An Old Chestnut, Revisited

Many years ago, this little piece made the rounds on the Internet, and as often happens, I got it again in my Inbox a couple weeks or so ago.

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. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Theresa May, 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:

1. 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’).

2. 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 U.S. 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.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. 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 catsup or ketchup, but with vinegar.

9. 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.

10. 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 dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. 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).

12. 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 2.1% 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.

13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

14. 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).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. 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!

Well, the hell with that, I thought, and penned a “reply” (below the fold):



Response to H.M. Queen Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg Gotha/Windsor:

In light of your nation’s utter inability to govern according to the common-law principles established over millennia of tradition and law, and having turned the British realm into a haven for Eastern European criminals, Muslim radicals and malcontent European footballers, We the People of the United States of America hereby proclaim a “reverse takeover” of the former Mother Country. (Feel free to look up the meaning of the term in any business textbook.)

The area formerly known as the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland “(see below) will become a protectorate of the United States called “Britain” and the pathetic patchwork of stupid ancient laws and modern politically-correct laws and regulations are abolished. Henceforth, the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and the United States Code will be the official legal system of the protectorate of Britain, and your local laws will be abolished if in contradiction thereof. To whit:

The Royal Family and all titles are hereby abolished. Sorry, but we don’t allow privilege to accrue as an accident of birth. Say hello to representative democracy and the free market. (Formerly noble families, however, may be comforted by the disappearance of death duties; see the section on taxes below.)

Separatism.  Speaking of the country, Northern Ireland will be handed over to the other Irish guys in the south. If any of the Northern Irish don’t like this, they’ll be offered a one-time option to move to mainland Britain, or to other traditional Irish areas such as south Boston, Brooklyn and Chicago, as long as they realize that we treat social welfare a little differently to the way you used to – see below. If the Scots and Welsh want to create their own nation, too bad; they’re part of mainland Britain, and we don’t have the budget to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall or re-excavate Offa’s Dyke. If the Welsh or Scots feel really strongly about that, they do have the option of using the traditional way of showing displeasure at the government (see below). However, the Scots should remember Culloden; apparently, more than a few Englishmen are keen to address some “unfinished business” in that regard. All existing colonies (e.g. Australia) will be granted immediate independence – they’ve been talking about it forever, so now they’ll get their opportunity. Oh, and speaking of the other kind of separatism: the Church of England is hereby disestablished – our (and now, your) Constitution forbids all state religions. This also means that Islamic shari’a “law” cannot be incorporated into your (our) legal system, ever, and on a related note: “honour killings” are murder, and subject to the death penalty (see below).

The Houses of Parliament will be turned into your “state capitol” with elected “state senators” in the Upper House (formerly the House of Lords; remember: nobody inherits any legislative power – you have to earn it by being elected), and in the Lower House (formerly the Commons) your “state representatives” will handle all local, i.e. British legislation. As a rule, we don’t care what laws you pass, as long as they don’t conflict with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. 10 Downing Street will become the (elected) governor’s residence. For the next hundred years, your political representation in the U.S. Congress will be limited to twelve representatives (no U.S. Senators yet; we have enough Commies in the Senate already). These representatives will represent the entire British nation in the House of Representatives in Washington. The reason Britain will not be given full statehood immediately is that we need time to breed out the current welfare-state mindset in Britain. (Don’t worry; a similar “de-statism” project will be implemented in places like New York, Boston and San Francisco at the same time.) You’ll also go onto a two-year election cycle for state- and U.S. House representatives, and a four-year cycle for state senators and your state governor, just like we do. So if your elected representatives don’t represent you to your liking, toss ‘em out. You’ll have to change your political parties’ names, by the way. We know that some of your twelve U.S. representatives will be Democrats (sigh), at least to start off with; but we hope that at some point your current Conservatives will become actual conservatives and vote accordingly. We are a two-party system, so the Liberal Democrats and UKIP will in all likelihood disappear. Remember, in the U.S. system we vote for people, not parties, so for example your governor will not be elected by the winning party, but by the voters, thus increasing his accountability to the electorate. And the Scottish Parliament is hereby abolished: the Scots don’t get to have their own mini-state – traditionally, secession in the United States has not had a pleasant outcome, something to be borne in mind.

Guns, etc.  In our (and now, your) Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is extremely important as a guarantee of private safety against both criminals and government (some overlap), so you can start burning your old British firearms licences. Cabela’s, Gander Mountain and Bass Pro will be setting up shops all over Britain to help provide our new citizens with whatever guns they wish, and as much ammo as they want/can afford – no limits, no licenses. On a related note, however: say hello to very long prison sentences for really bad criminals, and the death penalty for the worst of them. For a model of how all this works, go online and look up “Texas criminal justice system”, “three strikes”, “Castle Doctrine” and “Vermont gun laws”. Please note that the freedom and right to own firearms comes with the responsibility of not acting like a dickhead or psychopath, which is why the death penalty will be reinstated with immediate effect.

