Coffee House

David Cameron’s Small Island songs

6 September 2013

3:21 PM

6 September 2013

3:21 PM

In response to some snarky comments from Russia about Britain, the Prime Minister has just released this bizarre statement on his Google+ page about how he feels about our country:

‘Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience.

‘Britain is an island that has helped to clear the European continent of fascism – and was resolute in doing that throughout World War Two.

‘Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport currently played around the world, that still today is responsible for art, literature and music that delights the entire world.

‘We are very proud of everything we do as a small island – a small island that has the sixth-largest economy, the fourth best-funded military, some of the most effective diplomats, the proudest history, one of the best records for art and literature and contribution to philosophy and world civilisation.

‘For the people who live in Northern Ireland, I should say we are not just an island, we are a collection of islands. I don’t want anyone in Shetland or Orkney to feel left out by this.

‘I’m thinking of setting this to music…

UPDATE: David Cameron was asked about his statement at the G20 summit, and took the opportunity to repeat his fulsome praise for Britain. Listen to what he said below.

[Alt-Text]


We’ve put our heads together at Old Queen Street and put together some suitable songs that would go alongside this statement. For your listening pleasure: Elgar, Elvis Costello, Vera Lynn and The Clash:

Any other suitable songs? Let us know below.


More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.



Show comments
  • dougthedug

    “If I start talking about this ‘blessed plot, this sceptred isle, this England’, I might have to put it to music, so I think I’ll leave it there.”

    …is this the bit of Cameron’s speech you left out in case it upset the Welsh and Scots on this island?

    • Kennybhoy

      Does it upset you?

  • paulus

    We have nothing to be ashamed of and our Country is not shameful.Not everything lives up to the highest standard, for these men were trapped in their own mindset, but everything that was decent in the World was due to their efforts. That is not a shameful legacy

  • Mynydd

    The man has lost the plot. The rest of the world judge Great Britain and Northern Island by what it has done in one’s own life time. They saw the British army on the streets of Belfast fighting (successfully) a rebel army (supported by Americans), yet condemn Assad for doing the same. They saw the UK invade Iraq without UN approval, and are now making plans to take military action against Syria, again without UN approval. They see Mr Cameron flying around the world selling arms to government’s known to have used them against their own people. Me thinks it’s time for the men in grey suits, or in white coats.

  • Lady Magdalene

    How about “England Swings”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWB1Sqsx1jo

    It might remind Cameron what England used to be like when we still ruled ourselves and before we allowed the 3rd world to migrate here.

  • BigAl

    What did the Romans ever do for us?……

  • Tim Reed

    David Gilmour – Sonnet 18

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zxpUYPo_MY

  • Bonkim

    Britain’s main contribution – Small island, and 2% of world population, but ideas that took root and then spread all round the world.

  • Robert Taggart

    Blighty need have no fear of the Russkies – they be at best a semi-civilised country / peoples by European standards.

  • Dan Grover

    HAHAHA One Direction. Amazing. I literally laughed out loud when that popped up shortly after Elgar and The Clash.

  • wobble

    Channelling his inner Boris Johnson,…. but with less panache.

  • 700islands

    What about “From Russia With Love”…?

    Russia is a huge place and Britain is just a collection of rocks. Russia’s population is a strapping “official” 143 million and Britain is a modest 63.1 million. Funny then, Mr. Putin, that Britain has the world’s 6th largest economy with a GDP of 2.4 Trillion per annum in 2013 according to the IMF, while Russia crosses the line in 8th place with 2 Trillion, just sneeking into the G8 by a hair. Well done there.

    Perhaps Mr. Putin should wrestle less large fish and get on with sorting out his mess of a nation?

    I often think Britain’s place in the world has less to do with punching above our weight and more to do with other nation’s punching under theirs.

