Britain died…but it got better! Again…

I kind of agree with a lot of what he says actually, and whilst the religion arguments rarely convince me, I do think Peter is more persuasive and interesting than most in his articulation of its role and place.

The one thing I don’t believe is true, or only in a very broad way is the notion that ‘Britain is dead’, which might seem odd in terms of what he says, especially if you go through it (even if you agree with the whole thing), but that is because the idea that something is ‘dead’ is too readily a characterisation of things that do not ‘die’, at least in the grand scheme of History.

I could go on about it, and at some stage I might do that on my blog, but I think a major thing that has confused things is the analogies between things we understand by concrete experience and by abstraction. The word ‘economics’ comes from the word referring to the ‘management of the household’, but has come to refer to Nations as households (hence why we talk of the ‘D’ in GDP as ‘Domestic’).

But once we do this abstraction we seem to ‘concretise’ them giving them a new life of their own and deal with conversations like Household Debt as if the same as Sovereign Debt, for instance, as if they have the same financial character and mechanics of operation. And by things like that, we can justify ‘tightening our belts’ and running austerity programmes in a way that ‘people’ understand. Only ‘The People’ don’t understand and the ‘people’ (most of them) who do this at recursive levels of the application of it do not.

If we were to try to have all our conversations by first forward translating then backward translating all the things we said through rudimentary translation software, and trying to live our lives under the delusion it meant the same thing (to both sides) then we would recognise more clearly how dangerous this, even before the Chinese Whispers effect and the Machiavellian intentions were.

But we are not even operating at the level of ‘natural’ language in this case, but behind the scenes in a more ‘authentic language’ of our thoughts, on the nature and character of how objects are to us concrete or abstract. It is the same realm where we are confounded by decisions as to whether someone is right or wrong, is good or bad, is ‘the One’ or ‘another one’.

And we are allowing words to mystify us to the character of things, as if they are things, or even imagined things themselves.

Britain is far from dead, it is just the next incarnation of Britain. Maybe it’s the equivalent to The Doctor being a woman, or it’s black or something this time round, and maybe some of us are not happy with that. But it is still performing well enough that people are going to be many more episodes of it, and I would be surprised if we never had a new Doctor.


Writer and broadcaster Peter Hitchens speaks to The Sun’s Steven Edginton about when Britain “died”, Boris Johnson and communism. This week’s ‘Burning Questi…