Random trans-Atlantic claptrap

Britain’s got talent (for self destruction)

If you follow this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I target British people with my satire a bit more than I do Americans. This is because:

  1. America is already frequently satirised by British people and British media.
  2. I live here in the UK – and the things that i think are funny/annoying that I encounter every day are generally… British things.

This is meant to be a comedy blog – and when I make fun of British people, their food or their customs, it’s really intended as nothing more than gentle teasing directed towards a country I truly love. And make no mistake, I do love Great Britain – it’s a great place to live. It’s rich with history, filled with culture, has a high quality of life and a strong economy with loads of opportunities.

But with the referendum about whether or not Britain should leave the EU coming up later this week, another side of Britain has been revealed to me – and it’s rather more serious than satirical. If you look closely, you’ll notice that Britain has a strange proclivity for behaviour that can only be described as self-destructive. And the time feels right for an intervention.

Dear Britain, you must be out of your f*cking mind to want to leave the EU.

You’ve got a great thing going here. You’ve got the 5th largest economy on the planet, with most of your trade coming from Europe.Your entire economy is based on services, particularly financial services to Europe. You’ve got Italian food, French wine, Spanish football and German cars – all available to you at any moment. You’re a key part of the world’s largest consumer market, and you can travel freely to, and relocate to, any number of countries with the highest standards of living on the planet. And you want to throw it all away? For what, so you can claim to have more sovereignty from EU bureaucrats cruelly forcing your companies to offer a bit more maternity leave?

What’s wrong with you? Do you need therapy or something? 

Are you really so self-destructive that you would reject something that benefits you more than anyone? Would you cut off your nose to spite your face? Recently, pro-Brexit advocate Boris Johnson claimed that EU regulations prohibited selling bananas in bunches of more than two or three. This is of course, completely untrue. But his response to what he sees as unnecessary and meddlesome regulations has him, and the rest of the UK on the verge of throwing out the baby with the bathwater as well as chucking out the bathroom and all the plumbing as well. “IF I CAN’T PURCHASE BANANAS IN BUNCHES OF SIX, AS GOD INTENDED, WE SHOULD ABANDON ALL THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS WE’VE RECEIVE FROM CLOSER TIES WITH OUR FRIENDS AND ALLIES AND GO IT ALONE!”

This isn’t Sparta, but this is madness. Look, I know the EU referendum is really mostly a referendum about immigration, not about European bureaucracy. But there’s also clearly a large group of Britons who see this vote as a chance to return to the poverty-stricken bad old days of Britain as a coal-based economy, where rationing was the norm. People act against their own self-interest all the time. Poor people in America support a Republican party that advocates tax breaks for the rich. Celebrities throw away their careers on drugs and bad choices. But it’s rare to see an entire nation flirt with self-inflicted disaster. I did some Google research to find out more about the habits of self-destructive people and countries. Maybe if I understood the mindset better, I could point out to Britain just what has lead it to this situation. The first step in fixing a problem, is recognising the problem. Maybe Britain, if you see yourself in these descriptions, you’ll recognise that you’re only hurting yourself, and that the people who love you, only want to see you get better.  Here’s how you can help yourself, by recognising and correcting the bad habits that got you here:

Self-defeating habits displayed by countries (and how to self-actualise)

Nurturing self-defeating mindsets
Football was invented in Britain, and this country should be a dominant power on the international stage. But instead, in an act of national self-sabotage you’d never see in Italy, Germany or France, Britain has chosen to put forward three underwhelming teams, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and one mostly-underachieving team- England, instead of one very good unified team. Aside from setting themselves up for perpetual failure nationally, British footballers also have a defeatist mindset individually as they are known as the worst penalty takers in the world.  If you just believe in yourself, and accept help, you can do better in football and people will respect you more. And you’ll respect yourself. 

I’m American, so this is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but it’s also a case of “it takes one to know one.” British food is stodgy, and British people are reckoned as the fattest in Europe. Maybe that’s one of the real reasons they want to leave. “Oh yeah, if I’m the fattest in Europe, maybe I’ll just leave Europe. Now who’s fat?” If you resign yourself to accept that European food is better than your own, you’ll be healthier and happier. 

Forced incompetence
Britain voted overwhelmingly to elect David Cameron, a Prime Minister who claims to be adamant that his country should stay in the EU. Bizarrely, under very little political pressure to do so, he declared a national referendum that would lead to Britain leaving the EU – destroying his own legacy. What the hell is wrong with this guy?  If you stop worrying so much about America, sort out your own politics, and stop accepting mediocrity, you won’t have to settle for such bad leaders.

