As is probably obvious by now, this humble blogger is a fervent monarchist when most of the world seems to be insisting that we change over to a republic to 'enter' the 21st century as it were. These are normally European countries who have republics or other forms of non-constitutional monarchy. They cannot really fathom why the Royal Family is held in such high regard, they sneer at their supposedly empty veneer, highlight their vices but conveniently forget their virtues. Virtues such as almost the entire family being members of the armed forces.
At the apex of feel-good spirit for the monarchy they still fail to see the attraction, and if they cannot see it now they probably never will. This country is a fervent monarchy and of that I am proud. It takes a lot of courage and a deep-rooted sense of conviction for a peoples to stay attached to such an old institution when seemingly all odds are against them. Of what odds do I speak? Those crafted by Mesrrs Blair and Brown.
They wonder why they were not invited. It was for a few very simple reasons.
Blair and Brown hate this country and their presence at the wedding would have turned the whole thing into a political gimmick for Blair, who loves the spotlight, and Brown who most likely would gone around accusing foreign dignitaries of being bigots. Their deliberate decision to open the floodgates and actively encourage unprecedented and irreversible nation-changing immigration, merely to 'rub the rights' nose in it' is a crime that should see them charged with treason. Their meddling with devolution has fragmented the home nations leading to inequity and resentment, and I would suppose, unfortunately, the eventual break-up of the United Kingdom. Their appalling handling of the economy has led to the worst economic situation in decades. Their obsession with multiculturalism and political correctness have ripped the unity of our once cohesive society and obliterated common sense from 'official' Britain. They took us into a war on a pack of lies, and underfunded our armed forces whilst doing so.
United we stand divided we fall; the monarchy has somehow managed to survive these two highly embarrassing excuses for statesmen. Which is remarkable for they arguable wielded more political power than the Lord Protector Cromwell ever did, and he was the first and only person ever to have instituted a republic on these isles.
This is a long standing issue which evokes a lot of arguments from both sides as to the answer to this question. It seeks to define a sort of line between patriotism and nationalism - where ones gratitude of the nation is flirting with ones disgust for the same. That is if we are to believe the status quo of course.
“Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest," but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.” - Sydney J. Harris quotes (American Journalist and Author, He wrote a syndicated column, Strictly Personal, from 1944-86. 1917-1986)
I think this definition of the both types of 'pride' strikes the issue on the head.
Today is St. George's day but as is common in the UK you are not allowed to be proud of your culture for fear of insulting other cultures. That said, I would just like to state some recent polls: 72% identified themselves as Christians when asked what they identified themselves as - another 2% identified themselves as Muslim. The majority is thus not allowed to assert themselves for they might insult a Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Jedi, Sikh or why not a Hindu. The problem is though that these groups are also English/British and they live under the English/British flag of government and carry a British passport so why are they raising qualms about English culture? That is precisely it though, most of them do not and are perfectly happy to wave the flag and join in the culture - it is the very vocal minorities however who are given media time and further hyped up and 'sensationalised' by the press which make it seem that the entire grouping has their opinions. In some cases it may be more than just a select minority but in most cases it is not and the government does not have the backbone to stand up to its own people because of religious sensitivities. I have of course not raised the most annoying issue that when minorities seek to celebrate their culture all doors are open regardless of whom they might insult, denying them their celebration is denying them their culture which is awful I completely agree but why is this so vigorously imposed upon Christians (i.e. most people) but not on the minority religions? Another shortcoming of this government, what a surprise.
Further the left is sorely not acknowledging that in other countries not asserting the national culture would be an act of great insult. I am sure you can think of some countries for yourself but just to name a few; USA, China or India are a few examples. Their gratitude for their nation is at times (quite often I should say) rather jingoist or why not say bellicose chauvinism - they often have the problem, as Harris points out, that they cannot comprehend or down right deny the country's deficiencies. But regardless of this, and the elements within, the population which deny the shortcomings are still proud of their nation irrespective of what we might think of them.
This is a typical conversation that often pops up here and there.
