Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage


This article was written on 11 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Why I hate England (with every fibre of my being)

I’ve been asked why I don’t like Britain. Or, more particularly, England. And it’s a fair question. My only hesitation in answering it is knowing where to start. Do I go for politics, or something a bit more fundamental in the national character, while recognising that anything as nebulous as a ‘national character’ is hugely hard to define? Let’s start with politics stuff first and then move on when I’m certain I’ve made my case.

England is a Tory country. It voted in staggeringly high numbers for the Tories and UKIP at the last General Election and also voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52%, which means that even the Labour voters think like Tories. And it’s not an especially sophisticated way of thinking. ‘We don’t like foreigners and their foreign ways, so we’ll vote in a way that will annoy them and mean that those evil foreigners and their foreign ways are thwarted’ isn’t a piece of brilliant political thinking, but it seems to be particularly popular.

So the first two reasons are, firstly, that most of the population are Tories and, secondly, that they are vastly stupid. I am, therefore, trapped on an island in the North Sea with Tories and idiots, a Venn diagram that is almost a complete circle. As these people speak the same language as I do, I frequently hear their imbecilic opinions about everything from immigration to how many languages you hear on the way to work. Oh, and how all black people think this and all Asian people think the other. Again, it’s about as sophisticated an insight as suggesting that all black people have a natural sense of rhythm and the men have two foot cocks, but we are where we are.

The third reason, then, is that I speak the same language and can hear the idiocy. If I lived abroad, then I would at least be spared this. People could come out with all manner of racist rubbish and I’d be cheerily oblivious, nodding and smiling away to the citizens of my new country, who might think that I agree with them. And this is where we start straying into slightly more nebulous territory marked out more by opinion than by fact.

There seems to be something in the national psyche that I’m going to characterise as meanness, and that extends across the whole sphere of national life. English people aspire to buy small, mean houses, as a result of which, the price of small, mean houses is stratospheric. They often want to own a house with a garden, which means that the whole country is covered with cheap, badly built houses which have scrub gardens attached which the owners knew that they wanted but now don’t know what to do with apart from park their car on it.

Meanness means that there’s a sullen resentment towards anyone who claims benefit, based on being angry that someone, somewhere may have got a better deal than you. No matter that they have no legs or can’t work – you have to get in your Vauxhall Vectra each morning and pound the hard streets of Todmodern, selling photocopiers. What are they? That’s right – useless eaters. And anyone who has more than two children is obviously irresponsible and feckless. Never mind if their circumstances changed since they had them, or they just like children. You should be allowed to grind each surplus foetus top red gunk under the wheels of your Vectra.

When you think about people living their whole lives in this mindset, it makes certain things a lot easier to understand. Of course they don’t want an increase in taxes – why should they pay for other people’s operations or other people’s children? Their life is their small mean house with its small garden that has the Vectra parked in it. Perhaps they also have Sky satellite TV, because if there’s one thing that these small, mean people believe in, it’s freedom of choice. Never mind what has to happen to others for them to get that choice – they like the idea of freedom. So that’s what they get. Lots of freedom of choice.

If I’m ever on a plane, and it’s the part of its journey where it accelerates down the runway and shoots up into the sky over Heathrow or Gatwick, a part of my soul sings. It’s because these small, mean people are suddenly reduced to their correct dimensions, and their small, mean houses are equally tiny, devoid of any consequence. The bit of ground that they cling onto looks pathetic and their concerns infinitesimally small. But this is the country they built, with their small, mean mindset and the politicians who catered to it to get their votes by playing on their fears of a changed world, which is why, when I fly back in, I feel as though I’m coming back to prison after weekend release.

This is because the people and their concerns aren’t the only mean thing about them. So are their aspirations. People who have been to Oxford or Cambridge and who can leave that gilded world behind in order to progress into other, gilded worlds, are the ones in charge. People like me, who went to a shitty comprehensive school in a no-mark area of the country don’t even have a walk-on part. We’re the poor sods who get to stand there, mute, while it’s all played out in front of us by the people who became our betters at the Norman Conquest and have been ever since.

Perhaps in other countries, it really is the content of your character that matters. Perhaps people don’t aspire to live in small, mean houses with gardens big enough for a Vauxhall Vectra and perhaps they think tax is just what you pay to live in a civilised society. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

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