A short Guide to Great Britain (5)…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like a gorilla.
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Here’s that little gem of a junk shop book again – a short guide to Britain and its culture handed out to the American troops who came over here in 1942 to give us a hand to sort out A. Hitler and his bunch of thugs.

DSCN3749Today we shall have a look at page nine.

Government:
Although you’ll read in the papers about ‘lords’ and ‘sirs’, England is still one of the great democracies and the cradle of many American liberties. Personal rule by the King has been dead in England for nearly a thousand years. Today the King reigns, but does not govern. The British people have great affection for their monarch, but they have stripped him of practically all political power. It is well to remember this in your comings and goings about England. Be careful not criticize the King. The British feel about that the way you would feel if anyone spoke against our country or our flag. Today’s King and Queen stuck with the people through the blitzes and had their home bombed just like anyone else, and the people are proud of them.

Britain the cradle of democracy:
Today the old power of the King has been shifted to Parliament, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The British Parliament has been called the mother of parliaments, because almost all the representative bodies in the world have been copied from it.
It is made up of two houses, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons is the most powerful group and is elected by all adult man and women in the country, much like our Congress. Today the House of Lords can do little more than add its approval to laws passed by the House of Commons. Many of the ‘titles’ held by the lords (such as ‘baron’ and ‘duke’ and ‘earl’) have been passed from father to son for hundreds of years. Others are granted in reward for outstanding achievement, much as American colleges and universities give honorary degrees to famous men and women. These customs may seem strange and old-fashioned but they give the British the same feeling of security and comfort that many of us get from the familiar ritual of a church service.
The important thing to remember is that within this apparently old-fashioned framework the British enjoy a practical, working twentieth century democracy which is in some ways even more flexible and sensitive to the will of the people than our own.

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, books, history, humour, information, irony, learning, serendipity, surrealism, war, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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