Wednesday, March 28, 2012


March 28, 2012

By now most of us must be aware of the 2017 changeover, the international agreement that affects us directly here in Walton County. President Obama announces details of this historical deal on Sunday but some aspects have already been reported. Let’s see what we know so far.
It will mean sweeping changes here and in the surrounding area. While Washington gets $9.77 trillion in much-needed cash over the next 18 months; we get a somewhat different lifestyle when part of the South is handed back to Britain, with France also involved. The deal was hammered out in a series of hush-hush meetings during the past two years on which Obama signed off with Prime Minister David Cameron in Washington two weeks ago. They and French president Nicolas Sarkozy will make the announcement simultaneously.
Along with a portion of Georgia that stretches to Savannah and the coastal islands, the United Kingdom acquires a swath of South Carolina and the major part of Florida. Pressure from Obama affords France a minor voice in the new administration in recognition of its pivotal role in the War of Independence.
Good for the remaining USA? Very much so. It will take care of the national debt and then some (and should also help Obama in his re-election bid). For us it will mean a noticeable switch as European goods and services are introduced.
Customs, too. In sport we’ll likely see the mind-numbingly dull game of cricket introduced, where three days of leisurely batting and pitching often ends in a stalemate. They might as well have flipped a coin and spent the time in the pub. Indeed, we can expect our bars to be replaced with jolly old pubs serving warm beer. The good news for young folks is that they’ll be allowed alcohol at 18, as in Britain. This despite a French proposal to do away with a minimum age altogether and make available their acclaimed 15-proof baby formula containing powdered cognac.
Dentists won’t be outlawed; that was a hoax report. English teeth are for the English. But changes there will most certainly be. After 2017 we’ll be driving on the left; following the five-year transition period Waltonians who still own American-version cars will be permitted to continue using the right carriageway. Extreme care must be taken, considering the oncoming traffic!
France’s role is largely symbolic but not insignificant. We’ll benefit from authentic world-renowned French cuisine with snails, frogs’ legs and horsemeat. A tip: don’t nobody calls hors d’oeuvres “horse doovers”.
More mouthwateringly, we’ll also be dining on Scottish haggis – a sheep’s stomach stuffed with its minced-up internal organs - on Welsh leek soup, jellied eels and an assortment of Anglo-Indian curries. Then there’s the vast array of yummy chocolate products that make Hershey’s taste like... like something you no longer wish to taste.
The new electoral and taxation systems have yet to be explained. But those in the Anglo-French zone will have the option to serve in the military of either of these countries or the USA. Passport formalities are waived and existing US identification papers recognized by the new British Crown Dependency of America.
Critical is the border slicing through Walton County. Loganville remains in US-held Georgia but Monroe will be impacted. The demarcation line runs South along Route 11 through Social Circle to Interstate 20 and beyond. Land lying east, stretching through Pleasant Valley and Good Hope will revert to British rule.
With Broad Street divided, some further idea of life under the new regime can already be gleaned. Royal Mail - marginally more efficient - replaces the US Postal Service and takes the current location opposite the fire station which continues to serve the entire area. A new USPS building will be on West Spring Street.
Royal Wells Fargo Bank will maintain accounts of its customers in both US Dollars and British Pounds sterling, and issue “cheques”. Euros were rejected.
Elements of Napoleonic Law, already practiced in Louisiana, will be introduced, a suspect being guilty until he proves his innocence. Most attorneys are situated on the eastern side, and will be expected to adhere to English common law in its pure form, with judges and barristers wearing robes and wigs, At proceedings in Her Majesty’s Judicial Building on Hammond Drive they’ll be required to address the justices as “your lordship” or “your worship”, each other as “my learned friend.”
Queen Elizabeth, now titular head, has named her first High Commissioner. He is Sir Richard Sanderson, a well-bespectacled diplomat and scholar who is already a literary icon and a former Major Lord of Woking.
His official residence will be in Charleston.
French will replace Spanish as the second language taught in some schools where real English, the original (as in Classic Coke versus the new flavors – my comparison) is to be taught. The ‘u’ will return to words like color and splendor and “not guilty of driving on the wrong side of the road your honor.” The story that we’ll all be forced to speak veddy pawsh and hoity-toity is untrue, except with the new teachers our accent is bound to become more plummy over time.
All but four Walton County schools will be unaffected. Harmony and Blaine Street elementaries, Carver High and Athens Tech will change over to the zero-cost British system. The Tribune, being in the new zone, will also be using “proper” English.
To obtain further details including zoning before the April 1 presidential announcement please contact us at the Walton Tribune.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.