Government. In general, governmental power will be devolved downward rather than centralized. Here’s an example: Over Here, we elect our judges every two years, so if you don’t like the asinine decisions made by any of your judges, just vote ‘em out and install ones who prefer, say, to put child molesters in jail for fifty years rather than send them home for tea after a mild scolding. Because we believe in devolved power, should you wish to make all Australians persona non grata other than for sporting contests, that’s your business. Your new legislative system will be based on that of Texas: in session for two months every other year; fiscally-conservative two-year balanced budgets, etc. Also like in Texas, British citizens will be allowed to carry guns into the Parliament building. This should keep your politicians respectful of their constituents who should, of course, remember that the death penalty has been reinstated. Also, there’s nothing to stop parliamentary representatives from protecting themselves by carrying guns (just like legislators do in Texas). And no, despite what the Guardian may tell you, there won’t be pitched gun battles in Parliament. Oh, and your entire Foreign Office is hereby abolished, along with most other former Cabinet portfolios, while MI5 and MI6 will become branches of the FBI and CIA respectively.

Armed Forces. Our states are not allowed to have an independent military, so H.M. Armed Forces will mostly be replaced by the British National Guard. Considering that your politicians have weakened your defense structure to somewhere around that of Rhode Island, this should not be too difficult a pill to swallow. On the other hand, your new Guard units will now have equipment which actually works, and lots of it, compared to the crap your current government makes you struggle with. Your SAS, SBS and Paras will become part of the U.S. Special Forces (hell, they practically are already), and your Royal Marines will be the new 7th U.S. Marine Division. In keeping with USMC practice, the new Marines will have to increase their strength by about 25% and start learning to shoot their own artillery and fly their own ground-support aircraft, but if anyone can figure it out, your Marines can. We like them, and so should you. Oh, and your former Royal Navy will become the U.S. 10th and 11th Carrier Groups, and will be equipped accordingly (expect roughly a doubling in size and trebling in capability; you may want to re-open the Clydeside shipyards to fulfill this need). If nothing else, this will shut the Argies up permanently, as the Falklands are now as much a part of Britain as Wessex or Kent, and therefore of the U.S. as Texas or Wyoming.

Unions. Speaking of shipyards and the concomitant dockies: Britain will become a “right-to-work” protectorate, which means that compulsory union membership will be illegal, in any field of activity. If you don’t want to join a union, don’t join, and the unions do not get to deduct dues from salaries; they’ll have to beg for money just like any other charity. On the other hand, Britain will also become a “work at will” state, which means that anyone can be fired if they screw up. The shorthand term for this system is “freedom” (get used to this, too).

Sports. We play lots of sports in the United States, and considering that soccer is about as popular Over Here as squash is Over There, we really don’t care what sports you play. (Incidentally, there is no “Ministry of Sport” in the U.S. government, because we feel that people should be able to play and support any sport they wish without the frigging government getting involved.) So if you want to keep playing cricket, rugby and other such silly stuff, we’re okay with that. (FYI, the “World Series” of baseball is so named because its original sponsor was the World newspaper, not because we think it’s the world championship.) We’ll accept the fact that American “football” is an incorrect term as the ball is seldom actually kicked; so in the name of trans-Atlantic comity we’ll rename it to something else that describes it better, like “smashmouth” or “concussionball”. The NBA and MLB have already decided to expand into Britain, so expect to see team names like “Birmingham Tigers” and “Cardiff Cardinals” shortly. Feel free to try to build football franchises à la Man United or Chelsea in mainland U.S. – but if they fail, so be it: that’s the American way.

Traffic. Forget that roundabout nonsense. They may work in small countries with only a couple hundred cars in them, but in heavily-populated areas they just plain suck. So say hello to driving on the right, left-hand drive cars (which will make driving in Europe easier, for one thing), better parking, and wider streets and highways. Also, you’ll just have to live with cars which start 99% of the time, as opposed to the woeful current British standard of ~50%.

Fuel. The former United Kingdom will probably be adopting US prices on petrol (which we have been calling gasoline) of roughly $2.50/US gallon (about one-fifth of what you Brits currently pay), because gas station owners will be able to charge whatever price they want, and with your domestic shale oil and natural gas deposits (hello, fracking!), your fuel costs are likely to plummet. Incidentally, a lot of stuff is going to become cheaper in Britain because “regulated prices” and similar price-fixing measures are illegal under U.S. law. Depending on supply and demand, though, some things may become more expensive. Get used to it.

