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tv   The Chris Matthews Show  NBC  April 24, 2011 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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predecessors celebrated our special relationship. he described it in a message on thanksgiving, 1944, toward the closing year of the war. >> this union of action which has been forced upon us by wars
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against tyranny, which we have maintained during those dark and fearful days, shall become her lasting union of the sympathy and feeling and loyalty and hope between all the british and american peoples, wherever they may dwell. >> greatest man of the century, actually. our own kathy k who covers america for the bbc worm reported on the special relationship at the winston churchill statue here in washington. the concede she used were that the brits were worried that the french might be the new special relatives when sarkozy was here for a state visit. >> here he stands in the middle of washington overseeing what's supposed to be a special relationship between the british and the americans. and then along come those french and knock us off our pedestal.
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chris: your use of language, you people. you have so many words. let me open the question. this is a great show to talk about this. the wedding coming up. do the british people, not you elite, but do the british people really want us as their special friends? >> i think we're a bit schizophrenic about it. it's fashionable to be disful of the americans. the brits are more liberal, we're more secular than most americans and that plays into kind of public opinion. but suggest that the special relationship is not as special as it might be and that throws us into a complete tizzy. so when barack obama moves the statue of winston chump church hill it's all over the front pages, we hate it. and it suggests to us we've moved into an era in which america might be looking beyond britain's shores. there's a closer relationship in some ways with -- when it comes to policy, with other countries. chris: i really think -- >> i think kathy has a point. you mentioned the word with marriage earlier.
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the special relationship is like an arranged mearnl marriage. it needs genuine love. we had the love between tony wlare and george w. bush. it was perhaps a bit of a fatal attraction. we didn't have the love between bush's father and john major. but we have the love between reagan and thatcher. so there needs to be genuine affection. the chemistry at the top needs to work for everything else to click in. otherwise the point about schizophrenia is right. we tend to swing fromed alation to revulsion. chris: revulsion, ok. just to correct one thing, i think that tony blair was much closer emotionally and politically to bill clinton, that's what i thought. >> no. and that surprised brits a lot and disappointed brits a lot. chris: it disappoint mess. >> i think the british have a combination of resentment and complacency. on both sides. and i don't know, do you remember the film "love actually"? that wonderful theme where you have billy bob thornton as the
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american president -- chris: the worst of clinton and bush in the same person. >> he comes over and bullies the british prime minister. chris: and tries to pick up the secretary. >> and hugh grant turns around and says, no and we fight back. and i watched that physical film in london and i remember that moment when hue grant said no, the brits cheered. chris: we americans cheered that when the hue grant character stood up to the billy bob because we like that guy better than the billy bob guy. you've been quiet here. >> if it's a marriage then the brits are the gold diggers, right? look, notice britain's interest. chris: explain. >> britain had an empire. it ran the world. even when i was a kid i would be shown maps with all this pink everywhere and it blows your mind. this little island ran all of this. then of course we left all of that, for good reasons. and in order to get that feeling back, we kind of cooperated the new empire. and we have the same language so we felt the way --
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chris: who started that? >> we were the greeks to these new romans. >> america puts a foot wrong, and i haves iraq and it all goes wrong. everyone in britain thinks, fabulous, those big americans who think they can throw their weight around and it produces -- -- chris: why do we give you, even when i know you, an extra 22 i.q. points four your accent? >> this is a legacy of colonial insecurities that america has in no other field. but you only have it towards us brits. it's the "love actually" thing -- >> even the japanese feel this way about the english. there's an element of this effortless class superiority that people who don't have it kind of want. >> what the brits really didn't like and this is where the relationship between george and tony broke down, we genuinely felt like poodles. there was one particular moment in the runup to the iraq war which deeply hurt us and that's when donald rumsfeld stood up, parliament having to approve an act of war, and he said, this is
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after 10,000 british troops have been amassed in kuwait, he said, we don't need you guys. and we felt deeply hurt. what do you mean, you don't need news is chris: i wouldn't generalize that behavior. >> but the point is we need you to basically -- we're a little bit like the prom queen last year, trying to carry favor with the court. chris: despite the special relationship there are big differences. of course class rigidity is chief. the highest levels of british education were once the reserve of the upper classes but andrew, andrew sullivan, who comes from a middle class background, made it to oxford. i want to show you a clitch "history boys." here are these middle class boys being tutored so they can write their way into oxford or cambridge. >> has anybody been to rome or venice? florence? no. because the upper candidates would have been and they'll have done course on what they've seen
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there most likely. so they're going to know when they come to do an essay like this on the church at the time of the reformation that some of the silly nonsense will come in hand so so their essays will not be dull. they're not even bad. they're just boring. you haven't got a hope. chris: did you have a hope? how did you make it to oxford? >> with exactly that attitude. i was going to prove these upper class english people that i was as good as them and i could do it as well as they could and when i was suddenly thrown -- this is my high school tie. it's the same tie they had -- chris: you went to grammer school. >> which to translate a million different ways is a public school, magnet public school in which you had an i.q. test to get in. a whole range of it. chris: is that changing in britain? you can make it here if you really try. you can make it. >> you can make it in britain, too, but you need the money. that's always been the case.
