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|Subject: Good grief!|
Ed Harris (London)
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Date Posted: 02:20:27 01/28/05 Fri
In reply to: Brent Cameron 's message, "Agreed" on 01:39:11 01/28/05 Fri
Two people who agree with me! I must write this down in my diary as a unique event... or perhaps emigrate to Canada, since the best I've managed in Blighty is one person.
In one respect, though, you're wrong. There's another people out there in the world who fought a war to remain British: the British South Africans. Indeed, we fought a couple of wars, although admittedly the first one was a farce which lasted for a few minutes at Majuba Hill, and as such was a skirmish rather than a war. We call it the First Boer War, they call it the First War of Independence: in reality, it was a rather pointless battle.
There is another similarity between British South Africans and Canadians: we are both the only former colonies with a significant non-British community - in the case of South Africa, the Brits were and are a minority community. In Canada, you are a majority but by a small margin. This has always served to reinforce our Britishness, because - perhaps regrettably - people tend to define themselves by what they are not. We are not Boers, you are not French. (I here include 'African' South Africans on the British side of the ledger, since they supported us against the Boers, for the same reasons for which Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.)
In this context, though, there is an important difference: in the end, we lost in South Africa owing purely to demographics: there were more Boers, and they just bided their time until Britain's weakness gave them their opporunity to establish the barmy, fundamentalist Christian, racist state which we had fought a war to prevent. In Canada, you are strong enough to stand up for yourselves against the occasionally deranged Quebecoix without military assistance from Britain (and if anyone contends my definition of the Quebecoix as deranged, then I refer you to their language laws).
It is for this reason, in my opinion, for which British Canadians and British South Africans are the most loyal of all the descendents of British colonists: unlike the Australians and New Zealanders - indeed, unlike in Britain itself - there has always been a hostile internal bloc which serves to remind us where we came from and who we are.
South Africa, though, as I have stated, is now a dead loss: we must pray that Canada does not go the same way through fear of offending its minority community.
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Date Posted: 13:44:37 01/28/05 Fri
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