La Toynbee

We were taught that history was an onward march: things would always get better. There were backward steps – wars, the depression, the Thatcher years – but surely the path to improvement and enlightenment would be found again. History was reassuringly inevitable: factory acts, banning boys up chimneys, the universal franchise, trade union rights, Lloyd George’s 1911 people’s budget, Beveridge, Roosevelt’s New Deal and its British incarnation in 1945. Attlee gave us not just the NHS and social security but helped the birth of Nato, the UN and a postwar consensus that saw Macmillan build 300,000 homes a year, mostly council houses.

Edward Heath took us into Europe and opened out a little our island mentality. The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.

A distinctly Whiggish view which might be appropriate given the name.

100 comments on “La Toynbee

  1. “How did our world turn upside down in 2016 and leave us with no hope?”

    “Everything liberal and left that people feel they have striven for all their lives seems suddenly to have been grubbed up by the roots and rejected. The dark world of Brexit, and the yet darker coming Trump universe, have snuffed out our sense of history.”

    “Back home, there will be six years of cuts, grinding one public service after another.”

    Those three quotes from Polly’s despairing lament made me smile with great pleasure. The boot is on the other foot now, and the left-liberals don’t like it at all. Polly expresses in that article their overwhelming sense of entitlement not only to political power and influence but also to even controlling the direction of history! Her and their vanity and arrogance are breathtaking.

  2. “The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.”

    The disadvantages – a Scania parking on top of granny as she shops for gluhwein and schnitzel – aren’t so obvious…

  3. March towards what? Since the “inevitably of communism” was proven false with the fall of the Berlin Wall the Left seem to have been following more of a “random walk” than following a clear path. I guess a march towards ever increasing power but I don’t think you would hear any of them admit that.

  4. Hmm. Holidays. Did the EU make those easier? Very, very slightly. With the Euro. Clearly not worth the trade-offs.

    Free Trade? Err, no. Customs Union ≠ Free Trade.

    Football Teams? WFT? The only thing I remember that the EU did for football was the Bosman ruling (but then I don’t care much about it so may have missed something momentous).

    EU nations like us in history? Well, we have been in a lot of the same wars. Usually on the opposite (and winning) side …

  5. The idea of Toynbee as the pinnacle of evolution is a depressing thought. Maybe even conclusive evidence Darwin was wrong.

    Where does she put the Killing Fields in all this?

  6. Theo

    Longer post pending once I finish Xmas related admin but I agree – great news for those not on the Remaniac Left. Hopefully we can begin the assisted emigration to Cuba, North Korea etc and really give them something to cheer them up……

  7. I don’t get this business about the European nations being our friends and culturally similar.

    It has been clear to me for years that a significant proportion of them despise us, and have very little in common with us culturally. I’m thinking of the Southern Europeans mostly. We have some common heritage with the Nordics.

    I feel much more cultural affinity with the North Americans and the Commonwealth.

  8. If anyone thinks that British football teams are doing better now than in 1973 – when almost everyone could remember England winning the world cup, they are a living in a different country – possibly Italy.

  9. “Had they been listening in, how those angry Brexit perpetrators – Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Liam Fox, Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre and the rest –”

    “The rest” being the majority of the population, those people whose views do not count.

  10. Whether you care about football or not, I have no idea what she’s saying.

    the advantages seemed obvious: ,,,,, football teams

    That’s it. Did we not have any before the EU? I’m sure that’s not the case.

  11. @Jack C

    No you don’t understand. Football can’t exist without a political union with the rest of Europe. Nor can holidays.

  12. The drift away from parliamentary democracy and localism towards a federal Europe represents neither enlightenment nor improvement. The House of Lords is not democratic but at least it’s slowly losing its power (this is actual Whiggism). It doesn’t, for example, exercise a monopoly over introducing legislation for the Commons to debate. That would be a silly system.

    And the post war consensus wasn’t a good thing. It helped destroy our economy through idiot nationalisation and high tax, then ended with us going cap in hand to the IMF and with rubbish piling up in the streets.

    Toynbee is a dunce.

  13. “The advantages seemed obvious: holidays,…”

    Serious question – is it now generally believed on the Left (tacitly or explicitly) that it was not possible, or was at least exceptionally difficult, to holiday on the Continong pre-EU?

