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One Day In History entry

I got a taxi home from work tonight because the weather had markedly deteriorated from when I left the flat. Then, it was light fabric trousers and a thin jacket weather; now it's stay indoors if you don't want to drown weather. Just as well I did, because if I'd got a bus, I'd have been stuck for hours in traffic - I'd forgotten about the Celtic v Benfica game. Celtic appear to have won, which means Glasgow will see the celebratory smashing up of everything in sight, as opposed to the commiseratory smashing up of everything in sight. I feel I should write about something other than rain and violence in relation to Glasgow, but that seems to be what's on offer, tonight.

The One Day in History website has Scotland and Northern Ireland in their "county" options, ironically displaying a remarkable ignorance of not only geography but history. For the past 299 years, there's been little that will annoy Scots more than people thinking that their country is a constituent part of England. Next year is the 300th anniversary of the ratification of the Act of Union between England and Scotland. In 1707, most of the Scottish population was against the union - it was pushed through by the aristocracy. Spies, including Daniel Defoe (oddly), were hired to inform on people demonstrating or arguing against the union. Defoe wrote that the hostility he and his fellow travellers met was "because they were English and because of the Union, which they were almost universally exclaimed against". Things haven't changed that much, though these days most people manage to be hostile towards the Union without being hostile towards the English people. There's a pretty good possibility that the pro-independence SNP will be the largest party in Holyrood after the Scottish Parliament elections next year, thanks mostly to the UK Labour party driving traditional Labour voters away in their droves. Independence supporters might even have a majority, since the Green Party, the SSP and Solidarity (eek!) all support Scottish independence. And since we have proportional representation, the smaller parties actually return enough MPs to have an impact on things.

I seem to have spent the last few weeks arguing with people on various forums about Muslims, and how they're really not trying to take over the country, and also are not the Borg. I don't really understand how people can think that all Muslims have exactly the same beliefs, the same opinions and the same behavioural habits. I don't expect them to either know many Muslims or do any research (bigots don't tend to, for some reason), but you'd think they'd realise that some Muslims are Sunni and some are Shia; some women wear niqabs, some wear burkhas, some wear headscarves and some don't wear any head-coverings; some dislike the West and some are proud to be employed by the BBC. All of these facts are staring them in the face in the very news reports they're using to denigrate Islam, yet they still don't seem to take it in. I'm heartened, though, by the number of people who'll try and change the bigots' minds, make them provide evidence for their rants, and generally make it clear that not all Brits think like the Daily Mail.

This entry is for the One Day In History website, and consequently is affected by the Hawthorne Effect, where people's behaviour changes if they know they're being observed. I don't usually use this many semi-colons.


(Just been looking at some of the entries on the website, and I seem to be the only person who didn't start by telling them when I got up, and then, ideally, what subjects I had at school. Oh, well.)

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Comments

( 7 comments — Comment )
zotz
Oct. 18th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
I don't really understand how people can think that all Muslims have exactly the same { . . . ]

I suspect a lot of people think that if there'd be a different word for them if they differed that much. Which there is, but . . .

Hmm. "We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges"
pickwick
Oct. 18th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah...it's all a bit strange. I like that quote.
kaiserdad
Oct. 18th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
"I don't really understand how people can think that all Muslims have exactly the same"

I don't think many British people do think that, it is just that there is no way of knowing which are happy to be here as free thinking contributors to our way of life and indoctrinated Anti-west Muslim bigots who want to change it, they frighten people!
bunnyk
Oct. 18th, 2006 06:50 am (UTC)
I didn't start by saying when I got up and what I did at school either :-p I was a leetle confused by Scotland and Northern Ireland being counties, but just thought of it as someone being too bloody lazy to sort them out properly *grin*

Nice entry :) I really *hate* the way that people think that all Muslims are identikit copies of each other, too - really gets up my nose. Fortunately for my piece of mind, I'm not around people like that very often. There is a lad at work who's completely against homosexual men, and he makes me laugh, because he seems to assume that they all *want* him! Err... *laugh*
pickwick
Oct. 18th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
Ha, yes they're my favourite kind of homophobes, the guys that think all gay men will want to have sex with them immediately, and will follow them into pub toilets to get it :o)
a_pawson
Oct. 18th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
Came across this cartoon the other day. I don't know exactly how, but I imagine the muslim religion is similarly fragmented, and it amazes me that people don't belive this is the case.



There again people keep referring to Britain as a Christian country, a statement I would dispute nowadays.
pickwick
Oct. 18th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
Heh, yes, I saw that too, and I think you're right about Islam being similarly fragmented.

As an atheist I've been arguing with people about Britain being a Christian country too, and sending them off to look at census stats a lot :o)
( 7 comments — Comment )

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