Exciting days: we may soon Have Our Country Back Again, and be deploying our nearly-finished (but as yet aircraft-less) Aircraft Carrier to ward off all the foreign diplomatts and Trade Ministers and merchants who will be besieging us (I distinctly remember being assured that this is what would happen) in the hope of getting some of our splendiferous new Trade Deals. It will be a period in the History of our Great Nation when we shall have to re-emphasise our National Unity.
Perhaps one element here will be the need to ensure that anyone who tries to get in on our post-Brexit financial boom will be able to speak our National Language. Nothing of course cements a society as much as etc.etc. ad nauseam..
Which, of course, er, means, er ... y'kno' ...
English is not our only historic and native language in these Three Kingdoms. There is Welsh; there is Cornish, the language that Pam and I dip into together during our Cornish holidays as we return to the Catholic culture of medieval Europe by reading the mystery plays and sermons which survive in the old Cornish language. There are the two kinds of Gaelic; and, no, I haven't forgotten Manx. (In the disiecta membra of the old Duchy of Normandy, fragments of Norman French dialects survive.) Each of these is as properly, anciently, British, as is English ... the late Mr Chaucer's dialect ... or, possibly, even more so. And I haven't forgotten Old Norse, part of the heritage of the Orkneys. But there is also another inherently British tongue: Latin, the language of these islands from the Claudian invasion onwards; the language of S Bede the Venerable and Sir Isaac Newton; the language in which Law and Theology and Mathematics and Logic were taught in our ancient universities ... Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Aberdeen ... in the Middle Ages and thereafter; the language in which the inhabitants of the Three Kingdoms worshipped for more than a thousand years.
So here is Fr Hunwicke's Modest Proposal. We should have two levels of citizenship: full citizenship; and associate citizenship. Full citizenship, including the right to vote and to own property and to have social benefits, would be available to all who could speak at least two of the languages on the following list; associate citizenship would have much more restricted rights attached to it, including temporary residence and the right to pay taxes, but would be freely and generously available to lesser mortals who were only able to be fluent in one of these languages.
(In the Channel Isles: Norman French.)
(Within the Metropolitan Province of Westminster: Scouse, as an act of respectful deference to Cardinal Vin.)
(Esperanto would need to be excluded as being insufficently divisive.)
Gosh, the scope for fertile combinations: lessons in Cornish for native speakers of Urdu; Latin word lists for Polish Plumbers and Dentists ...
You know it makes sense.
25 March 2019
National Unity in the Post-Brexit world: Fr Hunwicke's Modest Proposal
Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 09:31
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Citizenship? That's very contemporary of you, father. I'd rather be a British subject myself. As to those languages, I know only Latin and English. None of my Irish family speak Gaelic. I once asked my grandmother, from loyal Ulster, if she knew any and there came a sharp and emphatic "no."
How do you grant temporary residence to people with no other nationality? Who would accept us patriots who refuse to speak foreign?
Is not Anglo-Norman the correct title rather than Norman French? At least when I read Beroul at Oxford it was and then as a lawyer I celebrate to-day Emmanuel en ventre sa mere.
Having recently spent some time in hospital, involving an excellent course of cardiac rehabilitation lectures (all courtesy of the NHS) it greatly amused me that the nurses and doctors lecturing us spoke nearly exclusively upon their complex topic with a vocabulary of Latin and Greek, both for nouns, adjectives and verbs, the whole strung together with a few English prepositions. Because they are not priests or lawyers, and not deemed to be 'posh', noone finds this odd, or elitist, or divisive. On the contrary, it is regarded as precise, accurate and professional. The opposite possibility, after hours of expensive and complex tests, to come up with vernacular 'Vatican II' catch-all diagnosis of, say a "dicky heart" would be regarded as incompetent, not to say negligent of their client's legitimate interests.
But then we live in a Relativist society, as Pope Benedict explained to us. In Latin.
And how, Father, would one be promoted to the fullness of British-ness? Would there be a trial period, a ‘catechumenate’ as it were, followed by a scrutinium? Or as we say over here: “Will there be a test?”
This would be welcomed by the political class – oodles of public troughs, er…positions, to be awarded. Additionally in the post-Brexit period one would have places to park all those out-of-work MEPs… Sir Humphrey would approve.
Dear Father. Take away the right of women to vote and let Fathers have as many votes as they have children.
Forbid immigrants from voting until such time as they have lived in the host country for ten consecutive years.
