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Thursday, March 29, 2007

There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a book

At Border's in Islington this morning they were stacking "Evil Empire" at the till points. The sub-title is "100 ways that Britain Ruined The World" (though look on Amazon and it's clear that the authors couldn't decide whether the Welsh and the Scottish were equally complicit in all this world-ruining) and it's written by Penny Rimbaud. Good to see that the anarchists have finally caught up with the Schott's format. What interests me is that somebody has put it on the counter in the hope that customers might feel like lightening their daily round with a little self-abasement. Would a similar book duffing up the national legacy of France or Australia or Iran get the same kind of prominence in their shops? This British habit of Asking For It seems to be a recent invention. I first noticed it during the World Cup in France when the BBC panel commenting on England's progress was made up of a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Frenchman. I can't see anything similar happening elsewhere in the world.