Britishness Agenda: Special Beaver Edition

This week has been a fantastic week for Gordon Brown’s “Britishness” agenda, as two events have united the people of Britain as almost never before.

First, the people of Britain came together to support Barcelona in the final of the Champions League (with the exception of a small handful in the Northwest of England). Second, we are (almost) all of us delighted to welcome a dozen Norwegian beavers into the wild (with the exception of a small handful within fifty miles or so of the beaver-reintroduction zone in Scotland).

I’m feeling fairly patriotic this week, at any rate, certainly much more than usual.

13 Comments


  1. You will no doubt be highly distressed to hear that Simon Heffer disagrees with you on the subject of beavers – scroll down to the telltale headline ‘Bringing back the beaver was an unnatural act’.

    Quote | Posted 29 May, 2009, 9:07 pm

  2. There will also be, in about 20 years’ time, such an over-population of beavers that they will be ravaging large parts of the countryside and making life rough for more than just a few people sitting on stools by riverbanks.

    Bring it on!

    Quote | Posted 29 May, 2009, 9:20 pm

  3. I look forward to reading that ‘Heffer mugged by beaver gang’ story in 2029.

    Quote | Posted 30 May, 2009, 9:05 am

  4. As if there are any United fans in the north-west…
    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/sport/sport-headlines/dejected-man-utd-fans-make-long-journey-back-to-surrey-200905291791/

    Quote | Posted 30 May, 2009, 10:53 am

  5. It is true that Daniel Butt is from Surrey, and supports Manchester United.

    Quote | Posted 30 May, 2009, 11:25 am

  6. “Or should we simply head in the other direction, and see if we can bring back aurochs, mammoths and the odd bear here and there?”

    A classic example of a rhetorical question backfiring (but then, Heffer probably wasn’t counting Stoa-readers amongst his audience).

    Quote | Posted 30 May, 2009, 11:57 am

  7. Well, there’s recently been a “Nazi cows” aurochs-themed story in the national press:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/21/super-cows-wild-ox

    Quote | Posted 30 May, 2009, 12:10 pm

  8. Been is right. This is a smear on the decent people of the North-west. They understand that the phrase “the beautiful game” must have been invented to describe the doing which Man U got on Wednesday.

    Quote | Posted 1 June, 2009, 11:46 am

  9. Hating Man U just seems so five years ago now. Ever since Roman Abramovitch took over Chelsea, I’ve found it hard to regard the Mancs as particularly overpaid, arrogant or venial. They seem like a nice enough bunch of lads, a decent balance between home grown and international talent, and the loyalty and relationship between them and Sir Alex Ferguson is quite inspiring really.

    I think it’s called the “Lendl Effect”.

    Quote | Posted 2 June, 2009, 7:10 am

  10. I don’t think I knew about Ivan Lendl’s relationship with Sir Alex.

    Quote | Posted 2 June, 2009, 9:11 am

  11. They seem like a nice enough bunch of lads

    Even Pieface?

    I didn’t realise the estimable Phil Ball (author of “Morbo”) was temporarily back:

    the assorted Brits out here are almost universally pro-Barça. I’m not sure why the large Indian population here should be so pro-Man Utd, but my research has hardly been scientific. I may be wrong. The Brits are rather easier to read, and during the semi-final screening in a large hotel here, the hostility towards Chelsea was palpable, save for a few hardy souls sitting quietly in the corners in their blue shirts…..

    …why do people wish to be associated with Manchester United? Good question. As a kid, I wanted the romance of the Best, Law, Charlton era to rub off on me and give me some of its shine. There is an element of romance in the very phrase ‘Manchester United’, and all that some of its post-war teams have come to represent, but the international popularity of United has nothing to do with the city that the team hails from, or any resounding philosophy that the team or certain individuals may have come to express over the years.

    I think that it’s become a power thing, an association with alpha ambition, where all else are deemed unworthy of serious attention. Real Madrid, in their more powerful moments, express a similarly brutal winners-take-all sort of attitude that you are invited to either take or leave.

    Quote | Posted 2 June, 2009, 12:28 pm

  12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/8079310.stm

    Quote | Posted 2 June, 2009, 9:47 pm

  13. I got my hair cut on the morning of the match & the barber was absolutely bouncing off the walls (“What time’s it start?” “Start? It’s already started as far as I’m concerned!”) Contrary to myth, there are at least as many Reds in Manchester as City fans. It’s just that there are even more Man U fans outside Manchester.

    Quote | Posted 3 June, 2009, 12:30 pm

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