1 - "Gosh, I am proud to be English!" 2 - "Why are you proud of something you cannot control?" 1 - "What do you mean?" 2 - "You never chose to be born in England but you are proud to be an Englishmen - it makes no sense to be proud of something which is beyond your control."
The above conversation opens up a very difficult and profound discussion about existentialism. Nr. 2 presumes that Nr. 1 cannot possibly be proud over something, a decision, which is beyond his control - this argument is used a lot, I have heard it myself several times and find it equally ridiculous each time. But here comes the fallacy of Nr. 2's argument he presumes that he knows that we did not have a choice i.e. he is assuming, through his argument, that the choice of birth place is outside of our control. In doing so he assumes knowledge about life before birth. This is precisely as ridiculous as it sounds. How can he possibly know about life before this? He cannot, but he is claiming to do so through his use of argument which makes it a rather dim argument (not to say a rather dim conversationalist).
If one were to get even more drawn into this debate we could for arguments sake say that possibly we did have a choice in choosing our birth place. For example we chose England because in our previous life we led a very poor and monotonous life as a suricate on the steps of Africa, this time we would like to try something more exiting e.g. as a human being on the hills of Shropshire. You might say this is a ridiculous line of thought but then I must remind you that Hinduism (including Yoga, Vaishnavism, and Shaivism) is based upon a similar principle: If they lead bad lives as human beings they will be reincarnated as a lesser creature. It is all based on karma which is literally the sum of one's actions. Bad karma means bad reincarnation, if we for example deem lice as bad then it would be quite sad for the person in question to reincarnated as this. Perceptions also have to be taken into account of course. Good and Bad is not a universal scale but is decided upon by the individual. Just because society teaches us that some actions are bad and others good that does not mean that it really is so, there is no empirical evidence to claim that one action is preferable to another based merely upon human emotional response to the actions.
Going back to St. George's day and if we were to give Nr. 2's argument the benefit of the doubt, then we can and should reply with; if we indeed have no choice of our birth place then we should at least be grateful that we had the good fortune to end up in England - whatever means of power, logic, randomness etcetera got us here. New Labour with much help from the Tories, it must be said, have quite successfully wrecked Britain as a standing nation-she is now on her knees-but there are still far worse places out there into which one could have been born, based upon the predisposition that we indeed have no control as to this plight (if one believes in destiny or is agnostic, then it would be mighty rude to the higher powers that be, to be ungrateful of their actions in placing us in England - they could just as well have dumped us in North Korea and then we would really be in the thick of it).
All in all, be proud to be English even if "society" tells you not to, they are wrong. For all the monologues thrown about in the world, in the blogosphere, in the media, in Whitehall and in the street, we have yet to create a dialogue on this issue. This is England and we are quite adverse to the kind of patriotism advocated by America but we do not like the non-patriotism as exhibited by Finland, somewhere in between lies England but until everyone stops talking and starts listening we wont rediscover 'our' brand of patriotism.
Seeing as we are 'allowed' to talk about immigration again, and the cat is out of the bag and all that, is it not odd that politicians are still lying to us?
The figure, not quoted by Mr Cameron, which tells you more about what is really happening, is the annual one for non-EU arrivals. For a long time now, that has been in the order of 300,000 a year. Add to it the illegals – 155,000 of whom, says Mr Cameron, were found to have been illegally claiming benefits. Then add EU citizens, who all have an absolute right to come here and use our public services. In sum, you have a society which, in large areas, would have been unrecognisable only 20 years ago. When Mr Blair declared, with apparent absurdity, in 1997, that Britain was a “young country”, perhaps he meant that he intended it to be something it had never been before. If so, he succeeded.
The upside is, I suppose, that voters appear to be privy to this state of affairs as well. None of the comments on this topic believe Cameron will do anything substantial (why are dependents of students given visas?) and if they do, they point out that it is far too late.