  14. The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.

    Holidays and football teams existed prior to Jan 1st 1973. Erasmus died long, long before the EU was even thought of. Free Trade? Lol. The last bit is the standard “One World” bollocks beloved of Progressives ignorant of the history of Europe or basic human nature.

  15. “Serious question – is it now generally believed on the Left (tacitly or explicitly) that it was not possible, or was at least exceptionally difficult, to holiday on the Continong pre-EU?”

    I am reminded of 1984 again – Winston musing about the Party claiming to have invented the helicopter, and would soon claim the same for the aeroplane, and no one around to prove them wrong.

    One prong of the Remainer strategy post-Brexit has been to lie outrageously that pre-1973 Britain was a Dickensian hell hole cut off from the world.

  16. abacab,
    She may be referring to the concept of paid holiday, which didn’t exist before the EU. Along with a great many other worker protections.

    Okay, paid holiday actually did exist, and the EU can’t claim credit for the 1911 People’s Budget either.

    But, but ….. football teams!

  17. The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.

    Holidays? Thanks to the EU we can’t even celebrate Armistice Day properly. Football teams? Polly. Honey. The reason that A.C. Milan uses the English spelling not Italian is because it was founded as a cricket club by some English people. Well before the EU existed. See pretty much all Latin American football.

    Erasmus? Plenty of people studied in Europe before the EU. There was a whole community in the UK for whom overseas study was the norm. They are called Catholics.

    Being together in one Parliament means friendship? Has she asked Dianne Abbott how she gets on with Nicolas Soames?

    History? They were on the losing side by the large. We were not. Why would we surrender to their stupid ideas?

  18. “Edward Heath took us into Europe and opened out a little our island mentality. The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.”

    Can these people ever grasp that we’re happy with friendship, trade, cultural exchange, but that it’s the getting into bed together we don’t want? The EEC had 75% popularity around the time of Maastricht. It wasn’t great, but it was pretty much what people wanted – going on holiday, trade, allowing German teachers to come and work here quite easily. The idea that this country today that has supermarkets stuffed full of ciabatta, pinot grigio and kleftiko are small-minded little Englanders is just bizarre.

    It’s that the politicians tried to force unity on people beyond where they wanted to be. Maybe they’ll be a time when people feel they want to view the people of Reims like the people of Oxford but it isn’t now.

  19. “… and opened out a little our island mentality. ”

    Or, in a different universe, reduced our global, Commenwealth.minded mentaity to a provincial Little Europäer one.

  20. abacab,

    “Serious question – is it now generally believed on the Left (tacitly or explicitly) that it was not possible, or was at least exceptionally difficult, to holiday on the Continong pre-EU?”

    It wasn’t. Le Touquet was basically a way to avoid UK gambling laws and the rich would fly there for weekends.

    I knew lots of people who holidayed in Spain before it joined the EEC.

    The big rise in travel was caused by technology – cheaper flights and ro-ro ferries.

    But I still say – Brexit would not have happened if our relationship was EEC, not EU. I travelled through 6 European countries in the late 80s with little more than a quick flash of a passport to each.

  21. @BiW – I know that, you know that, but have the lefties convinced themselves otherwise?

    I’d say the biggest rise in travel was caused by a massive rise in the disposable income of the masses.

  22. This isn’t peak jeremiad – we’ve still got geert Wilders and Marine to look forward to and, who knows, what remains of the Glühwein-&-Schnitzel-lovers (©JuliaM) may give Mrs Merkel the heave-ho too.

  23. abacab said:
    “Serious question – is it now generally believed on the Left (tacitly or explicitly) that it was not possible, or was at least exceptionally difficult, to holiday on the Continong pre-EU?”

    In some ways travel it was easier before we joined the EU than it is now – from the 1960s we could go to most of Western Europe on a temporary paper passport that you could pick up easily from a post office. That was abolished by the EU, which insisted on the new-style ones.

    And of course if you go back a few decades further passports were optional and only insisted on by totalitarian regimes.

  24. The reason Toynbee and her ilk love the EU is that it offered them a chance to impose lefty authoritarianism on a (despised) UK populace which would never vote for them. That is what unites twats as diverse as Owen Jones, Toynbee and Nick Cohen on the left and even pretend Tories like Matthew Parris.

  25. But I still say – Brexit would not have happened if our relationship was EEC, not EU

    Agreed. The young appear to have been sold the EU as some sort of shining paradigm of peace and understanding. No doubt this is somewhat linked to the obsession with teaching WW2 (and teaching it as plucky anti-facsist us v. Hitler).

