Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Brit bashing? Naaah.

by richardk Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 04:04:45 AM EST

Familiarity breeds contempt, or so the saying goes. And my familiarity with anglo countries has certainly bred my contempt of them. Or has it?


Countries ranked by my familiarity with them:

Canada
USA
France
England
Australia
Sweden
Japan
..

Countries ranked by my hatred of them:

USA
England
all of Africa
most of central Asia
..
nearly all of latin America
..
Canada
..
Australia
..
France
Sweden

---

So what do you know, familiarity doesn't breed contempt. It's just a coincidence that the USA and England both top the list.

So here's my question to you all. Has the United Kingdom or England done a single unalloyed good thing that you know of?

Something that was done for the benefit of its people or some other people or the world in general? Something not done out of a desire for destruction, greed, domination or atavistic self-aggrandizement? Something wholly non-evil?

And please don't mention necessities for bare survival like resisting Hitler or building public libraries.

Examples:
democracy in Australia
revolution, frequent general strikes, nuclear power, Paris' anti-skyscrapers, trains a grande vitesse and eurotunnel in France
AlpTransit in Switzerland
Shinkansen in Japan
European Union by France and Germany
childrearing revolution in Germany
social and political advances too numerous to mention in Nordic countries

Poll
Has the UK or England done a single unalloyed good thing?
. I'm convinced they haven't 0%
. I can't think of any off hand, but I'm sure they must have 30%
. yes they have, and it's ... 61%
. I'm British, you jackass! 7%

Votes: 13
Results | Other Polls
Display:
It makes France look good some of the time in comparison. ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 06:23:11 AM EST
Yes, until the French staff have to use cash registers at London pubs, in which case the English, twenty minutes later, benefit humanity by knowing how to use them. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Magna Carta, I suppose, was a good thing.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 06:30:24 AM EST
Yeah, I think that one qualifies as being at least somewhat important.  S'pose oldfrog's bit on Newton carries a little weight, too -- gravity and all that.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Habeas Corpus seems to predate Magna Carta slightly.

(Not that anyone cares about that particular legal precedent any more.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 11:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_inventions_and_discoveries

it's a long list and many achievements were to the benefit of humanity

take only this :
First correct description of circulation of the blood - William Harvey
Smallpox vaccine - Edward Jenner
Antisepsis in surgery - Joseph Lister
Artificial intraocular lens transplant surgery for cataract patients - Harold Ridley
Colour blindness first described by John Dalton in Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours

or this

 Compound microscope with 30x magnification - Robert Hooke
Electrical generator (dynamo) - Michael Faraday
Galvanometer - William Sturgeon
Infrared radiation - discovery commonly attributed to William Herschel.
Newtonian telescope - Sir Isaac Newton
Micrometer - Sir William Gascoigne
the first bench micrometer that was capable of measuring to one ten thousandth of an inch - Henry Maudslay
Sinclair Executive, the world's first small electronic pocket calculator - Sir Clive Sinclair
Slide rule - William Oughtred [14]
Synthesis of coumarin, one of the first synthetic perfumes, and cinnamic acid via the Perkin reaction- William Perkin
The Law of Gravity - Sir Issac Newton
DNA fingerprinting - Sir Alec Jeffreys

frankly I don't like this diary. Any country has it plusses and minuses. And the Anglo-SAxons are not worse than others

and I am French and proud of it...

and what has Africa done to you ?

by oldfrog on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 06:57:58 AM EST
Lister!  Newton!  What a pair of imperialist twits.  World would've been better off without them.  Who needs sterilization anyway?  And gravity  -- pfft, it's not like he invented it....

</snark>

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of which were made by individuals and by no act of any government, state, country or nation in any way associated with the UK.

Your appeal to relativism has ensured that I will forever discount everything you ever say. Le relativisme c'est pour les nuls.

by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:57:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly, Richard, no one cares what you will forever discount.

Your comments are those of a racist and a pathological troll. Tone them down and participate in a civil discussion, or clear out.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 05:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For those who wish to understand, a blatantly racist and offensive comment by richardk received enough troll ratings for it to disappear.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 05:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
richardk's grossly inappropriate troll rating of this comment was undone by me, along with all his other comment ratings.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 05:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
richardk seems to have gotten his jollies out of all this...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:27:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd dispute that he was a member of this community - he was at best a parasitic entity. His goals were never to enrich the wiki, or to learn from it, but rather to distort it into his private soapbox and shooting gallery.

