Of Queen & Country, God And Guns
Though our stars tend to rise and fall in opposition through the years, your reputation for adventure, fearlessness and a legendary hunger for more lingers, and for the most part we find that admirable—no, more than that—we find it astonishing.
We may denigrate your American whisky (as well as your tendency to spell it with the Irish ‘e’) as you joke about our pasty faces and reliance upon dentures, but we are cousins—if not always kissing—and share a rich common language, culture, customs and cuisine. We are more alike than different in nearly every respect but these: One, we are a constitutional monarchy and Two, despite what you may have heard we really, really envy you your guns.
America has always seemed the dangerous, glamourous older brother. You were the cowboy, the gangster, the astronaut and the comic book hero of our collective imaginations. You were the captain of the debate team, dating the homecoming queen and cruising through life in your ’55 Chrysler, one hand on the wheel, elbow on the door, working on that car tan.
The 40’s, 50’s and 60s were perhaps your finest hours. During World War II you were overpaid, oversexed and over here, breaker of hearts and hymens. The winds of heaven tousled with a loving hand your perfect hair, the sunlight glinted off your straight, white teeth. After the war you invented rock and roll and corn dogs and forty-seven million things to do with sugar including LSD, and we were dazzled.
While we were washing under our arms from basins of cold water in cold rooms in a bitterly cold country, you were inventing the hot tub. At the cinema, we would bask in shimmering visions of your highways and high fashions, your Endless Summer California culture, your glittering skyscrapers and flawless pavements, then trudge home and tune in the wireless for a Parliamentary debate on whether or not we could afford to clean centuries of coal smoke from our cracked and blackened buildings.
While you were bringing Caesar Salad, Martinis, Bananas Foster, Baked Alaska and the almighty, sacred Hamburger into the world, we anticipated the prospect of instant mashed potatoes finally becoming available down the local shops. We were unimaginably insular; it is within living memory that people in Britain believed spaghetti grew on trees.
Despite pretensions to polite behaviour we relished your films and television programmes like The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man and White Heat; more recently The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and Deadwood—the more violent the better. We admired Clint Eastwood’s entire oeuvre. We devoured books like Lonesome Dove and the works of Steinbeck, Hemingway, Mark Twain and Raymond Chandler. Some of us even like bluegrass but those people are mainly in the looney bin. We treasure pretty much everything about you, but we’re British so you don’t hear us mention it very often.
Some Britons flinch when one suggests ever needing a gun in Old Blighty but don’t believe the lukewarm protestations. As the past few years have unfolded any remaining hesitation is apt to change, and soon. What we are beginning to remember is that for thousands of years everyone on this island was armed at all times with daggers—with swords if you could afford them, with throwing axes and longbows for truly special occasions. Personal defence was not just a choice, it meant accepting full responsibility for individual safety beyond city or castle walls. Defending ourselves with grace and strength and skill was something we once took great pride in.
Our downfall can be charted in three separate events:
Two hundred years ago, give or take a couple of decades, Sir Robert Peel established a full-time, professional and centrally-organised police force with the passing of The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. It was not well received at the time; the public felt they did very well already with night watchmen and personal vigilance and besides, who was expected to pay for it? And why hadn’t the people been consulted? As things usually go between governments and their subjects, government had its way. We turned our weapons over to legally-sanctioned protectors and began to soften as a people.
In the midst of austerity after The Second World War, universal healthcare for all was rolled out to tremendous fanfare, followed by a steadily increasing system of welfare for mothers and children, later for pensioners, then veterans and civil servants. There was in the early days some shame associated with taking a government handout but practice makes perfect and before long anyone with a doctor’s note affirming a sprained wrist or dodgy knee could sign on and be supported for life. No one asked this time who would pay—no one wanted to hear the answer anyway. And we grew softer still.
Simultaneously, the government threw open its doors to the former colonies. Indians, Pakistanis and Caribbean Islanders answered the call to serve as a labour force and in short order became a demographic who never actually seemed to leave. Politicians had discovered the lucrative stand of virgin timber that was the immigrant class and promised them anything, even citizenship, in exchange for their vote. And vote they did, until their children grew up, stood for election themselves and were voted in by their own people on the colour of their skin. When native Britons asked why they were never consulted on allowing this flood of immigrants they were called racialists. Since Britain had just finished dealing Jerry a bally good hiding, any accusation of holding Nazi sentiments was social poison. Hence we softened our principles and muffled the warning of our hearts.
This is how we joined the invertebrates.
Now we are facing Islam, though not many know that what is happening today is just another battle in a very old war.
