments had tried and failed to combine economic growth, increased social service provision and a high level of employment. The second depended ultimately on the first, but when difficulty arose, the first had always been sacrificed to the other two. The United Kingdom was, after all, a democracy whose votes, greedy and gullible, had to be placated.
J.M. Roberts (The New Penguin History of The World)
And by the early 1970s our little parable of Sam and Sweetie is exactly what happened to the North American Golden Retriever. One field-trial dog, Holway Barty, and two show dogs, Misty Morn’s Sunset and Cummings’ Gold-Rush Charlie, won dozens of blue ribbons between them. They were not only gorgeous champions; they had wonderful personalities. Consequently, hundreds of people wanted these dogs’ genes to come into their lines, and over many matings during the 1970s the genes of these three dogs were flung far and wide throughout the North American Golden Retriever population, until by 2010 Misty Morn’s Sunset alone had 95,539 registered descendants, his number of unregistered ones unknown. Today hundreds of thousands of North American Golden Retrievers are descended from these three champions and have received both their sweet dispositions and their hidden time bombs. Unfortunately for these Golden Retrievers, and for the people who love them, one of these time bombs happens to be cancer. To be fair, a so-called cancer gene cannot be traced directly to a few famous sires, but using these sires so often increases the chance of recessive genes meeting—for good and for ill. Today, in the United States, 61.4 percent of Golden Retrievers die of cancer, according to a survey conducted by the Golden Retriever Club of America and the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine. In Great Britain, a Kennel Club survey found almost exactly the same result, if we consider that those British dogs—loosely diagnosed as dying of “old age” and “cardiac conditions” and never having been autopsied—might really be dying of a variety of cancers, including hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the lining of the blood vessels and the spleen. This sad history of the Golden Retriever’s narrowing gene pool has played out across dozens of other breeds and is one of the reasons that so many of our dogs spend a lot more time in veterinarians’ offices than they should and die sooner than they might. In genetic terms, it comes down to the ever-increasing chance that both copies of any given gene are derived from the same ancestor, a probability expressed by a number called the coefficient of inbreeding. Discovered in 1922 by the American geneticist Sewall Wright, the coefficient of inbreeding ranges from 0 to 100 percent and rises as animals become more inbred.
Ted Kerasote (Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs)
Homeless people go to bed freezing and wake up shaking in the morning, even if they have a sleeping bag. If they don’t have a sleeping bag, it’s unlikely they’ll get any sleep during the night. They shake all night and sleep during the day. If it wasn’t for the soup runs many of these people would die. So I say that people who’ve been unable to find a job should be ‘volunteered’ into food bank work
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
We may be tempted to think of Christianity primarily as 'I must...,' but that is not the starting place. You cannot make yourself a child of God by doing the things that a child of God does, anymore than you could make yourself an heir to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain by walking around in royal clothes and waving kindly at people. The duty of the Christian life--the 'I must...,'--is caused by something else. We may think of the Christian life as primarily about 'He has.' The work of God for our salvation is certainly a significant part of Christianity and is the reason that we are able to live a life of obedience. But even 'He has...' is not the foundation of Christianity, for that itself is built upon a larger and deeper foundation. The greatest truth of Christianity is summed up in the words 'He is.
John Snyder
The assumptions that propagandists are rational, in the sense that they follow their own propaganda theories in their choice of communications, and that the meanings of propagandists' communications may differ for different people reoriented the FCC* analysts from a concept of "content as shared" (Berelson would later say "manifest") to conditions that could explain the motivations of particular communicators and the interests they might serve. The notion of "preparatory propaganda" became an especially useful key for the analysts in their effort to infer the intents of broadcasts with political content. In order to ensure popular support for planned military actions, the Axis leaders had to inform; emotionally arouse, and otherwise prepare their countrymen and women to accept those actions; the FCC analysts discovered that they could learn a great deal about the enemy's intended actions by recognizing such preparatory efforts in the domestic press and broadcasts. They were able to predict several major military and political campaigns and to assess Nazi elites' perceptions of their situation, political changes within the Nazi governing group, and shifts in relations among Axis countries. Among the more outstanding predictions that British analysts were able to make was the date of deployment of German V weapons against Great Britain. The analysts monitored the speeches delivered by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and inferred from the content of those speeches what had interfered with the weapons' production and when. They then used this information to predict the launch date of the weapons, and their prediction was accurate within a few weeks. *FCC - Federal Communications Commission
Klaus H. Krippendorff (Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology)
If people are not working, then why shouldn’t they take drugs or drink booze? They can, but not when they’re signing on. And I’ll tell you why. If they’re stoned or pissed up then they’re impaired. And if they’re impaired then they can’t look for work. If you or I are impaired then we can’t work, and so WE can’t earn the money to pay THEIR benefits. So why shouldn't they be tested for drugs and alcohol to spend the money that we earn?
