A Brief History
On December 22, 1965, one more bit of personal freedom went the way of the passenger pigeon when a 70 mph speed limit was set on all British rural roads. Prior to this law, there had been no speed limit in Great Britain, a country that had the most cars per mile of road than any other country in the world.
Before Anglophiles get all upset, this article is not a slam on the island of Great Britain or the country known as the United Kingdom. It is merely a lamentation of some past glory that seems lost forever.
A while back a History and Headlines article ruffled some British feathers by mentioning that by the latter part of World War II, the Royal Navy was no longer the preeminent naval force in the world, a position it had held for nearly 400 years. Sorry, but that is fact. The U.S. Navy is now without any serious competition on the seas. Perhaps the seeds of decline were sown when the RN ended its long tradition of providing a drink of rum to its sailors as it had from the 17th century until July 31, 1970 (before that a gallon of beer would do). We are pretty confident in speculating that the end of the practice of flogging sailors (1881) for misdeeds was not the reason!
World War I cost most many countries nearly a generation of men lost in the prime of their youth, and their treasure coffers were spent on munitions. The UK was no exception. When World War II was over, most of the participants were once again pretty much ruined financially. Furthermore, the cost of maintaining an Empire and the military necessary to enforce its laws became too much for the UK. Plus, the world clearly was moving toward the rights of indigenous peoples (except Native Americans) to rule themselves.
The sun now sets every evening on the former British Empire as the Brits curl up and watch the BBC. Jaguar Land Rover is now owned by Tata Motors of India (after being dumped by Ford), and Rolls-Royce luxury cars now belong to Volkswagen (Germans for cryin‘ out loud! Who again lost the war?) To a large extent, the UK is now considered a lackey of the U.S., obediently going along with invasion of Iraq, for example.
Well, the military that is left may be small, but it is of the highest quality. The Brits did trounce Argentina in the Falklands War back in 1982. British weather and food is still somewhat suspect though, but perhaps global warming will fix at least one of those problems. Even Scotland came close to calling it quits; an enormous campaign in which the Scots were begged to stay kept the kingdom intact. With this all being said, Long Live the Queen! Rule Britannia and all that! Cheers!
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