One has a feeling, born out of a degree of experience, that things are better run in Europe than they are here. The roads are better, the trains aren't run on some nightmarish scheme devised by Hieronymus Bosch plc, CDs are cheaper, food is better and healthier, and governments at both local and state level simply have more sense and more competence.
The reason for this? Perhaps it is that in one way or another every nation in Europe lost the war; either they were beaten by the Allies or they were defeated and invaded by the Germans.
One way or another, this defeat led to them getting a fresh start; a catastrophe on such a scale happened to them that it inevitably led to these countries having to reassess all of their governmental structures, all their ways of doing things, from top to bottom. Those structures and those individuals who had brought their nations to defeat were removed in favour of more efficient ones.
Whereas in Britain, because of our "victory", we were left with a sense that the manner in which we did things, ran our factories, planned our cities, managed our health service, was, with all its snobberies, massive inefficiencies and sheer stupidness, the correct way to do it – after all we won the war didn't we? Yeah, right. I ask you, which were the two countries on the continent of Europe who "won" the Second World War? Us and Russia. I think that says everything, don't you?
So it seems to me the case is clear. If we in the UK are ever going to enjoy the benefits of a modern, well-run state, what we need to do is to lose a war to somebody, and quick. But who is it going to be? After all, we are a fighting people, and our soldiers, despite their jamming assault rifles, their boots that fall apart and their tanks powered by old Leyland bus engines, can still manage to put up a fight, so it needs to be another army that is at least semi-competent.
How about Israel? There's a country that's first response is to bomb the hell out of anybody who dares to criticise them. The Israeli army is well trained, well equipped, ruthless, and has had a chance to perfect its marksmanship on the children of the West Bank and Gaza. If we said in the mildest way that maybe they might like to stop behaving like the Nazis, their helicopter gunships would be rocketing our "Terrorist Headquarters", which is usually some civilian suburb, in no time at all.
No, it couldn't be them, because when they beat us they wouldn't leave, just as, in contravention of all the rules of war, they still hang on to the Golan Heights, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
How about Pakistan, then? Despite that country's abject poverty, they've got a huge army that's had plenty of experience fighting the Indians. Part of our armed forces (namely the police) have already had a few skirmishes with Pakistani kids, so maybe we could work that up into a war. Mind you, the Pakistanis have a tendency to use the Taliban as their surrogates, and we don't want those evil bastards in charge.
In the end, it doesn't matter who it is as long as we lose the war with them. What is important is the aftermath. Once the humiliating peace treaty has been signed and we've handed over the Isle of Man to Turkey or whatever, then the retribution, the soul-searching and the healing can begin.
For a start, the illusion that Britain is still a powerful nation will be shattered, and this will lead to our young males realising that their belligerent ways are simply an expression of an outmoded imperialistic attitude. In consequence our county towns on a Saturday night will become tranquil havens in which large gangs of young men sip the odd glass of white wine before going to see a film with subtitles at the local art cinema.
Civil servants will come to understand that it was their inflexible and paternalistic attitudes which led to a fatal weakening of the country's managerial structures, many will leave in shame to become subsistence hill farmers and will be replaced by DTI officials, tax inspectors and Post Office counter staff who are fair minded, hard working, conscientious and constantly open to new ideas.
Then of course there will be the show trials of those leaders who led us to this defeat. Blair will hang himself in his cell with his own sanctimoniousness before he can be convicted, Brown will yell at the judges that it is they who are crazy and they will tremble before his might once he gets his death ray working, Straw will say he was always on the side of the resistance, he's learnt his lesson and is ready to help the new order, and Cook will turn state's evidence and rat on his former colleagues.
Finally, prescient newspaper columnists will be carried shoulder high through the streets by a grateful populace and will be given a lifetime pass which entitles them to half-price travel on the buses and free entry to museums and art galleries if they aren't too busy.Reuse content