by Andrew Neil

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Lesson Thirteen Britannia Rues the Waves
by Andrew Neil
Ⅰ. Background Information
 1). Britannia Rues the Waves: This is a parody of Britain's proud boast,
"Britannia Rules the Waves". "Rule, Britannia" is a famous naval song
much sung and played in the British Navy from the date of its first
performance in 1740 to the present day, and generally recognized today as
the official march of the Royal Navy. It was written by James Thomson
and set to music by Dr. Thomas Arne (1740). The song runs like this:
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 When Britain first, at Heaven's command,
 Arose from out the azure main,
 This was the charter of her land,
 And guardian angels sang the strain:
 Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rules the waves!
 Britons never shall be slaves.
 The author means that today, instead of ruling the waves,
 Britain is sorry that it has lost its dominance on the high seas.
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2). Andrew Neil: writing on industrial and labour affairs for the ‘Economist'
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3). North Sea Oil: oil produced from the British sector of the Continental Shelf under the
North Sea. Oil was first discovered under the bed of the North Sea in 1970 and production
began in 1975.
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4). tax concessions: a right or privilege granted by the government to be tax exempt
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5). depression: a protracted period in which business activity is far below normal and the
pessimism of business and consumers is great. It is characterized by a sharp curtailment of
production, little capital investment ,a contraction of credit, mass unemployment and low
employment, and a very high rate of business failures.
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6). doldrums: the belt of calm which lies inside the trade winds of the northern and southern
hemisphere. This area, which lies close to the equator except in the western Pacific where it is
south of the equator, had great significance during those years when the trade of the world
was carried by sailling ships. The term is also used to signify a state of depression or
stagnation, an analogy of the general depression of the crews of ships lying motionless while
in the areas of the doldrums, unable to find wind to fill their sails.
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7). dry cargo: commodities that are not liquids
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8). liner: a ship belonging to a shipping company which carries passengers on scheduled
routes. A cargo liner is a cargo-carrying vessel with accommodation for a few passengers.
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9). P & O: Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, founded in 1840,
world-wide passenger service
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10). container ship: a cargo vessel specially designed and built for the carriage of cargo
prepacked in containers. With a standardized size of container, holding 18 tons of cargo,
holds and deck spaces can be designed exactly to accommodate containers, leading to
greater ease and efficiency in stowage and the eradication of much of the danger of the
cargo shifting during heavy weather at sea.
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11). UNCTAD: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, set up as an
organ of the UN General Assembly by a resolution of December 1964. UNCTAD is
concerned with the fundamental problems affecting the trade of developing countries.
It has its headquarters in Geneva.
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12). Iron Curtain: referring to the Soviet Union and the eastern European countries in
the capitalist press, first used by Churchill in his speech at Fulton, Missouri, 5 March
1946:"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended
across the Continent. “
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13). EEC: European Economic Community, established by treaty signed at Rome
March 25, 1957, effective January 1, 1958. EEC headquarters are in Brussels and it
comprises a Council of Ministers, an executive Commission, and the Assembly and
Court of Justice.
Ⅱ. Questions after the detailed study of the text
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1. According to the author Britain is handicapped in her attempts to counter the
challenges of the developing world and the Soviet Union at an international level.
What are these handicaps or problems? Does this tell us anything about the
capitalist world?
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2. How are the British shipping companies trying to meet the challenge? Are they
confident that they can counter the challenge successfully?
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3. Comment on the title of the article. What is the implied meaning?
Ⅲ. Analysis and Appreciation of the text
 1. The outline of the text
 2. Type of literature – exposition
Ⅳ. Special difficulties in the text
 1. understanding some proper names
 2. paraphrasing some sentences
 3. identifying figures of speech
Ⅴ. Rhetorical Devices
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antithesis
oxymoron
simile
ridicule
VI . Detailed study of the text
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1. institution: organization, system
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2.cutthroat: very fierce, merciless, intense, implying sth. unprincipled
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3. price-cutting: lowering the price
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4. settled: stable, fixed, inflexible; not changeable
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5. cargo: the goods carried by a ship, plane or vehicle; freight
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6. cartel: a combination of independent companies in order to limit competition and
increase profits for its members
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7. dignified: noble, high-sounding, elegant, grand
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8. governing: controlling
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9. dodgy: risky, possibly dangerous
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10. make a big killing: make a lot of money soon
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11. times: the prevailing conditions of a period
good times: favorable times when market is lively and business is booming
bad times: difficult times, depression, declining period
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13. weather: pass safely through
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14. scramble: a rough, eager and disorderly struggle
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16. boom: a rapid growth, increase
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17. quadruple: multiply by four; increase by four times
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18. slide: a downward turn, falling
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19. cut back: reduce in amount
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20. charter: practice of hiring or renting cars, planes, etc., for special use
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21. rate: charge, price
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22. plummet: drop dramatically
15. around the corner: very near, imminent
22. estuary: the wide lower part or mouth of a river into which sea enters at high tide
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23. jammed: crowded; congested
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24. mothball: balls stored together with clothes to repel moths; the state of being stored or kept in
existence, but not used; the state of having been put aside, as of no further use; (metaphor)
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25. British ship owners had been wise enough not to have invested big in tanker trade when oil tankers
were in great demand, so they didn’t suffer great losses in this field.
