One must always be careful when reading the opinion of Australians on Britain and the British; there is no love lost there for many young Aussies, especially the republican sort. But I couldn’t help laughing at this article, “Welcome to England: fat, obsessive and TV-addicted” on The Age website. Excerpts follow.
England, famous across the world as the country of Shakespeare, royalty, fair play and manners, is a nation of “overweight, sex-and-celebrity-obsessed TV addicts”, according to a new tourist guide.
The Rough Guide to England, which was written by four British travel writers, says that there is nowhere “so fascinating, beautiful and culturally diverse, yet as insular, self-important and irritating, as England”.
The country has been scarred by the 2005 London bombings and the Iraq war, making it a “querulous, quarrelsome country” that could be in the grip of an identity crisis, it says.
Reserve is still a key national trait – attempting a conversation with a stranger “can be seen as tantamount to physical assault”, the guide says – and a person’s accent is the equivalent of a consumer brand.
Foreign tourists are also warned that the English are “the most contradictory people imaginable”.
“However long you spend in the country you’ll never figure them out,” it adds.
Fortunately after all of that vitriol, the article ends:
But the guide is not entirely negative, reserving a soft spot for the country’s love of animals, generosity to charities, irony, its openness to refugees, thriving arts and culture and the soothing quality of BBC Radio 4.
Egad. For anyone who thinks I am too hard on the British, see, it could be so much worse!!!