Unsurprisingly, I'm not going to write about being British in exhaustive detail, but something has become painfully obvious to me throughout this whole NHS debate: we don't like other countries demeaning our heritage. Be it our Royal family, the NHS, our government, our food, whatever, the moment another country feels it can poke holes in British institutions, our backs are up. We will defend the above to the hilt, especially if the criticism comes from across the Atlantic, or the Channel.
Why is this? It's because WE'RE the only ones that can criticise our institutions. If there's any good criticising of the Royal family, we'll do it, thank you very much. We're well aware of the excess and the unnecessary nature of them all. We've talked about it many times between ourselves, and have come to the conclusion... oh, we'll sort it out sometime in the future. But don't you be saying anything against the Queen, God bless 'er.
And the NHS. Well, if in the last 12 years of Labour government I have griping and moaning, it's over the NHS. It's a hobbyhorse that those who don't have any other problems can fall back on. But wait - American criticism?! The NHS is the best thing that's ever happened to this country! How dare you?!
Over the last 4 or 5 months we've seen our government take a huge battering from all sides, but I could nearly guarantee that if any Johnny Foreigner takes a dislike to H.R.H's Government, we'll merely point at every other country in the world, and their corrupt authority systems in defence of our quaintly misguided MPs. If you're going to do corruption, think on a scale of sleeping with models and making them MEPs, on a scale of having an election and not counting the results (and then blaming Britain?!), on a scale of quashing pro-democracy marches and arresting leaders who encourage freedom speech. Not on a scale of claiming for bath plugs, duck houses and moat cleaning.
See? The self-righteous among us would point to other countries and perhaps tell them to take the plank out of their own eye first. The more honest among us would just admit that British people don't take to criticism of British things very well.
So, we don't mind arguments over the viability or necessity of our British institutions, but... let's just keep it in-house.