Somewhere along the way a quintessentially British sense of self-deprecation curdled into a psychologically unhealthy self-loathing. A typical foot-of-the-page news item from The Daily Telegraph:
A leading college at Cambridge University has renamed its controversial colonial-themed Empire Ball after accusations that it was “distasteful.” The £136-a-head Emmanuel College ball was advertised as a celebration of “the Victorian commonwealth and all of its decadences.
Students were urged to “party like it’s 1899” and organisers promised a trip through the Indian Raj, Australia, the West Indies, and 19th century Hong Kong. But anti-fascist groups said the theme was “distasteful and insensitive” because of the British Empire’s historical association with slavery, repression and exploitation.
The Empire Ball Committee, led by presidents Richard Hilton and Jenny Unwin, has announced the word “empire” will be removed from all promotional material.
The way things are going in Britain, it would make more sense to remove the word “balls.”