It’s officially the 4th of July now in the UK – so Happy Independence Day across the pond – and I hope you lot are looking after the old place or we may have to rescind the Declaration of Independence, I fully expect you all to leave the place in just as good a condition as you found it ;p
I was in NYC during 4th July 2009 and sadly had to leave that evening but as the plane took off it banked around in a low circle and we all were rewarded with a magical view of hundreds, if not thousands, of firework going off from private parties and official events, it was something special to witness (and I’m trying to convince myself that it was to celebrate Independence and not the fact that the US was finally getting rid of The London Leprechaun!)
Today, Monday, 4th July is just another normal working day here in London and it’s weird to think that I shall be slaving over a hot computer coding away whilst across the pond flags will be out and parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies (thank you Wikipedia!) will be the order of the day. Well… when I say slaving I mean in-between tea breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, social rounds, cake rounds, biscuit rounds and general tomfoolery but I’m almost certain I might be able to squeeze in some work as well!
(My beasties asked me earlier what I’m reading about and I said ‘Independence Day’ and they both groaned and said we’ve already seen it! You can tell they are not American.)
It’s also a bit weird that you lot are all celebrating the 4th of July as really that’s two days late, in reality the legal separation from Great Britain happened on the 2nd of July, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence, but you all know this anyway, don’t you, you were paying attention in history class and not making gooey eyes at the boy sitting next to you?
After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
(Don’t ya just love Mr Google & Wikipedia!?)
Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.
It’s an anachronism that seems to pass some Americans by, ‘official’ Independence day was the 2nd July 1776 but everyone calls the 4th July Independence Day, however, I mustn’t grumble, Christmas isn’t really on the actual date of Christ’s birth and the Queen has two birthdays, the public one and her private one so I suppose it’s OK for you lot to be a bit soft on dates too and at least you manage to arrange your big celebrations in the middle of summer and nice weather where-as we seem to have all ours during the rainy season aka Spring, Autumn and Winter (and a large part of summer!).
What I did find spooky was that in a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, you see, with the benefit of hindsight they might have made it the 31st of December and maybe squeezed six more months out’a life ;)
Oh, found this link, seems the folk in Doncaster can’t get enough history, so they swipe some of yours too ;)
Anyway, you will have all seen this extremely (and without a doubt) genuine document from years ago when America couldn’t decide between Bush and Gore
(BTW, you picked the wrong one!)
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
1. Look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour’, ‘favour’, ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise’. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of -ize.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables but still use pints and miles because we like to confuse everyone.
Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with ketchup but with vinegar.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don’t try rugby – the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 5.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!
(And let the flank begin! )
Oh and HAPPY FOURTH JULY :)