Print ballots only in the official language of the country.
St. Augustine. City of God: Chapter 7.— Of the Diversity of Languages, by Which the Intercourse of Men is Prevented; And of the Misery of Wars, Even of Those Called Just.
After the state or city comes the world, the third circle of human society,— the first being the house, and the second the city. And the world, as it is larger, so it is fuller of dangers, as the greater sea is the more dangerous. And here, in the first place, man is separated from man by the difference of languages. For if two men, each ignorant of the other's language, meet, and are not compelled to pass, but, on the contrary, to remain in company, dumb animals, though of different species, would more easily hold intercourse than they, human beings though they be. For their common nature is no help to friendliness when they are prevented by diversity of language from conveying their sentiments to one another; so that a man would more readily hold intercourse with his dog than with a foreigner.
Ah, the inexhaustible inventiveness of the British rulers how to exploit other less valuable folks. Good dental services from the Poles, Gurkha soldiers for cannon fodder, servants from many assorted nations. All for a lot less and when a cheaper supply is available somewhere the current associates get replaced. Time to invest in public housing project for the new associates.
Even a better way to manage it - Temporary, revocable citizenship status.
Maybe make English mandatory and the other second options to attain full citizenship. Please exclude Esperanto. We mind as well be speaking pig-Latin if Esperanto is included.
Oh, yes, I'm a Yankee, but of Welsh descent!
Not a huge fan of Blake, but if his speculation was right about an Important and Holy Visitor a few generations ago to your "green and pleasant land" (I have never been there except for a transient hour or two in a 70s era linoleum-paved electric-bulb-lighted hall at Heathrow - what a beautiful name by the way) - well then you should add to your list whatever language or languages anyone would have spoken if said anyone had, supremely easily, impressed the doctors of the law in Jerusalem back in the day (back in the day meaning at a temporal distance of 30 or 35 of my lifetimes ago (sorry for talking about myself - but I don't know other people's ages))
You have omitted St Andrews, Mater et Caput.
WHat a modernist you are, Father. Some of us pray in Anglo-Saxon.
Brexshit means Brexshit!
Shorry Father but I have developed a, hopefully temporary, lishp.
Brexshit is wonderful and the salvation of our country. Our International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam ( Blimely O'Reilly) Fox is so brilliant at his job that countries are besides themshelves to shign up for new trade deals with us. Our first Brexshit shecretary David Davies (BS1) was so brilliant he did the easiest deal in history and did it so fast that those idiot Krauts and Frogs didn’t even realise he had done it. The EU bureaucrats wrote 500 pages of verbiage whilst BS1 only needed some notes on back of an envelope – and he didn’t need to take that even to shome meetings.
BS2, the delightful Mr Raab was able to shee through all these piles of paper and reveal that Dover was an important and strategic port for incoming goods from Europe which we never knew before. And lashtly BS3 the genial Mr. Barclay. What a gent he is! A minister of The Crown proposes a motion to the House and then votes against it to give the other shide a head start – that’s cricket for you! Three BS merchants in a row. Makes one proud to be a Brexshiter.
What a shambles the EU is! Last week 27 member nations took something like four hours to produce a response to our nebulously precise PM who had put the fear of God up them. Compare that with the rapid and focussed efficiency of the Mother of Parliaments - no comparison!
The Brexshiter MPs are a galaxy of talent. Priti Patel, a shunning International Development Shecretary, who in the interest of developing Anglo-Irish relations told them would have their food supplies cut off and have a another dose of famine if dared create about the border; IBS that master of the No Confidence Vote; Shir Christopher Chope, a real man’s Brexshiter there not afraid to shtand up to EU law in stop the prevention of upskirting and FGM; the jolly Mark Francois with his brilliant porcine impressions he now sheems to be doing all the time; Angela Loathsome the expert on flouncing; and the shtar of the Brexshit show Bhoris himshelf – words fail me there!
Brexshit – the sweet ordure of our future success!
Oh gosh, this is bringing Remoaners out of their holes.
As a relative newcomer to reading your blog, Father Hunwicke, I was unsure at first as to what I was meant to think of your “National Unity in the Post-Brexit world” post. Ought I to take it at face value? Or was it intended to be quite tongue in cheek? In the end I decided that both approaches could be valid, that it was perhaps a brilliant exercise in self-parody. So I congratulate you, Father, on such a splendid portrayal of a mindset that is both backward-looking and imbued with snobbery.
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