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the difference is that there is a degree of social mobility even in britain. more than americans like to think. but it is about cash. if you can send your kids to the right school, then the next generation will be posher, they will move further -- chris: do you feel inferior in the company of those who speak perfect bbc english? >> basically they created grammer scooms and an entire generation of people rose up through the ranks. one of the dangerous things about britain today is actually we've seen the grammer schools disbanded and that reduces social mobility. chris: now it's just poor working kids and the upper class? there's no middle? >> i remember one moment i was liberated by america is when i didn't feel those impossible intuitive resentments. i remember hearing someone in oxford and i could see immediately those people are bullyington types which is the club that cameron belonged to. i can't stand them. why was i wasting so much of my
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energy hating them? when i could do something productive. suddenly instead of who do you think you are, no englishman can -- >> no englishman can open his mouth without being hated or resented by another englishman. chris: still the case. let's have some fun here. before we break, as a movie lover, i've been schmidten by stories of the british monarchy. i want to show you teases of my five favorites. here's henry vv -- henry v. >> from this day to the ending of the world. but we in it shall be remembered as we few, we happy few, we band of brothers for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, be he so vial, this
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day shall gentle his condition. and gentlemen in england, now abed. shall think themselves acursed they were not here. and hold their manhoods chief while dennis speaks and put us upon the day! chris: we can't do that. you guys can do that. there is no more noble picture of religious commitment than a man for all seasons. the story of st. thomas moore. the chancellor of england who refused to honor the henry viii divorce to marry anne bolyn. here is the unforgettable robert shaw as henry. >> i have no queen! kathryn's not my wife. no priest can make us so. they that say she is my wife are not liars but traitors. it is a deadly canker in the body politics and i will have it out.
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chris: i also loved young victoria. here's emily blunt as the young empress in her youth as she argues to her prime minister for an early bit of democracy. >> the hungry and the homeless, there are people who are lost and whose business is to see to their welfare? >> in my experience, mam, it's best to let these things develop naturally, if you sbench you risk overturning the cast. >> that was paul betny. this year's oscar winner, "the king's speech" showed king george v fearing his son could not lead the world as a stutter. >> i don't think i can read this. >> this device will change everything if you don't. in the past all a king had to do was look respectable in uniform. not fall off his horse who will stand between us, the jacks and the abyss? you? chris: he won the academy award for that picture.
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time for just one more favorite. helen mirn as -- mir en-- helen mirren. >> i doubt there is anyone who knows the british people more than i do, mr. blair, nor who has greater faith in their wisdom and judgment. and it is my belief that they will any moment reject this -- this mood which is being stirred up by the press. in favor of a period of restrabed drn restrained grief and sober, private mourning. that's the way we do things in this country. quietly. with dignity. that's what the rest of the world has always admired us for. chris: come back, we're going to talk about william and kate. they seem destined to be modern monarchs.
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will they cre-- cement england? be right back.