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26. slump: a time of seriously bad business condition and unemployment; depression
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27. ore: rock or earth etc. from which metal can be obtained
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28. by far: by a large degree
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29. in the doldrums: in a serious depression, in a state of inactivity
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30. feel the pinch: feel the pressure, feel the impact of the slump
pinch: a painful, difficult situation; suffering caused by the lack of necessary things
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31. sector: part of a field of activity, esp. of business and trade
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32. still a long way from bankruptcy: still far from danger
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33. freight: goods carried by some means of transport
freight-liner: ships for moving goods regularly between two places along a fixed route; liner-freight
vessel
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34. strongly-entrenched: firmly and securely established
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35. entrench: place or lodge oneself in a safe position
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36. call at ports: visit ports after the start of a journey and before the end
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37. going freight rate: commonly accepted price at present for using a freight liner
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38. parcel service: a service that is convenient like sending a parcel, catering to
customers who need to use only part of the space in a ship
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39. plus: favorable addition, advantage; plus factor
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40. buoyancy: literally, the power of liquid to force upward an object pushed down
into it; here, the property of maintaining a satisfactorily high level, as of price,
business, or activity; promising state; hopefulness
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41.That characteristic put them in a better or advantageous position than that for oil
tankers or bulk carriers; making it easier for freight-liners to weather the bad times.
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42.see: visit, call at
43.cross-traders are used to carry goods between foreign countries
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44.big: doing much business, very influential or powerful
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45. run: line, route
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46.be out to do: be bent on doing; try to do; make a determined effort to do
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48. something of: rather a; a fairly good
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47. emerging countries: newly independent countries; countries rising from a poor
dependent state to a rich independent state
49. status symbol: a sign which shows or matches one’s high social status; here a
symbol to show that these countries have become politically independent and
economically strong
50. go for: try to get
51. foresee: form an idea or judgment about what is going to happen; (unforeseen)
52.planning for…the third world: Great Britain is getting prepared for the coming
situation, where the new powers will have a bigger share of the trade while Great
Britain is cutting down its own percentage in the world trade
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53. throw in the towel / sponge: admit defeat or failure; surrender; give in
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54. tactics: art of arranging military troops for battle and moving them during the
battle; the art of using the existing means to get a desired result
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55. strategy: art of planning movements of armies or forces in war; more inclusive or
comprehensive than tactics
56. hold on to: hang on to; try to keep; not let go; not give up
57. the richest slice: the lion’s share
58. move up-market: to invest in high-tech branches, for instance, container ships, so
that the third world countries can not afford to follow and thus not in a position to
compete with it
59. put up the money: put in the investment
pioneer: start, initiate, take the lead in
60. dockside: a place where ships are loaded, unloaded, or repaired
61. A container can only be recognized or identified by a number outside, so the thief
cannot get to know what the content is, hence safe from theft.
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62. P & O’s…strategy is by no means the complete reaction to the threat posed by the
third world countries. There is much more to it than that. There is more involved in
the response.
63. not by purely commercial means, but by institutional means, by setting up certain
regulations favorable to the developing countries
64. impose: force the acceptance of, establish
65. guarantee: give a promise of fulfillment about; assure
66. find official expression in: be formally expressed or represented in
67. lay down: stipulate; formulate
68. respective: for, belonging to each of those in question
69. revenue: income, esp. that which the government receives as tax
70. ratify: approve of or make official by signing
71. bring into force: put into effect, make begin to operate
72. Iron Curtain countries: Russia and other Eastern bloc countries
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73. counter: meet, deal with; overcome
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76. make major inroads into: penetrate or bite deeply into; carve its way into; take
over a large portion of the trade
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74. justify: warrant, give a good reason for, require, make necessary or probable
75. come into service: begin to serve the public; come into use, get ready for use
77. seaborne: carried or brought in ships
78. Russia is deeply involved in the major routes of the world’s cross-trade
79. afford to do: be in a position to do
80. in our sense of the word: in the way we understand the word “profit”
81. the name of the game: the thing that really counts, the real purpose of their action,
the most important objective
 82. hard currency: a currency which other countries want to obtain
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 83. even sterling: implying and mocking that the position of sterling or pound
is not as strong as other money, like dollars, etc.
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 84. at a loss: in deficit, doing business at a price lower than the original cost
 make up: supply sth. not done, lost, or missing; compensate
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 85. more to it: that is not the only purpose of Russia; there is more involved in
the business here
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 86. mercantile: of merchant or trade
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 87. mercantile marine: merchant navy / fleet
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 88. reach: range of influence or power
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 89. well: to a considerable degree
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90. perimeter: the outer boundary of an area; fringe; borderline of the country
91. project: get across or extend its influence to others
92. .hydrographic: concerning the study of oceans with reference to their navigational
or commercial uses
93. deepen contacts: strengthen ties, increase communication
94. If the western companies also compete with others by undercutting by 40%, they
are sure to go bankrupt or sure to be elbowed out of market, that is their share of
market is sure to be taken over by others.
VII . Assignment
 Write a composition with a title of -- The Shipping
Industry in China
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