The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour

Dec 27th, 2005, 12:55 AM
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I can't vouch for the truth of this, but I've been told by older family members that circa 1910 or so, Canadian advertisements would specifically state, "No Englishmen need apply." The idea was that Englishmen would complain and insist on doing things their own way and generally cause trouble. (Or perhaps more likely, I tend to think now, they would be on a more equal footing to the employer and less likely to take abusive treatment than non-English-speaking immigrants.)
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 02:08 AM
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For the record, I recall (without checking) that it was our Imperial masters who required the flying of the Union Flag and not the Saltire, although it was not on the anniversary of Wallace's death but the occasion of the G8 summit at Gleneagles, which they determined to be a UK and not a Scottish hosted event.
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 02:29 AM
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Would these "Imperial masters", by any chance, be the bunch of Scottish and Scottish-educated politicians who dominate Britain's government?

And is it, or is it not, the case that the reason we're lumbered with Scotland is that after Scotland demonstrated its inability to govern itself without going bankrupt, the Scottish parliament came crawling to London to be bailed out?

Though, in a spirit of seasonal goodwill, it is worth pointing out that, relieved of the burden of doing what they're hopeless at (governing themselves), the Scots showed remarkable skill in using England's money to govern practically everybody else.

And (is there no end to this Yuletide generosity of spirit?), almost imnmediately after admitting their province couldn't be allowed out on its own, Scotland's thinkers channelled the energy formerly going into spectacular misgovernment into possibly the greatest explosion of intellectual creativity seen anywhere in Europe since 5th century Athens, Florence included (I did say intellectual creativity: no-one's ever accused the Scots of anything artistic)
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 03:18 AM
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Look, if you chaps can't produce people of ability to govern yourselves, then don't come whinging to me if you don't like the outcome.

And, really, flanner, your characterisation of the English plunder of Scotland after the Union of the Parliaments is partial to say the least. I would acknowledge that there may have been a small cash flow difficulty after Darien, but the reality is the only way you could dominate us is by buying our patrimony from a few English and English educated nobles, after centuries of failing to subjugate us through battle (note, I did NOT say "beat us in")

And, I would add, taht your churlish point about our inability to govern ourselves seems to be given the lie by the success of the Scottish Parliament.

And, hey, we were governeing abroad before you, so kindly, relieved us of our heavy responsibilities in 1707.

Thank you for acknowledging our intellectual superiority. I fear, however, you misjudge us on our artistic output, given that much of our best literature is written in one or other of our native languages other than English- Burns in Lallans, Maclean in Gaelic, Macdiarmid in Scots.

Did Raeburn and Naysmith pass you by? Do you have no recollection of Vetteriano? Does Connery not dominate Hollywood, with his young protogee Ewan McGregor?

Have we not hosted the European City of Culture somewhat more recently than England (umm; that would be NEVER, yet, wouldn't it?)? Is Glasgow not the home of Art Deco, and Britain's best known modern architect, Charles Rennie McIntosh? Did a Scot not carve the scupltures on Washington cathedral and design the Capitol?

Shame, flanner, on your inadequate education in cultural matters.

And, Tallulah, I'd like to know if your book puts this behaviour down to their innate, and illplaced, sense of superiority?
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Flanneruk, (or should that be flannerwhingingpom).

Just to back Sheila up, did you know that in 1998 the US Senate, following the Canadian precedent, passed a resolution declaring that 6 April was thenceforth to be celebrated as National Tartan Day, to honour "the major role that Scottish-Americans have played in the founding of this Nation".
The resolution cites the fact that almost half the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, that the governors of nine of the Thirteen States were of Scottish ancestry; "and that Scottish-Americans have successfully helped to shape this country in its formative years, thus guiding this Nation through its most troubled times."
The Declaration of Arbroath, which proclaimed Scotland's independence, was signed on 6 April 1320. According to the US Senate, 'the American Declaration of Independence was modelled in part on that inspirational document.

