Making History

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by guzzijon, Apr 2, 2011.

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  1. This is a bit of a hoary old chesnut but I'd be interested to see what fellow ARRSErs think.
    Our own dear nation has been allowed to evolve with very few, albeit severe, external influences, the last of those almost 1000 years ago (if you don't count the self-inflicted blight of the EU), and we've turned out okayish. Wouldn't we be doing nations in strife a favour just letting them get on with it? I just get a feeling that by intervening here there and eveywhere we're just making unfinised business. There is the very good point (pardon the pun) that all our old battles were fought with weapons that couldn't do too much damage, certainly when compared with some of the nasties owned by some third world countries, so that might have to be addressed. Other than that, let them make their own history.
  2. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    TBH, I think you need to go back and read your history books.
  3. Please explain.
  4. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    The country has been subject to massive external influences over the centuries, the arrival of the Normans was just one issue. You have to remember that until recently the British Isles was 3 seperate independent kingdoms, who constantly squabbled raided and fought with each other even after the Act of Union. The constant meddling in each other's affairs is exactly the kind of external influence that you are claiming did not happen.

    Empress Maude and the period known as the Anarchy is a good example, though also you should look closely at the the Plantegenets and alos the Anglo-French Country, Middle Age, England was not simply found on this island but was in fact a trans-channel nation incorporating many territories that are now considered France.

    The Tudor and Stuart periods following the Refromation and England's move to Anglicanism resulted in numerous swings from Protestant to Catholic under various rulers with varying degrees of outside influence - dynastic, cultural and political.

    The Reformation is a good period to examine aswell as that caused massive upheavals due to imported ideas from the continent.

    1688 - the Glorious Revolution, which everyone seems to forget about unfortunatley, was as significant policticallly if not more so than the Civil War - a successful invasion by a foreign power, in this case a Dutch stadtholder colloquially known in my parts as Billy.

    The 1715/45 attempts to overthrow the crown by the Stuarts with foreign monetary backing and troops (albeit not in huge numbers).

    You also have to look at the Histroy of the Empire too, its development and expansion was often as a direct response to the machinations of other powers abroad, this can equally be said of our own constitutional development which evolved both direct and indirectly from reactions to events both at home and abroad.

    The myth that England (Great Britain) has always been seperate from the continent evolving happily on its own is exactly that a myth pure and simple. England/GB has always been a European Power (on balance probably the most significant of the European Powers), and then a world power beyond that.

    edited to add: apologies if that comes across as a bit crass, I do not mean to denigrate you, what I am saying is that all countires have a cultural mythos (or cultrual shibboleths as I prefer to call them) truisms that supposedly that run to the very core of our identities, the Harold got an Arrow in the Eye at Hastings type things that when subject to closer inspection fall apart. Truisms in History or any subject result in simplified and uncritical analysis, they pander to our preconcieved prejudices or uphold sloppy intellectual thinking. One of my favourites of late is the Homogenous British identity in the face creeping multicultralism, haw haw, Britain has always been a multicultral country - Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland - I could put money in the fact that many of our older Welsh members knew, when growing up, people in their villages/towns that did not or indeed could not speak a word of English only Welsh. Similar can apply in Scotland, though the earlier enforced eductional conformity by Kirk and Crown pushed Gaelic to the brink far sooner than that in Wales. Cornwall is worth a look in as well when it comes to that subject.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. I would have written a similar answer but I just couldn't be f@cked
  6. Yes but I'm not talking about 'influence' or anything as subtle as that. I'm talking about someone with a big stick deciding to change the way things are being done. I should, perhaps, have asked if the English Civil War would have finished by now if it had been policed by the UN.
  7. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    Different context entirely, life was a lot cheaper then, people died a hellya lot easier, moreover people or at least government were more mercenary in those days. The English Civil War was of massive advantage to the other continental powers as it took a major competitor out of the game for a long while.

    War and our reactions to it have changed massively since 1945, the moral imperative has become the increasing justification or motivation in interceding or not in a conflict, a moral imperative that was not as pertinent in years gone past.
  8. Yes, You're right to smile. Hands up, you could have quoted me saying 'influence' in the original post, and then saying I wasn't talking about 'influence' five minutes later… I knew what I meant ;-)
    Our interference is the result of a rather selective moral imperative- to be seen to do something in some places- but does it ever work, beyond achieving an uncomfortable compromise? It would be interesting if someone (cleverer than I) worked out a likely outcome of UN involvement in the Civil War.
  9. maguire

    maguire LE Book Reviewer

    if the moral imperative was so high on the agenda, why do we only bother to intercede in countries with decent oil supplies? we've left mugabe well alone, havent we?
  10. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I could have but that was what this ^_^ was for.

    In a political sense how much did the Civil War and Interregnum change things?

    1688 had far, far more significant political repurcussions in the long term for the development of the UK.
  11. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    My bad should have made myself clearer - I ascribe moral imperative two distinct characteristics; (i)justification, (ii) motivation

    In the case of Iraq it would be moral justification ie it's been dressed up or rationalised

    In the the case of the Balkans or Zimbabwe it would be motivation

    TBH, I disagreed with us going into Iraq, on the other hand I would happily support an invasion of Zimbabwe, go figure.
  12. This is the kind of question I'm driving at. Would the Glorious Revolution even have happened had an international peacekeeping force come in to sort out the civil war only 40 years earlier. By 'peacekeeping' today are we forever denying these countries the chance of an evolved settlement?
  13. In effect delaying any permanent settlement...
  14. Have a read at: 1000 Years of Annoying the French, by Stephen Clarke. Not only a well researched history book but bloody amusing too.