    But here are some more British songs, this time for Mr. Putin:

    Back In The USSR – The Beatles
    Accept Yourself – The Smiths
    Sympathy For the Devil – The Stones
    Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
    Cities In The Dust – Siouxsie & The Banshees

    Corrupt – Depeche Mode
    Crazy – both the Seal one and the Gnarles Barkley one.
    Custard Pie – Led Zeppelin
    Darklands – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da – The Police
    Death – White Lies
    Death And All His Friends – Coldplay
    Death of a Disco Dancer – The Smiths
    Death of Fiona – John Barry
    Demolitian Man – The Police
    Der Kommissar – After the Fire
    Disintegration – The Cure
    Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club
    Dominion / Mother Russia – Sisters of Mercy
    Freakshow – The Cure
    From The Ritz to the Rubble – Arctic Monkeys
    Going Nowhere – Oasis
    Half A Person – The Smiths again
    (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Stones.

  • Radford_NG

    To paraphrase what we sang in the Boy’s Brigade (when Skip was not around): “Cameron has only got one ball (point pen) / Cameron has only got one ball/ Obama is mighty similar / And cleggie doesn’t have one at all.”

    • Radford_NG

      The above to `Colonel Bogey` by Lt. F.J Ricketts (aka Kenneth Alford).

  • Hexhamgeezer
  • Rockin Ron

    Let’s just examine those platitudes in a bit more detail:

    Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a
    country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience.

    Japan, another small nation, would be a good contender.

    ‘Britain is an island that has helped to clear the European continent
    of fascism – and was resolute in doing that throughout World War Two.

    It was Russia who put an end to fascism.

    ‘Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has
    invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport
    currently played around the world, that still today is responsible for
    art, literature and music that delights the entire world.

    Cameron’s predecessor’s were in favour of slavery. It took the efforts of one man, over 20 years, to turn the tide.

    ‘We are very proud of everything we do as a small island – a small
    island that has the sixth-largest economy, the fourth best-funded
    military, some of the most effective diplomats, the proudest history,
    one of the best records for art and literature and contribution to
    philosophy and world civilisation.

    You can’t be proud about being 6th and 4th, a history mired in blood and conquest and largely ignorant about the contribution of other nations.

    ‘For the people who live in Northern Ireland, I should say we are not
    just an island, we are a collection of islands. I don’t want anyone in
    Shetland or Orkney to feel left out by this.

    Northern Ireland – we need say no more.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      Japan, another small nation, would be a good contender
      Yes, if Cameron were Japanese he might have said that.

      It was Russia who put an end to fascism.
      I’m sure even you could agree that Britain helped, which is what Cameron said.

      Cameron’s predecessor’s were in favour of slavery…
      So what?

      …It took the efforts of one man, over 20 years, to turn the tide.
      Many more than one man, but I do believe this one man and the others were British (as regards the British contribution, I know France were ahead of the game on this one)

      You can’t be proud about being 6th and 4th
      Yes you can, easily and about millions of things; what he quoted was some of those things. If your son came 4th in an Olympic final would you be proud?

      …a history mired in blood and conquest
      Bit like Japan then…

      and largely ignorant about the contribution of other nations.
      Patent rubbish

      Northern Ireland – we need say no more
      We? But please, say more Rockin Rob.

  • Smithersjones2013

    I may not support him but there is nothing bizarre about Cameron responding the bitter musings of some no doubt vodka sodden bureaucrat. After all other than the misery that the Russian elite have meted out on the Russian people for centuries the only thing Russia has given to the rich fabric of global culture is vodka and for a country with such a miserable history, its little wonder that their only real claim to fame (other than some relatively minor classical composers) is a liquid that is intended to send you into a stupor…….

    No wonder so many of their womenfolk flee their country in search of a better life elsewhere……

    You can add ‘English Rose’ by the Jam to that list…..’

  • Steve Lloyd

    Land of hopeless Tories.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      They’re hardly Tories now, are they?

      • Steve Lloyd

        Point conceded.

