Sunday, April 25, 2010

On May 6th, I'm voting for France

The United Kingdom is no longer capable of governing itself. Labour is simply awful, and the Tories are incompetant. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile, are trying as hard as they can to position themselves in the exact centre of gravity of the other two.

Luckily, help is at hand. A cursory glance of history will convince anyone that every nation-state harbours the ambition to conquer and swallow up its rivals. What the UK needs to do is to select another country, and invite them to take us over. For administrative purposes, it may be necessary to declare war on them and promptly surrender, but that is a technical detail -- the main challenge is to choose the best country.

I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the strongest candidates, arranged in descending order of my own assessment of their merits. I discuss the case to be made for each one, and some of the possible objections.

France. France has a natural geographic advantage, which is likely to be the cause of the extensive history of takeover bids that have occurred in both directions, over the last thousand years. In 2009 for the fourth year running, France has headed the International Living Quality of Life league table. A short excerpt from that web site gives some of the explanation:
The French believe that every day is a pleasure to be slowly savored—and lingering at the dinner table for three hours in conversation isn’t considered abnormal. Family, friends, and good food are all vitally important to the French—and so is having enough time to appreciate them all.
Sounds good to me! On the downside, we would have to speak their language. However, since any red-blooded Englishman knows that he is naturally gifted at driving, golf, and speaking French, this should not be a major problem.

While academic salaries are somewhat lower in France than in the UK, this is undoubtedly offset by a lower cost of living. Finally, while French academics are apt to complain extensively about their Government's higher education policy, I suspect that is just Gallic bloody-mindedness.

The United States of America. For the better part of a century, the USA has served as a beacon to would-be migrants all over the world, especially academics. Furthermore, if the UK became a part of the USA, we would gain a strong sense of destiny having been fulfilled. The USA's federal structure may ease the administrative process of assimilation, since the UK could become a new state of the union. Readers of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail would be delighted to revert to feet and inches, gallons and degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, anything that reduces the inconvenience of transatlantic air travel is surely to be welcomed.

The downside (based on conversations with many Americans) is that the USA may decide to cherry-pick Scotland and Ireland (and possibly Wales) but leave England hanging out to dry.

Germany. While Germany is a strong candidate, most of the arguments in favour apply in at least equal measure to France. The language is said to be easier, being adequately supplied with consonants. The main downside is that it would make nonsense of our highly cherished World War 2 movies.

China. There are some significant cultural synergies from a takeover by China. On the one hand you have a communist country with a capitalist work ethic, on the other hand you have a capitalist country with a communist work ethic. The Chinese "one-child" policy would not be popular here, but it would do wonders for primary school class sizes.

India The great thing about soliciting a takeover by India, is that they may just possibly agree to do it. They might make the mistake of viewing it as a status symbol to be in charge of the UK.

No comments: