Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Official: Brits Are Miserable

According to the Observer (Sunday 9th March) a "bestselling" book in the U.S. "has labelled Britain as a nation that is not only unable to experience happiness, but positively relishes being miserable." In "The Geography of Bliss" Eric Weiner writes, "I feel sorry for the Brits. The Brits don't merely enjoy misery, they get off on it."

Now the breathtaking scale of the stereotype apart, it seems he based his study on the town of Slough.

Enough said.

However, Britain is more than Slough. No, honest, it is.

He should have come to interview me. I'm a regular sort of guy and I've never been happier. Perhaps he misunderstood inate reserve as misery.

He also describes us as "chronically polite". Well, he's certainly not been to the part of Yorkshire where I teach, then.

Still, the judgement of a citizen from a nation who can elect Bush by accident through faulty electoral equipment and fail to rectify it, is unlikely to be taken too seriously here. We're too busy drinking tea in our moated castles, worrying about the smog and whether the rain will damage our bowler hats.


I heard yesterday that Ali, an Iranian assylum seeker and convert to Christianity, is in detention awaiting deportation within the week, his application for assylum having failed.

We are a big-hearted nation where returning an apostate Muslim to a country which executes apostates is seen as a fair policy. Maybe Weiner was on to something. It's not that we enjoy the misery for ourselves so much as inflicting it on others.