Thursday, February 24, 2005

How to be hated

Americans are just getting used to the idea of being hated by nearly everybody else. Some of them don’t care or enjoy it, some don’t like it, many don’t have a clue about it, being snugly protected by a determinedly insular media.

But compared to the English, the Yanks are but piffling amateurs at being hated. To be English is to be loathed, envied and resented by all around you.

Being British is bad enough. The British are hated by all ex-colonies, as well as by nations as diverse as Argentina, Iran and France. But the English are hated even, or perhaps especially, by the other ‘nations’ within Britain (the Scots, Welsh and the Northern Irish).

Of course, we don’t in the least care about it. It merely confirms our innate sense of superiority, which is by far the best way of looking at the matter (and part of the reason for it). We greet sneers with patronising smiles. We infuriate the Scots by cheering on their plucky little sports teams.

But in a new feature, Think of England will be looking at why some countries think so ill of England and the answers may surprise.

Tomorrow I will kick off the series with a look at why the Australians hate the English, and it has nothing to do with convict ships.

But in the meantime, it seems appropriate to open proceedings with a song from the great English duo Flanders and Swann…

A Song Of Patriotic Prejudice

The English, the English, the English are best:
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest!
The rottenest bits of these islands of ours,
We've left in the hands of three unfriendly powers,
Examine the Irishman, Welshman or Scot,
you'll find he's a stinker as likely as not.

The Scotsman is mean, as we’re all well aware,
And bony and blotchy and covered with hair,
He eats salted porridge, he works all the day,
And he hasn't got bishops to show him the way.

The English; the English, the English are best:
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest!

The Irishman, now, our contempt is beneath,
He sleeps in his boots and he lies in his teeth,
He blows up policemen (or so I have heard),
And blames it on Cromwell and William the Third.

The English are noble, the English are nice,
And worth any other at double the price!

The Welshman's dishonest, he cheats when he can,
And little and dark, more like monkey than man,
He works underground with a lamp in his hat,
And he sings far too loud, far too often, and flat.

And crossing the Channel, one cannot say much,
For the French or the Spanish, the Danish or Dutch;
The Germans are German, the Russians are Red,
And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed.

The English are moral, the English are good,
And clever and modest and misunderstood!
And all the world over, each nation's the same,
They've simply no notion of Playing the Game:
They argue with umpires; they cheer when they've won;
And they practise beforehand, which ruins the fun!

The English, the English, the English are best:
So up with the English, and down with the rest!
It's not that they're wicked or naturally bad
...It's knowing they're FOREIGN that makes them so mad!

For the English are all that a nation should be,
And the flower of the English are Donald (Michael!) and me!!

1 comment:

M. said...

I couldn't have put it better myself