oh lordy, he’s gone all serious… (sorry)

this comes as a result of a couple of throwaway comments in a thread over at dr socks’ ‘reclusive leftist’ http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/?p=542#comments

(for anyone who reads here and not there – cos that happens sohhh often – it’s a vastly superior product to this farrago of rumblings and ramblings) where tom nolan and i commented briefly on the current state of britain (see comments no. 13,15 and 16) including his description of britain thus :

“Every street, ditch and hedgerow strewn with litter, a foul-mouthed and out-of-control underclass, hopeless public services. It’s a HOLE. And I’m a Brit, so I should know.”

and i now respond in fuller length than i would want to post even at my tolerant friend violet’s site… by the way (as anyone who can read will have spotted) i miscast tom as an expat brit currently in oz – my apologies.

tom needn’t worry, my goat is not got; no goats have been got in the making of this post.

a few things: popular solidarity – i (and friends) experienced many things during the miners’ strike in the 80s that educated and impressed me about working people (ok i’m biased because as a pitman’s grandson and first generation member of the middle-class, i both love and tend to romanticise that whole world) and their attitudes. contrast that with ‘basildon man’ and the rush for material gain above all else, that still lurks ugly as a cancer, and i think it’s clear that variations in the working class in britain at that time were as prevalent as in society as a whole. i have encountered racism, sexism, homophobia and other pleasant traits just as much through the middle and upper classes (however we define them) as in the working class.
certainly in the north of england (and again i am biased as it’s where my roots lie and i love it and its people) there is still genuine warmth and humanity on offer from people who across the classes remain honest, unaffected and determined to accept, not judge, people for what they are and value human qualities above artificial social issues. kindness is alive and well there – not just to friends but to people in general and i can’t believe it’s the only part of the country where that is true.

i love france and my french friends but their utter incomprehension that the general approach to muslims and the wearing of the hijab/foulard in particular is profoundly racist makes me fear the imminent meltdown of the place. and they could stop whanging on about their railways and the alleged inability of britain to come up with any decent cheese – yep and we all wear bowler hats, boys. and if it’s mess we’re worried about, at least some of london’s streets aren’t awash with dog shit. in italy (another place i happily spend time) my CLP found it impossible to walk down the street without the simple-minded honking of scooter horns relaying the stunning news that she had breasts.

and litter doesn’t trouble me much – some years ago i walked around zurich and couldn’t quite get past the creepiness of imaculate streets with their pristine luxury goods shops with sex shops immediately behind as you turn the corner – why i would find it creepy when it’s a perfect metaphor for capitalism, i don’t know; but creepy was what it was.

as for standards of public behaviour, the barmy army aren’t my favourite bunch, but there are also the relentlessly superior aussie cricket fans with their loud and interesting views on sheilas and the problems with anyone but the proud australian male; fans who really only do sing when they’re winning and despise all aberrations but their own – a senior cricket administrator who couldn’t ‘see anything racist’ in the lame abuse of monty panesar as ‘a stupid indian’; and the unreconstructed boers that watch the south african cricket team and hurl mouthfuls of filth at any player of colour as if apartheid was still alive and well (which in my brief experience of south africa was thankfully not representative of the game at grass roots level).

i think i’m realistic (and usually pretty bloody damning) about many areas of life here, but i’ve never felt that britain is some kind of secure accomodation for neanderthals who could not be let loose on europe for fear of shaming its kind and progressive societies; rather that good things exist in all societies and close contact may blind us to them and make it all too easy to emphasise the crappy bits. anyone who gets on their high horse about how their particular homeland is the repository of all things good and true is apt to get thrown the second you scratch the surface

so not, i hope, a blind defence of my country wrong or wrong, of warm beer and cold chips and trains that never run on time but perhaps a small helping of perpsective.


24 responses to “oh lordy, he’s gone all serious… (sorry)

  1. I really enjoyed that, thanks.

    My sense is that — the more we know and have, the more we are responsible and accountable. We don’t have to agree on the nature of “higher powers” to accept that this is just an adult way to live in a small and fragile world. As my dad used to say to me, “There’s no such thing as your side of the boat is leaking.”

    I’m an American who has traveled widely as a Navy brat, and later as a engineer for the U.S. State Department. I’ve been in many places that are called by some “the armpits of the world,” (and sometimes depended on well-armed Marines just to ensure I stayed alive) but I loved every place. I just did. Given half a chance, and left alone (meaning not robbed by corporatists who are adept at setting groups at each other’s throats), people are amazing and pretty much the same everywhere. They just want to get through the day without anybody spilling blood on the floor, pay off the house and get the kids through college, dance with the significant other after dinner, and find some moments of peace and love in the world.

    It’s too hard to figure out your own country’s problems without worrying about somebody else’s. And it’s way too tight a fit in the boat to be contributing to other people’s problems.

    As an American, America’s problems are fair game for me. We know better. We have enough to do better. We’re responsible and accountable for doing better. Yet we’re sad, fear-driven wrecks with oceans for borders and a huge military but certain that teenagers with box cutters and $50 rifles are going to destroy our civilization and let gays get married. Or something like that.

    Until America sets a better example on anything anywhere in the world, I will never be caught vilifying any other nation.


    p.s. if George Bush actually came from the state of Maine, I could be talked into hating Maine.

  2. if George Bush actually came from the state of Maine, I could be talked into hating Maine.

    Bah. You might as well decide to hate lobster. The Bush family are well known Geordie Tories.