    In reality, the EU is a grubby political structure suffering from a massively over-inflated sense of importance and no sense of humour.

    An EU that allowed criticism would, a) have the required flexibility and openness to change, and, b) become part of the furniture.

  26. I wouldn’t call it a Whiggish view of history, just a very socialist view. She’s mainly just listing left-wing government legislation.

    But also interesting to see her listing free trade. One of the other good effects of Brexit has been that left-wingers are now forced to praise free trade and express a desire for it. (Of course the real aim of the EEC and the EU wasn’t free trade in itself, but making Europe into one country, but talking about free trade is less controversial.)

  27. abacab,

    Ah, quite possibly.

    Sounds like it’s worth collecting some documented facts on this in preparation…

  28. abacab,

    “I’d say the biggest rise in travel was caused by a massive rise in the disposable income of the masses.”

    Yes, I suppose so, and that that spurred on innovation in ferries and aircraft.

    The ro-ro massively reduced the time and cost in taking a car to France. Today, with the tunnel as well, it’s insanely cheap. Like £200 return at peak times.

  29. “democratic purpose”? WTF? The Euro, a evil invention of the Eurocretins that locks countries into a single currency in the hope that it will force political union – at the cost of the misery of millions all over Southern Europe? These totalitarian scum have killed thousands and impoverished millions.

  30. Can’t fucking believe it, the beeb thinks it’s more relevant that the murder weapon used by yet another muzzie terrorist came from Poland than that it’s yet more Islamic murder.

    That’s the top two stories of the day down to the same cause, are they going to go for the hat trick?

    Sorry for the thread hijack but I’ve got to get this off my chest.

  31. @Gareth – now, how does a truck get from Poland to Berlin without being subject to even a cursory check? Oh, right, Schengen and the EU…

  32. I wouldn’t call it a Whiggish view of history, just a very socialist view.

    Toynbee isn’t a socialist, she’s a Fabian. She’s one of the patrician left who despise the poor, the working class and any actually existing socialists. She’s pissed because not only are the Right in power, and apparently in the ascendancy, but also because the Labour party is slipping from the grasp of the authoritarian centre-left which she represents.

  33. “The big rise in travel was caused by technology – cheaper flights and ro-ro ferries.”

    I would say rapidly rising disposable incomes and abolishing exchange controls influenced it more, but cheaper transport is an obvious help.

    Anyway, Polly Toynbee talking about football. Lol.

  34. I remember exchange controls on foreign holidays. It really limited how much you could take. Plus the formalities of having the bank stamp your passport etc. That was before the evil witch Thatcher abolished them.

  35. “Our Island mentality” Yer what? Errrr, two world wars? Errr The British Empire? Errr Waterloo, Trafalgar, Marlborough? Errr the American Colonies before they went ape?

  36. Football teams!

    Some may recall that before English football became dominated by EU imports, the best teams were dominated by non-English British and Irish.

    This was also the higher water-mark of “English” success in Europe. Now that English football is amazingly wealthy, both absolutely and relatively, we might have expected greater success. But this hasn’t happened.

    What this tells us about the UK, and/or the EU I’m not quite sure. Only true fans like Polly can tell us.

  37. Like Ken, I find the wording “democratic purpose” extremely revealing. It sounds very much like a confirmation that it’s meaning well (i.e. having the same views as polly) that counts and not the actual results.

  38. The reason Toynbee and her ilk love the EU is that it offered them a chance to impose lefty authoritarianism on a (despised) UK populace which would never vote for them.

    This.

  39. One of the other good effects of Brexit has been that left-wingers are now forced to praise free trade and express a desire for it.

    Jesus, it had Commies citing figures from Goldman Sachs about the threats to British business and Anarchists calling for a superstate, FFS. These people are morons.

  40. “Attlee gave us … social security”: it had escaped my attention that Mr Attlee instituted the US old age pension system.

  41. Cal said:
    “I wouldn’t call it a Whiggish view of history, just a very socialist view”

    Her politics are socialist (well, Fabian), but the idea of history being a grand sweep of “improvement” culminating in a glorious golden age is very Whiggish. Pure Macaulay.

  42. ““Our Island mentality” Yer what? Errrr, two world wars? Errr The British Empire? Errr Waterloo, Trafalgar, Marlborough? Errr the American Colonies before they went ape?”