Extracted from here.

I guess everyone here lost precious time and energy with this "diary". Not sure how ET works members-wise, but I can guarantee we can expect more of the same from this character.

by balbuz on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless I'm missing something, or have been criminally misinformed by the UK media, I thought the eurotunnel was  built from both ends?

and I didn't realise Democracy came from Australia

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:08:15 AM EST
Democracy is one of the few things Australia has done right. There aren't many of them, what with its being an anglo country.

The UK dragged its heels on the eurotunnel and only did it after very careful cost-benefit analyses. Analyses which turned out to be wrong but that certainly doesn't retro-actively make their motivations altruistic!

How quickly people forget that the French had no problem getting financing for the Chunnel but the Brits refused to cough up a penny.

by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:52:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Countries ranked by my hatred of them:

USA
England
all of Africa
most of central Asia
..
nearly all of latin America
..

Well, I'd say that one thing America and England have done for you is prevent the list of countries you "hate" from appearing entirely racist.  You don't seem terribly fond of the brown ones.  So maybe you should thank the USA and Great Britain just for being there.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:14:00 AM EST
That question hinges on what is actually 'hated' here... I cannot speak for the author of this diary, but I can think of several ways this list is not 'racist'.

I don't like to think in terms of 'hating' countries. What would I hate? The 'nation state'? I certainly have no warm feelings for Bush, most of the American political establishment, with more contempt for Republicans than Democrats, disdain for a system that seems geared towards encouraging extreme rates of incumbency at most levels of government, and detest for the unpleasant collusion of politics and capital interests. I also love my American friends, and the wonderful experiences I was fortunate to have in University there. I would not have such strong thoughts on the issue had I not lived in American society for some time and seen some very ugly sides of it. (I was not so far to the left until I encountered the homeless of Boston, for example. My privileged (small Swedish town) background had not allowed a proximity to such dystopian conditions before.) Does familiarity breed contempt? Yes, sure, it's hard to have strong emotions towards that which one doesn't know well. (Don't worry, I 'hate' things about Sweden as well, and find that 'it' does others quite well. Some of the things I 'hate' about Sweden come from getting more distance from the country, and thinking differently about things that I had never even considered to question while I was still 'embedded' in that society. Conversely, some things I 'like' about 'Sweden' I gained appreciation for after seeing what other options had been actualised in a different society. The door swings both ways, it seems.)

As for the "brown" countries, I am sure that they could be 'hated' as I 'hate' the US, but as I know far less about them, I cannot be as vocal on this topic. A lot is wrong with African nations, a lot which seems rather strongly causally linked to 'western' exploitations. To 'hate' the 'nation state' of a patch of land seems a bit simplistic to me. It's expression is not necessarily 'racist', though.

So, to richardk, I ask: would you please elaborate on what it is that you 'hate' when you provide us this list of 'nation state' names?

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 08:11:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what do you know, familiarity doesn't breed contempt. It's just a coincidence that the USA and England both top the list.

So here's my question to you all. Has the United Kingdom or England done a single unalloyed good thing that you know of?

I think there is really one appropriate answer here:

LOL

Thanks for brightening my sunday morning. (Though with the thick layer of snow outside it is already quite bright.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:39:22 AM EST
I wasn't going to feed the troll.

But everyone else has, so:

National Health Service.

It's imperfect and hardly any more "unalloyed" than some of your other examples, but it was a groundbreaking social undertaking when it was established and included a number of ideas that changed healthcare organisation across the world.

(Although arguably some of those ideas were invented before 1948, still inside the UK.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:42:01 AM EST
Add to that the cooperative movement.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a tradition of supporting charitable organisations.

WOMAD, Amnesty, Oxfam, NSPCC, (which is national, but has international influence) are just a few I can think of.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 11:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Deliberately) The Limited Liability Company.

Which made Capitalism possible.

