David Starkey: The Feeble Nations Of Scotland, Wales And Ireland. He May Be Right.

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Pufflette | 23:24 Mon 12th Oct 2009 | News
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David Starkey might have got boos for saying this on Question Time but he does have a point and I am speaking as someone who is from one of these 'feeble' nations. I mean Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland are totally dependent on England. Ex. one in three jobs in Northern Ireland are public sector jobs, footed by tax revenue coming from places like London. And it seems like if any Welsh, Northern Irish or Scottish person is talented they head to the south of England. Examples? C.S. Lewis, Alex Ferguson, George Best (okay not the south but in England) etc.


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Talented people go where the money or power are. A talented Scottish actor would gravitate towards Hollywood, not London (yes, you, Mr Connery). A politician or footballer however would have to settle for England, since the USA isn't much interested in either profession - but even Becks tried LA. This doesn't make Scotland, Wales etc feeble, but they are clearly smaller and less populous, and therefore less wealthy, than England.
I actually found myself begrudgingly agreeing with Starkey's comments on the 'pathetic nineteenth-century notions of nationalism' (though he did say them with a degree of venom that was a bit distasteful)

Unfortunately, I think he actually failed to realise that such 'pathetic notions' are actually rather widespread - and cause more of a problem, arguably - across England as well...
And it seems that so many talented English as well as Scots have headed for the States.

Does this make us a feeble nation too?

Or is that different?
The British Union is irrelevant now we have the European Union. It made sense three centuries ago for four small nations to unite, and their combined strength and power made us equal to France and Germany.

Now there is a Union of 27 states, it is a much stronger club to belong to. I would agree with Starkey that on their own these smaller countries are feeble, but the same, but to a lesser extent could be said of England.
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ahmskunnirt, yes, he's a very fine actor. Have a look at Robin and Marian or The Wind and the Lion or The Man Who Would be King, a trio of outstanding adventure films he made in the 70s. I can't think of another Hollywood star who could have made them so memorable - not Errol Flynn, not John Wayne, not Harrison Ford.

But whether you like him or not doesn't really matter; my point was that Hollywood liked him, so he went there rather than to Wardour Street. England offers better rewards than Scotland but Hollywood offers more than both combined. In those terms England is pretty feeble itself. In other fields it isn't. It depends.
And there's his fine ability to master foreign accents like his Scottish-Irish cop in the Untouchables ;c)
And who could forget Sean in a red nappy

How did the Oscar committee mis that one?
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The English aren't embarrassed by Caine (find me one who hasn't enjoyed The Italian Job) and the Scots needn't be embarrassed by Connery. Accents are irrelevant - how do I know whether Robin Hood sounded like Connery? Why would anyone care?

Darby O'Gill and the Little People is not mediocre; it has some of the best special effects ever put on screen, even though this was well before the age of computer generated imagery. (Though I admit it wasn't Connery's finest hour.) Have a look at it sometime and try to figure out how on earth they did it in 1959.
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Yes, really. Hollywood doesn't care about accents unless they're so strong you can't hear the words, which is precisely why they were happy with Connery in The Untouchables. The audiences knew what he was saying and Scottish, Irish, who knows the difference anyway. People in Britain, all fancying themselves as little Henry Higginses, get much more upset about it - think of all the experts in 19th-century East End London who just knew Dick Van Dyke got it wrong in Mary Poppins! I'll bet not one of them had the faintest idea of how chimneysweeps actually talked in that era.

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