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
Literature is as old as human language, and as new as tomorrow's sunrise. And literature is everywhere, not only in books, but in videos, television, radio, CDs, computers, newspapers, in all the media of communication where a story is told or an image created. It starts with words, and with speech. The first literature in any culture is oral. The classical Greek epics of Homer, the Asian narratives of Gilgamesh and the Bhagavad Gita, the earliest versions of the Bible and the Koran were all communicated orally, and passed on from generation to generation - with variations, additions, omissions and embellishments until they were set down in written form, in versions which have come down to us. In English, the first signs of oral literature tend to have three kinds of subject matter - religion, war, and the trials of daily life - all of which continue as themes of a great deal of writing.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Think for a moment about the Agricultural Revolution from the viewpoint of wheat. Ten thousand years ago wheat was just a wild grass, one of many, confined to a small range in the Middle East. Suddenly, within just a few short millennia, it was growing all over the world. According to the basic evolutionary criteria of survival and reproduction, wheat has become one of the most successful plants in the history of the earth. In areas such as the Great Plains of North America, where not a single wheat stalk grew 10,000 years ago, you can today walk for hundreds upon hundreds of miles without encountering any other plant. Worldwide, wheat covers about 870,000 square miles of the globe’s surface, almost ten times the size of Britain. How did this grass turn from insignificant to ubiquitous? Wheat did it by manipulating Homo sapiens to its advantage. This ape had been living a fairly comfortable life hunting and gathering until about 10,000 years ago, but then began to invest more and more effort in cultivating wheat. Within a couple of millennia, humans in many parts of the world were doing little from dawn to dusk other than taking care of wheat plants. It wasn’t easy. Wheat demanded a lot of them. Wheat didn’t like rocks and pebbles, so Sapiens broke their backs clearing fields. Wheat didn’t like sharing its space, water and nutrients with other plants, so men and women laboured long days weeding under the scorching sun. Wheat got sick, so Sapiens had to keep a watch out for worms and blight. Wheat was attacked by rabbits and locust swarms, so the farmers built fences and stood guard over the fields. Wheat was thirsty, so humans dug irrigation canals or lugged heavy buckets from the well to water it. Sapiens even collected animal faeces to nourish the ground in which wheat grew.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
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)
Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country. It should possess the tone and quality that I desired, somewhat cool and clear, be redolent of our ‘air’ (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning Britain and the hither parts of Europe: not Italy or the Aegean, still less the East), and, while possessing (if I could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call Celtic (though it is rarely found in genuine ancient Celtic things), it should be ‘high’, purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry. I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd. Of course, such an overweening purpose did not develop all at once. The mere stories were the thing. They arose in my mind as ‘given’ things, and as they came, separately, so too the links grew. An absorbing, though continually interrupted labour (especially since, even apart from the necessities of life, the mind would wing to the other pole and spend itself on the linguistics): yet always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’, somewhere: not of ‘inventing’. Of course, I made up and even wrote lots of other things (especially for my children). Some escaped from the grasp of this branching acquisitive theme, being ultimately and radically unrelated: Leaf by Niggle and Farmer Giles, for instance, the only two that have been printed. The Hobbit, which has much more essential life in it, was quite independently conceived: I did not know as I began it that it belonged. But it proved to be the discovery of the completion of the whole, its mode of descent to earth, and merging into ‘history’. As the high Legends of the beginning are supposed to look at things through Elvish minds, so the middle tale of the Hobbit takes a virtually human point of view – and the last tale blends them.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
Extend the sphere," Madison wrote, and, "you take in a greater variety of parties and interests," and you make it difficult for either a mob majority or a tyrannical minority to unite "to invade the rights of other citizens." Whatever one's take on any of the debates of the day (especially the debate over slavery), and whatever one's philosophical understanding of the relationship of republicanism to land, commerce, finance, and labor, most agreed on practicalities. Also wanted to remove Spain from the Mississippi; also wanted the capacities to pacify hostile native Americans and put down rebellions of poor people; and all wanted Great Britain to get out of the way of their commerce. All wanted "room enough," as Thomas Jefferson would put it in his 1800 inaugural address, to be protected from Europe's "exterminating havoc." Expansion became the answer to every question, the solution to all problems, especially those two caused by expansion.
Greg Grandin (The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America)
Why can't unemployed people clean toilets, remove graffiti from vandalised war memorials, clear wasteland or derelict areas, or even decorate public buildings such as community centres. They could work in charity shops or down the local tip, sorting people’s rubbish out. They could even look after cemeteries, cutting the grass, hedges and shrubs, keeping gravestones clean, or maybe even laying paving slabs for a new path. Or how about putting in raised flower beds in the park?
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
The discovery that detonated Cleveland is one of Britain’s great contributions to awareness of child abuse. In 1986 and 1987 the Leeds paediatricians Dr Jane Wynne and Dr Christopher Hobbs reported in the Lancet that they were seeing more children who were being buggered than battered. About 300 cases were corroborated. The children were young – two-thirds were pre-school children – and anal abuse was more common than vaginal penetration. They also noted that ‘boys and girls seem to be at similar risk’. Almost half of the children who suffered anal abuse also showed a sign written up in the forensic textbooks as ‘anal dilation’, an anus opening when it was supposed to stay shut; opening and expecting entry. What the paediatricians were observing was not an acute sign, the effect of a single intrusion – a spasm or seizure – but a sign that was telling a story about everyday life; the anatomy of adaption. Anal dilation seemed to describe the architecture of abuse: it allowed the body to receive an incoming object, regularly.
Beatrix Campbell (Stolen Voices: The People And Politics Behind The Campaign To Discredit Childhood Testimony)
In the eighteenth century, with the growth of publishing and with the intellectual climate of the Enlightenment, there was a great demand for new historical writing. The greatest product of this was The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a massive six-volume work published between 1776 and 1788, precisely between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. The context is important, as the author Edward Gibbon was examining not only the greatness of Rome, but the forces which brought about its decay. ...... Gibbon's interpretation of history was controversial, especially in its examination of the growth of Christianity, but his accurate scholarship and engaging prose style have made The Decline and Fall the most enduring work of history in English. In the eighteenth century, history is seen as a branch of belles-lettres, and it subsumes within it scriptural authority on the one hand, and fictional narrative on the other. History is, in effect, the new secular authority of the Enlightenment, and comes to be a very wide-ranging category of writing.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Of course we rearmed,” Göring, seated once more next to the psychiatrist on his cot, said. “We rearmed Germany until we bristled. I am only sorry we did not rearm more. Of course, I considered treaties as so much toilet paper. Of course, I wanted to make Germany great. If it could be done peacefully, well and good. If not, that’s just as good. My plans against Britain were bigger than they ascribe to me even now. When they told me I was playing with war by building up the Luftwaffe, I replied I certainly was not running a finishing school.
Jack El-Hai (The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Goring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII)
Even Europe joined in. With the most modest friendliness, explaining that they wished not to intrude on American domestic politics but only to express personal admiration for that great Western advocate of peace and prosperity, Berzelius Windrip, there came representatives of certain foreign powers, lecturing throughout the land: General Balbo, so popular here because of his leadership of the flight from Italy to Chicago in 1933; a scholar who, though he now lived in Germany and was an inspiration to all patriotic leaders of German Recovery, yet had graduated from Harvard University and had been the most popular piano-player in his class—namely, Dr. Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstängl; and Great Britain's lion of diplomacy, the Gladstone of the 1930's, the handsome and gracious Lord Lossiemouth who, as Prime Minister, had been known as the Rt. Hon. Ramsay MacDonald, P.C. All three of them were expensively entertained by the wives of manufacturers, and they persuaded many millionaires who, in the refinement of wealth, had considered Buzz vulgar, that actually he was the world's one hope of efficient international commerce.
Sinclair Lewis (It Can't Happen Here)
If you're on benefits you shouldn't get to vote. You’re making no contribution to society, so why should you have a say in how it’s run? If you’re retired, of course you vote. You’ve made your contributions. If you’re a stay-at-home mum, then likewise you get to vote. And if ill or invalided in some way, the same. But if you’re fit and healthy and capable of mending a fence or stacking shelves, and you’re not doing either of those things, then you don’t get to vote. I don’t want someone who’s too lazy to get a job making decisions on how this country should be run.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
In many ways, the partition of India was the inevitable result of three centuries of Britain’s divide-and-rule policy. As the events of the Indian Revolt demonstrated, the British believed that the best way to curb nationalist sentiment was to classify the indigenous population not as Indians, but as Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, etc. The categorization and separation of native peoples was a common tactic for maintaining colonial control over territories whose national boundaries had been arbitrarily drawn with little consideration for the ethnic, cultural, or religious makeup of the local inhabitants. The French went to great lengths to cultivate class divisions in Algeria, the Belgians promoted tribal factionalism in Rwanda, and the British fostered sectarian schisms in Iraq, all in a futile attempt to minimize nationalist tendencies and stymie united calls for independence. No wonder, then, that when the colonialists were finally expelled from these manufactured states, they left behind not only economic and political turmoil, but deeply divided populations with little common ground on which to construct a national identity.