    Plus, of course, actual Free Trade with the entire world, instead of the insular arrangement with our immediate next door neighbour that Polly prefers. It means fucking over African food exporters, of course, but only someone with an “island mentality” could object to this.

  43. The idea that someone like Juncker could preside over a golden age is so strange that I would be surprised if my spell checker does not mangle this post

  44. ‘Everything liberal and left that people feel they have striven for all their lives seems suddenly to have been grubbed up by the roots and rejected.’

    Because they used government to implement it.

    Same going to happen when Trump replaces Obama.

    They took the easy path, using government to enforce their will, but it is a non-permanent path.

  45. The Guardian is disallowing comments on this Toynbee article.

    Is it because recently the top commenters have all been very negative on what she writes, and often write better than she does?

    I think so. The left can dish it out, but not take it.

    When will comments disappear from the Guardian entirely?

  46. Jack C,

    “This was also the higher water-mark of “English” success in Europe. Now that English football is amazingly wealthy, both absolutely and relatively, we might have expected greater success. But this hasn’t happened.”

    Well, there’s Italia 90, but the problem is that it’s hard to prove anything about success in world cups because football has so much luck. Leagues even it out, but cups and small round robins don’t. So, you get into the “small numbers” problem. I remember Italia 90 and it wasn’t the huge success people remember. We scraped through the 1st round, defeated Belgium near the end of extra time, came close to getting knocked out by Cameroon, to then win in extra time and finally Germany got us. At no point in that tournament were England the great force that people think they were.

    That said, I do think the players don’t care that much any more. The club keeps them in Bentleys, not the national squad.

  47. Fred Z,
    It’s perfectly understandable.

    Authorities such as Toynbee have been on the end of several crushing defeats in recent times. This is despite clear instructions as to which way to vote, and clear descriptions of what sort of deplorable person you’ll be if you vote the wrong way.

    This Teaching has been muddied by hardcore fascists and neoliberals having an opportunity to talk back. This has led to less, sophisticated types – non-Londoners, workers, northerners, having their heads turned.

    Were there additional valid points to be made, Polly would have made them.

  48. We were taught that history was an onward march: things would always get better.

    Really? If that’s what they teach in British schools your educational system needs a serious re-think. But probably that’s just what she remembers, having likely flunked history and any other course that offers anything factual to the student. Ever heard of the civilizational collapse of the Late Bronze Age? How was that an onward march toward better things? How about the end of the Roman Empire and the ensuing Dark Ages? Were things really better for the 8,000 or so lost souls who lived in what remained of Rome trying to subsist on berries amid the ruins of the city built by Augustus? And not to sound too Eurocentric, how about the civilizations of Mesoamerica? Were the people that the conquistadores found there really better off than their ancestors who had built Tiahuanaco and Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan? Really?

    Yeah, she’s a dunce.

    As an old fart, I of course believe that things used to be better when I was seventeen years old. But the amusing thing is that I think that everything that Polly deplores is actually an improvement, a way to stave off for at least a little while longer the collapse that undoubtedly will occur when people of her ilk become a majority.

  49. BiW,
    I was talking about club football, and anyway Italia 90 was just before football became trendy (it was catalyst perhaps).

    Liverpool, for example, won one of their European Cups with two English full-backs, and 9 other Britons.

    Polly can provide further details if required.

  50. “The reason Toynbee and her ilk love the EU is that it offered them a chance to impose lefty authoritarianism on a (despised) UK populace which would never vote for them. ”

    Spot on. Name the two Leftist bete noirs. The US and Israel. Both of which are democratic, the US extremely so, in that people get to vote for all manner of things, not just politicians. Add in Switzerland, which is also a direct democracy and has little good said about it by the Left.

    Name any non-democratic, or less whiter than white democratic country and the Left will be all over it – Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, South American hell holes, African basket cases, Russia even. All getting the love of the Left. And all because they don’t give a toss about ‘the People’ at all – raw naked power is what the Left want. Hence why they love the EU, its utterly undemocratic, and thus ‘useful’ to the Left.

    Evil little fuckers.

  51. “This was also the higher water-mark of “English” success in Europe. Now that English football is amazingly wealthy, both absolutely and relatively, we might have expected greater success. But this hasn’t happened.”

    The high point of British football in Europe (and I do mean British, as the top English clubs were full of celts) was from the mid-70’s through to the point that the scousers mucked it up. So that’s after joining the common market.

