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Stannis Eats No Peaches

UK Politics: The End of May

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3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I think they missed an obvious point on British views on history: history is not a mandatory subject in British secondary schools, so most young people (and most people full stop, it's been this way since the late 1980s) get their view of history from primary school lessons which tend to focus on WWII, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and a distinct, "Hoo rar, the British are awesome" view of things. 

So you have a huge number of people in this country whose knowledge of their national history is pretty much Normans - Henry VIII sticking it to the Pope - Empire - the UK cock-punching Hitler with only minimal help from the US and Russia - Falklands. That creates a pretty warped view of the country's history. A lot of people are also bizarrely ignorant of recent history: a pro-Brexiter in an office job I did last year angrily asked why Britain should accept Syrian refugees and I pointed out that the UK and US had to take some responsibility for the rise of ISIS from how they handled the Iraq War and its aftermath, and they were completely confounded at the idea there was any kind of casual link between the two events.

I'm not even sure you get anything about the Normans any more. In my classes at the university in Nebraska where I teach, I have had several students from the UK who are here on scholarships while playing for our soccer ("football") teams.  When I talk about my expertise on names in my classes, I often mention the language change that started with the Norman invasion, and tend to start that off by asking students if they know what happened in 1066. The British students I've had the last 15 years have been no more likely than the Americans to know why 1066 is an important date. 

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So who here was among the thousands of people cheering in the streets for Trump?

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52 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I think they missed an obvious point on British views on history: history is not a mandatory subject in British secondary schools, so most young people (and most people full stop, it's been this way since the late 1980s) get their view of history from primary school lessons which tend to focus on WWII, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and a distinct, "Hoo rar, the British are awesome" view of things. Secondary schools teach History (as an option subject) to a higher standard and start looking at things like the incompetence of WWI and the evils of colonialism, but you have to wait until college to delve deeply into things like Anglo-Irish relations and Suez. It doesn't help that the study of History seems to have been discouraged in recent decades in favour of "more practical" courses.

So you have a huge number of people in this country whose knowledge of their national history is pretty much Normans - Henry VIII sticking it to the Pope - Empire - the UK cock-punching Hitler with only minimal help from the US and Russia - Falklands. That creates a pretty warped view of the country's history. A lot of people are also bizarrely ignorant of recent history: a pro-Brexiter in an office job I did last year angrily asked why Britain should accept Syrian refugees and I pointed out that the UK and US had to take some responsibility for the rise of ISIS from how they handled the Iraq War and its aftermath, and they were completely confounded at the idea there was any kind of casual link between the two events.

I imagine it would caused him an aneurysm if you'd drawn that line all the way back to how Britain and the USA carved up the middle East post WWI to share out the oil spoils of war.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

So you have a huge number of people in this country whose knowledge of their national history is pretty much Normans - Henry VIII sticking it to the Pope - Empire - the UK cock-punching Hitler with only minimal help from the US and Russia - Falklands. 

Is there nothing about the colonization of South Asia? 

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3 hours ago, Raja said:

Is there nothing about the colonization of South Asia? 

The only mention of any kind of European colonialism in the average British school is when we learn that the Aztecs died because of the Spanish. The British Empire vaguely gets mentioned in the background of studying the Victorians but it's generally presented as a jolly old jape and boasts over how big it was.

That's the reason that so many British people are genuinely confused when they're exposed to the idea that the rest of the world doesn't think we're that great.

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Posted (edited)

I did two years of A-Level History in a boarding school in Wales, about two decades ago, so I don't know if the system changed.

Now, the first thing that was remarkable, that out of maybe 40 pupils we were only 3(!) choosing History for A-Level. The only subjects with even less pupils were Greek (1) and Latin (2). Even French was chosen more often (4). So even amongst a rather priviledged set of young people, for the vast majority, History education stops at GCSE-Levels. Which was IMO rather appalling. Now, I have to say that we had excellent teachers, there's no doubt about that. Being a small group and having two dedicated history teachers did a lot to open my eyes to the complexity of history, how things like economy, religion, social systems interact with plain old chance and individual psychology. I found it fascinating and enriching and that makes so much more of a loss for all those who didn't chose history.

The second, very remarkable thing, was the choice of subjects during those 2 years of A-Level:

Roughly speaking, we concentrated on Renaissance Europe with concentration on the conflict between Britain and Spain, English domestic struggles and the Bourbon/Habsburg conflict, the 30 years war and the later rise of Prussia in the context of the Northern war.  And Nazi Germany. Lots of it.

Colonialism was only interesting insofar as we looked at how Spains economy changed as a result of the great amounts of silver mined in South America and how they got into conflict with Britain. British colonialism in Northern America, not really interesting.  I can tell you about the education of the Habsburgs and how that shaped their view of the religious conflict and role of Richelieu, Mazarin and Colbert at the French court, but British colonialism in the 18th and 19th century? Nah, let's focus on why and how the Spanish invasion failed.

 

Had my teenage self been a little more observant and aware, these two years would have made a fascinating anthropological field study...

