Thursday, July 20, 2006

This England

For many decades the New Statesman’s This England column has used newspaper clippings sent in by readers to provide humorous little snapshots of the zeitgeist (a sort of links page from pre-internet days). I was looking through a collection from the 1950s when I saw this:
"I think that at the present time, more than any other, it is more important that ex-servicemen should get together over the Middle East and the Far East than all the politicians, who know nothing about the Middle East, the Far East, nor any other East, for politicians don’t know Orientals like we do - they don’t know that the only way to deal with them is to kick their backsides,” said Brigadier M.F. Farquharson-Roberts, at last night’s 11th annual reunion dinner of the Derby and District Branch of the R.A.S.C. Association. - Derby Evening Telegraph.
Now come on, that's pretty funny. I can just picture Terry-Thomas playing the Brigadier in a Boulting Brothers comedy.

Here are a few more cuttings from the era:
All U.N.O. can do is to pass resolutions. When these are directed at Britain they have no moral force and should be treated with contempt. - Editorial in Daily Express.

Britain has told the United Nations Trusteeship Council it is prepared to abolish flogging in Tanganyika, East Africa, but the natives are opposed to the idea. - News Chronicle.

If some of our woollier internationalists are respected by the outside world it is because they have the good fortune to be British. - Daily Mail.

Your front page article about Africans being shot made me feel sick. Could this kind of story be condensed and made more pleasant? - Letter in the Daily Mirror.

There was only one wrong note. The American Ambassador refused to stand for a toast proposed by Mr Khrushchev to Communist China. The British group rose, but did not drink. - News Chronicle.

Where else except in Kenya could an African whose grandparents were perhaps cannibals watch really good polo? - Letter in Hampshire Chronicle.

Cricket is a white man's game. We should not play any more Test matches against the West Indies or Pakistan because coloured people are too excitable and lack a sense of sportsmanship. - Letter in Empire News.

People who find it necessary to vomit whilst in a railway carriage should discreetly use their hats; this would come naturally to anyone properly brought up. - Picture Post.

Although Welsh was the language of my cradle and my religion and is still in daily use I believe the rise of English and the decline of Welsh to be in accordance with some providential Divine law working for “one far-off Divine event to which the whole creation moves.” - Letter in Western Mail.

Our holiday at Blackpool last week was ruined by canoodling couples… My husband and I were terribly embarrassed, because we had our two daughters, 14 and 16, with us. For our next holiday (in July) we are going to Bournemouth. You don’t see this shameless behaviour in the South. - Letter in Empire News.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher, said at a Nairobi banquet today that the divorce rate in Britain is “as beastly as Mau Mau.” - Daily Express.

A Norwich man and his wife on holiday in Southend went on a coach "mystery" trip. The coach took them to - Norwich. They spent the day in the cattle market to avoid meeting friends. - Daily Express.

Poole Young Conservatives last night called off their idea of burning an effigy of Mr John Foster Dulles as a protest agianst his policy. Instead they wished him a speedy recovery after his operation. - Southern Daily Echo
There are over 400 of these. I’ll post some more at some stage.


Blogger Mark Holland said...

Tremendous stuff. Wisdom, after a fashion, through the ages. I take my hat off to them all. I shall refrain from vomiting into however because I do not find it necessary.

The term 'U.N.O.' has long vanished which is a shame because I can't hear it without being reminded of a Round the Horne sketch were super spy Kenneth Horne - nemesis of that fiend Dr Chou N. Ginsberg MA (Failed) - is told by his MI6 boss that "me and my secretary have been at UNO all afternoon".

8:56 am  
Blogger Wolfie said...

That first one sounded just like my old Dad [RIP]. WW2 veteran of Indian, Palestine, North Africa and Iraq - he was right about everything!

10:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that Poole YC's should indeed have burned the Dulles effigy.

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraud said...

Ah, England.

Nuns on on the village green...scones...warm beer...the Queen Mum...Jeffrey Archer...John Prescott...regional assemblies...alcopops...New Labour...hoodies...Polly Toynbee...The Respect Coalition...Sharia Law...Gordon Brown...Council Tax...the NHS...the EU...

7:14 pm  

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