Reza Aslan (No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam)
Britain and France, honoring their pledge to Poland made earlier in the year, declared war on Germany on September 3. The war lasted nearly six years, and by the time it was over, much of the civilized world lay in ruins, something more than thirty million people had been killed, great empires had been destroyed, and weapons of new and hitherto unimagined potential had been unleashed upon the world. Such a result could not have stemmed from a border dispute between Germany and Poland. The powder train that led to the outbreak of war went back far beyond the immediate causes of it.
James L. Stokesbury (A Short History of World War II)
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)
Now it turns out that a few broadsheet film critics in Britain do indeed belong to a category of people who would have resisted Hitler when he came to power. So the great shame is, clearly film critics should have been running Austria at the time, because Hitler would have represented no problem to them at all. [The Guardian's] Peter Bradshaw would have known exactly what to do, and he would not have been remotely fallible to any Nazi who threatened his life. No, he would have died in heroic acts of individual resistance. So it's a privilege to live among people who enjoy such moral certainty.
David Hare
Fortunately, the British security service had captured all German agents in Britain. Most of them had been ‘turned’ to send back misleading information to their controllers. This ‘Double Cross’ system, supervised by the XX Committee, was designed to produce a great deal of confusing ‘noise’ as a key part of Plan Fortitude. Fortitude was the most ambitious deception in the history of warfare, a project even greater than the maskirovka then being prepared by the Red Army to conceal the true target of Operation Bagration, Stalin’s summer offensive to encircle and smash the Wehrmacht’s Army Group Centre in Belorussia. Plan
Antony Beevor (D-Day: The Battle for Normandy)
But for reasons that genuinely escape me, it has also become spectacularly accommodating to stupidity. Where this thought most recently occurred to me was in a hotel coffee shop in Baltimore, where I was reading the local paper, the Sun, and I saw a news item noting that Congress had passed a law prohibiting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from funding research that might lead, directly or indirectly, to the introduction of gun controls. Let me repeat that but in slightly different words. The government of the United States refuses to let academics use federal money to study gun violence if there is a chance that they might find a way of reducing the violence. It isn’t possible to be more stupid than that. If you took all the commentators from FOX News and put them together in a room and told them to come up with an idea even more pointlessly idiotic, they couldn’t do it. Britain isn’t like that, and thank goodness. On tricky and emotive issues like gun control, abortion, capital punishment, the teaching of evolution in schools, the use of stem cells for research, and how much flag waving you have to do in order to be considered acceptably patriotic, Britain is calm and measured and quite grown up, and for me that counts for a great deal. —
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
In North America, there is no nostalgia for the postwar period, quite simply because the Trente Glorieuses never existed there: per capita output grew at roughly the same rate of 1.5–2 percent per year throughout the period 1820–2012. To be sure, growth slowed a bit between 1930 and 1950 to just over 1.5 percent, then increased again to just over 2 percent between 1950 and 1970, and then slowed to less than 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. In Western Europe, which suffered much more from the two world wars, the variations are considerably greater: per capita output stagnated between 1913 and 1950 (with a growth rate of just over 0.5 percent) and then leapt ahead to more than 4 percent from 1950 to 1970, before falling sharply to just slightly above US levels (a little more than 2 percent) in the period 1970–1990 and to barely 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. Western Europe experienced a golden age of growth between 1950 and 1970, only to see its growth rate diminish to one-half or even one-third of its peak level during the decades that followed. [...] If we looked only at continental Europe, we would find an average per capita output growth rate of 5 percent between 1950 and 1970—a level well beyond that achieved in other advanced countries over the past two centuries. These very different collective experiences of growth in the twentieth century largely explain why public opinion in different countries varies so widely in regard to commercial and financial globalization and indeed to capitalism in general. In continental Europe and especially France, people quite naturally continue to look on the first three postwar decades—a period of strong state intervention in the economy—as a period blessed with rapid growth, and many regard the liberalization of the economy that began around 1980 as the cause of a slowdown. In Great Britain and the United States, postwar history is interpreted quite differently. Between 1950 and 1980, the gap between the English-speaking countries and the countries that had lost the war closed rapidly. By the late 1970s, US magazine covers often denounced the decline of the United States and the success of German and Japanese industry. In Britain, GDP per capita fell below the level of Germany, France, Japan, and even Italy. It may even be the case that this sense of being rivaled (or even overtaken in the case of Britain) played an important part in the “conservative revolution.” Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States promised to “roll back the welfare state” that had allegedly sapped the animal spirits of Anglo-Saxon entrepreneurs and thus to return to pure nineteenth-century capitalism, which would allow the United States and Britain to regain the upper hand. Even today, many people in both countries believe that the conservative revolution was remarkably successful, because their growth rates once again matched continental European and Japanese levels. In fact, neither the economic liberalization that began around 1980 nor the state interventionism that began in 1945 deserves such praise or blame. France, Germany, and Japan would very likely have caught up with Britain and the United States following their collapse of 1914–1945 regardless of what policies they had adopted (I say this with only slight exaggeration). The most one can say is that state intervention did no harm. Similarly, once these countries had attained the global technological frontier, it is hardly surprising that they ceased to grow more rapidly than Britain and the United States or that growth rates in all of these wealthy countries more or less equalized [...] Broadly speaking, the US and British policies of economic liberalization appear to have had little effect on this simple reality, since they neither increased growth nor decreased it.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
It's all there, it's all waiting. Of course it can be done; it depends upon ourselves. You say: "But again, we're scattered individuals. Everything's against us. Governments, money, press, television - all the new forces are used against us." All the great forces, all the material powers of the world, you say, are against you. And so they are - you're quite right to feel that. And I don't underrate them, but I don't despair and you shouldn't despair. Because you, like I, have read something of history. You know something of the record of the achievement of Europeans. And dark as this hour is, it's no darker, it's not as dark as some of the hours you've known in European history. When everything was cowardice, treachery, and betrayal. And when the Saracen hordes from far outside Europe swept right across that continent, and would've come on over our own Britain too, if they hadn't been stopped. And it didn't only happen once, it's happened more than once. Small bands of men in resolution, in absolute determination, giving themselves completely and saying "Europe shall live!" And they stood firm and faced the menace to Europe: its values, its civilizations, the glory of its achievement - all those things in mortal danger. And they stood firm, they faced it, they came together, and more and more ran it to their standards, and those hordes were thrown back. Again and again and again, our Europe lived in triumph because the will of Europe still endured! We've got other forces against us - not those particular forces, but the power of money, the power of press. All those things are against us. And how can you stop it? My friends, by an act of will, an act of the European will. My friends, today, just as much as in the past, we can meet the dark forces which in another way threaten our European life with eternal night. We can rally those forces, and in the end, we can prevail and we can triumph!
