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Reader comment on item: Weak Brits, Tough French

Submitted by Frank Adam (United Kingdom), Jan 2, 2010 at 12:03

The British move against foxhunting is nothing to do with Islam nor general loss of self confidence in which creeping Americanisms are the problem (Honour guard for guard of honour; the navy frigate Blank for HMS Blank...). The foxhunting ban is part of a deeply ingrained old score in the British & particularly English class war which might make no sense in the US and France where the Revolutions opened the hunting field to one and all; but never so in England. Scotland will be different on this like so much other detail in UK which is a federation of four nations not only differentiated by geography but also by religion and other details of history.

For the record: 85% of the UK's people live on the 55% of the territory which is England and include a lot of migrants from the "Celtic Fringe." This is why confusingly the country as a whole appears to be a, "Greater England," to outsiders including Americans - who ought to know better given that the precedents for federalism - multiple law systems within one sovereignty - were already present before the Revolution.

The Scots - NOT Scotch which is whisky without "e" and made from malt barley - are Kirk presbyterians ie. Calvinists. Scots law has always been different - more Roman - from English law and includes the jury verdict, "Not proven." Apart from Gaelic inteh Western Isles the Scots have spoken English for centuries.

The Welsh are "chapel" ie Methodist or Baptists for the most part and have been fully integrated into England administratively and legally since Henry VIII in the early 1500's. However the Welsh are very touchy about the Welsh language & have a right to all official proceedings - & road signs - in Welsh.

The Irish are basically Roman Catholics, drink whiskey with an "e" made from potatoes (which might explain why the illicit variety is "pocheen") and also have their own variety of Celtic - Erse - which they push in schools, but outside the far West - the Gaeltaght - the population refuses to buy it as vernacular given English is an international plug in; and the Republic of Ireland/ Eire has always unloaded its unemployed and single mothers onto the British taxpayer's welfare funds.

That leaves the English who are mostly Anglican - Episcopalian in the US - but have a lot of rebels or "Nonconformists" ie Methodists and other chapelfolk and usually tolerate easily most "funny religion" in the Royal Navy's lower deck term, out of English suspicion and indifference to ideas - till somebody turns violent. This attitude is a leftover from the Civil War of Charles I & Oliver Cromwell which is the only occasion when the English did go for ideology and decided after that it was nothing to do with "the price of fish" so leave it strictly alone as dangerous. Paradoxically, this left intellectuality to gentlemen's hobby time and engineering to merchant improvements of goods for sale and so in freedom to develop without interfering theologians.

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