(Accidentally) The Limited Liability Partnership

Which allows us to fix it.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:45:30 AM EST
IIRC, the first limited liability company the "Société des moulins du Bazacle" was created in Toulouse in 1250 to build watermills on the Garonne. The uchaux (shares) could be sold at a price varying with the performance of the mills and the economic situation. At that time, an uchau was a part of a mill, but in 1370, it became a share of the company. During the XIXth century, the mills were transformed into an hydroelectric powerplant and the "Société des moulins du Bazacle" remained listed on the Toulouse stock exchange until 1946 when it was taken over by EDF through nationalisation...

The first multinational LLC was invented by the Dutch in 1602 (The Dutch East Indies Company).

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:57:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporate bodies (another Brit invention?), which go way back, were typically created through a Charter granted by the King. I think the Corporation of London was one of the first.

A Corporate body is a legal entity which has a continuing legal existence INDEPENDENT of its members. A Partnership may have a separate legal existence, but this is DEPENDENT on its Members - so a partnership ceases to exist when the penultimate partner leaves.

A Corporate body is a "legal person" able to "own" assets and enter into contracts in exactly the same way as an individual.

Joint Stock Companies are a much later innovation. I was aware of the Dutch East India Company, and had thought it the first such "Joint Stock" Company. Fascinated to read of the Bazacle entity therefore.

But I was in fact referring to the Limited Liability Company ("the Corporation") as the bedrock of Capitalism - all Companies prior to the UK legislation - the Limited Liability Act of 1855 - had unlimited liability, as far as I know.

BTW an LLC is something else again - the US Limited Liability Company is not actually a Corporate body (like the Joint Stock Limited Liability "Corporation"), but is an interesting beast in its own right, with many of the good qualities of a partnership.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 12:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To hear Szabo tell it, it was all the fault of the Genovese
http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2006/10/genoa.html
by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 05:24:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
England makes the cost of living in America seem dirt cheap.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:33:52 AM EST
This far in the comments, and no one's mentioned Monty Python?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:07:57 AM EST
"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:15:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pure Malt


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:59:14 AM EST
And The Rolling Stones...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 11:03:43 AM EST
Beatles.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 12:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WHO

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 01:12:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Clash
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 01:41:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, good things, stormy.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 07:08:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to put in a plug for American blues and jazz generally.
by Maryb2004 on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 03:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Slave Trade Acts.  We rendered our colonies uncompetitive at a stroke and spent a fortune compensating slave owners and patrolling the seas to prevent other nations trading in slaves (admittedly the last thing put our trade back on equal terms, but imagine any government taking that kind of economic risk over a moral issue today).
by Sassafras on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 03:12:34 PM EST
William Turner

<imgsrc="http://www.penwith.co.uk/artofeurope/turner_fighting_temeraire.jpg"   HEIGHT="296" WIDTH="399">

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 05:23:28 PM EST


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 05:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
viewing the tastes of most people on this board I would have thought that
  Rain Steam and Speed - the Great Western Railway would have been more likely to turn up here.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 05:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I left it to DoDo...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 05:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lookee here...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely in my Top Three.

It's not just the painting: it's the subject matter - the passing of Greatness. A touch of Ozymandias.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the reason I chose this one: the strong symbol.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 07:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
didn't the brits invent labour unions?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 11:34:22 PM EST
by the way it brings one down to earth to realize that xenophobia is still alive and kicking.
by observer393 on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 11:46:23 PM EST
Don't be absurd, it cannot be xenophobia to hate the culture you live in.

And Japan didn't make the list only because I don't know where to place it. It's just too different.

That holds for the ASEAN countries in general. The same for Russia too

by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 05:33:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan didn't make the list only because I don't know where to place it

So you hate everything you know? I hope we will never meet!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 07:04:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't obsess enough about my hatred list to figure out the fuzzy boundary where it becomes dislike to where it becomes [shrug] to where it becomes like to where it becomes admiration.

Sweden I admire, France I love. The USA and UK, I positively loathe. Russia and Japan raise ambivalent feelings. Everything else in the middle, I can't be arsed to figure out.

by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't make the rules, but I was not aware that ET was a place one could come to share their hatred of a country.

Of an ideology or regime, perhaps, but a country?  This is not the appropriate venue for that.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 06:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ho ho.

Group hug for richardk!



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 08:04:04 AM EST


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