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August 28, 2006

Approaching Civilization

Nick Barlow is leaving Scotland: only another couple of hundred miles to get south of Watford Gap and be in civilized country.

The donations page is here. Jus’ sayin’.

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Praise be unto Emperor Hadrian, evidently a man of remarkable insight and resolve:

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 28, 2006 11:10:11 AM

We'll be getting the sixth verse of the National Anthem at this rate.

Isn't the Internet a wonderful tool for spreading harmony and understanding amongst nations?

Posted by: Martin | Aug 28, 2006 12:18:41 PM

The Internet didn't create the causes of either of these two recent news items relating to the practice of "multiculturalism" in Scotland:

"AN ENGLAND football fan living in Scotland blamed the country’s First Minister yesterday for stoking anti-English racism after his windows were smashed because he was displaying the St George’s flag."

"Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc has been cautioned for a breach of the peace by police for blessing himself in an Old Firm match at Ibrox in February. The Crown Office said the procurator fiscal had issued the caution as an alternative to prosecution. A spokesman explained that Boruc's actions 'included a combination of behaviour before a crowd in the charged atmosphere of an Old Firm match'. And that the Polish keeper's behaviour had 'provoked alarm and crowd trouble'."

Among the many valuable benefits of the Internet are enabling the wide dissemination of news, including unwelcome news, and exposing and puncturing hypocrisy. That is precisely why so many authoritarian regimes have acted to control access to the Internet and negotiated arrangements to ensure that Google conveniently overlooks websites which are apt to post information likely to embarrass the authorites in power.

John Stuart Mill recognised the significance of free and open debate in politics and government in 1840:

"In government, perfect freedom of discussion in all its modes – speaking, writing, and printing – in law and in fact is the first requisite of good because the first condition of popular intelligence and mental progress. All else is secondary. A form of government is good chiefly in proportion to the security it affords for the possession of this."

It is often considered that one of our notable national achievements is that prevailing values have mostly absorbed the influence of JS Mill rather than the influence of latterday Marxism and fascism. Around where I live in London, a few local restaurants specialising in Italian cuisine were flying Italian flags during the recent World Cup, as were some cars among the many which were flying the St George's flag. It wasn't an issue. My guess is that anyone in an official capacity hereabouts who seriously proposed criminalising someone who made a sign of the cross would be urged to quickly seek psychiatric help - and FWIW I'm irreligious.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 28, 2006 1:50:34 PM


I'll pass on your views to my two nephews.

They're both Celtic season ticket holders.

Posted by: Martin | Aug 28, 2006 2:14:41 PM

Civilised country?

Where you have to lock your doors in the daytime?

Where all the towns join up into one gigantic suburban sprawl?

Where the sky is never dark at night?

Where people avert their eyes rather than say hello to anyone else in the street?

Where you have to pay to swing to your own anchor?

You can keep it mate.

Posted by: andrew duffin | Aug 28, 2006 3:10:09 PM

Most of the south of England is wonderfully civilised but that is mainly because most of its people are crammed into the most uncivilised, dirty and drab city in the country, leaving the rest of it relatively pleasant. London is a dour place for the non-rich resident.

Posted by: pete | Aug 28, 2006 7:30:30 PM

As always, George Orwell is illuminating on the differences between the north and south. I always savour this piece from: The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) - chp.7:

"There is nevertheless a real difference between North and South, and there is at least a tinge of truth in that picture of Southern England as one enormous Brighton inhabited by lounge-lizards. For climatic reasons the parasitic dividend-drawing class tend to settle in the South. In a Lancashire cotton-town you could probably go for months on end without once hearing an 'educated' accent, whereas there can hardly be a town in the South of England where you could throw a brick without hitting the niece of a bishop."

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 28, 2006 7:48:25 PM

I'd wager Orwell never went to Cheadle or Harrogate...

Posted by: john b | Aug 29, 2006 4:48:24 PM