Monday, March 03, 2008

Prince Harry: ‘I generally don't like England that much’

Perhaps this was simply a thoughtless comment aside; a stream of consciousness momentarily vocalised reflecting something of the goldfish bowl in which he lives, harassed by an unforgiving media and persecuted by the very paparazzi who contributed to the untimely death of his mother. Or maybe it was a considered view; an expression of frustration with political correctness, multiculturalism and New Labour. Or possibly a vicarious contempt for the stage upon which the most traumatic events of his life have been played – the estrangement and divorce of his parents, the funeral of the Princess of Wales, the media onslaught which almost caused him to reassess his vocation.

Whichever of these be true, this sentence strikes the only dissonant note as Prince Harry returns from front-line duties in Afghanistan, where he has done his bit for Grandmother and the Country he doesn’t like that much, confronting the forces of the Taliban.

But there was something about the photograph of the rugby-playing prince that caused Cranmer to wonder whether his contempt for England was instilled on the playing fields of Eton, or, more precisely, in the classrooms of The King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor.

For England gets a pretty raw deal in the school curriculum - even that of an independent school. As Peter Hitchens has noted, the nation’s children are being taught a perverse perspective on English history, so much so that Orwell may have had a point when he wrote that this country's intellectuals were unique in the world for their hatred of their own nationality.

It seems that teachers are hastening a ‘slow-motion national suicide’ without having a clue about what they are doing. Mr Hitchens refers to a group of 13-year-olds in a school in East Anglia who were learning about the Spanish Armada – ‘that pivotal moment in our island story’. Their assignment was a little role-play: ‘You are a Spanish sailor about to embark in the Spanish Armada. Draw an anti-English poster to show all the reasons why you are invading the country.’ They also had to design a ‘spider diagram of at least four reasons why Spain was angry enough with England to want to invade’.

Apparently, this is all ‘in line with the National Curriculum’, and the teachers ‘didn't see anything wrong with it’.

At which point, Mr Hitchens suggests the teachers try substituting ‘Germany’ for ‘Spain’, ‘the Blitz’ for ‘Armada’, and ‘Luftwaffe airman’ for ‘Spanish sailor’. He then hopes they might get his point, for the nation’s history, taught to the young in schools, ‘is the lore of the tribe, the basis of our identity and pride’.

But there is something about the ever-distant perspectives of history which seem to render it acceptable to empathise with the Hitlers of a few centuries ago, but not with those of 50 years ago. Consider the EU’s prestige award is the ‘Charlemagne Prize’ for services to European integration. Tony Blair graciously accepted this award a few years back, yet Charlemagne was every bit as barbaric as Hitler, slaying thousands in his quest for a European empire. And now we honour his memory with an award, rather like we welcome the terrorists of yesteryear to the lawn of the White House, or to Downing Street - Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Colonel Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Shamir, Nelson Mandela…

It may not be too long before Osama Bin Laden is being fêted with a Nobel Peace Prize.

Prince Harry’s generation is a victim of an education system which has taught the English to be ashamed – of their nation, their identity, their history and their religion. They retain a residual patriotism, but it is limited now to sporting fixtures. All talk of a Golden Age - victories in wars, the Empire, national pride, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the Union flag - has been silenced by shame and confusion. And Mr Hitchens asserts that ‘radical teachers’ have colluded in this, rendering all school history ‘deliberately confusing’, with the youngest and most impressionable minds ‘vulnerable to the BBC's anti-British propaganda and the Leftist monopoly that runs the universities’.

So Prince Harry may not like England that much, but it is an England that will, one day, have schoolchildren writing essays criticising him for 'posing like a terrorist' and going to war against Islam. They will read the speeches of those British Muslims who have said the Prince is now a ‘legitimate target’ for assassination; they will be asked to empathise with the Taliban on how they would feel if a Western-Royal-Christian aggressor had illegally invaded their sovereign territory, prosecuting a war on behalf of that spawn-of-Satan George W Bush. And they shall conclude that Islam means ‘peace’, and that Christians bring the sword; that Shari’a inculcates respect, while Christian morality has failed; and that the poor, underdog Taliban were in the right, and that Prince Harry was in the wrong. And how it was ultimately justifiable that a religious group managed to kill him.

Rather like they are taught about His Grace…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an educated, hard working white British male, and I dont like England much either. Compare our standard of living with that of our Continental European neighbours and it is not hard to see why. Our society is imploding.

So often I wake up to hear about new teen lives being taken on the streets. On my outer london journey to work I see so much pain and despair in the faces of our, once great countries, people. We are faceless drones exisiting to either receive benefit or pay taxes. I suspect the problem will be harder to solve then global warming.

The geographical disposition of the British Isles makes for a melting pot fo criminality, disease and self destruction. You can't just keep throwing ingredients into a pot and home to make a decent cake. Great Britain needs to focus on internal policies and start spending our money at home.

And another thing. We all knwo that the Green Party are never going to get into power. So why not make the Green Party in power by default, working alongside Conservative or Labour, acting as the garden keepers of Britain, helping ensure longterm policies are seen through.

Here's to a Brighter Britain.

3 March 2008 at 09:06  
Anonymous mickey said...

His Grace is quite right, of course. But it would seem that the stable door is not just ajar, it has fallen off its hinges and is lying on the ground rotten through; likewise, the horse is no longer bolting but has expired of old age somewhere far, far away.

In short, its too late. Look at the ethnodemographics (not a word I use often) and you will see that ALL history lessons will shortly be irrelevant as (a) there will be NO common ground and (b) many of these children come from cultures with NO history, other than maybe of a religious dimension.

Where do we go from here? Well it can only be anarchy. Which makes Harry right too, I guess.

