THE GOOD ENGLISH EMPIRE?

A completely different animal from the British one, now dead, but being carted about on the sagging shoulders of reesmogg-johnson and his ilk.

No – this is about the benevolent neo-empire of the English language, which, whatever other Europeans may like to think, is the lingua franca of … just about everywhere … and of Europe in particular.

Watch any statement from any of the players in the Euro-firmament as they make their opinions known to the world, and with vanishingly few exceptions, they will do so in English. In some cases, better English than the British. Certainly more easily comprehensible than, say, growling Weegie or adenoidal Scouse. And definitely better than the Belfast snarl. Sure, some of the Europeans do their English in accents of their home nations, but with rare exceptions those are tinged with charm. Give me Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister over the noise made by Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland, any day.

It is one of the gross ironies of the EU situation that the country whose home language is English now seems to be intent on finding a way to distance itself from Europe, screwing up almost everything that is contingent upon close cooperation, only to leave behind one of the things that matters most in life – clear verbal communication. It would serve us right if the sans-British Europeans were to decide “to hell with English, we’ll all learn to speak German and French properly”. Thereby stretching still further, the umbilical cord that binds the British Isles to mainland Europe. Stretching it until the reesmogg-johnsons hear it snap and rejoice in their hollow victory, dancing in the ruins of once Great but becoming Little Britain.

It is of course very largely down to the Americans that English is such a universal language. The War, you know. The American speak a form of English, but only a form thereof. Full of unfamiliar vocabulary, odd turns of phrase, annoyingly nasal sounds from American women. Very different from British English, and again with some exceptions, the Europeans speak the British version because Britain is European. If Britain does leave the EU, a prospect which now seems increasingly unlikely despite the best low-punching of the reesmogg-johnsons, time and usage will see English gradually become Eurish without the gently corrective influence of Brits around the tables. That would be a pity among all the rest of the sad things that would happen if Britain were to leave the EU.

So don’t let it happen. Shout for that second referendum. Vote to stay, and put the whole Cameron-catastrophe behind us.

P.S. Just watched the final episode about Rembrandt. Six experts sitting around a table discussing the final days of the great painter. Discussing in fluent, idiomatic, perfect English. No subtitles, no disembodied voices.

All six are Dutchmen and women. QED

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