Oswald Mosley
We cannot pick and choose whom among the oppressed it is convenient to support. We must stand with all the oppressed or none of the oppressed. This is a global fight for life against corporate tyranny. We will win only when we see the struggle of working people in Greece, Spain, and Egypt as our own struggle. This will mean a huge reordering of our world, one that turns away from the primacy of profit to full employment and unionized workplaces, inexpensive and modernized mass transit, especially in impoverished communities, universal single-payer health care and a banning of for-profit health care corporations. The minimum wage must be at least $15 an hour and a weekly income of $500 provided to the unemployed, the disabled, stay-at-home parents, the elderly, and those unable to work. Anti-union laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, and trade agreements such as NAFTA, will be abolished. All Americans will be granted a pension in old age. A parent will receive two years of paid maternity leave, as well as shorter work weeks with no loss in pay and benefits. The Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the military to be used to crush domestic unrest, as well as government spying on citizens, will end. Mass incarceration will be dismantled. Global warming will become a national and global emergency. We will divert our energy and resources to saving the planet through public investment in renewable energy and end our reliance on fossil fuels. Public utilities, including the railroads, energy companies, the arms industry, and banks, will be nationalized. Government funding for the arts, education, and public broadcasting will create places where creativity, self-expression, and voices of dissent can be heard and seen. We will terminate our nuclear weapons programs and build a nuclear-free world. We will demilitarize our police, meaning that police will no longer carry weapons when they patrol our streets but instead, as in Great Britain, rely on specialized armed units that have to be authorized case by case to use lethal force. There will be training and rehabilitation programs for the poor and those in our prisons, along with the abolition of the death penalty. We will grant full citizenship to undocumented workers. There will be a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions. Education will be free from day care to university. All student debt will be forgiven. Mental health care, especially for those now caged in our prisons, will be available. Our empire will be dismantled. Our soldiers and marines will come home.
Chris Hedges (America: The Farewell Tour)
In fact, war itself could become a commodity, just like opium. In 1821 the Greeks rebelled against the Ottoman empire. The uprising aroused great sympathy in liberal and romantic circles in Britain - Lord Byron, the poet, even went to Greece to fight alongside the insurgents. But London financiers saw an opportunity as well. They proposed to the rebel leaders the issue of tradable Greek Rebellion Bonds on the London stock exchange. The Greeks would promise to repay the bonds, plus interest, if and when they won their independence. Private investors bought bonds to make a profit, or out of sympathy for the Greek cause, or both. The value of Greek Rebellion Bonds rose and fell on the London stock exchange in tempo with military successes and failures on the battlefields of Hellas. The Turks gradually gained the upper hand. With a rebel defeat imminent, the bondholders faced the prospect of losing their trousers. The bondholders' interest was the national interest, so the British organised an international fleet that, in 1827, sank the main Ottoman flotilla in the Battle of Navarino. After centuries of subjugation, Greece was finally free. But freedom came with a huge debt that the new country had no way of repaying. The Greek economy was mortgaged to British creditors for decades to come.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Increasingly economic historians can draw analogies between the development of the present crisis and the period between the two world wars, as well as the crisis of a century ago, which was associated with the so-called great depression of 1873-1895. The latter crisis resulted in the rise of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, but also the end of Pax Britannica, as Britain began its decline from world leadership in the face of challenges from Germany and the United States. The present world crisis seems to be spelling the beginning of the end of Pax Americana and may hold untold other major readjustments in the international division of labor and world power in store for the future.
André Gunder Frank (Reflections on World Economic Crisis)
Dr. Chanter, in his brilliant History of Human Thought in the Twentieth Century, has made the suggestion that only a very small proportion of people are capable of acquiring new ideas of political or social behaviour after they are twenty-five years old. On the other hand, few people become directive in these matters until they are between forty and fifty. Then they prevail for twenty years or more. The conduct of public affairs therefore is necessarily twenty years or more behind the living thought of the times. This is what Dr. Chanter calls the "delayed realisation of ideas". In the less hurried past this had not been of any great importance, but in the violent crises of the Revolutionary Period it became a primary fact. It is evident now that whatever the emergency, however obvious the new problem before our species in the nineteen-twenties, it was necessary for the whole generation that had learned nothing and could learn nothing from the Great War and its sequelae, to die out before any rational handling of world affairs could even begin. The cream of the youth of the war years had been killed; a stratum of men already middle-aged remained in control, whose ideas had already set before the Great War. It was, says Chanter, an inescapable phase. The world of the Frightened Thirties and the Brigand Forties was under the dominion of a generation of unteachable, obstinately obstructive men, blinded men, miseducating, misleading the baffled younger people for completely superseded ends. If they could have had their way, they would have blinded the whole world for ever. But the blinding was inadequate, and by the Fifties all this generation and its teachings and traditions were passing away, like a smoke-screen blown aside. Before a few years had passed it was already incredible that in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century the whole political life of the world was still running upon the idea of competitive sovereign empires and states. Men of quite outstanding intelligence were still planning and scheming for the "hegemony" of Britain or France or Germany or Japan; they were still moving their armies and navies and air forces and making their combinations and alliances upon the dissolving chess-board of terrestrial reality. Nothing happened as they had planned it; nothing worked out as they desired; but still with a stupefying inertia they persisted. They launched armies, they starved and massacred populations. They were like a veterinary surgeon who suddenly finds he is operating upon a human being, and with a sort of blind helplessness cuts and slashes more and more desperately, according to the best equestrian rules. The history of European diplomacy between 1914 and 1944 seems now so consistent a record of incredible insincerity that it stuns the modern mind. At the time it seemed rational behaviour. It did not seem insincere. The biographical material of the period -- and these governing-class people kept themselves in countenance very largely by writing and reading each other's biographies -- the collected letters, the collected speeches, the sapient observations of the leading figures make tedious reading, but they enable the intelligent student to realise the persistence of small-society values in that swiftly expanding scene. Those values had to die out. There was no other way of escaping from them, and so, slowly and horribly, that phase of the moribund sovereign states concluded.