  3. Poultry-Guy – very very good – you have listened and learned – you used a word that comes from another culture other than the us-of-a – a word, no less, that defines, in a slang manner, a regional poplulation of the uk!

    There is hope.

    PS – if you need help with the pronunciation (there is more to this than just being able to spell the words), just ask like hin.

  4. And you are right SW – I don’t know why the Brits actually think this place is so horrible in comparison to other places in the world – my own theory is that the weather (literally) affects the perception. Anyway, it’s called “the grass is always greener…” -It isn’t usually – if you are going to see the black side, you will see it anywhere you go, if you accept that, you will accept where you live, with all of it’s imperfections – you’ll still be unhappy perhaps, but comforted in the knowledge that you would be unhappy (albeit about different things) in another environment – a change is as good as a rest?

    Well, it works for me. Now, I am going to continue with my letter to the prime minister to praise him on his good work 🙂

  5. Uh oh, did I speak to soon? Type aol where you see ###


    I have tried to stop reading depressing news, but it’s hard to avoid it when it sitting there staring at you when you log on.

  6. i wasn’t depressed by it as i couldn’t make the link work; you see – luddites are happier people

  7. I am pondering a blog on that one Daisy.

    SW – serious? I’m scared now!

  8. Uh oh, did I speak to soon?

    Well, you ARE a female, so it’s a rhetorical question, innit. I couldn’t get the link to work either but I discovered that the British people worship us so much they use AMERICA ONLINE to access the Interweb. Keep sending us those dollars, folks. We need more nuclear weapons.

  9. So Daisy…..preggers?

  10. Maybe this is what you meant, Dazey.


  11. Sorry the link did not work – did for me. But I’m sure the news made it onto a lot of other search engines, online newspapers, and home pages.

    Yes of course I’m preggers.

    So what if Brits use aol to access the internet? The yanks bring those dollars right back over here to spend on tourism cuz you just don’t get ye olde worlde quaint buildings over there, nor the tiny narrow windy roads. The accent is better over here too as are the manners (mostly). So, it’s a fair trade.

  12. Yes of course I’m preggers.

    What do you mean ‘of course’? How would I know that except by inference?

    So what if Brits use aol to access the internet?

    So nothing, Just sayin’.

    The yanks bring those dollars right back over here to spend on tourism cuz you just don’t get ye olde worlde quaint buildings over there, nor the tiny narrow windy roads. The accent is better over here too as are the manners (mostly). So, it’s a fair trade.

    Do we don’t. We spend it on spying on each and every one of you because England is going to be the next Muslim country. Got your veil all ironed?

  13. Paltry – by asking, out of the blue, if I was preggers, in that context, I took it that you were assuming I was, and being the amiable soul that I am, just agreed with you for the sake of it, but you are choosing to pursue the subject. Where you got the idea is anyone’s guess.

    But my, you do love listening to yourself!

    Yes, all of my veils are ironed.

    Now go and clean your bifocals, suck in that belly, put down that copy of Baboon Monthly (also available online now) , and have a nice walk – all that spying and jerking off (many times, simultaneously – your wrist has been slapped many times for this, so to speak) is not good for your health – oh, and clean your sticky keyboard.

  14. Where you got the idea is anyone’s guess.

    From the fact that you posted that bit about Ameribrit babies. Who would care except someone who was going to have one of the little ankle biters?

    Now go and clean your bifocals….yada yada..

    I haven’t any bifocals just yet. I ordered them on Tuesday but it will be a couple weeks. As for the rest of your noxious post, try not to be any more disgusting than you have to be. Take a lesson from my whacko pal Ms. Sparkle who is, nonetheless, always a perfect lady.

  15. I say it as I see it PT – I thought it was funny!

    Just because I posted an article about kids in the uk did not mean I was pregnant – that is weird deducing – it was more for the reasons of comment on the state of britain after the discussion of sw on how it’s not so bad.

    If you don’t want me to be noxious, don’t go calling women old trouts and old squid or whatever you said before .

    You be nice, I be nice, you dish out, I dish out back – I never proactively act noxious to anyone – I’m quite placid as a rule .

    There, quite civil, but I am too tired to be annoyed.

  16. That last one was Daisy P – sorry , don’t know where that other name came from – ahem.

  17. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/15022007/325/britons-most-laughs-bosses.html

    Here is another link but this time, not so gloomy – please don’t say it doesn’t work – I copied and pasted it v carefully!

  18. that is weird deducing.

    It wasn’t deduction, it was inference.

    If you don’t want me to be noxious, don’t go calling women old trouts and old squid or whatever you said before .

    I want you to keep a civil tongue in your head, you old coot. 🙂

  19. You stay civil, saggy sac, and I will stay civil – in the meantime, here is another link about Britain and “young people” – could a Tory be right in this case? Ironic, since it was their policies that helped bring this sorry situation to what it is today ……. this makes the score 2-1 in favour of the “bad news” recent links postings – but I am trying to stay sort of on-topic with this thread. I will try to post another “feelgood” link to address the imbalance so that you all do not sink completely into a depressive fug (I tend to think everyone reacts as I do!).

  20. Shit, the fug is extra bad today – her is the link:


  21. You stay civil, saggy sac, and I will stay civil..

    Oh, so it’s blackmail, eh?

  22. No, it’s a perfectly civil request.

    Or, to put it another way, if I’m nice to you, I want you to be nice back to me – it’s not just about what YOU want you know.

  23. I can’t be arsed to be civil; it would ruin my persona. But in your case I’ll make an exception because I see how badly you need a friend. 🙂

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