Is this how you feel about England? that it’s a
‘pestilent swamp overrun by thieves and blackguards … unsavoury migrants, snaky politicians, dodgy bankers, rip-off businesses, EU dictators and horrible activists … (we) are drunk on misery; bitter, restless, chronically dissatisfied, frustrated, suspicious and filling our tanks with formless anger.’
Out of 10 nations in a lifestyle survey last week, we came bottom. Whatever happened to our wartime motto, ‘mustn’t grumble’?
And yet other nations, ones with chronic poverty, corruption, institutional violence and government by thugs, look at us and wonder why we are so angry and so miserable.
‘They see a country with an old and unassailable democracy, rule of law, an army which never oppresses the people, rights for all (at least in principle), an economy that still gives most people the chance to make a living even during painful recessions, low interest rates, long life expectancy, a brilliant NHS, stability, enterprise, extraordinary cultural productivity and freedoms they can only pine for. They long to migrate to our shores, even now, after the disastrous Iraq war and our duplicitous dealings with murderous dictators.’
Sometimes it takes an immigrant to give us indigenes the bigger picture.
(Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the Independent, 3 Oct 2011)