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
As we stated, after their initial conquest, the Milesians began assimilating the gnosis of their predecessors. Of course they were no lovers of the Druids. After all, the British Druids were collaborators with their dire enemies, the Amenists. Nevertheless, returning to the ancient homeland was a most important step for the displaced and despised Atonists. Owning and controlling the wellspring of knowledge proved to be exceptionally politically fortunate for them. It was a key move on the grand geopolitical chessboard, so to speak. From their new seats in the garden paradise of Britain they could set about conquering the rest of the world. Their designs for a “New World Order,” to replace one lost, commenced from the Western Isles that had unfortunately fallen into their undeserving hands. But why all this exertion, one might rightly ask? Well, a close study of the Culdees and the Cistercians provides the answer. Indeed, a close study of history reveals that, despite appearances to the contrary, religion is less of a concern to despotic men or regimes than politics and economics. Religion is often instrumental to those secretly attempting to attain material power. This is especially true in the case of the Milesian-Atonists. The chieftains of the Sun Cult did not conceive of Christianity for its own sake or because they were intent on saving the world. They wanted to conquer the world not save it. In short, Atonist Christianity was devised so the Milesian nobility could have unrestricted access to the many rich mines of minerals and ore existing throughout the British Isles. It is no accident the great seats of early British Christianity - the many famous churches, chapels, cathedrals and monasteries, as well as forts, castles and private estates - happen to be situated in close proximity to rich underground mines. Of course the Milesian nobility were not going to have access to these precious territories as a matter of course. After all, these sites were often located beside groves and earthworks considered sacred by natives not as irreverent or apathetic as their unfortunate descendants. The Atonists realized that their materialist objectives could be achieved if they manufactured a religion that appeared to be a satisfactory carry on of Druidism. If they could devise a theology which assimilated enough Druidic elements, then perhaps the people would permit the erection of new religious sites over those which stood in ruins. And so the Order of the Culdees was born. So, Christianity was born. In the early days the religion was actually known as Culdeanism or Jessaeanism. Early Christians were known as Culdeans, Therapeuts or suggestively as Galileans. Although they would later spread throughout Europe and the Middle East, their birthplace was Britain.
Michael Tsarion (The Irish Origins of Civilization, Volume One)
SHAKESPEARE What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more (Hamlet) There is no one kind of Shakespearean hero, although in many ways Hamlet is the epitome of the Renaissance tragic hero, who reaches his perfection only to die. In Shakespeare's early plays, his heroes are mainly historical figures, kings of England, as he traces some of the historical background to the nation's glory. But character and motive are more vital to his work than praise for the dynasty, and Shakespeare's range expands considerably during the 1590s, as he and his company became the stars of London theatre. Although he never went to university, as Marlowe and Kyd had done, Shakespeare had a wider range of reference and allusion, theme and content than any of his contemporaries. His plays, written for performance rather than publication, were not only highly successful as entertainment, they were also at the cutting edge of the debate on a great many of the moral and philosophical issues of the time. Shakespeare's earliest concern was with kingship and history, with how 'this sceptr'd isle' came to its present glory. As his career progressed, the horizons of the world widened, and his explorations encompassed the geography of the human soul, just as the voyages of such travellers as Richard Hakluyt, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake expanded the horizons of the real world.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Milton argued, in 1649, after the execution of Charles I, that a people 'free by nature' had a right to overthrow a tyrant; a subject that recalls vividly the questions examined by Shakespeare in his major tragedies about fifty years before. Milton continued to defend his ideals of freedom and republicanism. But at the Restoration, by which time he was blind, he was arrested. Various powerful contacts allowed him to be released after paying a fine, and his remaining years were devoted to the composition - orally, in the form of dictation to his third wife - of his epic poem on the fall of humanity, Paradise Lost, which was published in 1667. It is interesting that - like Spenser and Malory before him, and like Tennyson two centuries later - Milton was attracted to the Arthurian legends as the subject for his great epic. But the theme of the Fall goes far beyond a national epic, and gave the poet scope to analyse the whole question of freedom, free will, and individual choice. He wished, he said, to 'assert eternal providence,/And justify the ways of God to men'. This has been seen as confirmation of Milton's arrogance, but it also signals the last great attempt to rationalise the spirit of the Renaissance: mankind would not exist outside Paradise if Satan had not engineered the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. For many critics, including the poets Blake and Shelley, Satan, the figure of the Devil, is the hero of the poem.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
In the first place, this is a history of Europe’s reduction. The constituent states of Europe could no longer aspire, after 1945, to international or imperial status. The two exceptions to this rule—the Soviet Union and, in part, Great Britain—were both only half-European in their own eyes and in any case, by the end of the period recounted here, they too were much reduced. Most of the rest of continental Europe had been humiliated by defeat and occupation. It had not been able to liberate itself from Fascism by its own efforts; nor was it able, unassisted, to keep Communism at bay. Post-war Europe was liberated—or immured—by outsiders. Only with considerable effort and across long decades did Europeans recover control of their own destiny. Shorn of their overseas territories Europe’s erstwhile sea-borne empires (Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal) were all shrunk back in the course of these years to their European nuclei, their attention re-directed to Europe itself. Secondly, the later decades of the twentieth century saw the withering away of the ‘master narratives’ of European history: the great nineteenth-century theories of history, with their models of progress and change, of revolution and transformation, that had fuelled the political projects and social movements that tore Europe apart in the first half of the century. This too is a story that only makes sense on a pan-European canvas: the decline of political fervor in the West (except among a marginalized intellectual minority) was accompanied—for quite different reasons—by the loss of political faith and the discrediting of official Marxism in the East. For a brief moment in the 1980s, to be sure, it seemed as though the intellectual Right might stage a revival around the equally nineteenth-century project of dismantling ‘society’ and abandoning public affairs to the untrammelled market and the minimalist state; but the spasm passed. After 1989 there was no overarching ideological project of Left or Right on offer in Europe—except the prospect of liberty, which for most Europeans was a promise now fulfilled. Thirdly, and as a modest substitute for the defunct ambitions of Europe’s ideological past, there emerged belatedly—and largely by accident—the ‘European model’. Born of an eclectic mix of Social Democratic and Christian Democratic legislation and the crab-like institutional extension of the European Community and its successor Union, this was a distinctively ‘European’ way of regulating social intercourse and inter-state relations. Embracing everything from child-care to inter-state legal norms, this European approach stood for more than just the bureaucratic practices of the European Union and its member states; by the beginning of the twenty-first century it had become a beacon and example for aspirant EU members and a global challenge to the United States and the competing appeal of the ‘American way of life’.
Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945)
So Germany can’t pay France and Britain and France and Britain can’t pay America because the Gold Standard says money = gold and America already has all the gold. But America won’t forgive the loans so Germany starts printing dumpsters full of money just to keep up appearances until one U.S. dollar is worth six hundred and thirty BILLION marks. There’s so much cash, kids are building money forts it is tragic/pimp as hell. Britain does convince America to go easy and lower the interest rates on the loans but in order to do that America has to lower ALL THE INTEREST RATES so everybody back in the U.S. is like “SWEET FREE MONEY BETTER USE IT TO BUY STOCKS” and they just go nuts the whole stock market goes completely bonkers shoe-shine boys are giving out hot tips hobos have stock portfolios and the dudes in charge are TERRIFIED because they know that at this point the market is just running on bullshit and dreams and real soon it’s gonna get to that part in the dream where you’re naked at your tuba recital and you never learned to play the tuba. There are other people who are like “NAW THE MARKET WILL BE GREAT FOREVER PUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN IT” but you know what those people are? WRONG. WRONG LIKE A DOG EATING MAYONNAISE. The market goes down like a clown and a bunch of people lose a bunch of money. It happens on a Tuesday and everybody calls it Black Tuesday and then it happens again on Black Thursday also Black Monday. Everyone is so poor they have even pawned their creativity.
Cory O'Brien (George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America)
By the time Napoleon had spent five years at Brienne and one at the École Militaire he was thoroughly imbued with the military ethos, which was to stay with him for the rest of his life and was to colour his beliefs and outlook deeply. His acceptance of the revolutionary principles of equality before the law, rational government, meritocracy, efficiency and aggressive nationalism fit in well with this ethos but he had little interest in equality of outcome, human rights, freedom of the press or parliamentarianism, all of which, to his mind, did not. Napoleon’s upbringing imbued him with a reverence for social hierarchy, law and order, and a strong belief in reward for merit and courage, but also a dislike of politicians, lawyers, journalists and Britain.
Andrew Roberts (Napoleon the Great)
Darwin’s Bestiary PROLOGUE Animals tame and animals feral prowled the Dark Ages in search of a moral: the canine was Loyal, the lion was Virile, rabbits were Potent and gryphons were Sterile. Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Pride—every peril was fleshed into something phantasmic and rural, while Courage, Devotion, Thrift—every bright laurel crowned a creature in some mythological mural. Scientists think there is something immoral in singular brutes having meat that is plural: beasts are mere beasts, just as flowers are floral. Yet between the lines there’s an implicit demurral; the habit stays with us, albeit it’s puerile: when Darwin saw squirrels, he saw more than Squirrel. 1. THE ANT The ant, Darwin reminded us, defies all simple-mindedness: Take nothing (says the ant) on faith, and never trust a simple truth. The PR men of bestiaries eulogized for centuries this busy little paragon, nature’s proletarian— but look here, Darwin said: some ants make slaves of smaller ants, and end exploiting in their peonages the sweating brows of their tiny drudges. Thus the ant speaks out of both sides of its mealy little mouth: its example is extolled to the workers of the world, but its habits also preach the virtues of the idle rich. 2. THE WORM Eyeless in Gaza, earless in Britain, lower than a rattlesnake’s belly-button, deaf as a judge and dumb as an audit: nobody gave the worm much credit till Darwin looked a little closer at this spaghetti-torsoed loser. Look, he said, a worm can feel and taste and touch and learn and smell; and ounce for ounce, they’re tough as wrestlers, and love can turn them into hustlers, and as to work, their labors are mythic, small devotees of the Protestant Ethic: they’ll go anywhere, to mountains or grassland, south to the rain forests, north to Iceland, fifty thousand to every acre guzzling earth like a drunk on liquor, churning the soil and making it fertile, earning the thanks of every mortal: proud Homo sapiens, with legs and arms— his whole existence depends on worms. So, History, no longer let the worm’s be an ignoble lot unwept, unhonored, and unsung. Moral: even a worm can turn. 3. THE RABBIT a. Except in distress, the rabbit is silent, but social as teacups: no hare is an island. (Moral: silence is golden—or anyway harmless; rabbits may run, but never for Congress.) b. When a rabbit gets miffed, he bounds in an orbit, kicking and scratching like—well, like a rabbit. (Moral: to thine own self be true—or as true as you can; a wolf in sheep’s clothing fleeces his skin.) c. He populates prairies and mountains and moors, but in Sweden the rabbit can’t live out of doors. (Moral: to know your own strength, take a tug at your shackles; to understand purity, ponder your freckles.) d. Survival developed these small furry tutors; the morals of rabbits outnumber their litters. (Conclusion: you needn’t be brainy, benign, or bizarre to be thought a great prophet. Endure. Just endure.) 4. THE GOSSAMER Sixty miles from land the gentle trades that silk the Yankee clippers to Cathay sift a million gossamers, like tides of fluff above the menace of the sea. These tiny spiders spin their bits of webbing and ride the air as schooners ride the ocean; the Beagle trapped a thousand in its rigging, small aeronauts on some elusive mission. The Megatherium, done to extinction by its own bigness, makes a counterpoint to gossamers, who breathe us this small lesson: for survival, it’s the little things that count.