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chris: welcome back. buckingham pals is hoping that william and kate will be the revitalizingen toic that the windsors need. style, check, smarts, check. charisma, definitely check. and the kind of worldwide popularity that princess diana had. i guess that's the question. what are the hopes for the monarchy coming out of this great marriage? we hope it's a great marriage. >> the hopes are that the monarchy will carry on indefinitely. if there isn't that question of whether prince charles should do the honorable thing and stand aside for his son which people are discussing in open. but here's the point. although we love the fact that william does the washing up and
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makes fried eggs and he's trying to be normal and although this is going to be a normal couple, too much nor malt for the monarchy is a bad thing because then people ask, why are we paying these taxes to keep them in the lifetile? can chris: they seem very regal to me. >> they are quite regal. but here's the interesting statistic. right now only 13% of britains actually want the monarchy abolished. five years ago that number was 19%. if you look at the people who want to get rid of the monarchy, it's going down today. >> the fact that kate is not an arrest contract is a huge deal. that she revitalizes the monarchy just by being part of the middle class. you've got to keep the mystique as well and i think the other thing that you miss there in your check list of them is that royals can't afford to be too emotional and too publicly emotional. in fact, diana was an anomaly. she was too glamorous, too -- chris: who's saying that?
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>> the british public felt am bive lent about that role -- ambivalent about that role. what they like about william and kate is they're discrete. chris: are you a republican? >> i'm a monarchist without illusions which is i think that i support it as a completely irrational institution. because i do think with badger they're an efficient part of the constitution and the truth is that all power and democracy is a bit mysterious. >> is -- chris: is there any chance charles and camilla will step aside and let this younger couple rule? >> it's very slim. that reainge -- rearranges the furniture. >> they should do it. i think charles, not because of any rules, but out of a sense of honor and -- charles rules for a short period of time and then williams takes over. >> minute you thought actually
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-- the whole thing collapses. >> think of the alternative. who knows the name of the german president? not the chancellor, but the president? no one. chris: didn't they start messing around with this and they all started marrying beautiful women. isn't this an attempt to -- they're all attractive -- >> i don't know. >> before i became a journalist i used to analyze wedding rituals. the key things about we had sgs they reproduce society by stating what's important and providing an image. and that's essentially what's happening today. we're seeing this wedding a picture of modern, understated by confident britain that actually is a great bellweather to the world. chris: when we come back, scoops and predictions from these top reporters. tell me something i [ female announcer ] most women in america aren't getting the calcium they need. but yoplait wants to change that. only yoplait original has twice the calcium
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>> in 1917 they were called the house of something else which is a jernl name. they're germans who took on a british name because of the height of the first world war. there was a german bomb that are used to drop bombs onto london in the stages of air war. they had to get rid of the name and came out with windsor. chris: i see why they changed. go ahead. >> i'm told by the white house that they're very conscious of these sensitivities that there are in britain that we feel that
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barack obama is not as keen on the special relationship so that when he goes to visit the queen in may, they will make a big effort to reassure the brits that the special relationship is still on track. >> this one singapore became a trading hub for the chinese currency and that matters a lots when the americans are talking about the debt ceiling because the question going forward is, who is going to buy american government bonds? who is going to buy the dollar going forward? the chinese are trying to divert away from the dollar and that's got big with implications. >> i'll go off topic here and tell you something you don't know about me which is that when i went up to oxford i was told that i was going to be in the new building and i was terrified that i'd be put in some prefab 1960's thing and i called and said, the new buildings? and they said, no, don't worry, the new buildings were built in 1721. it's a different world. chris: when we come back, the big question of the week, what
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do we yankees do that a brit would never dream of doing? we're going to ask these brits. mary! hey!
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>> big question of the week is delivered by u.p.s. let u.p.s. put the power of logistics to work fow. visit the new low -- chris: what do we yank does that brits would never dream of doing? >> oh, my goodness. i think you yankees do a lot of things that we would like to do but are too afraid to ask. chris: generally, ok. >> i'm tempted to say ask that question. but i think it's really that you insist that your politicians wear god on their sleeve in a way that we would never do and that we would actually walk away from. >> you've stolen my line.
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i'd say god bless america, god bless britain. if it's a sunday, that's pretty relevant. chris: don't you say god bless the queen? >> rarely and with a laugh. >> i think of mass distinction. britains tend not to ask what do you do as their first question. they often ask, where are you from? and in that, that distinction is a country that wants to do things and a country that wants to -- [inaudible] chris: thank you. you can make it here if you try. thanks for a great round table, matt, kaddy and andrew. that's the show. thanks for watching. happy easter and we'll see you all back here and in half a happy easter and we'll see you all back here and in half a fortnight.
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