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This is a question Why I Love/Hate Britain

This week's been all about the Daily Mail and why people love or hate their country. Tell us one thing you hate about Britain, and one thing about why you love it.

This shouldn't be an excuse for RACISTLOLS, or long lists of things you dislike. Be intelligent, be funny, and be interesting

(, Thu 3 Oct 2013, 13:55)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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Confessions of a Pathetic Anglophile.
Here's the thing, I was born in South Africa. My ancestors are from all over north-western Europe, with a slight numerical bias towards the Scots, and then the English. I have never been to Britain, as we were not wealthy and it was hideously expensive due to the exchange rate. I was raised on books like the Beano, Giles annuals, Battle/Action Comics and Enid Blyton. I went to a very prestigious (state) school where we wore blazers and boaters, had a rowing team, all that jazz.

Because of the historical English/Afrikaans divide in South Africa (amongst white people) there was a degree of snobbery about accents on the English side, and my school actually encouraged enunciation tending toward received pronunciation. With fairly English-sounding parents, I was somehow one of the only students in whom it took root, to the point that people in my own country thought I was foreign.

Now I live in Australia (I emigrated blindly, don't regret it) and people here just assume I'm British. Including local Brits. Considering my birthplace's historical baggage and my countrymen's aggressive reputation, I don't really mind the confusion ameliorating first impressions.

Throughout all of this, I've never felt I belonged in either country. Too English during Apartheid, too white and "Eurocentic" afterwards, and a foreigner in Australia. The Afrikaners have a term for people like me: "Soutpiel", meaning salty-cock from having one foot in Africa, one foot in Britain and one's penis therefore dangling in the sea.

The people I seem to have the most in common with online tend to be British. There's a certain humour we share and I have little in common with the Americans, what with their lack of ZX Spectrums, boring profanity, horrid spelling and dialect and bewilderment at meat pies and Marmite. I love QI and other such congenially tweedy bollocks.

I'm well aware that England and Scotland are in reality urban, grey, full of Jeremy Kyle's audience, and that someone with my accent would probably be thought a bit of a wanker. In my mind it's all misty, winding avenues and hedgerows, otters and hedgehogs, Spitfires, ancient manors and cosy cottages, Big Ben clanging out midnight, welling up during "Jerusalem" and all that stuff that presumably makes me an annoying prat to the locals.

I know that John Major got pilloried for his speech celebrating the kind of England I get wistful imagining. I like James May, and even he hates this kind of "heritage England" mythmaking. I'm not remotely what would be a Tory, before anyone wonders.

In my own little fantasy existence, I live in a small, genteel English village, and the locals all nod stiffly as I make my way through the evening chill to the ancient local pub for a quiet beer.

I'll probably never even visit because I'm kind of poor and seldom have any paid leave, but I thought you'd all be amused at the pathetic reasons I love Britain. Feel free to have a laugh and point fingers.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 10:18, 26 replies)
Alright Rab Fourhomes

(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 10:21, closed)

I live in a sharehouse, actually.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 10:26, closed)
Well, I think that's lovely,
so I'm going to click and wont even point one finger.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 11:08, closed)
From one salty-cock to another -
I say "Legs akimbo!".
A big click from me.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:04, closed)

From SA?
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:24, closed)
Zambia originally.
My dad's family are all the most bigoted bunch of Affrikaners you could imagine.
*Hums "that" song from spitting image. Soz.*
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:50, closed)
You two must have amazingly long legs.

(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 20:48, closed)
No, really short ones, if their cocks dip into any water they're straddling

(, Mon 7 Oct 2013, 11:16, closed)

Rather well-written, I thought. Have a click.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:16, closed)
So different, yet so familiar experience..
It's interesting to see how immigrant lives relate. Born in Russian capital, and upon early teens moved to Middle East.
Was too young to develop birthplace's mentality, yet to old to adapt to the new place. Feels like hanging in some void, with no particular place to relate to.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:52, closed)

Yes, in some ways it's freeing because you are relying on nothing shared and have to constantly reimagine what and who you actually are.

In other ways it's incredibly sad and lonely. I sometimes wish I'd arrive in Scotland and there'd be people saying "good to have you back."
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:59, closed)
unless it was Glasgow, then they'd say something like "stee aboot frae ma fuckin' bins, cunt!"

(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 14:19, closed)
In my own little fantasy existence, I live in a small, genteel English

Midsummer Norton?
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 12:55, closed)
I had to look it up.
No, I never did watch that show. It seemed a bit twee even for me.

I like this, though.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 13:02, closed)
Midsomer is supposed to be a county
Whereas Midsomer Norton is a shithole in Somerset. Not as bad as Radstock, though.
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 12:26, closed)
There are a lot of people in a similar boat
Myself included.
It finally comes down to fact that you sleep in your bed, walk about your neighbourhood, and perhaps drive into town. Except for visits and vacations this becomes your world. Instead of yearning for some mythical English village, you will yearn for a mythical place where the women adore you and the men maintain a respectful deference.
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 14:51, closed)
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 17:21, closed)
OoOoOOh, I've never met a nice South African
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 19:33, closed)
"meaning salty-cock from having one foot in Africa, one foot in Britain and one's penis therefore dangling in the sea"
Lake Geneva, surely?
(, Sat 5 Oct 2013, 20:29, closed)

I always thought the Mediterranean.
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 7:35, closed)
Fear Ye Not
The kind of made-for-US-TV Britain is still there, I know, I live in one of these dreary hamlets, cow shit smell most mornings, everyone knowing everything about everyone else before said person knows themselves. Tory worshipping, Daily Mail reading, Empire longing bigots whos answer to every news story is "we should bomb the fuckers"...

South Africa & Australia you say? Sounds interesting..
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 9:49, closed)

Oh now, I'm fully aware my bucolic fantasy is precisely that. I'd be quite happy for it to remain a fantasy and continue enjoying city life (I mostly do) but for the insane prices of property here which might eventually drive me further out in search of a small home of my own.
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 14:16, closed)
Have a click for the nice answer..
..and a special click for 'congenially tweedy bollocks'. Lovely.
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 13:55, closed)
You'll do for me, fella!
(, Sun 6 Oct 2013, 20:41, closed)
No, it does exist - I can drive there in about twenty minutes from my house.
I often go to pubs in villages just like you describe.

Nobody I know can afford to live there, mind you, by two orders of magnitude at least.
(, Mon 7 Oct 2013, 11:18, closed)
well written
as another "soutpiel", you summed it up nicely there
(, Tue 8 Oct 2013, 6:16, closed)

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