|That looks complicated. We're so impressed
We recently received a spam letter from one of your representatives and while we appreciate the effort that went into writing it, you must understand that we are busy and we don’t have time to read advice from former global powers. We have tried to unsubscribe from your spam by replying to the email with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line but invariably we keep getting unsolicited advice from your politicians, ambassadors, journalists and Robert Fisk. So we had no other option but to write this letter.
Firstly, let’s address the matter of age. We get the impression that you were talking down to us as a young 70-year-old republic. The key word here is republic, something that still eludes you as you cling to an archaic monarchy and try to pass it off as a national quirk rather than the medieval anachronism that it is.
And while we congratulate you on your efforts for abolishing hereditary peerage, which must have taken a lot of effort for a tired and aging monarchy, we take the opportunity to remind you that we do not have an unelected house of representatives despite being novices at this democracy gig. So in the words of a guy from our neighbourhood, who incidentally gave you your official religion, “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Now, back to this question of age. You are very proud of your naval tradition which your national identity is constructed upon in no small measure. Let us take this opportunity to remind you that while our ancestors were roaming the entire world in their magnificent ships, yours couldn’t string two pieces of wood together to make a rudimentary raft.
We also find it hilarious that you are proud of your Houses of Parliament which are not even two hundred years old. We would be ashamed to show tourists anything that is two hundred years old. We have socks that are more than two hundred years old. And while your ancestors were struggling to build a stone circle that you still regard in awe, we had built entire cities with elaborate stone buildings that were the wonder of the old world. And by old we mean old, not some knock-off from the 19th century.
We did appreciate your advice to us to renew our marriage vows, as you put it, and “to spend a moment reflecting on what you admire rather than what infuriates you about each other”. Two words come to mind: Scottish independence. The mere mention of which has thrown your entire political class into turmoil as they struggle to find a reason for ‘what Britain means today’. Again, sawdust, plank, eye. That Jesus was a wise man.
Incidentally, we both know that he wasn’t the only man from our neighbourhood that you appropriated as your own, a certain St George comes to mind. You made him your patron saint and a national symbol, despite the fact that if he were to show at one of your embassies today he wouldn’t get a visa to visit Britain. Now that’s irony for you.
You say: “your politics are dynamic on the surface. Yet broken and paralysed beneath it.” Now we both know that your politics are equally dysfunctional but you can’t even produce the surface appearance of dynamism as your political class now consists entirely of identical plastic clones that are lacking in both substance and principles. Now to be fair all white guys look the same to us, but seriously look at Cameron, Miliband and that other one. May we suggest dressing them in football shirts with the names on the back?
Speaking of football, we want to take the opportunity to congratulate you on your fighting spirit on the football pitch despite the fact that you haven’t come anywhere near a trophy for decades. And in a game that you invented, no less. To be beaten by the German B-team and right in Wembley! It takes courage to face the world again the next day. And it takes even more courage not to view this as a symbol of your national decline and general slide into irrelevance. Did we get the patronising tone right? We were trying to copy your letter, you see English isn’t our first language. (Around here people speak more than one language.)
You closed your letter to us by suggesting that 70 is too young to retire. We’re not quite sure what your age is but you’re certainly past the retirement age. Stop pretending to be a world power, nobody buys it anymore. It’s time that you downsized, bought a cottage in the countryside and spent your time looking at old photo albums. A sure sign is when old folks start giving unsolicited advice to strangers.
Ps. We didn’t mention dentistry out of tact, but seriously what’s with English teeth? Here’s our unsolicited advice to you: brush and floss daily. (That's for the botox remark.)