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Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 in the Madison Capital Times
Brits Gleeful Over U.S. Discomfort
by John Nichols
LONDON -- Maybe America isn't ready for self-government.

So goes an amusing theory gaining wide exposure throughout Great Britain this week, where it seems that everyone is enjoying a satirical "Notice of Revocation of Independence'' addressed from authorities in London to the citizens of the Unsettled States of America.

The rest of the world continues to take perverse pleasure from reports of each new twist on America's seemingly endless presidential campaign trail -- or is it "trial''? But nowhere are folks discovering more humor in the Bush-Gore imbroglio than in the mother country that surrendered colonial dominion over the United States following the unpleasantness that began in 1776.

"In light of your failure to elect a president and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today,'' begins the notice, which received its widest circulation in recent editions of London's popular Evening Standard newspaper.

"Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over the states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy,'' the notice continues. "Your new prime minister (Tony Blair, for the 97.85 percent of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.''

As an aid to the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the revocation warrant details various rules that will take immediate effect -- all of which are rooted in long-standing sources of English annoyance with American imperfections. To wit:

"You should look up `revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up `aluminium.' Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. Generally, you should raise your `vocabulary.' Using the same 27 words interspersed with filler noises such as `like' and `you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up `interspersed.' ''

"You should learn to distinguish between English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard.''

"You will no longer be allowed to play American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as `football' is not a very good game. The 2.15 percent of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American football. Instead you should play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American football, but does not involve stopping every 20 seconds to rest or wearing full body armor like nancies).''

"You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any guff. The 97.85 percent of you who are not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys.''

"The Fourth of July is no longer a public holiday. The Seventh of November will be a new national holiday, but only in Britain. It will be called `Indecisive Day.' "

Copyright 2000 The Capital Times


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