Things I don’t like about Britain

By , 19 June 2009 5:25 pm

In last week’s blog I accentuated the positive and praised our noble isle; it is now time for me to be negative. However I find myself with a real problem. This morning in Iran, the supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused Britain of being particularly ‘evil’. (For some reason the United States of America escaped his wrath: perhaps under Obama you are no longer the Great Satan.) After a great deal of soul-searching I have decided to take the risk of providing the Ayatollah further proof of his case. (Actually your Grace/Highness/Ayatollahness, I really don’t mind you quoting me in your next rhetorical blast before ten thousand students: it wouldn’t half do wonders for the book sales.)

Anyway here goes:

  • The way that, although the British do political correctness as well as anybody else we still, deep down, believe that we are number one nation. The result is a degree of smugness and barely suppressed superiority. This leads to many other problems:
    • Our astonishing reluctance to learn any other language.
    • The general assumption that the only way to do things is our way and the sooner that the French, Chinese or Indians actually catch up with us the better they will be.
    • A quietly patronising view towards such people as Americans and frankly everybody else. We don’t like to publicly call them inferior but well……
  • A viewpoint that tends to think that cutting and hurtful sarcasm is the ultimate pinnacle of humour.
  • An attitude which greets any and every occurrence of patriotism, morality or self-sacrifice with a sneer.
  • The way we take our landscape and culture for granted and are only slightly and momentarily upset when they get trashed.
  • The appalling and overpriced British railway system.
  • The increasing prevalence of drunken behaviour. I suspect we always did have a considerable number of drunks but what seems to be abnormal is the astonishingly early hour of the day in which drunkenness can now occur and the fact that people now seem to be proud to be paralytic. By the way, a drunk in a British train is a horror squared.
  • The increasingly prevalent view that anyone who is in any way religious must be slightly damaged in the area of intelligence.
  • A ridiculous mawkish tendency to burst into tears when it comes to fluffy animals and dead princesses. It is not actually the emotion here that is to be blamed but the inconsistency. We don’t bat an eyelid about creating a shopping complex that wipes out an entire family of badgers because we have destroyed their habitat, but we get terribly upset when someone runs one over. And as for the dead princesses, well we probably hounded them to their grave.
  • The weather. I object to a continuous nine months of cold grey cloud and rain interspersed with brief moments of sunlight.
  • The utterly inconsistent British view of sex. The powers that be lament our appalling rates of teenage pregnancy and abortion while our popular media insist that the only way to have fun is to be horizontal with someone else.
  • The prevalence of the belief that someone who sits in an office doing nothing more than moving bits of paper around enriching one part of the world at the expense of another is somehow vastly superior to a man or woman who actually makes things for sale.
  • The ridiculous and frankly catastrophic view that you buy a house (or preferably several houses) as an investment. On this basis house prices going up is a good thing because it increases your investment; the fact that it harms society by creating a vast body of people who cannot ever afford to buy houses is conveniently overlooked.
  • The dreadful price of things in this country. This is largely due to the previous two ills. Because we have legitimised greed as honourable and because house prices are so expensive we all need to make as much money as we can. The only way of doing that is by such things as charging three pounds/ five dollars for a cup of coffee that tastes like mud.
  • I have a personal aversion to various products from United Kingdom that I think the world would be much better without: these include Benny Hill, Big Brother, most football stars and Jeremy Clarkson. The only saving grace of all of them is that they have contributed to the gross national product.
  • A view of history which attempts to explain many of the fine things about British culture (see last week for examples) as being somehow due to ‘Britishness’ (err, isn’t this racism?), rather than our nation’s long traditions of Christian ethics.

Well if you live somewhere other than in Britain in Britain and a stranger with a suitcase knocks on your door this week don’t be surprised. It’s me seeking political asylum. But as a concluding aside: why is it so much easier to say negative things about your country than positive ones?

5 Responses to “Things I don’t like about Britain”

  1. Kirsty says:

    "…why is it so much easier to say negative things about your country than positive ones?"
    Because negativism is another British trait.

  2. Silver Lake Art says:

    In your last post, you mentioned that there hadn't been a proper massacre in 400 some years? However, in the most recent you discuss the increasing number of abortions performed. What constitutes as a "massacre"?

  3. AlisonW says:

    Don't a lot of nations feel superior to others? The French? The Chinese? The Americans? But perhaps in those countries you don't criticise your own — too much like treason.

  4. emily says:

    I'd agree wholeheartedly with Kirsty about the answer to your last question. Big Brother, however started in the Netherlands.

  5. Stephanie says:

    To answer AlisonW's question, I don't know about the Chinese, but many French and Americans tend to have a fairly smug view of themselves (and yet the French manage to find all sorts of things about their country to complain about).

    And SLA, I would definitely say the high number of abortions constitutes a massacre, but not everyone sees it that way. When people talk about massacres they tend to think of people who were born and killed later.

    Incidentally Chris, I've seen the same sort of attitude towards sex that you described in the States too. Drives me nuts.

    To answer your last question, I think the reason is that we somehow seem to notice negative things more easily than positive ones. I guess it's part of our fallen nature.

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