Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Questions the Irish Are Asking: "Are the English ready for self-government?"

Reminiscent of the emancipated slave quoted in Ken Burns' The Civil War who, upon seeing his former master marched past as a prisoner-of-war said:
"Bottom rail on top now, boss."
 From The Irish Times, March 19 i.e. five/six votes ago:
Westminster chaos affords preview of Britain standing alone with its demons 
The alleged aptitude of the English for self-government,” wrote Bernard Shaw in his preface to Androcles and the Lion, “is contradicted by every chapter of their history.” Shaw was, of course, parodying British imperialist rhetoric and its insistence that lesser peoples – including his own nation, the Irish – were not ready to govern themselves. He was being naughtily provocative, which only the most irresponsible of commentators would dare to be in these grave times.

But there is nonetheless some tinge of truth in his words. Aptitude for self-government is not what comes to mind when one looks in from the outside at the goings-on in Westminster last week, when, as Tom Peck so brilliantly put it in the London Independent, “the House of Commons was a Benny Hill chase on acid, running through a Salvador Dali painting in a spaceship on its way to infinity”.
Let’s just say that if Theresa May were the head of a newly liberated African colony in the 1950s, British conservatives would have been pointing, half-ruefully, half-gleefully, in her direction and saying “See? Told you so – they just weren’t ready to rule themselves. Needed at least another generation of tutelage by the Mother Country.”...

See also the FT's Joseph Cotterill who should win an award for his foreign correspondent in Britain thread, that is if there were an award for staying in character in the longest running pastiche on the twitter box, now over two years:
And so many, many more.
Scroll upward, upward, past the Zambezi, continuing north, scrolling upward, past the headwaters of the Nile, scrolling, scrolling...
I frankly have no idea how many tweets it's been.

We don't catch everything but we try to catch what's important and noted the beginning of the journey.
Here's the initial thread, as linked in "This Cotterill Fellow Is First Rate":

But we knew that didn't we. 
From Medium, March 19 [2017]:

The news is a foreign country
This month I started tweeting about my home country as if its news was happening somewhere else — somewhere a bit closer to the region that I cover, as the Southern Africa bureau chief of the Financial Times.
Well, it’s a hobby.
But there is also a half-serious point behind it, about language and institutions in ‘Brexit Britain’. We’ll get to that point in a second.
But first, since an editor in Friday morning conference took some mild interest in the week’s rather intense political developments in this curious and far-off country, there was a commission to write a catch-up news analysis for the weekend world section…

In a Fractured British State, Separatists See Their Moment

Separatists in Britain’s oil-rich north said this week that they would hold a fresh independence vote only a few years after previously being narrowly defeated, in a major escalation of the political crisis consuming the divided Atlantic seaboard country.
Announcing the vote on Monday, the Scottish Popular Liberation Movement said that it could take place as soon as next year — openly defying the United Kingdom federal government in the far-off southern capital, London.
Preparations for a vote would underline the fragile authority at home of a revisionist power as it prepares for a simultaneous confrontation with 27 of its near neighbours over what it sees as the injustice of the regional order.
“Our efforts at compromise have instead been met with a brick wall of intransigence,” the separatist leader, Nicola Sturgeon, said from the provincial capital, Edinburgh.
She added that the vote would be held once the terms of the UK’s separation from regional bodies — where negotiations will soon begin — were known.
The move signals that a hard line recently taken on north-south power-sharing by Premier Theresa May, leader of the ruling English People’s Congress, has dramatically backfired — despite the separatists losing a similar vote only in 2014. While the EPC could block a new vote, such a move may only play into the separatists’ hands....MORE 
And the ghosts of foreign correspondents, in dive bars and FC clubs around the world, raise a glass and exclaim "Hear, Hear."

We linked to Mr. C dozens of times during his stint at FT Alphaville, this is one of my personal favorites:

Holy Cow, Is This a Paragraph or What? (Poor Nassim Taleb Never Stood A Chance)
By Joseph Cotterill (his ranting gets raves):....