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  1. #1
    patran is offline Member
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    Default Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    Dear Teachers

    I am watching Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain, but I don't understand some of its content.

    1) What does "the land of lost content" mean? Does it mean Britain was an unhappy country?
    2) Starting in 2:10 (below link), it reads: "The secretive establishment cliques, ruled by chaps, was confronted by the impertinent publicity crazed 1960. The chaps lost the plot, and they never found again, not quite, ever since."
    Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain - Episode 2 (Pt 1) - YouTube

    Who are the "chaps" Andrew Marr refers to? And, what are the cliques?

    Please advise.

    Anthony the learner

  2. #2
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    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    1) "The land of lost content" is taken from a poem by AE Housman.

    Into my heart an air that kills
    From yon far country blows:
    What are those blue remembered hills,
    What spires, what farms are those?


    That is the land of lost content,
    I see it shining plain,
    The happy highways where I went
    And cannot come again.

    It is about the "good old days", when everything was so much better than now.... or that's how one remembers it. We were content then, but that has been lost. So, it means that many people (of my age, anyway) tend to think that Britain was a happier, more civilised country back in the 50's and 60's.

    2) "Chaps" is an old-fashioned word for men of a certain background and outlook: upper middle class; probably educated at a public school, and with conservative views. These were the people who made up the Conservative Governments between 1951 and 1964. "Establishment Cliques" refers to the fact that many of the most important bodies which run the country (Political Parties, The Judiciary, The Church, the Armed Forces and the like) were actually controlled by a very small number of "chaps" who knew one another very well, and worked together to ensure that their positions were not threatened.

    Remember that that's Andrew Marr's view, and it is not necessarily the whole picture. Cliques are not the preserve of any one political party. Some would say that Harold Wilson's Labour Government (which came to power in 1964), and the powerful Trade Unions of the time, were even more clique-ridden than the Conservatives.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
    patran is offline Member
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    Thanks Grumpy! Thanks for your reply. I have learned a lot from you!

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
    Some would say that Harold Wilson's Labour Government (which came to power in 1964), and the powerful Trade Unions of the time, were even more clique-ridden than the Conservatives.
    Possibly blokes instead of chaps.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    BTW, it's the publicity crazed 1960s (the decade)

  6. #6
    patran is offline Member
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    Thanks Tdol and Grumpy. A follow-up question, is Andrew Marr's spoken English regarded as good even if he has Scottish traces (if any?)? Please advise. Anthony the learner.

  7. #7
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    Quote Originally Posted by patran View Post
    Thanks Tdol and Grumpy. A follow-up question, is Andrew Marr's spoken English regarded as good even if he has Scottish traces (if any?)? Please advise. Anthony the learner.
    Yes, it is.

  8. #8
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Land of lost content, cliques and chaps

    I'm very pleased to see your reply, bhaisahab. One does not need an English accent to speak good English.

    Grumpy

    A Scotsman...
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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