While April showers in Blighty were supplemented by an artic snap, I basked in glorious spring warmth. Liam had returned home to deal with family affairs and I received regular dispatches from the cold front. Our Anatolian adventures will end in a few short weeks and we’ll start a new chapter; a whole new edition, in fact. Liam warned me to gird my loins for the onslaught of whinging that is washing over Blighty these days. Times are hard for many (including some in my own family). The recession lumbers on without a light in sight. Many, particularly the young, are unemployed. Those in work fret about losing their jobs. The axe man stalks town hall corridors up and down the realm and many of my old muckers are planning their exits. A little whinging is understandable. The trouble is, Brits whinge even during the good times. It’s a national pastime. Liam also warned that the complaining is liberally sprinkled with barely disguised xenophobia. It’s a toxic mix. People who feel cornered often lash out at the weak, the vulnerable and the different. Others are just racist, cornered or not.

15 thoughts on “Whinging Brits

  1. ah, Xenophobia … now there’s an interesting word, with an even more interesting series of books attached to it! The Xenophobe’s guide to the Swiss really struck a chord with how the Swiss-Germans hate the Swiss-Italians and they all hate the Swiss-French … but criticise a Swiss from outside the realm, and they’ll pull together and bite back .. don’t we all, when hit with a bit of Xenophobia?!! xx

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  2. Ugh. That’s not a very encouraging scenario. Yes, you are so right – British people DO whinge, and I notice that acutely whenever I return, or even when I meet them in Jamaica. If they had to endure the deprivation and challenges that so many decent people over on this island endure… Now that times are hard, I can just imagine that the racism is creeping in – well, it’s always been there of course. I worry slightly about our son in that respect, since he is biracial or whatever the accepted term is nowadays… And he is certainly one of those young people who is “employed” but just barely scraping by… Well, at least you are returning with your eyes open, and not expecting it to be all sweetness and light. Good luck to you and Liam!

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  3. I confess that I don’t envy you your return.
    Despite all its faults (and they are manifold) Spain is populated largely by non-whingers. Here, too, many are unemployed, jobs are not secure, banks are in trouble. The Spanish response? Let’s party! If things are bad, there’s no point moping – get your glad rags on and enjoy yourself in the face of it all.
    Beats antidepressants.

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  4. I think we’d be shocked if we were to go back to Blighty now. We’re from the Northwest and the BNP are doing really well up there. So worrying. Chronic lack of employment opportunities and as you said, some people are just racist.
    Julia

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  5. Plenty of meat on the bone to gnaw on back in blighty I am dreading returning to it all but family is calling. Turkey does not do the whinging thing even though things have and in fact still are pretty tough.

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  6. Hmmm. I sense a bit of over-whinging about the UK from people who have already left Blighty. Maybe a little bit of balance would be good from all quarters. Nowhere is perfect, including Turkey, Oz or wherever. Just saying 🙂

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  7. Hello Petchury , May I respectfully ask you about your comment on racism and your son being bi-racial ? I always worried about my sons, but it wasnt about them being attacked for the colour of their skin it was about them being attacked by mindless thugs . With true curiosity I am wondering if your son would be any safer in Jamaica and has the problem of racism been resolved over there since the days of Bob Marley who had quite a miserable childhood with racism because his father was white and English but strangely enough he didnt in England.

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    1. Well, it’s quite complicated really. Perhaps it was where we lived in London (Hackney) but there was a bit of an “atmosphere” surrounding race when we were living there (in the 1980s) – things may well have changed now. There was also a high crime rate there (although we still loved living there, I must say). So that was a factor in our moving to Jamaica (ironic considering how high the crime rate is here!!). No, our son Sam has certainly never encountered any racist attacks or comments so far as I am aware, growing up in Jamaica. He had friends of all colors (one of his best friends was a Chinese Jamaican, for example) and it just wasn’t an issue. Remember Bob Marley grew up in an extremely poor neighborhood (it still is) in Kingston and it was the 1960s when the influence of colonialism was still very strong – 1962 was Independence. Attitudes towards mixed-race people were very different then. Having said that, Jamaica still does have complicated issues regarding race (closely linked to “class” issues) – as do many places – but very much “under the surface”. Sam never had any problems as a child/teenager. He hasn’t spent much time here since going to high school and college in the U.S. – and now living again in London.

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  8. It never ceases to amaze me how the dispossessed are blamed for the downfall of nations. So you´re poor, sick and don´t speak the language but you somehow have the power to end civilization as we know it. Why are the victims of the powerful always blamed for the destruction wrought by the masters of the universe? It doesn´t make sense.

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