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  Europe
Is America Destroying Britain?
When America Sneezes the World Gets a Cold
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
Thatcher and Reagan on Feb. 26, 1981

Since World War II, people have talked about the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States, a relationship that intensified during the Thatcher/Reagan era. However, when you examine this so-called relationship, it’s not as special as it would appear. On the contrary, it’s a relationship that is slowly destroying Britain, a parasitical relationship analogous to cancer, with Britain the body and America the disease.

Like cancer, America is corrupting Britain, gradually destroying it from the inside, eating up its resources. Also, like cancer, when these resources are depleted and the body is dying, the “special relationship” begins to fade. Unfortunately, this cancer is contagious, and is now moving on to other hosts, such as China, Germany and France.

The evidence is there for all to see. Since this is not a book, I’ll skip the history and go straight to what I like to call “the endgame”, when the real rot set in. It started in the late eighties, with the whole Wall Street/Gordon Gekko/Yuppie culture. The world has never been the same since we were introduced to the Filofax and the phrase “greed is good”. It seems we all took this philosophy too seriously. So the age of materialism was born. Suddenly, everything had to be bigger, better, shinier, and it had to have a name. Designer labels became the new religion, with everyone worshipping their own particular gods. Lord Levi was rubbing his hands with glee as the world clamoured to buy his 501 jeans. The churches of Littlewoods and Marks and Spencer were no longer good enough. Now our clothes had to come from the shiny new temples of River Island and Burton.

The world became greedy, and – worse still – selfish. Community spirit began to deteriorate as every man sought to outdo his neighbour. If the guy at number 7 bought a BMW 3 series car, the guy at number 8 had to buy a 5-series. If a woman paid £30 to have her hair done, then her sister had to pay £40. At school, plain old trainers were not enough; now they had to be Adidas or Nike, and if your best friend paid £50 for a pair, then you had to pester your parents to buy you a £70 pair.

The little corner café was no good anymore. Now our food had to be fast, bad for you, and come from places like MacDonald’s and Pizza Hut. The Berlin Wall came down and this particular disease spread east with Russia’s first MacDonald’s capturing worldwide headlines. It seemed nothing was any good anymore unless it had a name and a label.

Still have doubts? Take a look at your kids’ trainers – are they just generic trainers from a supermarket, or do they have a brand name? Go look at your clothes – how many are labelled? Finally, take a look at your cosmetics – are they generic, or do they have names like L’Oreal and Givenchy? Your shampoo and conditioner – own brand 2 gallons for a pound or VO5? Soap – 5 bars for 50p or does it have a name like Dove Moisturising Bar? Even our ice cream now has to be Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs.

A more sinister influence is the gang culture. There have always been gangs in Britain, but thanks to the American rap culture and east coast/west coast warfare, the gangs have become more regimented and ruthless, and where they used to be armed with bottles and sticks, they’re now armed with guns. Now gun culture is spreading in Britain. It has always been a matter of some national pride that the British Police don’t carry firearms. Thanks to people like P Diddy, 50 Cent and Eminem, more of our police are now carrying guns, and every now and then there is a question raised about whether they should all be armed or not.

The old British “stiff upper lip” is being destroyed by Americanisation. We used to laugh at the Americans and pour scorn on them over their litigious culture. Now every other advert on the television is for a claims lawyer. When you open the Yellow Pages to find a solicitor it’s packed with these ambulance chasers and their “where there’s blame there’s a claim” mantras. The knock-on effect of this has seen health and safety precautions go insane. Everyone is so paranoid about ending up in court facing one of these claims lawyers that you can’t do anything anymore because the health and safety police have decided it’s too dangerous. Everything you buy now carries ridiculous warnings so that the manufacturers can avoid liability if something goes wrong. The classic one of these is if you buy a bag of nuts. Thanks to Britain’s new litigation culture and incidences of nut allergies, our bags of nuts now carry the warning, “May contain nuts”!

Finally, there are the wars. In the early 80s, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, claiming sovereignty over them, and Britain went to war with them over it. Fortunately, Britain won that war, but they did it alone. The Americans were nowhere to be seen. However, America has dragged Britain into two wars in the gulf that none of the population wanted. The current war in Iraq is even under scrutiny to ascertain whether it was even legal or not.

So, now that our military is stretched to the limit because they’re fighting America’s war, and because our military is being downsized, the “special relationship” is under threat. We’re exhausted now, our resources have been used, so Britain is now somewhat surplus to requirements. I would also point out that a good portion of our troops have been killed by American forces in “friendly fire” incidents. With allies like that, who needs enemies?

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not anti-American. However, I am British, and while it often drives me to distraction, I love my country, so it hurts me to see it being used, destroyed and discarded like some car stolen by a joyrider. So close is our relationship with America that when the toxic debts crisis struck, it threw our economy into its worst state in more than sixty years. We’re still only just starting to recover.

So, while it feels a bit dirty to see the special relationship crumbling, I think it may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Britain. I just hope the damage is repairable. Maybe then we can start calling ourselves Great Britain again.



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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.

 

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