"England is a country where accent and vocabulary can stamp a person’s identity like a brand" according to the new Rough Guide to England. which is pretty harsh on the English character.

Apparently we're self-important and irritating, an insular country full of overweight, binge-drinking, sex-and-celebrity obsessed, reality TV addicts. We are also hailed as a nation of animal-loving, tea-drinking charity donors who love nothing better than forming an orderly queue. I often wonder what foreigners do instead of queuing - I imagine a lot of fights break out!

The guide apparently says we are proud of our multi-culturalism, a sentiment. In fact it describes us as "a genuine haven for refugees," which is true, but a subject of great resentment. Sadly, I tend to see my fellow Englishmen as mostly xenophobic and intolerant of multi-cultural trends.

It goes on to point out that there are constant contradictions. "In a country priding itself on patriotism, they have a Scottish Prime Minister, an Italian football coach and a Greek married to the Queen" and "as a glance at the tabloid newspapers will confirm, England is a nation of overweight, binge-drinking reality TV addicts." The particular Scotsman wasn't elected, nor was Prince Philip, and in fact both figures represent more than just England, but the England football manager is a curious phenomenon. I have never really understood why such a patriotic sport has managers and players from all over the world and this is never seen as an issue!

We're also "animal-loving, tea-drinking, charity donors thriving on irony and Radio 4". The guide also goes on to warn that attempting a conversation with a stranger “can be seen as tantamount to physical assault”, an amusing exaggeration, but with a kernel of truth.

As with all unhelpful stereotypes, there is a lot of truth in here but plenty of exceptions to every rule. Then again, the guide is only supposed to be rough.

(via Reuters and the press release - and thanks to Chef JoAnna for pointing me to the original story)


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