    The lower success rate now just reflects that the competitions have been rejigged to formats that reward more than the blood and thunder of British football.

    Fuck knows what Polly is on about, though. Is she trying to connect with the white working class by just saying things they like? Tune in tomorrow as she intersperses a 1000 word rimming of the ECJ with ‘Oasis’, ‘Greggs iced fingers’ and ‘fat Dave’s bangin’ new Focus RS’.

  52. G2, WaPo is of same editorial bent:

    ‘Most Read from The Washington Post: Truck rams into Berlin Christmas market in ‘deliberate’ attack killing 12’

    The damn truck intentionally, deliberately aimed at people. The truck isn’t a murder weapon, it is the murderer.

  53. “Attlee gave us … social security”: so, that pension book from the 1930s that my great-great-grandmother had is a fake?

  54. Incidentally if we had a real Tory government it would be negotiating a special deal with Cuba right now – a citizenship swap scheme, whereby UK citizens can renounce their British passport and be granted a Cuban one, and the right (indeed necessity) to go and live in Cuba, as a Cuban. And perhaps one with Venezuela, North Korea and Iran as well. We’d obviously have to chuck the other countries a few £££ per victim to get them to agree, and we’d even pay for the one way flight.

    Then every time a Leftist gets up just ask why they haven’t gone to live in one of the Socialist Paradises they keep harping on about, instead of the neoliberal hellhole that is Britain.

  55. “neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose”

    Which countries is she alluding to? Possibly the Netherlands but she surely cannot be referring to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria etc etc. The main thing that strikes any reasonable person is how different British history is from that of any of our neighbours, even if you only consider the period from when they belatedly adopted democracy.

  56. Toynbee’s litany of horrors sounds like my shopping list of desiderata. Rolling back the state, crushing the unions, curbing welfare abuse, telling that cunt Ken Clarke to fuck off? Excellent stuff.

  57. Exchange controls. Our younger readers may be astonished to discover that it was once considered a necessary function of government to determine how much money a family was allowed to take on holiday abroad. Yes, it’s true.

  58. “Jack C

    Authorities such as Toynbee have been on the end of several crushing defeats in recent times. This is despite clear instructions as to which way to vote, and clear descriptions of what sort of deplorable person you’ll be if you vote the wrong way.”

    Summing up the Left’s approach to patronising politics for the last 40 or so years.

    No wonder they get so cross when the working classes don’t do as they are told.

  59. jgh said: “Attlee gave us … social security”: so, that pension book from the 1930s that my great-great-grandmother had is a fake?

    First we had fake news. Now we’ve got fake views!

    As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

  60. Interesting, Gareth. I have quoted – correctly – Reagan saying that in his First Inaugural, 1981. Didn’t know he had been saying it for 15 years.

  61. @Jim

    I was very surprised when I mentioned in passing conversation that I would meet up with some of my Swiss friends when I was there on holiday over summer and the lefty I was speaking to reacted with unbelievable vitriol about the Swiss. Before then I hadn’t realised that hating the Swiss was such a big lefty thing. Apparently being highly successful with a strong democracy and a healthy attitude towards protecting their own culture is the worst thing a country could possibly do.

  62. Because, of course, we can’t be friends with anyone unless Nanny SuperState manages the whole business for us – for our own good, naturally.

  63. We scraped through the 1st round, defeated Belgium near the end of extra time, came close to getting knocked out by Cameroon, to then win in extra time and finally Germany got us. At no point in that tournament were England the great force that people think they were.

    Ditto in ’98. Beat Tunisia, beaten by Romania, beat Columbia, beaten by Argentina. England were unlucky against Argentina (there was nothing wrong with Sol Campbell’s disallowed goal) but half the country genuinely thought England would have gone “all the way” were it not for that. Never mind that Romania had a better tournament, being beaten by a Croatian penalty earned by a cynical dive by Davor Suker; and the Netherlands, Brazil, and France were still in the contest.

  64. I’m sure Tim’s too busy to point out that paid holidays are just part of total compensation as I tried to get my wife ti understand when she was a teacher and couldn’t see why people pointed to so many holidays when they complained about low pay.

    “The big rise in travel was caused by technology – cheaper flights and ro-ro ferries.”

    I would say rapidly rising disposable incomes and abolishing exchange controls influenced it more, but cheaper transport is an obvious help.

    I’d say cheaper transport was a consequence of free(ish) markets chasing customers with more disposable income and being allowed to spend it how and where they see fit.

