How The World Sees The British
I only have the vaguest notion of who Benny Hill is – he’s the professor who likes big women in The Italian Job. I certainly never saw his show – I’ve never watched TV that much, and virtually stopped altogether about 20 years ago – but apparently to many Americans he still represents Britain, although they also recognise Russell Brand and Hyacinth Bucket. While our image of the US is complex and detailed, largely due to the huge influence of the US on the internet, their image of us is polarised between badly dressed women and rock gods. Although even our Conservatives think their media is too right wing.
The image gets more complicated in the rest of Europe, although of course we have a highly volatile love/hate relationship with the French, as they do with us. Generally, we like their style and their intellectualism, but feel they need to modernise their shopworn isolationist image. I often think they’re the nation we most resemble. It’s where most English take their holidays, and 300,000 young French people live in the UK because getting work is easier, and they can get promotion without having to wait until they’re 40.
Despite the credit crunch, England is changing fast – a cosmopolitan economy keeps things culturally and entrepreneurially vibrant, and this hinges on an old English habit, despite what Hitler’s favourite newspaper the Daily Mail would have you believe – the polite acceptance of other races and faiths. The downside is a predicted 5 years of reduced spending that will affect us all.
I have to say, though, that I never think of myself as British, simply because I don’t visit Wales, Scotland or Ireland very often. It’s not that I don’t want to go – with the exception of Cardiff, the only place in Britain I’ve stayed where my hotel room was burgled to the total indifference of the hotel staff – but I don’t have many friends there. Let’s hope that changes
The point of this ramble is this article, about how the world sees us – some interesting viewpoints here.