Seems history can't stop repeating itself - aren't us Scots just terrible troublemakers!

Dec 27th, 2005, 04:03 AM
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If we packed all the Scots off to South Dakota, the English to Oregon and the Welsh to Arkansas, would the geographical separation be sufficient to make you stop rehashing your ancient complaints?

We could then move the Palestinians and the Israelis to the land currently occupied by Britain, and we could all have some peace and quiet.

ira is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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And I thought we in the U.S. had problems with the North v. South, Blue State v. Red State battles.
mah1980 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 05:13 AM
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I am married to a Scot and have two hybrids. I also have an Irish daughter-in-law, so I am surrounded by unfriendly powers.
My husband's reaction to Tartan Day was to sink his head into his hands. Up to now, the American descendents of Scots have been a bit more dignified.
When we lived in New England, we were told of a troupe called the Boston Kilties. His cry of anguish still echoes in my ears.
He and the daughter-in-law threaten that they are going to write to the US authorities insisting on a Saint George's Day parade in New York.
They say that it will have mini-skirted Beefeaters and girls dressed up as buxom serving wenches.
It'll never happen.....will it? (tremble!)
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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Hey! This is serious. Nothing so insignificant (or recent) as the Middle East
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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Hi MissPrism; I think we must have been posting at the same time. Never fear; we just want their money...

On which topic, have you seen the TV ad currently running to encourage us all to go to the US on holiday? cooell!
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Sheila, I often mutter to my husband, "They come down 'ere, stealing our jobs and our women...."
Sorry, American friends but I am going to put off returning to the US for a bit.
I'm getting on in years and the last thing I want is to stagger off a plane all jet-lagged only to be met with a mile-long queue, a hostile official and the possibility of a body search or deportation.
I'll settle for mainline Europe and Scotland. I'm willing to face the hostile natives (I mean the midgies, of course).
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Blimey! And there was me thinking that I'd just let you know about a book that I'm finding interesting and which might cover a few points that sometimes arise on here! Oops!

And Sheila, as soon as I get to that bit I'll let you know!
Tallulah is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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GreenDragon, the veritable army of English white van men who have trooped through our cottage the last year have all said "no worries" (which has taught me that the more cheerfully they say "no worries" the more I should indeed worry about the repair bill). We are careful to keep a hefty stock of builder's tea on hand.
Re the flags, about a quarter mile from us are two homes in a constant state of Wales v. England one-upmanship. They have gone through three increasingly large sets of national flags. The flag battle briefly shifted to competing garish Christmas light displays, but as the holidays wind down, I guess they'll be back to flags.

And getting back to the OP, I must congratulate British shopgirls. No other group is capable of saying "I'm sorry" in such a tone that makes it perfectly clear they are not sorry now, have never been sorry in the past and have no plans to be sorry in the future.
BTilke is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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Now isn't it funny that people get such different impressions.
I had an elderly American friend who said that she found small officials like poet office clerks much nicer than the ones at home.
What really amused me was that she said that British shop assistants have an apologetic air.
They'd say, "That'll be five pounds twenty please", sounding as though they were saying, "I'm afraid that it's five pounds fifty, I know that it's an awful lot of money, but I have to ask you for it".
I started listening and found that a lot of them do sound just like that.
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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They have poet offices in the States?

How civilised.
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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Ooops. Missing smiley
sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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WillTravel, I have heard similar stories of signs in shops on the Danforth in Toronto (then predominately Scottish) saying "No English Allowed". The way the story was told to me was that it was an expression of ancestral Scotts dislike of the English. I don't know how seriously such signs were intended to be taken.
Gavin is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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Of course they have poet offices. They are on the tops of large buildings and are sometimes called pentameters.
I have often visited them. That's why I am sometimes known as Pentaprism.
Any fule kno that!
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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sheila is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Iamb impressed.
Robespierre is offline  

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