    “@Hedgehog
    She is just ignorant of history.”

    FYP. She runs Ritchie close on not only being wrong on just about everything but for grasping the wrong end of the stick inmost cases.

  65. “Our Island mentality”: being born on an island may explain why I had been bounced on Dutch and Norwegian knees before ever I met an Englishman. Man of the World, me. She’s a parochial bird, old Pol.

  66. For how big a factor exchange controls were see “Travels with my Aunt” by Graham Greene. My local MP Michael Grylls (Bears father) was caught taking more than he should on one occasion.

    Anyhow the Beeb regails us today with tales of American liberals buying guns to cope with the coming Apocalypse.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38297345

    Weren’t these people against gun ownership?

  67. There is such a thing as an “island mentality”. When a typical Brit thinks of international borders, they tend to imagine something set by nature and relatively impermeable. When a continental thinks ‘borders’, they envisage something agreed by politicians and highly permeable.

    Usually, when I explain this to our friends across the channel, they respond “True, I never thought of it like that”.

  68. BiND – vaguely related, but had a few conversations with about to and retired teachers over the years; general gist of which being that the teachers that whinge about working during school holidays are the ones that turn up at 9 and are out the door at 3:30 during term time. If they treated the job as being 8:30 until 6 each day, or whatever, then they could easily not have to work during the six weeks in summer and two weeks at easter and all the rest.

  69. Polly will die in a ditch before conceding that liberal democracy and free markets are responsible for 99% of the advancement of mankind. Had the Guardian existed in the society they claimed to support most of them would be dead by now.

  70. “There is such a thing as an “island mentality”. When a typical Brit thinks of international borders, they tend to imagine something set by nature and relatively impermeable. When a continental thinks ‘borders’, they envisage something agreed by politicians and highly permeable.

    Usually, when I explain this to our friends across the channel, they respond “True, I never thought of it like that”.”

    Hence why I, despite having lived on the Continong for 13 years, am still fascinated by land borders, what they look like, and the fact that jurisdiction changes when you take a step over them.

    And the little things like that I used to go shoot practical rifle matches at a range a stone’s throw from the border (NL-BE), and delighted in stepping over the line of demarcation which was marked with some very natty 1830’s cast iron cones. The fact that by taking a step over that line with my rifle over my shoulder would have been a grave offence was endlessly philosophically interesting.

  71. abacab

    from the border (NL-BE), and delighted in stepping over the line of demarcation … with my rifle

    So.. Were you repeatedly invading Belgium, or Holland? The chap in Brussels needs to know, in case he needs to add them all to the list…

  72. I liked the recent league table on cato of the most free countries in the world. 5 of the top 8 were English speaking – Can, UK, Ire, Aus & NZ. It looks like people of this ilk don’t like governments telling them what to do.
    Of the rest, one was HK ( so Angles can claim a fraction of that one ) and another was SWI who have guns.
    Is there something about other tribes that likes to be bent over and taken from behind by the will of the government or something?

  73. As an aside, England’s ‘success’ in Italia 90 came at the arse end of the ban which prohibited English clubs from competing in all European competitions.

    Of course, one of the side effects of that ban was that English clubs found it more difficult to attract top internationals from foreign and, consequently, more English players found there way into the top English teams.

  74. One of my Dad’s jobs when he worked the Shaftesbury Avenue branch of the National Provincial was to enforce exchange controls (which he hated). He had to tell someone rather famous (forget who. Noel Coward?) very regretfully that no, stashing a few extra notes in between the pages of a paperback was verboten and would get both of them in hot water.

    So fuck Attlee.

  75. “one of the side effects of that ban was that English clubs found it more difficult to attract top internationals from foreign and, consequently, more English players found there way into the top English teams.”

    The premier league was established in 1992. Name a single top foreign international who played in England for a top Division 1 side in 1990 or 1989. Top six sides in England at that time included Liverpool, Forest, Norwich, Derby, Arsenal, Spurs, Villa and Everton. Manchester United tended to finish about 11th. Millwall and Coventry weren’t that far off in 1989.

  76. Ian Reid,

    Anyhow the Beeb regails us today with tales of American liberals buying guns to cope with the coming Apocalypse.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38297345

    Weren’t these people against gun ownership?

    Someone even wrote a A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership.

