Erm, hi, England here. I get it. I’m sorry.

I’ve been the problem all along

This is really awkward for me, what with being a country and all. I don’t usually speak, and I certainly never imagined I’d speak from a position of humility. That’s just never been my style. I’ve always been more of a see it, seize it, dominate it sort of country. Short on words, big on colonies. But ya know what? I do read the papers. There’s lots of talk about Scotland, well, about half the Scots, wanting out of this little forced arrangement that’s worked out so well for us, well, for me, sort of, for so long. But then there was this sore little reminder run by The Guardian, mapping out every one of my little imperialist failures.

I tried to ignore this, but I really just couldn’t. Somehow it hit me like a brick. After all my efforts to create a little unity, nobody has wanted to stay. All I ever wanted was to bring some culture to these far-flung places on the globe, and maybe extract a little value here and there. Sure, things got ugly now and again. I can’t help it. I get defensive when I work so hard at a relationship and nothing seems to work. I’m a yeller and screamer by nature. I like to throw things. When that doesn’t work, killing a few people has never been beneath me. It’s how I show my dedication, after all. But this series of maps from The Guardian! It’s like having every rejection in my life thrown in my face for the world to see my shame.

And I am ashamed. Because I finally get it now. Like with any string of dysfunctional relationships, what they all have in common is me. It wasn’t them. It was me all along. My neediness. My insistence that things be my way or the highway. Maybe the killing, too, but I’m not quite ready to take that step.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I know I was wrong, so this is my apology to:

The United States
Southern Ireland
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Trinidad & Tobago
Sierra Leone
The Gambia
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
New Zealand

And you, Canada, even you. Bloody hell! The nicest country ever, and even you left me.

I must really have been a shit. Clearly there’s something just awful about me, and I think I need some time to sort this out for myself. I have to be honest with myself after all these years. I’m just not cut out for this whole “united” thing. As for kingdom, that’s rich. I’ve got all this useless royalty, but kingdom? I’d laugh, but it hurts too much right now. I’m so raw.

So that’s it guys. I’m finally getting a clue, taking the hint. I want out of the “United Kingdom,” too. I’m sorry to break it to you like this, Northern Ireland and Wales, but I just can’t sit around waiting any more for Scotland to decide when it wants to kick me like a bad habit. You two have been fine, mostly, but really, I think this is for the best. And hey, who knows, maybe if I just go my own way you two and Scotland can stay united and do really well with it. You could hardly do worse than I have. I hope there’s no hard feelings. I really just want what’s best for you all.

Really, that’s all I’ve ever wanted, I just got it so wrong. I’m sorry.

P.S. I couldn’t bring myself to write this myself really, so I hope you don’t mind I had some Yank do it for me. I tried, but it just wasn’t working.


Image credit: Rian (Ree) Saunders @ flickr.com. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Categories: History, World

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3 replies »

  1. I get the joke, Frank, and it’s clever, but I’m an Anglophile, and I’d argue that for all the UK’s failures, they’ve spawned more and better countries than anyone else. They created a government of laws and rights well before anyone else. They led the way in trying to replace tribalism with nationhood (not always successfully as N. Ireland and Scotland prove, but they tried, and you know my theory that tribalism/parochialism is at the root of most bellicosity.) For all their manipulation and class conciousness and occassional snottiness, they done good, at least as judged on the scale of country behavior.

    France could also lay claim to leaving their colonies a better place, but certainly not the other colonialists Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Japan, et al.

    I personally don’t care what the Scots do. I’ve spent a lot of time with Scots over the years and I’ve found I like the culture more in theory than in practice. In theory, it’s this wonderful laconic, ironic toughness like Ian Rankin portrays in his excellent books. In practice, it’s a bunch of dour whining.

    The folks in those various colonies must agree with me because having lived in some other ex-colonies, I can tell you that all the people there dream about is having a flat in London.

  2. I dunno. I’m from one of those colonies and I’m beginning to think I’d do better taking my chances with earthquakes in Vanuatu 😉

  3. Fun article Frank, and I loved the powdered wig Otherwise was wearing while writing his comment (G). The UK is certainly a hugely interesting case study in the expansion of a thought virus. The Brits built half the world as we now experience it, yet have retreated back to almost where the Romans left them 15 or 20 centuries ago. I’m glad the Scots didn’t split the sheets with them.