How long before someone musters the balls to say what everyone is thinking; Not everyone is clever enough to go to university. The sooner they realise this the more money they can save by stopping people studying mickey mouse degrees. And instead stick them in real vocational courses which will actually benefit them and their intellect. Oh yes I did go there; lo and behold, only a very tiny cohort of the population are clever enough to study STEM subjects. The rest are not. Do you know why? Because they are hard, very hard; it is not a coincidence that every great scientist and inventor hitherto had an intellect the size of Belgium. It is not a coincidence that all our literary works and historical accounts are written by people with an almost bizarre flare for language. History, Maths, Physics, Classics or what have you require commitment. Scholarship for the masses? Pull the other leg. How many people between 20-25 years of age, do you think are prepared to spend four years of their lives writing a thesis? Very few because it is very hard, very arduous, strenuous, nerve wrecking, stressful, harmful, damaging to your health. The only reward you get is a semi-pamphlet with your name on it written in golden letters, and a title - a title which only a handful of people in the world know enough about to provide informed judgement. That is the reward for scholarship.
But hey what do I know, why train scientists, engineers, writers, historians, musicians and doctors when it is clearly holistic therapists and puppeteers that Britain needs. We all know that they make enough cash to keep the welfare state going...
Having received two very incisive comments I thought I would share my experience of applying for bank internships this summer. Now before we go there I would just like to say that I am forced to apply to banks because my academic guideline (my tutor) is a complete moron. And for various reasons, best left undisclosed, I could not apply to what I really wanted to this summer. But such is life.
Banks have little time or regard for the politically correct liberal BS system that today is education in the UK. They do not believe in "soft" degrees such as Business Studies or Management. If you want to get a job with a top bank they will laugh at you if you present that. No, 9 out of 10 times the applicant has a degree in either Economics, Computer Science, Maths, Engineering, Physics or some combination or derivative of these. Naturally the banks are obliged to say that they do consider 'other' subjects as well. But this is largely smoke and mirrors. Very few if any interns have done any other degree that those stated above.
But it gets better.
On initial screening they effectively weed out all but people who are from 'target universities' - now there remains some uncertainty which these actually are. It is without doubt Oxbridge, LSE, Imperial and UCL. But then internet forums on this issue tend do disagree whether banks view Warwick and Durham as target universities as well. Safe to say only a very small number of people from non-target universities get through the initial screening process. Naturally some do, and good on them for theirs is an uphill struggle.
Then they move on to grades.
They are very blunt in this regard; top grades or nothing. They have a section where you can write about your special circumstances should your grades not be up to scratch [some banks - not all]. They look at your extra curricular, your societies, your charity support - they even have a special section for this, i.e. it is assumed that you do charity work. Naturally a lot of applicant make this section up for most do not do charity work. But it just goes to show what kind of people they expect to recruit.
Then they go on to psychometric testing.
To ensure that the applicant is not just lying on his application and CV (which they will check if you are successful) they make you do tests in maths and logic. These are timed tests. Typically it is a 20 minute test with 23 questions which require a lot of calculation. Rumour has it that the benchmark is quite low because they are so hard. The logic bit can be either reading and context or figure logic. Fun but demanding. Naturally you could get a friend to do this for you but they make you retake these tests at the assessment centre should you be invited.
Then there is a telephone interview.
This is to ensure that you are not Mr. BS and actually know a thing or two about banking and that you are who you say you are. This is quite easy most of the time, some people manage to fail it which is rather amazing, but most who have got to this stage pass it (so I am led to believe). They tend to ask mostly competency based questions and few technical, mostly because it is usually administered by the HR department of the company. Hence they know of nothing technical.
Then there is an assessment centre if you have got this far.
These tend to start at 0830 in the morning and end late in the afternoon. Where you are subject to two to three interviews by senior management, ranging from competency to technical interviews. Group discussions to test your ability to interact, presentations before managers, more psychometric testing. Also you tend to get lunch which is nice.
Depending if you suck or not they give you an offer. Mind you, they usually invite about 20 people to an assessment centre but only 30% of those get offers. But this differs from bank to bank.
Such is life in the sector which does not care about the government's multicultural targets, its diversity objectives and political correctness. Equality? They laugh at the word. They want the brightest people and will go through any length to get them.
In the Palace of Westminster, exercised on behalf of elected representatives of the people. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
1971 FCO 30/104
"The transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feeling of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes… and effective Community regional economic and social policies will be essential… there would be a major responsibility on HM Government and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular policies to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community."