Friday, January 23, 2009

Anglophobia Resurgent?

In this age of competitive victimhood we in Britain ought to make more fuss about Anglophobia, let us yearn to throw off the shackles of this repression! So I shall kick off the movement to jump on the oppression bandwagon.

In the 1920s and 30s there was a popular anti-British movement in the United States, there were even plans for war drawn up. This contemporary report from Time magazine highlights some aspects of the phenomena:

The eagles of journalism, they fly high. Last Sunday, William Randolph Hearst's birds took a vicious peck at Ginn & Co., publishers, Nicholas Murray Butler, Edward W. Bok and his prizewinning Charles H. Levermore, Andrew Carnegie, "prostituted college professors" and "international bankers." And while they pecked, they made the U. S. eagle scream.

Ginn & Co. is probably the largest and most famous of all text-book publishers. It publishes, among others, Muzzy's American History. Mr. Hearst's feature article charged that Ginn & Co. has joined with various peace foundations in a conspiracy backed by hundreds of millions of dollars to denationalize America, to spread British propaganda by false history-books, to prepare the way for Anglo- American Union.
The epicentre of the anglophobe outbreak was arguably Chicago where William Hale Thompson, mayor from 1015-1923 and 1927-1931, promised to take every pro-British book in the Chicago Public Library and burn them.

80 years on, there is a Chicago politician is in the White House. Thankfully there is no evidence that he follows in Thompson's footsteps. However there was speculation in the Guardian a couple of days ago that Barack Obama might be an anglophobe:

Then there's the X factor: is it possible Obama has personal reasons for keeping the British at bay? He is known to be no fan of the British empire. His father's family directly experienced British colonial rule in Kenya; and his paternal grandfather was reportedly imprisoned and tortured during the Mau Mau uprising.

I'd be inclined to dismiss this as space filling nonsense except now I see that a columnist in Mother Jones, a mainstream magazine of the US left, is proposing that the USA invade Britain's overseas territories:

The Obama administration could tell the Caymans—now fifth in the world in bank deposits—to repeal its bank secrecy laws or be invaded; since the island nation's total armed forces consists of about 300 police officers, it shouldn't be hard for technicians and auditors, accompanied by a few Marines, to fly in and seize all the records. Bermuda, which relies on the Royal Navy for its military, could be next, and so on. Long before we get to Switzerland and Luxembourg, their governments should have gotten the message.
This doesn't appear to be satirical.

(Via Reason's Hit & Run)


Mark said...

Another source of ancestral Anglophobia in the Obama camp could be his chef de cabinet, Rahm Emanuel. (Dad an Irgun terrorist; the Irgun, unlike the Haganah, took up arms against the British in Palestine as early as Feb 1944. Haganah at least had the decency to wait until the end of WW2 ).

Mark said...

Oh I forgot- VP Joe Biden is an Irish American (from the North as well!), so that means 3 possible sources of Anglophobic sentiment in the new administration.

Laban said...

And there is a fairly recent precedent. Reagan and Thatcher got on pretty well, but Grenada was invaded just the same.

Ross said...

Grenada was at least an independent country, unlike the Cayman Islands, which are still British dependencies.

Mark- Biden is presumably an Anglophile if he pays enough attention to British politics to plagiarise Neil Kinnock.

MattLondon said...

But Grenada's head of state was (and I think still is) the Queen!