  • Terry Song

    A baseless statement out of pure jealousy, a luxury reserved for empty-headed and hormone-drive secondary school children. Somehow the Russian president thought he could indulge in such rubbish really begs the question, does he receive his policies from American high school drama?
    No wonder Russian riches are moving their wealth to the Great Britain, the collection of small islands that everyone adores.

  • Colonel Mustard

    He’s all heart but it might be better to use his head a bit more often.

    This is all a bit like international diplomacy does Twitter.

  • London Calling

    Knee’s up Mother Brown…………Number 15

  • Kennybhoy

    Props to whoever chose “The Village Green Preservation Society” by The Kinks, although I would have gone for “Autumn Almanac”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3AMWc6t3cc

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

    Eh? Randy Newman’s Short People?

    • Alexandrovich

      Putin.

  • dmitri the impostor

    No thanks to you. Poland. Stock Aitken and Waterman.

    In no particular order.

  • plmac

    Ignoring the Russian comments would have been far more effective. Instead he sounds like Vicky Pollard.

    • David Lindsay

      And Catherine Tate’s Luaren, ending his “yeah but no but” with “I ain’t bovvered!”

      Well, no one in any country on earth, including his own, is bovvered about him, either.

  • BoiledCabbage

    One can understand the Russian position – they killed [under Stalin] 30 million of their own people, and [from 1945 to 89] kept 150 million people under their shaking fist, so even a few hundred thousand dead in Syria using WMD is, for them, not worth the cap on a vodka bottle.

    • Russell

      Surprising that no journalist had the bottle to ask Putin if he felt all military action without UN approval is so important, why did he invade Georgia without it!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, but it’s not a question of bottle. Those “journalist” muppets don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

      • Rockin Ron

        Georgia is historically part of Russia. We do not have any such links with Syria and neither does America.

        • David Lindsay

          Not quite right, but Abkhazia and South Ossetia were certainly parts of Russia, not actually run by Georgia at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union that had reallocated them to Georgia on a whim.

          Georgia attacked South Ossetia with a view to exterminating its population of Russian-speaking Russian passport-holders, and paid the price.

          • No1important

            Er I’m am not sure they had extermination in mind and I do believe there had been many attacks coming out of South Ossetia, hence why there were already Russian peace keepers there supposed to be keeping the peace, although it seems they may have been at best turning a blind eye.

            But yeah other than painting a completely one sided distorted picture you are spot on.

            • Russell

              I worked in Georgia, in an oil terminal near Poti, and there was a lot of trouble at the time with Ossetians shooting at buses etc. The terminal had a permanent Georgian army guard around it (no matter they were next to useless conscripts). Georgia had to try something to prevent the constant incursions.

              • David Lindsay

                If South Ossetia was part of Georgia, as was the Georgian claim, then how could they have been incursions?

                • br1spina

                  Georgia have been invaded at the same moment algeria was taken by the french, it stayed a russian tsarist then sovietic colony for all that years. When the decolonisation movment started, it didn’t apply to central europe countries of course. Algeria liberated, georgia had to wait 25 years more… Russians are invaders, they didnt evolve since then.

              • No1important

                Indeed Russell I was making the point that it was the South Ossetian’s that instigating the violence and not the Georgians. And now you have given us a first hand account

                And I made the exact same point about Putin invading without an UN mandate in a comment a few days ago.

                As for David Lindsay below, South Osssetia was part of Georgia, however the population saw itself as more aligned with Russia and wanted to cede from Georgia and they started to employ violence to do so. The Russians moved in a the pretext of keeping the peace but did nothing to stop attacks on Georgians by the South Ossetians.

                Eventually the Georgians decided to go in to South Ossetia in an effort to stop the attacks, it was not a smart move (although Mikheil Saakashvili was probably gambling that the USA would protect Georgia from a Russian invasion) especially when they killed some Russian soldiers. This gave the Russians the excuse they had been looking for to come in force on the pretext to “protect civilians”, however they then proceeded to invade Georgia and continued to advance on Tbilisi even after a cease fire had been agreed.