Philip Appleman
HISTORICAL NOTE There are no nuclear power stations in Belarus. Of the functioning stations in the territory of the former USSR, the ones closest to Belarus are of the old Soviet-designed RBMK type. To the north, the Ignalinsk station, to the east, the Smolensk station, and to the south, Chernobyl. On April 26, 1986, at 1:23:58, a series of explosions destroyed the reactor in the building that housed Energy Block #4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. The catastrophe at Chernobyl became the largest technological disaster of the twentieth century. For tiny Belarus (population: 10 million), it was a national disaster. During the Second World War, the Nazis destroyed 619 Belarussian villages along with their inhabitants. As a result of Chernobyl, the country lost 485 villages and settlements. Of these, 70 have been forever buried underground. During the war, one out of every four Belarussians was killed; today, one out of every five Belarussians lives on contaminated land. This amounts to 2.1 million people, of whom 700,000 are children. Among the demographic factors responsible for the depopulation of Belarus, radiation is number one. In the Gomel and Mogilev regions, which suffered the most from Chernobyl, mortality rates exceed birth rates by 20%. As a result of the accident, 50 million Ci of radionuclides were released into the atmosphere. Seventy percent of these descended on Belarus; fully 23% of its territory is contaminated by cesium-137 radionuclides with a density of over 1 Ci/km2. Ukraine on the other hand has 4.8% of its territory contaminated, and Russia, 0.5%. The area of arable land with a density of more than 1 Ci/km2 is over 18 million hectares; 2.4 thousand hectares have been taken out of the agricultural economy. Belarus is a land of forests. But 26% of all forests and a large part of all marshes near the rivers Pripyat, Dniepr, and Sozh are considered part of the radioactive zone. As a result of the perpetual presence of small doses of radiation, the number of people with cancer, mental retardation, neurological disorders, and genetic mutations increases with each year. —“Chernobyl.” Belaruskaya entsiklopedia On April 29, 1986, instruments recorded high levels of radiation in Poland, Germany, Austria, and Romania. On April 30, in Switzerland and northern Italy. On May 1 and 2, in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and northern Greece. On May 3, in Israel, Kuwait, and Turkey. . . . Gaseous airborne particles traveled around the globe: on May 2 they were registered in Japan, on May 5 in India, on May 5 and 6 in the U.S. and Canada. It took less than a week for Chernobyl to become a problem for the entire world. —“The Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident in Belarus.” Minsk, Sakharov International College on Radioecology The fourth reactor, now known as the Cover, still holds about twenty tons of nuclear fuel in its lead-and-metal core. No one knows what is happening with it. The sarcophagus was well made, uniquely constructed, and the design engineers from St. Petersburg should probably be proud. But it was constructed in absentia, the plates were put together with the aid of robots and helicopters, and as a result there are fissures. According to some figures, there are now over 200 square meters of spaces and cracks, and radioactive particles continue to escape through them . . . Might the sarcophagus collapse? No one can answer that question, since it’s still impossible to reach many of the connections and constructions in order to see if they’re sturdy. But everyone knows that if the Cover were to collapse, the consequences would be even more dire than they were in 1986. —Ogonyok magazine, No. 17, April 1996
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
ultimately, most of us would choose a rich and meaningful life over an empty, happy one, if such a thing is even possible. “Misery serves a purpose,” says psychologist David Myers. He’s right. Misery alerts us to dangers. It’s what spurs our imagination. As Iceland proves, misery has its own tasty appeal. A headline on the BBC’s website caught my eye the other day. It read: “Dirt Exposure Boosts Happiness.” Researchers at Bristol University in Britain treated lung-cancer patients with “friendly” bacteria found in soil, otherwise known as dirt. The patients reported feeling happier and had an improved quality of life. The research, while far from conclusive, points to an essential truth: We thrive on messiness. “The good life . . . cannot be mere indulgence. It must contain a measure of grit and truth,” observed geographer Yi-Fu Tuan. Tuan is the great unheralded geographer of our time and a man whose writing has accompanied me throughout my journeys. He called one chapter of his autobiography “Salvation by Geography.” The title is tongue-in-cheek, but only slightly, for geography can be our salvation. We are shaped by our environment and, if you take this Taoist belief one step further, you might say we are our environment. Out there. In here. No difference. Viewed that way, life seems a lot less lonely. The word “utopia” has two meanings. It means both “good place” and “nowhere.” That’s the way it should be. The happiest places, I think, are the ones that reside just this side of paradise. The perfect person would be insufferable to live with; likewise, we wouldn’t want to live in the perfect place, either. “A lifetime of happiness! No man could bear it: It would be hell on Earth,” wrote George Bernard Shaw, in his play Man and Superman. Ruut Veenhoven, keeper of the database, got it right when he said: “Happiness requires livable conditions, but not paradise.” We humans are imminently adaptable. We survived an Ice Age. We can survive anything. We find happiness in a variety of places and, as the residents of frumpy Slough demonstrated, places can change. Any atlas of bliss must be etched in pencil. My passport is tucked into my desk drawer again. I am relearning the pleasures of home. The simple joys of waking up in the same bed each morning. The pleasant realization that familiarity breeds contentment and not only contempt. Every now and then, though, my travels resurface and in unexpected ways. My iPod crashed the other day. I lost my entire music collection, nearly two thousand songs. In the past, I would have gone through the roof with rage. This time, though, my anger dissipated like a summer thunderstorm and, to my surprise, I found the Thai words mai pen lai on my lips. Never mind. Let it go. I am more aware of the corrosive nature of envy and try my best to squelch it before it grows. I don’t take my failures quite so hard anymore. I see beauty in a dark winter sky. I can recognize a genuine smile from twenty yards. I have a newfound appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables. Of all the places I visited, of all the people I met, one keeps coming back to me again and again: Karma Ura,
Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World)
It would be a kindness, by the way, and a service to history, if you could please rid yourself of the legend that Christians believed a fairy tale about the origin of the world until forced to think otherwise by the triumph of secular science. Substantially everyone in the Judeo-Christian bits of the planet believed the Genesis account until the early nineteenth century, remember, there being till then no organised alternative. The work of reading the geological record, and thereby exploding the Genesis chronology, was for the most part done not by anti-Christian refuseniks but by scientists and philosophers thinking their way onward from starting-points within the religious culture of the time. Once it became clear that truth lay elsewhere than in Genesis, religious opinion on the whole moved with impressive swiftness to accommodate the discovery. In the same way, when the Origin of Species was published, most Christians in Britain at least moved with some speed to incorporate evolutionary biology into their catalogue of ordinary facts about the world. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce’s resistance to Darwinism was an outlier, untypical. In fact, there’s a good case to be made that the ready acceptance of evolution in Britain owed a lot to the great cultural transmission mechanism of the Church of England. If you’re glad that Darwin is on the £10 note, hug an Anglican.
Francis Spufford (Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising emotional sense)
On Sunday, November 10, Kaiser Wilhelm II was dethroned, and he fled to Holland for his life. Britain’s King George V, who was his cousin, told his diary that Wilhelm was “the greatest criminal known for having plunged the world into this ghastly war,” having “utterly ruined his country and himself.” Keeping vigil at the White House, the President and First Lady learned by telephone, at three o’clock that morning, that the Germans had signed an armistice. As Edith later recalled, “We stood mute—unable to grasp the significance of the words.” From Paris, Colonel House, who had bargained for the armistice as Wilson’s envoy, wired the President, “Autocracy is dead. Long live democracy and its immortal leader. In this great hour my heart goes out to you in pride, admiration and love.” At 1:00 p.m., wearing a cutaway and gray trousers, Wilson faced a Joint Session of Congress, where he read out Germany’s surrender terms. He told the members that “this tragical war, whose consuming flames swept from one nation to another until all the world was on fire, is at an end,” and “it was the privilege of our own people to enter it at its most critical juncture.” He added that the war’s object, “upon which all free men had set their hearts,” had been achieved “with a sweeping completeness which even now we do not realize,” and Germany’s “illicit ambitions engulfed in black disaster.” This time, Senator La Follette clapped. Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Lodge complained that Wilson should have held out for unconditional German surrender. Driven down Capitol Hill, Wilson was cheered by joyous crowds on the streets. Eleanor Roosevelt recorded that Washington “went completely mad” as “bells rang, whistles blew, and people went up and down the streets throwing confetti.” Including those who had perished in theaters of conflict from influenza and other diseases, the nation’s nineteen-month intervention in the world war had levied a military death toll of more than 116,000 Americans, out of a total perhaps exceeding 8 million. There were rumors that Wilson planned to sail for France and horse-trade at the peace conference himself. No previous President had left the Americas during his term of office. The Boston Herald called this tradition “unwritten law.” Senator Key Pittman, Democrat from Nevada, told reporters that Wilson should go to Paris “because there is no man who is qualified to represent him.” The Knickerbocker Press of Albany, New York, was disturbed by the “evident desire of the President’s adulators to make this war his personal property.” The Free Press of Burlington, Vermont, said that Wilson’s presence in Paris would “not be seemly,” especially if the talks degenerated into “bitter controversies.” The Chattanooga Times called on Wilson to stay home, “where he could keep his own hand on the pulse of his own people” and “translate their wishes” into action by wireless and cable to his bargainers in Paris.