Currency.  And speaking of money: sorry, but sterling is history. This shouldn’t be too difficult to handle as you already decimalized your currency a while back. On the positive side, you can forget about becoming part of the European Monetary System; that’s never gonna happen. Also, because no individual state may belong to a foreign government entity, or even make treaties with them, your membership of the EU is immediately revoked (forget that “triggering Article 50” nonsense). So you can recall your EU ministers forthwith and withhold all EU dues immediately. All EU passport holders resident in Britain will be deported with immediate effect, no exceptions. (Ditto any resident whose current passport ends in “-stan”, “Ireland” or “Australia”.) And speaking of stupid European institutions, you can forget all that metric crap. We use “Imperial” units (except for the aforementioned fuel gallon), and so should you, considering you invented the damn system.

Passports.  In a couple months, you’ll be able to exchange valid British passports for U.S. passports at any police station – and we should point out that under U.S. law, the falsification of such government documents carries a ten-year prison sentence. At airports and ports, the lines of entry will be designated as “U.S. Passport Holders” and “Foreign Bastards.”

Food & Drink.  We eat and drink all sorts of junk on this side of the Pond (e.g. lite beer, ugh), but we would not presume to tell people to stop consuming it. So we’ll make a series of compromises when it comes to food and drink: we’ll happily import all that excellent bitter ale, decent curry dishes and fish & chips, as long as you agree to do likewise for decent BBQ, hamburgers, salsa and coffee. (Sorry; instant coffee is hereby banned, for reasons of public health.) Oh, and expect peanut butter to become a staple instead of an expensive luxury. Finally, forget that mandatory teatime stuff; at 4p.m. GMT (10am EST) we’ll be working, and we expect you to do likewise. You might think that the time difference will be problematic, but you used to work with an Empire upon which the sun never set, so you’ll figure this one out too.

Entertainment.  Say goodbye to the BBC and television licences. Seriously. The idea that people should be charged for broadcast material is incomprehensible. All TV channels must survive on their own merits. (Our own NPR, by the way, will be likewise stripped of state funding soon.) Ditto cable TV, which will be opened up to about a dozen competitive media companies. Yeah, you’ll have to put up with inane advertising. Say hello to TiVo and on-demand programming. And similar to the bad food and drink situation: sorry, but we won’t be able to execute Simon Cowell for “crimes against music” – in a free market system, you have to take the good with the bad.

Taxes.  As you are doubtless aware, we’re having issues with our Internal Revenue Service at the moment. In the very near future, we’ll be abolishing the income tax, as well as capital gains taxes, corporate taxes and estate/inheritance taxes. All these will be replaced by a national “end user” sales tax of 10% immutably enshrined in the new 28th Amendment, which will also abolish the old 16th Amendment and the entire existing U.S. tax code. This means that the IRS in its current form will essentially cease to exist. As a U.S. protectorate, this new tax system will obviously apply to Britain as well, so wave good-bye to Internal Revenue, VAT and 65% marginal tax rates. The original unpleasantness between our two countries stemmed from stupid and iniquitous taxes, and we’re not going to make the same mistake this time.

Welfare.  Currently, welfare in the U.S. is “capped” at five years duration, total, over a person’s lifetime. When this concept was tested in several states, we found that this caused the number of welfare claimants to drop. This may cause some dismay to readers of the Guardian, but we should point out that as a result of the above tax policies, you Brits are going to have more jobs than you have people, so the objections will be moot. (Those who wish to stay permanently on welfare are in for a big surprise.) Also, your National Health Service is going to be replaced with a free-market healthcare system. Yeah, our healthcare system isn’t perfect — it will be much better once we toss ObamaCare into the trash — but the NHS really sucks green donkey dicks. On a related note: welfare and social healthcare benefits will only be paid to actual citizens, and not their extended families or just anyone who wanders into the country.

There are some more issues to be decided, but the above should give you an idea of where you’ll be headed as a U.S. protectorate. Oh, and forget all that “language purity” nonsense (e.g. spelling “color” with an added “u” and similar irrelevancies). The French are obsessed with the purity of their language, and look where it got them. We have enough important stuff to deal with (e.g. destroying council estates and building a few dozen new prisons on several currently-uninhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides) without worrying about minutiae.

And speaking of minutiae, you can keep the Union Jack as your new state flag: we like the red, white and blue just fine.

This communiqué has been sponsored by The Coca-Cola Corporation.

Postscript: I ran this past a true-blue Brit friend prior to posting it, and his comment was: “I shall await the arrival of my new overlords on the beach, carrying a tray of martinis.”


  1. Heh. Of course, should this happen, Alberta would also probably want to join the USA as well.

  2. Fun bunch of posts, Kim! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    Speaking of old chestnuts…are you working on any kind of update for your classic anti-beta male rant, “Pussification”? So much ripe material out there these days…

    1. Norma, probably not. A lot of the references in the essay have become dated, and upgrading it via a new edition seems like too much work. Let it stand as a product of its time…

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