                Infact they only stopped and pulled back into South Ossetia and Abkhazia after Hillary Clinton phoned Sergei Lavrov and said they would be sending supplies via ship into Georgia and would defend those supplies.

                Strangely the Russians use the humanitarian protection argument to circumvent the UN when it is in their interests.

                David next time get the complete story before you post.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          You’ll find a fair population of Syrians in the US (as with most Mideast nations), a large portion of them Christian but some Muslims as well.

        • Russell

          England is historically part of Italy….so what!
          Georgia had been a recognised Independent country for years when Putin invaded (without UN approval and therefore illegally by his own definition)

  • David Lindsay

    What’s wrong with being a small island?

    Small islands are very loyal to Britain (not only the United Kingdom, but all except one of the remaining British Overseas Territories and all of the Crown Dependencies; the other Overseas Territory is also small, and is bounded on three sides by the sea) and all but two of the remaining Commonwealth Realms (one of which is a very big island).

    Small islands get left alone, and they get leave everywhere else alone. What’s wrong with that?

    • ButcombeMan

      What is wrong with the comments by Putin is that Russia is a nation in decline, people do not emigrate in droves to Russia wanting to live there, its language is in decline where people now have a choice. Putin even said so himself in 2012

      The UK, small geographically or not, is a place that plainly people want to live, even a lot of Russians. There are many reasons for that, it is not our weather.

      The UK continues, despite Hague & Cameron, to punch slightly above its weight. Of course if they were more competent, it could do better. Russia could not.

      • David Lindsay

        He has touched a very raw nerve, hasn’t he?

        But the Dower House now suits Britain down to the ground. France could join her here soon enough, after her one last fling in Syria.

        • ButcombeMan

          I agree yes he has. I am surprised Cameron felt the need to respond to such a puerile remark made plainly because of Putin’s constant need to create and reinforce impressions of him and of Russia. He knows the inadequacy of both.

          Imagine how the press here would have treated Cameron if he had “found” ancient artifacts placed for him, while diving off the Cornish coast!

          Brtitish superiority and attraction as a home is self evident. Even the French are recognising it.

          Calmness in a crisis is our best asset along with an irreverent ability not to take anything too seriously (unless you are a Guardian Reader or socialist that is).

          The US is very different, even hysterical sometimes. Switzerland too boring, Germany without humour, France, well, the French & their officialdom etc etc

          We all moan…. but … our grass is greener than we often acknowledge.

          • Shinsei1967

            And if he didn’t reply (to a direct question) he would have been accused of being an out-of-touch Bullingdon boy who failed to stand up for his country.

            • ButcombeMan

              Yes he had to reply at the press conference and gave his well prepared answer. It was not too bad.

              But i still think the press have spent too much time on the issue without examining why a Russian would have said it. (Apparently it was not Putin himself).

              I suspect that most Russians, like most US citizens, actually know very little of the world outside their large countries. What they do know is filtered through their media if they do not read English.

              In my travels in the one time USSR States, all I have found is overwhelmingly relief to be out from under the Russian hammer & sickle. That says it all.

      • Noa

        “The UK, small geographically or not, is a place that plainly people want
        to live, even a lot of Russians. There are many reasons for that, it is
        not our weather.”

        Unfortunately the people who are moving to live here are not people who want to share the UK with us.

      • Daniel Maris

        Not sure you’re right there Butty – according to this table Russia has the second largets immigrant population in the world, after the USA.

        http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/imm_imm_pop_num_of_imm-immigration-immigrant-population-number-immigrants

        • ButcombeMan

          On the decline I was quoting Putin himself-here:
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4757261.stm

          The other (your reference) reference is to percentage of immigrants IN the population.

          That is not the same thing. Is there evidence that immigrants are STILL flocking to Russia?

          Get Googling, this issue is too minor for me to bother.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here