3 March 2008 at 09:12  
Anonymous Cinnamon said...

Ask the other way round: What is there left to like in Britain?

3 March 2008 at 10:48  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

What is there left to like in Britain?

If you don't like it, ship out. Then, perhaps, you'll come to understand that there is much to like and much to be proud of. here's a list off the top:

1. We're not in jail because of our publicly expressed opinions, although personally I feel that some here should be incarcerated immediately.

2. Pick the right place (and obviously I don't mean Swindon) and you can occasionally bump into someone who has actually read a book. The mean time between such events in the USA, for example, is thought to be 5000 years.

3. The weather is quite good. Yes it is. IT'S A GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND!!! Compare, say, Iraq.

4. The press is not really as appalling as you might think if all you ever read is the Daily Mail. Actually it's probably the best press on the planet.

5. The politics is relatively clean. (Read carefully).

6. Most of the population has a passport. Compare 6% in the US.

7. You can drink the beer. Again, compare the US.

So all you dyspeptic anti-British whingers can do a Genesis 1.28: Go forth and multiply!

I give the prince a pass though. He's still too young to be damned for comments like that. And, Gordon Bennett, doesn't his dad look a pillock with that vegetable in his buttonhole? Shouldn't wonder if that's not what the young prince was really referring to.

3 March 2008 at 12:06  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
there are times when i do not like what england of the Uk for that matter has become. if only our nations enemies were more visible , but we find we are being seduced by an idea , as for the earlier post on europe being better really !! given that amsterdam is now so repententant of euro liberal drugs legalisation i dont see what you say .

i am puzzled why the church has lost so much ground , it seems a little to unfair to lay the blame completely at the europe door , but then europes churches have been declineing.

a very bad conspiracey of circumstances , baal worship by the back door i think.

3 March 2008 at 16:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

King of Wessex

Have you ever been to the USA?

If you have you certainly have not been to or seen much of the place, otherwise you may know what you are talking about.

Some of the best beer in the world comes from America. You just have to know where to find it. Very much like here.

Pray what does having a passport got to do with anything whatsoever?

As for the politics being relatively clean. That must have been a joke surly.

The press is not appalling. Well that would have been the best joke I have read for years, if it we not so sadly incorrect. the American press may not be wonderful, but it beats ours hands down.

It may have escaped your notice but we do have plenty already in jail here for saying the wrong thing.

Come to think about it. Do you actually live in Britain because you seen to have this place confused with somewhere that MAY have existed a very long time ago. But certainly does not now.

I am with the prince on this one. This place stinks. The only reason why I have not left, is because it stinks only slightly less then the alternatives.

Except for the USA of course. Which unfortunately would not have me. I am too old, too unqualified, and not quite rich enough. Otherwise I would have already left.

My advice Mr Wessex is to either go to America and stop watching so much BBC. When you do, get out of your car every now and again and find something out. Preferably do not spend your entire holiday eating burgers at Walt Disney World.

ATLAS shrugged

3 March 2008 at 18:06  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

Some of the best beer in the world comes from America

Quite so.

3 March 2008 at 19:36  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

You crazy fools! England is the best place in the world! Of course I am neither English, nor white, and for the most part, did not grow up here. Perhaps this is why I appreciate it.

England has wonderful television and newspapers - though His Grace would probably disagree. But whatever one might say against the English media, it is still the best in the world.

England has beautiful countryside and interesting cities with fantastic architecture.

England has history in abundance, making every experience rich and satisfying.

England has pride - It does, Your Grace - far more than many countries.

England has propriety. There are notices on the tube asking people not to eat smelly food around others. People say please and thank you. People understand how they ought to behave (well some of them do).

English people don't drive huge cars and blare their music out of their windows (generally).

The English are happy with not being ridiculously rich. They understand that there is more to life than money. They get the point that money cannot buy class. I have searched the world, and I have never known another country which understands this in the way that England does.

The English care about what their neighbours think of their behaviour. Well, apart from the yobs.

Every English restaurant has a vegetarian option.

English supermarkets are just fab.

England has a mix of diverse cultures where people are actually allowed to be different. In places like Canada, everyone might be a different colour, but they are all exactly the same.

English comedy is divine.

I could go on, but I fear I am taking up too much space on this comment page.

One last thing... His Grace is English. And he could be nothing but English. Everything about him is English. And that is why you all like him so. You take your country and your people for granted. It is a wonderful place and should be treasured.

As for the teachers... hmm, yes, Your Grac, you have a point, though I do think it is exaggerated. Part of the reason for putting children in the shoes of 'the other' is to get them to think on their feet - independent learning and all that. It isn't necessarily about telling them that everything English is bad.

3 March 2008 at 20:09  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ AethelBald, King of Wessex.

"that vegetable in his buttonhole"

I found it difficult to establish whether that was a vegetable wearing a buttonhole or whether it was a Prince of The Realm wearing a vegetable.

In any event the vegetable on the buttonhole appeared to be a spring onion. Which nation has a spring onion as its symbol?

4 March 2008 at 11:14  
Blogger saz2020 said...

I'm lucky enough to live in Somerset which is particularly green and beautiful on this bright spring day. I work at a school and I can hear kids playing on the sports pitches, with other kids shouting support for their team. Right now England is wonderful.

But we _are_ taught to be ashamed of our history and our nation. And our society is in trouble because of it. Because no-one has any pride in their country, their town, their street.

The archbishop, however, seemed to be rather confused about whether he means English, or British however. I don't personally celebrate the empire or the Union flag, but I do celebrate our individualism, inventiveness, tolerance and sense of justice, our language with its broad and varied vocabulary and our literature.

I just wish I could do so without someone assuming I'm a sports fan. St George's flag is for life, not just for the world cup!

4 March 2008 at 13:35  

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