    That title isn’t joking. This post is aimed at my liberal readers. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican and gun expert, who thinks you are wrong about a lot of stuff, but I’m not writing this to gloat about your loss. For the record, I disliked all the presidential candidates.

    Judging by your social media over the last few days many liberals have been utterly terrified that your government might turn tyrannical or that evil people will now be emboldened to hurt you. I’m going to let you in on a little thing the other half of the country is familiar with to keep those unlikely, yet catastrophic, events from happening.

    And that my lefty friends, is 2nd Amendment.

    Having just gone through a war against a tyrannical government, the Founders understood that governments can go bad, so they made sure to note our God given right (or we’ll say naturally occurring right, since a bunch of you are atheists) to keep and bear arms in order to defend ourselves. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or “sporting purposes”, it’s about having weapons that you can fight with. As an added bonus, being able to protect yourself from a tyrannical government means that you’re a lot better equipped to deal with any common criminal who decides to hurt you.
    Before I get into the details about how to enjoy your newly discovered 2nd Amendment rights, let me just say that I get you’re sad, angry, bitter, and fearful. But just like my people over the last few elections, you’ll get over it. The really hyperbolic freak outs about Literally Hitler make you sound just like the Alex Jones crowd worried that Obama was going to herd Christians into FEMA camps last time. So take a deep breath and relax. Your friends and neighbors are the same as they were last week. The vast majority weren’t voting because racism, they voted against the status quo and a really unlikable Democrat. And no, they aren’t going to round you up into cattle cars.

    Its quite good and informative and worth a read.

  77. “Her politics are socialist (well, Fabian), but the idea of history being a grand sweep of “improvement” culminating in a glorious golden age is very Whiggish. Pure Macaulay.”

    Yes, but the Whiggish view of history is very very big on the development of scientific enlightenment, and personal freedom. There’s none of that in Toynbee’s list. It’s all about government controls. She’s a socialist (or a Fabian), not a Whig.

  78. “Incidentally if we had a real Tory government it would be negotiating a special deal with Cuba right now – a citizenship swap scheme, whereby UK citizens can renounce their British passport and be granted a Cuban one, and the right (indeed necessity) to go and live in Cuba, as a Cuban. And perhaps one with Venezuela, North Korea and Iran as well. We’d obviously have to chuck the other countries a few £££ per victim to get them to agree, and we’d even pay for the one way flight. Then every time a Leftist gets up just ask why they haven’t gone to live in one of the Socialist Paradises they keep harping on about, instead of the neoliberal hellhole that is Britain.”

    Great idea! Let’s start a petition.

  79. Cal

    “Great idea! Let’s start a petition.”

    Could some sort of crowdfunding work for a project like this – seriously?

  80. ‘and the fact that jurisdiction changes when you take a step over them’

    Americans can’t relate to this, as you can go a thousand miles and still be in the U.S.

    In 1987, I took a wrong turn in Füssen looking for Neuschwanstein and wound up at the Austrian border. The border guards were not nice.

    Most countries I entered in Europe just waved me through the border. France was the nasty border, detaining me about 20 minutes. No explanation was offered.

  81. Bloke in North Dorset said:
    “Someone even wrote a A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership.”

    Thank you, I’m just reading it. I liked this line:
    “So no, you can’t just shoot somebody walking down the street in a Trump hat. That would be Murder. Or considering most liberals don’t understand basic marksmanship, more likely Attempted Murder.”

  82. France was the nasty border, detaining me about 20 minutes. No explanation was offered.

    Presumably you were crossing the french border with a US passport.

  83. Celtic won yer actual European Cup in 1967 beating Inter with a team of locals (all born within 30 miles of Glasgow centre) .As I remember it Inter scored early on and then prepared to defend this lead for the entirety of the rest of the game. In very British manner , the Scots went fucking crackers at anybody taking the piss in this way and played out of their minds.
    This kept alive the suspicion from 1966 that
    England was not supreme in international football, not even in the British Isles.
    PS We cannot take Scotland out of the Single Market when they voted to stay in-as did London. Fuck the technicalities.

  84. ‘Presumably you were crossing the french border with a US passport.’

    Yes. I take it that is reason enough.

  85. “PS We cannot take Scotland out of the Single Market when they voted to stay in-as did London. Fuck the technicalities.”

    I’m liking this new form of democracy. Does this mean that if I vote Tory, but another party get into power, I can ignore all the laws they pass, as they don’t apply to me?

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