Britain is such a broken, miserable and unhappy country. I could ramble on about the dismal weather, the flat, insipid and thorougly domesticated landscape, the astonishingly decrepit housing stock, the dysfunctional and labyrinthine civil service, the hypocritical and conformist passive-aggression of British society, the manifold shortcomings of British democracy, the utter vileness of the class system, the appalling corruption and falseness of Britain's ruthless neoliberal political elites, etc.
But now, alas, now, they are taking away young British people's ability to escape this horror by moving to happier, more civilized countries in the European Economic Area...
"In August 1071, the Seljuk [Turk] army under Alp Arslan confronted the much larger army of the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes near Menzikert north of Lake Van in Armenia. Romanus was an emperor with vast military experience, brave to excess, commanding a hundred thousand well-trained troops, including many Frankish and German mercenaries. There was, however, treachery among his officers; orders were not obeyed. The lightly armed Seljuk cavalry poured thousands of arrows into the tight formations of the Byzantine army, and when the emperor ordered a retreat at the end of the day, his flanks were exposed, his army began to disintegrate, and the Turks rushed in to fill the vacuum created by his retreating troops. Romanus fought bravely; he was seriously wounded in the arm and his horse was killed under him. Captured, he was led to the tent of Alp Arslan in chains. There he was thrown to the ground, and Alp Arslan placed his foot ceremonially on the emperor's neck. The Seljuk sultan half-admired the broad-shouldered Byzantine emperor, and two weeks later the emperor was allowed to go free. Still the defeat was so decisive, so shattering, that the emperor fell from grace in the eyes of the Byzantines, who had no difficulty deposing him. When he returned to Constantinople, he was blinded, and in the following year he died either from the injuries caused by the blinding or of a broken heart."
From The New Statesman:
"...it is enough to strike fear into the heart of every defender of those great British values: meritocracy and fair play."
Wow, so meritocracy. Such fair play.
I suppose Prime Minister David Cameron, descendant of King William IV, and the Rt. Hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Gideon Oliver, prospective 18th Baron Osborne, are examples of this fine and laudable meritocracy at work.
And no doubt the Battle of Omdurman, where twenty-five thousand Sudanese Dervishes were ruthlessly mowed down by some splendid chaps with Maxim guns, serves to illustrate the much vaunted British sense of fair play.