LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
30 August 2013
The Best of Britons

The British summer we waited months and months for is nearly over. Driest,
warmest since 2006 – but surely the shortest.

If you left Britain believing the sun would never shine and you’d never take off
that woolly jumper, you possibly could have insulted all sorts of people and
places on your summer holiday.

According to
The Independent: you chewed gum on the Singapore transit
system, fed the pigeons in Venice, showed off your newly purchased
bikini/swimming trunks or simply went topless on the Barcelona beach front or
topless in Fiji, donned camouflage attire in Barbados, attempted to smuggle into
Japan a commonly used nasal spray or mineral water into Nigeria, devoured a
gelato near a church in Florence, wore a cross then genuflected in the
Maldives - you ended up fined or in jail or both. Oops.

The Foreign Office report stating that 27% of Britons required consular
assistance for detentions, arrests or jail sentences while ignoring local customs.

Closer to home, Brits in Britain are viewed by foreign expats living in the UK as
sarcastic drunks with good manners who can form a queue. So, not all bad
then. But we talk too much about the weather. Funny that.

A Global Visas study of 1,402 expat living here found: 32% like the reserve,
40% liked queuing, 49% liked good manners, 68% liked Britain, 77% liked
Brits,  but 19% didn’t like the reserve - curiously and erroneously I might add -
22% didn’t like the food, 28% didn’t like the culture, 31% didn’t like the
sarcasm, 32% didn’t like living here, 38% didn’t like the weather, 41% knew
Brits drank tea – really? 42% didn’t like the drinking culture, and some didn’t
like the humour. Considering the fact that humour is what’s best about Britain,
my response has to be: go home.

54% acknowledged that Britons met with their expectations, 46% responded
with, “No. Not really”. 28% thought Britons were friendly, while 61% thought
Britons were better than they had expected...but didn’t say what their
expectations had been. Bad teeth? Superior? Not materialistic enough? No
worries. 39% had a lower opinion of Brits since living here.

According to the Global Visas survey: "The majority of nationalities have
stereotypes fitted around them and Brits don't escape this. With our imperialist
past, Brits have influenced many countries worldwide, which means our
stereotypes are, if anything, more entrenched than those of other countries.
People probably come here with a stereotype-based preconception of what to
expect. It's good to see from our survey though that, in the majority of cases,
this reputation is actually enhanced upon living here." So it’s all ‘Rule, Britannia!
rule the waves. Britons never will be slaves.’

And now we’re no longer viewed as the poodle. US Secretary of State John
Kerry has a new best friend on the playground: France. France which
Americans saw as silly-smelly-cheesy France. Ah. The maturity of ‘the most
powerful nation in the world’.... I want my drones back.
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