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.

7 thoughts on “The good, the bad and the British

  1. Nah, you don't want to become a complainer, Maxine. There are enough of them around already. Now bitching – that's something else. Go to, I say!

  2. It isn't you, Frank, it is this new Typepad commenting system – it removes punctuation. (Or some of it).
    Yes, Kerrie, I guess that is why we are so bad at complaining effectively (but moaning, aka ineffective complaining, seems on the up and up!).

  3. You can certainly be proud of the societal discipline and respect for one's neighbors implicit in being great at queueing. (Does one leave in the second e? It seems odd. But then again, it's a good riddle: find an English word with "euei" in it.) After thirteen years on the Continent, it still riles me up that where queues are concerned, only the strong or pointy-elbowed survive.
    (Apologies for an eventual double post.)

  4. The British folk I know all have incredibly keen senses of humor. Sharp, self-deprecating, and full of inventive word play. IMO, Brits are far more interesting conversationalists than Americans, on average. And they all seem to know something about birds (not women, but the feathered critters)!

  5. Queueing – hm, perhaps you have never travelled on the tube (London Underground), Heather! Survival of the fittest.

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