All entries for December 2006

December 04, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal…But Not If You're British

I’m still in lieu of anything interesting to say in these blogs, so another generic moan it is….
I’m fed up with being British. Not that there’s anything deeply wrong with our country. There’s a roof over my head, food on the table… compared to Eriterians and Somalians, I’m pretty damn lucky. We have a vibrant culture of music, film and arts, and although all our teams have seen better days, we haven’t a bad sporting scene. We have a national health service (however lousy by Western standards), free education, and rights to freedom of expression and political belief. There is running water, and high levels of social security. We speak the lingua franca (that’s an irony I won’t go into), and so can pretty well manage neglecting every tongue but our mother’s, so to speak. All in all, a pretty good deal.
No, my problem with Britain is the British. Although chippy pessimism is to sometimes be applauded (and is certainly to be preferred to trans-Atlantic naiveity), too much does grate. Take the Olympics, for example. A fantastic achievement, and I’m counting the days until 2012. For once, the eyes of the world will be on Britain for positive reasons. However, writers such as Will Self still find time to criticise every aspect of the Games – this pessism might be part of our ‘national character’, if so, it’s about time our psyche changed.
From now on, Britons should be eternal optimists, realising their country’s limitations, but rejoicing in its undeniable comparable strengths, and the virtues of humanity and the global community as a whole. If this path is not taken, I really will feel depressed….and I know who to blame.


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