A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Little Greenlander

The mighty Greenlandic empire. Picture by Uffe Wilken.

Who are those beer-swilling, pot-bellied lager louts of Guardian mythology, the sort of people who would still like to give 'Johnny Foreigner' (a phrase I have never heard a single righty actually say) a good seeing to when he looks at their mate's missus, or pushes in front at the bus queue? Let's take a look, shall we? They are all shockingly racist, have homophobic views, throw bottle-caps into the hats of homeless people, and wind their windows up if they can smell curry. They are 'Little Englanders.' There are nutters, lunatics, saboteurs. They are Eurosceptics.

The Guardian orthodoxy holds that these are thoroughly unpleasant individuals, Colonel Blimps that you would never introduce to your mother. It's a wonder that a civilised, upper-middle class society like Chisick even allows them out. They lack any reason or logical thought behind their ramblings: the basis of all their political beliefs is their in-built irrational hatred of all things that don't watch footie and eat pork, and their lust for the empire, those days when Britain ruled the waves and could straddle the world from Cork to Cape Cod. They only oppose the EU because they want us to rule a quarter of the world again: if they weren't such old-fashioned imperialists, they'd see all the good its done and be loyal supporters of the idea, rather than the 'saboteurs' (to quote Der Spiegel) that they actually are.

Well, that's the orthodoxy, anyway. The reality, as you might have guessed, is somewhat different. As yet, only one political entity has ever left the EU or its predecessors: that is Greenland. As any history graduate knows, and quite a few people who aren't history graduates, Greenland did not actually have an empire. At all. At any point in its history. In fact, it has been a colony of Denmark since its rediscovery in the 1700s, which was in itself united with Norway until 1814. What 'lost empire' are they pining over, I wonder? Are they 'Little Greenlanders' for voicing opposition to the EU? Of course not. If any public figure, whether journalist or politician, ever claimed that - and, as far as I'm aware, no-one ever has - they'd be ridiculed.

Yet the claim that all who oppose the EU are 'white man's burden' imperialists still persists, over twenty years after it was emphatically disproven. The charge of being a 'Little Englander,' a term which was originally used to denote those who opposed British expansionism, still threatens to ruin the careers of those who are so bold as to voice the wrong opinions in public. Isn't it time that the Guardian and other media outlets who frequently make use of it finally put this patronising and incorrect insult to bed, and lay their cards, their argument, on the table rather than hiding behind out-dated slurs?

1 comment:

  1. Ah you're back - I was beginning to give up hope!