January 28, 2007

How far will Brown follow Gandhi?

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has been in India lately, mostly to watch Big Brother but also to lay down some Prime Ministerial credentials on the world stage. You see when the UK had this fangled democracy thingy we used to elect a parliament from parties with leaders. The leader of the party with the most parliamentary seats would then become Prime Minister. We're not going to do that any more. Tony Blair, the incumbent Prime Minister, is handing the job over to Gordon Brown, who is Scottish. Gordon Brown is then going to hand it to an English chap called David Cameron and David Cameron is going to hand it back to another Scottish chap. We call it the Act of Union.

Now, the point of the post. Brown's just mad about Mahatma Gandhi it seems. It's true look:
"I could never compare myself to Gandhi or those other heroes of mine but I do take inspiration from the way that they dealt with the challenges they faced when I think about how I will deal with the challenges the country and the world faces, including the security challenge," he said. "That means especially having the strength of belief and willpower to do what is difficult and right for the long-term, even when there are easier short-term options on offer."
Mahatma Gandhi must be thrilled at what is clearly an offer to abolish the State of Israel and with it antisemitism:
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French.
Now this was said in 1938 on the eve of World War II. Hitler wasn't actually available for comment on Brown's Gandhian worldview but he was none too impressed with the Mahatma, I can tell you:
I as a man of Germanic blood, would, in spite of everything, rather see India under English rule than under any other. Just as lamentable are the hopes in any mythical uprising in Egypt ... As a volkish man, who appraises the value of men on a racial basis, I am prevented by mere knowledge of the racial inferiority of these so-called “oppressed nations” from linking the destiny of my own people with theirs.
So there we have it, with Hitler out of the way and a Gandhi inspired, PM in the UK, it could be peace for our time! Hurrah and Huzzar!

Johng's contribution:
"What do you think of British Civilization?"

"we welcome the challenge which we in new Congress are enthusiastic about meeting, and want to move away from tired kneejerk forms of anti-imperialism. Its very important that Britain, as the premier world power, does not retreat from the world scene".

It doesn't quite have the same ring as "I think it would be a good idea". Also one wonders how Brown squares his praise for Gandhi with demands that we teach people to be proud of the British Empire, as opposed to being proud of our collective humanity that those days are long gone. Or perhaps ought to be.


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