Monday, 20 February 2017
Blame it on the Germans
I’ve often remarked that we had to rely on the German efficiency in language to come up with a one-word summary of Britishness. That word is, of course, schadenfreude, a positive delight in the misery of others. If you think ‘oh no, not me’ imagine your glee should you learn that the odious Philip Green had been declared bankrupt, stripped of his knighthood and had all his yachts sold to prop up the British Home Stores pensions. What English heart could be so dark as not to thrill, just a little, at such a judicious downfall?
When the prospect of a return to good old Imperial Units was raised last week I had a little chuckle at the thought of today’s precious little never-fail generation, barely numerate in decimalised quantities, struggling to add up in two, or three number bases simultaneously. And just think of the fun we could have once more with Johnny Foreigner: Oh yes, monsieur, there are thirteen throckles to the groat and eleven groats to the firkin. And that’ll be Eleventeen pounds, thruppence and six farthings, if you please.
Schadenfreude, that little thrill you get, even as you contemplate economic downturn, cataclysmic climate change and the prospect of going it alone, off the cliff edge, into the unknown... post-Brexit. Because, being bloody-mindedly British – and there are still millions of us left – we don’t shrink from a challenge. You can lose your entire family fortune in a thrice but as long as you can struggle back to your feet there is still all to play for. Bring it on, we say, do your worst, because Britain up against the wall is an underdog you’d do well not to turn your back on.
It’s who we always were, it defines us and despite the years of dilution of that spirit by the dismal failure of forced multiculturalism, it resides in us still. Britons were made to be the plucky winners, triumphing against all odds. Which is exactly where Tony Blair made his ruinous miscalculation last week. The unrelenting pressure to subdue that true Brit grit was relieved when against expectations last year we voted to leave the EU; when we voted to oppose the bien pensant ways of soft-boiled Britain; when we rejected Blair, Mandelson, Campbell, Cameron, Soubry, Clarke, Kinnock, Heseltine, Clegg and every single one of the pro-EU nobles in the House of Lords.
Avoirdupois? Don't mind if I do!
So come on, you fuckers, wind us up some more. Tell us how ignorant and gullible we are. Tell us again how we didn’t know what we voted for. Tell us that our world is lost in the past and show us how the beautiful people who sing your siren song are the only ones worth saving. Do it, because we’ve been spoiling for a scrap for a good many years and a few more patronising speeches from the likes of you might very well persuade us to go beyond just rolling up our sleeves and getting on with keeping the wheels turning. But remember one thing; when the revolution begins, it’s not the peasants they hang from lampposts.