I was clearing out files and photos on my computer last night and stumbled upon a piece of wisdom from UK-based American comedian Lewis Schaffer which I had cut out of some previous blog back in the mists of time.
I am not sure if is about xenophobia or national insecurities or neither or both.
At first, I thought Ooh. That might be interesting because of the nationalistic rivalries revealed during the Euro 2012 football tournament.
Then I thought: Well, I suppose ‘twas ever thus and f’rever will be, so it is always relevant and worthwhile posting for that reason.
Then I thought: Well, it will fill up today’s blog space quickly and I have to get out of the house.
So this is what Lewis Schaffer said to me a few months ago:
English people look down on Australians and New Zealanders. They are seen as cuddly because they are weak – like Irish people. English people look down on Irish people because they think they are weaker.
It’s not the case that every country looks down on everyone else.
Some countries you look up to because you’re afraid of them. You think, “Wow! They’re better than us!”
America, for example.
Or is that true?
Do the English look up to America or down on America? I don’t know.
English people look down on everybody who comes from any other country because they are not English. English people look down on Americans, because they look down on everybody, because the English are so arrogant, even more than the French.
French people think that France is the greatest country in the world, but they think what makes it not great is the dirty foreigners.
On the other hand, English people think that England is great and the only thing that stops England being great is other English people.
An Englishman thinks: “If it wasn’t for the other English people – if it was just me – this country would be unbelievably great!”
The average English person thinks: “If I was in charge of the NHS or in charge of football, the NHS would be great and we’d win every game.”