Michael R. Beschloss (Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times)
Charles Bean, the official historian of Australia’s part in World War I, was unusual in dealing closely with the deeds of the soldiers on the front line, and not just the plans and orders of their leaders. At the end of his account of the Gallipoli landing in the Official History, he asked what made the soldiers fight on. What motive sustained them? At the end of the second or third day of the Landing, when they had fought without sleep until the whole world seemed a dream, and they scarcely knew whether it was a world of reality or of delirium – and often, no doubt, it held something of both; when half of each battalion had been annihilated, and there seemed no prospect before any man except that of wounds or death in the most vile surroundings; when the dead lay three deep in the rifle-pits under the blue sky and the place was filled with stench and sickness, and reason had almost vanished – what was it then that carried each man on? It was not love of a fight. The Australian loved fighting better than most, but it is an occupation from which the glamour quickly wears. It was not hatred of the Turk. It is true that the men at this time hated their enemy for his supposed ill-treatment of the wounded – and the fact that, of the hundreds who lay out, only one wounded man survived in Turkish hands has justified their suspicions. But hatred was not the motive which inspired them. Nor was it purely patriotism, as it would have been had they fought on Australian soil. The love of country in Australians and New Zealanders was intense – how strong, they did not realise until they were far away from their home. Nor, in most cases was the motive their loyalty to the tie between Australia and Great Britain. Although, singly or combined, all these were powerful influences, they were not the chief. Nor was it the desire for fame that made them steer their course so straight in the hour of crucial trial. They knew too well the chance that their families, possibly even the men beside them, would never know how they died. Doubtless the weaker were swept on by the stronger. In every army which enters into battle there is a part which is dependent for its resolution upon the nearest strong man. If he endures, those around him will endure; if he turns, they turn; if he falls, they may become confused. But the Australian force contained more than its share of men who were masters of their own minds and decisions. What was the dominant motive that impelled them? It lay in the mettle of the men themselves. To be the sort of man who would give way when his mates were trusting to his firmness; to be the sort of man who would fail when the line, the whole force, and the allied cause required his endurance; to have made it necessary for another unit to do his own unit’s work; to live the rest of his life haunted by the knowledge that he had set his hand to a soldier’s task and had lacked the grit to carry it through – that was the prospect which these men could not face. Life was very dear, but life was not worth living unless they could be true to their idea of Australian manhood.
John Hirst (The Australians: Insiders and Outsiders on the National Character since 1770)
From the days of the Assyrians and the Qin, great empires were usually built through violent conquest. In 1914 too, all the major powers owed their status to successful wars. For instance, Imperial Japan became a regional power thanks to its victories over China and Russia; Germany became Europe’s top dog after its triumphs over Austria-Hungary and France; and Britain created the world’s largest and most prosperous empire through a series of splendid little wars all over the planet. Thus in 1882 Britain invaded and occupied Egypt, losing a mere fifty-seven soldiers in the decisive Battle of Tel el-Kebir. Whereas in our days occupying a Muslim country is the stuff of Western nightmares, following Tel el-Kebir the British faced little armed resistance, and for more than six decades controlled the Nile Valley and the vital Suez Canal. Other European powers emulated the British, and whenever governments in Paris, Rome or Brussels contemplated putting boots on the ground in Vietnam, Libya or Congo, their only fear was that somebody else might get there first. Even the United States owed its great-power status to military action rather than economic enterprise alone. In 1846 it invaded Mexico, and conquered California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma. The peace treaty also confirmed the previous US annexation of Texas. About 13,000 American soldiers died in the war, which added 2.3 million square kilometres to the “United States (more than the combined size of France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy). It was the bargain of the millennium.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
If we do not stop these mar-makers not,...it will soon be too late. We are the only nation that can halt this crusade. It might be too late in America, but it isn't too late here. Without British support the whole scheme would collapse. For that reason the future of all nations depends upon the policy which is decided in this House. More than that, the final position of Britain in the world is being decided. If we support these anti-Communist crusades through the world as we have supported it in Greece, then our good name and existence will be threatened by the hatred of all free-thinking men. We cannot suppress all desire in Europe and Asia for social change by branding it communism from Russia and persecuting its supporters. Social change doesn't have to come from Russia, whatever the Foreign Office or the Americans say. It is a product of the miserable conditions under which the majority of the earth's population exist. There are fighters for social change in every land, here as well as anywhere.... We Socialists are among them. That is the reason for our predominance in the House to-day. The very men that we try to suppress in other countries are asking for far less liberty than we enjoy here, far less social change than we Socialists hope to initiate in Great Britain. Are we going to betray these men by labelling them Communists and crushing them wherever we find them until we have launched ourselves at Russia herself in a war that will wipe this island off the face of the earth? The American imperialists say that this is the American Century. ARe we to sacrifice ourselves for that great ideal, or are we to stand beside the people of Europe and Asia and other lands who seek independence, economic stability, self-determination, and the right to conduct their own affairs? Are we going to partake in an anti-Red campaign when we ourselves are Reds? ...... Some among us might think that there is political expediency in following this anti-Russian crusade without really getting enmeshed in it, creating a Third Force in Europe of their friends, a balancing force for power politics. In that you have the real policy of our Government to-day. But how can we avoid final involvement? Our American vanguard will stop at nothing. They hold their atom bomb aloft with nervous fingers. It has become their talisman and their faith. It is their new weapon of anti-Communism, a more efficient Belsen and Maidenek. Its first usage was morally anti-Russian. It was used to end Japan quickly so that Russia would play no part in the final settlement with that country. No doubt they would have used it on Russia already if they could be certain that Russian did not have an equal or better atomic weapon. That terrible uncertainty goads them into fiercer political and economic activity against the world's grim defenders of great liberties. In that you have the heart of this American imperial desperation. They cannot defeat the people of Europe and Asia with the atomic bomb alone. They cannot win unless we lend them our name and our support and our political cunning. To-day they have British support, in policy as well as in international councils where the decisions of peace and security are being made. With our support America is undermining every international conference with its anti-Russian politics.
James Aldridge (The Diplomat)