Heartwarming Tales: The story of a Fundamentally Decent Nation

Or: A foreign imposter in Malaya

It is not often I quote Richard Littlejohn, but today it will help kick off the story of how Britain became a Fundamentally Decent Nation. That sensitive and gentle man wrote this in a column in response to the earthquake in Japan:

Anyone who has visited or worked in Japan will tell you it is like landing on another planet. Beyond the baseball caps and Western clothes, the Japanese people have a distinct culture of their own, which is entirely alien to our own values. They are militantly racist and in the past have been capable of great cruelty.

This makes a couple of important points about our Fundamental Decentness as Brits. Firstly, it very often involves going to other countries and treating the inhabitants of those lands as an alien species. It’s a habit we acquired some time ago and, like crack cocaine and electing Old Etonians, we’ve found it to be moreish and difficult to kick.

The second important point I think we can glean from this Littlejohn gem is that Britain has never been militant, racist or capable of cruelty. These are the habits of foreigners. This is enlightening and will help clear up some of the problems that historians have had to face when reconciling the Fundamental Decentness of the British Character with facts.

Since it was not us who invented concentration camps in the Boer War, it must have been the result of infiltration by foreign types. No doubt all those involved in planning and executing the use of concentration camps were merely masquerading as Brits. I believe the slaughter thousands of men at Omdurman using far superior weaponry must also have been due to foreign infiltration. No doubt the bombing of the French navy at the beginning of WWII was not ordered by Churchill at all but by some foreign imposter looking like him. Likewise I’m sure it wasn’t really him who couldn’t be bothered to spare a few planes to destroy Nazi gas chambers.

The British people have remained Fundamentally Decent through all these trials, even as for decades and through multiple changes of government the British state expended its full resources to fight and defeat the powerless inhabitants of a small island. This just goes to show how deeply embedded the foreign menace is in the British establishment. And yet we, the British people, heroically shrug it off. That is not us. We beat the Nazis. That’s us.

But I am sorry to say that the foreign infiltrators are still among us, working away in our ranks, doing things that no Fundamentally Decent people like us could possibly contemplate. The British government, suffering from this pernicious foreign influence, recently arbitrarily capped the number of refugees the country would take. This means that foreign agents in our midst are right now sending people back to countries – such as Iraq – where it is known that the people forcibly returned will be tortured. Will this vile foreign sabotage never end? But at least it is not Brits putting the refugees onto the planes. It is impossible to imagine people so Fundamentally Decent doing such a thing.

On the topic of Iraq, that war was a classic example of a foreign plot to force us into a war with a country that posed us no threat. Certainly Britain and British people would never dream of engaging in wars of aggression. Our Fundamental Decentness would prevent it. And the razing of Fallujah that killed 6000 people can definitely be pinned on the Americans, whose army – this is well known though we are usually too polite to tell them – has always been Less Decent than ours. The fact that Britain played a supporting role in the massacre – sorry, the re-taking of Fallujah – can almost certainly be attributed to the creeping effects of foreigners in our midst.

We, Britain, became the Fundamentally Decent Nation we are today by not doing bad things. Definitely not. It wasn’t us. We would never behave like those Japanese types, or like Germans, or like Serbs. We just don’t have it in us. And it is so sad to see what a bunch of foreign infiltrators can do to make such a Fundamentally Decent Nation look so cruel.

5 Reasons Why Good Intentions Don’t Count

Every time you believe in your good intentions Bono gets a little piece of your soul

1. If you’ve ever opened a crap present, and someone says ‘It’s the thought that counts’ and you secretly thought ‘No it isn’t! I’d much rather have a good present!’ then you know we should be suspicious of good intentions. Good intentions have crap effects. Often.

2. Your good intentions frequently serve the purpose of making you feel good. By having good intentions the point you have established – beyond any doubt whatsover – is that you are the sort of person who has good intentions. Well, you’ve established it in your mind anyway. But let’s be honest, most people have good intentions in some way or other. They’re really nothing special. Sorry.

3. Look, I know this is scraping through the bottom of the barrel of rhetoric before I’ve even got to point five but I’m going to say it anyway: Hitler probably had good intentions. In fact, no probably about it. He wanted to elevate his people and give them better lives. You aren’t Hitler (Yet – careful now!) but do you really feel sure there are no dodgy ideas and perceptions in your mind distorting your thinking?

4. The structures within which you live and operate will twist your intentions to their own ends. They always do. You can’t ever entirely calculate the effects of your actions, even when you’ve done them. But that’s no excuse for charging ahead borne along purely on the conviction that your intentions are good so it must be worth doing. We should at least try to take account of how our intentions will be interpreted, used, and distorted.

5. Good intentions without thinking through the context in which you perform them, without attempting to work out the reason for the failures that have gone before you, without wondering what the price of failure would be, are lazy as well as egotistical. It’s not that good intentions don’t count at all, it’s that good intentions alone don’t count. Stop being so fucking lazy. (If you are not lazy and not convinced of the inherent worth of your good intentions please forgive this minor rudeness – it was well-intentioned.)