Friday, 6 November 2009
Britain - All the Rage
I'm slightly apprehensive about this blog post. Will it result in hate mail? Furious comments? Total silence? We will see.
When I last lived in Britain, it seemed a gentle and tolerant country. People were textbook-polite, often friendly and helpful.
This is my second sojourn, and I have only been here 4 months. So maybe my impressions are wrong, or one-sided.
I would like to emphasize that in none of my examples have I been directly involved. I have no axe to grind. I see myself as a bystander in this country, not a particpant.
Almost every day, I see the most rage-filled exchanges between drivers who feel cut-up, slighted, or are simply furious about other cars. They hoot their horns, shake their fists, shout abuse out of the window.
I hear busdrivers getting angry with passengers for the smallest offense (like presenting their ticket upside-down.)
I observe people in supermarkets deliberately blocking other shoppers' access to the shelf and then furiously hissing at them when they complain.
People are losing their rags. Violence seems contantly under the surface.
I hear about people being deliberately humiliated by their bosses at work, building up hate fantasies.
I read about gay people getting beaten up in town centres.
"You'd find that everywhere", I hear you say. Maybe. But Britain used to be different. Politer. Nicer. Gentler.
Some years ago, the then Prime Minister, John Major propagated "A nation at ease with itself". Is this still true?