by Emmett R Smith
THE Following column in The [London] Times:
necessitated the following reply:
12 September 2006
TO The Editor:
THE “Special relationship” between England (for some reason you lot have taken to calling yourselves “British”) and America is an affair which I, personally, treasure, not least for family-reasons, but I cannot see for the life of me how it is to continue under these circumstances. It has been, after all, one of the true curiosities of our North Atlantic history. The Anglo-American affair first improved under the first Gladstone ministry with the amicable settlement of the Alabama-affair, a revenant of Civil War-tensions between the two countries. Consequently, despite late-nineteenth century tensions over Venezuela notably, the East Coast Virginia, New England and Hudson Valley elites resumed relationships with their English cousins which stood us all in good stead all throughout the Thirty Years’ War of the 20th century. Now, however, at least in the American case, the “elites” on this side of the Atlantic are plural, and they are a meritocratic motley. Few have any solid English antecedents and connections. The professional classes of my “baby boom” generation are credentialed and clever — but, they have at best only a simian knowledge of history, and least of all of constitutional history. I perceive that constitutional systems in the UK also are under immense institutional and global pressures, and if we yet have business together it must surely be for our better personalities to unite in standing up to all this reckless playing about with law & legal principle. This “terror war” is largely about the Tee Vee-needs of my illiterate generation — and it has been a perfect cover for hysterical careerists to sacrifice freedom to self-promotion and power. In some remote fantasy, in some horrid worst case, I wonder whether we might see one day England leading Europe to the deliverance of the New World? Rubbish, on the face of it. But, history is a mysterious affair that is not well-served by uncritical cultural-identities that may no longer suit the political and moral condition of actual peoples.
Emmett R Smith
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 12 September 2006]