Edited by Alarich II

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Posted (edited)

History when I was at school.  - I did my GCSE's in 94

we did a bit about the Romans and Boudica,  Alfred the Great, spent 1 or maybe 2 lessons on 1066 and the Norman conquest.  Henry and Elizabeth, Sir Frances Drake Briefly mentioned the slave trade and how terrible it was, and how wonderful it was that We put a stop to it.  English Civil war (might be mainly due to our history teacher being a civil war re-enactor) Very briefly touched WW1 trenches.   Oh we also did guy fawlks - as in the plot itself and not the reason for it other than they where Catholics and didn't want a Protestant King. Then it was options aged 13-14 time where History now became optional.  History at GSCE the optional History was either focused on the Tudors,  or Modern World history which I took.  that was 80% Post WW1 - WW2.  the rest was Cuban missile crisis, assasination of JFK.  and Russia - end of the Tzar's Lenin and Stalin.

Edited by Pebble

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9 hours ago, Raja said:

Is there nothing about the colonization of South Asia? 

I learned more about colonialism in my law degree than i ever did in History. I also did A-level geography which included a world development module and we learned about the impact of colonialism on development, but this was largely Africa. I barely recall learning anything about Asia in history...we might have briefly learned about the Silk Road? 

@Ormond, i’m surprised so few seemed to know anything of 1066, certainly when i was in secondary school we spent quite a long time on that. This was fairly early in secondary school i suppose, aged 11-12 but i’d have thought most would remember.

My experience, similar to Pebbles but 2007-12. Romans, Boudicca, 1066 (our school spent longer on this, seemingly), Henry VIII, some plague stuff, The Victorian Era, with the British Empire touted as something grand and great and not looked at critically at all. There was some local history iirc where we looked at local historical figures. Gunpowder plot. A bit of WWI.

i didnt take History as an option but i believe it was pretty much all WWII at my school

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I did History for A Level from 1983-85, , essentially the Industrial Revolution,  Britain and Europe from 1815 to 1848, and Tudor England.  I wouldn't say that my course glossed over the nastier aspects of those periods.

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Posted (edited)

I went to a British International School for my Secondary and early HS and we had History class, but it was all William the Conqueror, Renaissance, some world history and then A whole lot of WWI, League of Nations, Treaty of Versailles, etc. etc. and then some Nazi Germany and WW2. For some reason, we skipped the Victorian and Colonial Era. 

Edited by Br16

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Somewhat curiously, the final year of high-school History here is literally just England 1558-1660 (so Elizabeth I, the early Stuarts, Cromwell and friends, and the Restoration. They really should extend that out to 1688, what with the parliamentary sovereignty thing being the entire justification for such concentration).

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Channeling the 4 Yorkshire men: You were lucky (vis-a-vis education on British History). We got basically no NZ history taught to us at school except our involvement in the Boer War, WWI and WWII, which is all largely British perspective anyway. NZ history is very short, but still very impactful for us.

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4 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Channeling the 4 Yorkshire men: You were lucky (vis-a-vis education on British History). We got basically no NZ history taught to us at school except our involvement in the Boer War, WWI and WWII, which is all largely British perspective anyway. NZ history is very short, but still very impactful for us.

IIRC, the only NZ History we did in high-school History was New Zealand Foreign Policy 1945-1985 (plus Social Studies on the Treaty of Waitangi). The rest was stuff like the origins of WWI and WWII, Ireland 1880-1920, Israel and Palestine 1914-1967, China 1911-1949, and Stalin's Russia.

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The odds for the Peterborough by-election have shifted dramatically in the last hour. Labour have come in from 4/1 to 1/4. You can get 2/1 on the fascists.

 

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Labour wins. In your face, Farage.

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2 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Labour wins. In your face, Farage.

Looking at the numbers, it seems that this has less to do with Labour, and more to do with the Conservative candidate retaining just enough Leave voters to deny the Brexit Party the win.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

Looking at the numbers, it seems that this has less to do with Labour, and more to do with the Conservative candidate retaining just enough Leave voters to deny the Brexit Party the win.

Objectively, the Conservative performance was appalling (their vote share was down 24%).  But, it was not as appalling as I thought it would be (I thought it their vote share would be more like 10% than 22%, which would have given TBP an easy win.  Plainly, there are a lot of people who will give their votes to TBP at EU election level, but stick with the Conservatives at Parliamentary level.

Overall, the changes in vote shares (Con -24%, Lab-17%, TBP +28%, Lib Dems +9%) are very much in line with current opinion polls.

Just as a bit of fun, if you put the shifts into Electoral Calculus, you get TBP 332, Lab 206, Lib Dem 30, SNP 56, Con 7.

Edited by SeanF

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3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

Looking at the numbers, it seems that this has less to do with Labour, and more to do with the Conservative candidate retaining just enough Leave voters to deny the Brexit Party the win.

Was it though?

Surely the story here is about those fabled Labour Leave voters. If they had been prepared to defect to nu-UKIP in the same numbers as the Tories did, Labour would have lost. But they were not. That's at least as valid a narrative as the one centring the Conservative voters who stuck with their party.

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