From the 16th to the 18th centuries upwards of two million Europeans were captured and sold as slaves in Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli. These weren’t people who were taken at sea but from their beds, in the dark of night in coastal towns and villages in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, up into Wales and along the west coast of Ireland, as well as throughout the Mediterranean. Why who would do such a thing, you may ask—the Barbary Pirates, of course—Muslims.
This carried on for two hundred years with only sporadic and half-hearted interruption. England talked a good game and now and then ransomed a lord or two out of slavery, but what’s a few missing Cornish fisherman, their wives and children here and there? It wasn’t until American ships began to be attacked and raided for goods and slaves that investors studied the situation and concluded, “You know, this could be bad for business,” and went to war.
First though, in the interest of fair play, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams made the perilous journey across the Atlantic to London for a sit-down with Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, the envoy from Tripoli. When asked what right the Barbary pirates had to force Americans into slavery, Jefferson recorded the ambassador’s answer in two letters and his personal diary:
“He replied that the right was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise”.
So, not a lot’s changed then.
In an Anglo-Dutch-American alliance three campaigns of The Barbary Wars were fought and the Muslims were at last subdued and colonised. Client kings and strong men were installed and until the present day Muslims have remained a benign tumour on civilised society.
It was a stunning victory and Francis Scott Key composed a song to mark the occasion. The original verses included:
And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscur’d
By the light of the star-bangled flag of our nation.
Where each flaming star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turban’d head bowed to the terrible glare.
It wasn’t a huge hit at the time though after the War of 1812 he dusted it off, rewrote some of the more laboured lines and it eventually became the American National Anthem.
Were you taught all this in school? No? Nor I. Why is it that where our history intersects with Islam it always seems to either vanish like morning mist or become corrupted into making the Christian world into the bad guys and aggressors?
This brings us to the current mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the platitude-puss Pakistani with links to Hamas, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. When he’s not scurrying along the baseboards he’s raring up on his two hind legs and sporting the most punchable, weapons-grade constipation face this side of the Atlantic. It doesn’t take an adept in Texas Hold’em to ascertain that Khan’s tell is one of a man who is eternally biting back what he really wants to say.
Within an hour of the latest cultural enrichment, Khan is on hand with fair-minded and reassuring statements like, Terrorism is part-and-parcel of living in a big city or London is one of the safest cities in the world. Meanwhile, the poisonous flood of piety and bloodlust threatens to drown us all.
What people in Britain are gradually coming to grips with is that Islam teaches that this life on earth is merely a stepping-stone to Paradise and that Muslims must stop at nothing to attain it. To paraphrase Kyle Reese, they can’t be bargained with, they can’t be reasoned with, they don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear and they absolutely will not stop, ever, until all non-Muslims are dead or enslaved.
For politicians, though, hope springs eternal; just fire the old PR firm and hire a new one. Hence, the RUN•HIDE•TELL campaign is off to a rocketing start. Of course, scruffy young tearaways were quick to deface the posters by substituting the last word to read RUN•HIDE•SUBMIT but the kings of PR, the Americans, have gone us one better with DRAW•AIM•SHOOT as the only viable response. We respect this, of course, because we love your guns.
In other news, on 28 May 2017, police sent a helicopter and combat-ready police to confiscate a karaoke machine from a backyard BBQ because the hosts played a song mocking Osama bin Laden. Bear in mind this was four days after bomb and bloodshed at a concert attended by teenaged girls in Manchester Arena. Several days after the karaoke caper, the horrific massacre on London Bridge took place. Clearly, prioritising threats could do with some work.
Our current PM, Barren Cat Lady, famously stated upon her election, “Brexit means Brexit.” We’re still waiting. After the London Bridge Massacre she said, “Enough is Enough.” At this rate she’ll probably say,”Potatoes are Potatoes,” next and the media will still stand up and applaud it.
But now I am just lobbing outrage darts at the page so I’ll wind this up.
Governments which no longer guarantee the security of their citizens are worthless, and those that disallow the right to defend oneself are worse than negligent, they are clearly dangerous to support in any way. People here are beginning to get this, but I still feel it’s too late to prevent the rivers of blood alluded to by the brilliant Enoch Powell, king of ‘racialists,’ true patriot and martyr.
As I write this it’s less than twenty-four hours till we march once more unto the polls to vote in an election that probably won’t make a bit of difference except to take our Brexit away for good. And yet it could also upset the entire apple cart as well. Such are the times we live in.
My American friends, you are surely aware that you don’t have to own a gun to fight like hell to retain your right to bear arms, as well as the freedom to play anything you damn well please on your karaoke machines. Preserve those rights, defend them, they are more precious than you know. Never sell them. Never soften.
They say a falling knife has no handle and yet our British politicians keep snatching it in mid-air, then expressing astonishment and dismay at the cuts on their hands.
Based upon past experience they’ll just carry on trying to catch it while the rest of us bleed to death.