Friday, 14 August 2009

Britishness

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.

6 comments:

philgroom said...

Sounds kinda like the church burning its own heretics to me...

Dave said...

Did it not ever occur to you that the British people who criticise these things most likely agree with the foreign countries criticising them too?

Not really sure what you're getting at, it's not as if everyone in Britain suddenly becomes flippant and switches opinion to gang up on America. A little argument between Graham and Emily on Facebook shows that much.

Entry seems a tad naive, Mr. Marriott. :P

David said...

No, you're right to say that some British people concur with foreign accusations. But the feeling I get, when reading the news and observing the world around me is that the majority of people are happy to criticise what is theirs, but when someone else dares criticise it, they defend it quite strongly.

I think my point is that the British can be a funny lot. I, for one, can see the flaws in all the institutions mentioned and can expound upon them if needs be. However, the moment anyone, foreigner or national, geniunely shows contempt for the above mentioned, I will defend them to the hilt.

Perhaps it's just me. No, I don't care.

Dave said...

It's to be expected, though. It's called Patriotism.

If anything, it's just a knee-jerk reaction, much he same as personal reactions fly when someone insults a family member or something (for most people. :P).

I also reckon it has media spin/hype. Printing "BRITS AGREE WE'RE SHIT" as a headline isn't the best of ideas for anyone. Not even The Sun.

RH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RH said...

"I think my point is that the British can be a funny lot. I, for one, can see the flaws in all the institutions mentioned and can expound upon them if needs be. However, the moment anyone, foreigner or national, genuinely shows contempt for the above mentioned, I will defend them to the hilt."

I guess I'm funny too, then? And not British?
And I agree with the Patriotism part, and it being a knee-jerk reaction. I think most people would unconsciously feel attacked or offended if someone said something that's about their culture or part of their life..