There was a huge sigh of relief when Scotland recently voted to stay in the UK. But if Britain votes to leave the EU, pro-Europe Scots are very likely to demand another chance to break up the country. The British people seem determined to keep playing Russian roulette with their nation’s unity until they find that pesky bullet that breaks them up. Please accept that everyone in this family of nations needs each other and loves each other. Stop pushing Scotty away – he loves you, even if you don’t always get along. Why don’t you feel you deserve to be loved?

Drug or alcohol abuse
In Britain, binge-drinking is a significant problem. No other country in Europe is known as much for their proclivity for drunken, rowdy behaviour, as seen recently on the streets of Marseilles. These bouts often end in vomiting, self-recriminations or even arrests. Alcohol isn’t the answer to your problems, it only compounds them. Stop looking for answers outside yourself. Look within. 

Hiding from emotions
You’re British. You don’t know how to express feelings very well. But you do know that you’re angry. You feel out of control, and that makes you anxious. Don’t hide your feelings. I know you’re worried about how much things are changing in the world. But change isn’t always a bad thing, is it? Change the things you can, and accept the things you can’t. 

Sabotaging relationships.
The first thing they do when you join a cult is convince you to alienate yourself from your family and friends. The “leave” crew wants to convince the UK that France, Germany and Italy are enemies, not friends, and that Britain would be better off without them. Thus starts the long slide into isolation, brainwashing and self-destruction. When you don’t trust your friends, you’re really not trusting yourself.

Refusing to be helped
U.S. President Barack Obama made a special trip over here to gently advise his best friends, the British people, that they were probably better off staying in the EU. You would think this intervention would have been appreciated. But you would be wrong. I haven’t seen this country as united in opposition to anything since the days of the London blitz.  Come on Britain, Everyone needs help from time to time, and you’re not an island – well, er you are an island, but you don’t have to be one metaphorically as well as literally. Accept that you can’t do everything on your own.   

That’s all I have to say Britain.

Except that I love you, and I want you to love yourself, and to start taking better care of yourself.

I know things haven’t been great for you since you started hanging out with Nigel Farage.

But every long journey starts with a single step.

There’s a car just outside. Get in with me, and I’ll take you someplace where you can get better.

It’s a place called Europe. Don’t leave. Go there with me. Remain there.


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8 thoughts on “Britain’s got talent (for self destruction)

  1. No, thank you, we are not European, we joined a few countries with a trade agreement, nothing else. The rest was surreptitiously foisted upon us. The quagmire that the EU is becoming, the next five countries to be admitted, the Greek demise, then no doubt others, the idea of an EU federal army, a federal tax and pensions policy, absolutely not. We have been given this opportunity to breakaway, and they can keep their EU. So as a US expat, you should know it’s good to breakaway, hence you are separate from the UK 🙂 and made damn good progress independently. You would hate to be called Mexicans, now wouldn’t you, but what if they become the main population of the USA? Maybe to be known as Greater Mexico?

    Too many of us feel as if we have been invaded by non English speaking people with different values. I visit my local town, and walk along hearing all languages but English. I have 17 different nationalities in my classroom, but am expected to teach all and for them to all attain within the national average for their age. We are so busy teaching English to migrant children, who it has to be said, make good progress, but then the indigenous kids average intelligence and below are falling further and further behind.

    So, look to the results, as I am pretty sure it will be the start of a domino effect, as many other EU citizens want out of this out of control behemoth of a bureaucracy too. Then maybe it can be ratified again as no more than trade partners.

  2. I found this blog last Thanksgiving looking for ways to help my British friend enjoy the holiday here in the US. It’s the best accidental find on google (ever). That said, I live in NYC where you can have a problem with non-English speaking, non-white, other-than-American born individuals OR you can leave your house. Really – after having Donald Trump forced down our throats (maybe Carol is related?) I just have to say: Please stop blaming minority kids & families for an educational system (described above) that hasn’t adapted to new demands such that the white kids are being underserved. Maybe they are underserved, then again, I suppose blaming is cheaper than solving. Damn those little kids from other countries who don’t know how to speak English! Damn them to the other side of the wall!

    1. Dana the problem is there’s no money being put into public services. No extra classes where non English speaking kids should go first to learn English so they can fit in with mainstream teaching. We teachers are sick of trying to stretch to meet all needs and failing to do the impossible. Likewise, our health service is struggling. So many people seeing our family doctors now that you phone in when sick and have an appointment for two weeks time. Dead or better!
      Our immigration through the EU has been too many, too soon, and not sufficient extra homes built in low cost sector to cope…overcrowded rented accommodation where three or four immigrant families are living in premises intended for one.
      Plus, if you go to live in another country you should learn the language or stay away.

    1. Oh, I might add, watch the EU as it crumbles. Junckers made his biggest mistake by his threatening comments. And one more thing. I seem to recall a bunch of radicals fighting for independence and they managed quite well, didn’t you USA, and so will we once all settles back to business as usual…and who will lead the country next.

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