The good, the bad and the British

Via London Underground blog on a new poll asking for 50 traits that make the British unique: “There’s nothing much in the top 10 to feel particularly proud about”. The top 10 are: talking about the weather, great at queueing, sarcasm, watching soaps, getting drunk, a love of bargains, a love of curtain twitching, stiff upper lip, love of all television and moaning. Depressing, isn’t it? What happened to fair play, cricket, Elgar, Shakespeare, Monty Python, roses, green and pleasant hills, tolerance, irony and scones? Maybe next time. I was quite glad to read “laughing at ourselves” featured fairly highly, as that is certainly true. Not so glad, but true, is “inability to complain”. How many times a day do I wish I could complain effectively, not least about my commuting experiences?


One thing that apparently is not wonderful is the House of Lords, according to the horse’s mouth (one of them). “It is amazing how otherwise well-informed commentators fall for “isn’t the House of Lords wonderful” complacency.  David Seymour, former political editor of the Mirror Group, should surely know better”, writes Lord Tyler. He continues, “The truth is that far from being the wise legislature of experience and expertise that Mr Seymour celebrates we are in danger of becoming an elderly debating society of ex-experts.”


Good news and bad news. Bad news first: via Jonathan Eisen, there is a company in Singapore erroneously claiming to have produced a genetic test (which you have to pay for, natch) to detect the innate ability of your children. But there is good news, for Bletchley Park (via the Great Beyond). English Heritage will pay for urgent repairs to the buildings of this code-breakers’ wartime home, and more may be forthcoming  for the rest of the repairs that will be needed over the next three years. An excellent monument to another aspect of the uniqueness of being British.