England, England

Now, as An Irish ™, I’m not terribly bothered about what the Rough Guide says about the English, but I do live here, and as such I find myself objecting to these claims.


England is a nation of “overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex- and celebrity-obsessed TV addicts”, according to a new tourist guide book.

The latest edition of the Rough Guide says no other country is as “insular, self-important and irritating”.

On the one hand, “a genuine haven for refugees” with immigrants from more than 100 ethnic backgrounds, but on the other, “a deeply conservative place”.

England and the English have their faults, I don’t disagree, but surely this little island is no worse than anywhere else. I wonder if the writers of this guide have visited Alabama recently, for there you would surely find ‘deeply conservative’. Yes, they’re right that the English have become celebrity-obsessed (although I wouldn’t count that as one of their main features) but what’s all this about ‘irritating’? And obsessed with sex? Really? Where?

I read things about the very fabric of England’s society disintegrating every day, but I like to think that I’m able to separate fact from fiction, and mass hysteria from objective facts. Perhaps these writers simply aren’t. I’m offended on behalf of the English. This guide is unfair; and more importantly, it’s just wrong.

If you agree, you can have your say here. Although look out for comments such as those by Keith Hutchinson:

The most accurate description of this country yet. the only other term to add would be cesspit.

Pierre Francois:

Yes, I do believe this report is accurate. I happen to find British totally uncultured. Their heads of state are politically correct puppets without any moral backbone. The heir to the throne is confused over his own identity as to whether he’s Christian or not, and wishes to be “Defender of all faiths”. The British have no moral code of conduct within their culture. It is the ONLY country in the world that has problems with anti-social behaviour, and your accent defines your class.

And smitgw6079 (who’s used the opportunity to have a racist rant):

This is what happens to a country when all it’s traditional values are obscured by a multitude of other cultures.

Everyone but the real criminals are treated with suspicion, and we’re then rendered poweless (sic) to change anything by this idiotic government.

Instead of complaining about it, it’s time to change things ourselves.

[Link to the full BBC piece.]

14 responses to “England, England

  1. As a 100% englishman I was going to post about this item too this morning. But to be honest I was too tired after spending most of last night having sex with an overweight minger that I had pulled after having one too many Bacardi Breezer’s. Not only that but the latest copy of Heat magazine dropped through the letterbox this morning, so I’ve been too engrossed in that to do any blog posting.

    But I think your right, I don’t know where they get such an impression. 🙂

  2. Ah, I thought you’d been quiet, James. It makes sense now. You are so bloody ENGLISH!!

    I’d wager their impression is not from spending vast amounts of time here, anyway.

  3. Ooooh, I love the ‘have your short-sighted say’ crowd. It’s like reading the Daily Mail only it updates every hour. Brilliant. 🙂

  4. Brennig, it’s fantastic – I love it too! I was shocked the first couple of times I read the comments there (it is the BBC after all) but now I find it very enjoyable. 🙂

  5. Hmmm. Well, i can’t say i like England all that much, and i hate to say that i think it’s very much heading the way they describe. Which is why i chose to get out.

    But then every country has it’s bad points…. i guess.

    “ONLY country in the world that has problems with anti-social behaviour”

    does all those crazy Americans who shoot eachother not count?
    and the way the French are so arrogant towards everyone?

    i’d say that was anti-social as well!

  6. Pinky, I thought the same thing on the ‘anti-social’ thing – gang violence in the US (which we imported from there, by the way) isn’t anti-social at all!

  7. Isn’t Stereotyping wonderful! (yes that WAS sarcasm!)

    I’m sure there are SOME out there that are as described, but the vast majority of people are normal, level headed, sensible individuals.

    Unlike some of those commenters!

  8. The rough guide was invented by Mark Ellingham, an English upper middle class hippy from well healed rural Wiltshire. The fact that his publication finds working class English urban culture the most disgusting and offensive on earth, should come as no surprise to anyone.

    Last year, Mark himself was lobbying for a green tax on plane flights abroad, to places like Budapest, to stop poor English people from revealing to the wider world their unfortunate existence and embarrassing everyone. You’re an absolute shower!

  9. Thanks for your comment, Victor. I didn’t know the history of the Rough Guide. It makes some sense now to read about Ellingham. However, the Rough Guide has been around since the early 80s, so surely it has an editorial team now and some sort of quality control? My point is that while it may have started with a biased ethos, there is no excuse now for such shoddy claim-making.

  10. Well, I only have Canada to compare England with and I have to say that England certainly IS more celebrity-obssessed than over here. And the brits DO have a tendance to bury their head in the sand about certain issues.



    I love it and I would live there any day.

  11. I dare say that you can go out and find any stereotype you want in this country, pick your town and pick your time and there you go – stereotype met! You want to see drunken, overweight, alco pop swilling girls then go to any big city centre on a Friday or Saturday night. You want a bit of culture, then pop over to Cambridge or one of the thousand plus year old henges or stone circles we have dotted around the south west.

    I had the opportunity to move to the US a few years ago and didn’t, simply because for all my occasional bitching and moaning I do love living here, even with the crap celebrity obsessed TV shows that I constantly have to avoid.

  12. Perp, that’s a good point. You can find all ‘types of people’ here and everywhere else. This Rough Guide piece is not unlike horoscopes in that way – vague enough to apply to anyone/ where! 😉

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