How Britain has destroyed itself

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of logan logan 6 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #55747
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I stumbled across this article looking for information on George Macdonald Fraser. I think it reflects a feeling I have noticed amongst Brits wanting to move to Spain. Plenty of them just want to get out. Well worth a read:

    The last testament of Flashman’s creator: How Britain has destroyed itself

    And if you’ve never read a Flashman novel, do yourself a favour and read one on holiday this summer.

  • #99617
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    I agree about the PC stuff but much of it is similar to ramblings from any other old guy. Hardly reasons to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. A bit more PC in Spain and there would’t be so much xenaphobia in all areas of administration, probably a lot less demolition threats too.

    Leave for a different lifestyle, weather etc. but before leaving for the political/social system study your chosen country’s system. Many left the UK saying more or less the same and thousands of them are now trying to sell and return….remember the old Daily mail comments……”Will the last Person turn off the lights” 🙄 😆

  • #99998
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    I am in Britain at the moment and have spent 2 months travelling the whole country. This is my first visit for over 20 years having lived in Spain and France for that time.
    There have been enormous changes since I left and the country I once knew is unrecognisable. Evidence of wide spread prosperity is the first thing I noticed. Massive economic activity manifests itself everywhere. Living in rural France as I do it comes as quite a shock.
    The people in the UK of course take it for granted. It’s a given that their living standards are high. Yet they seem to use all their energy to seek and strive constantly for more of the same, or perhaps simply to maintain what they have. In doing so people have changed.
    Intolerance and a certain distain for others is common. This may be because of the lack of personal space and the fact that everyone lives on top of each other. That creates massive tensions. Its very hard to be alone, even walking on a Scottish mountain.
    The pace of life is frenetic the traffic horrendous and there is never anywhere to park. This even in pretty market towns in the north of the country.
    Then there is the constant surveillance by CCTV. In shops, on the road, at the doctors, in the street, even walking down a country lane. Signs ordering you to do this and that on penalty of financial purgatory. Rules and more rules bark at you from every corner.
    The country has become like a giant school playground with teachers and prefects just waiting for you to transgress.
    The only part of the UK which seems relatively untouched are parts of rural Scotland and the Highlands. There the clock has stopped, the people wonderful and the quality of life high.
    I have considered moving back before making this trip. Spending the autumn of my years back in the old country.
    The experience has taught me all the reasons I left in the first place are still there, only now much worse. New irritations which for me make life intolerable have arrived.
    So the moral of this for other ex-pats thinking of returning is this. Go there travel around, spend sometime in the country before making any decision. The grass is not any greener.
    You may find like me you cannot wait to leave. I return home next week, probably for good.

  • #99826
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    I am in Britain at the moment and have spent 2 months travelling the whole country. This is my first visit for over 20 years having lived in Spain and France for that time.
    There have been enormous changes since I left and the country I once knew is unrecognisable. Evidence of wide spread prosperity is the first thing I noticed. Massive economic activity manifests itself everywhere. Living in rural France as I do it comes as quite a shock.
    The people in the UK of course take it for granted. It’s a given that their living standards are high. Yet they seem to use all their energy to seek and strive constantly for more of the same, or perhaps simply to maintain what they have. In doing so people have changed.
    Intolerance and a certain distain for others is common. This may be because of the lack of personal space and the fact that everyone lives on top of each other. That creates massive tensions. Its very hard to be alone, even walking on a Scottish mountain.
    The pace of life is frenetic the traffic horrendous and there is never anywhere to park. This even in pretty market towns in the north of the country.
    Then there is the constant surveillance by CCTV. In shops, on the road, at the doctors, in the street, even walking down a country lane. Signs ordering you to do this and that on penalty of financial purgatory. Rules and more rules bark at you from every corner.
    The country has become like a giant school playground with teachers and prefects just waiting for you to transgress.
    The only part of the UK which seems relatively untouched are parts of rural Scotland and the Highlands. There the clock has stopped, the people wonderful and the quality of life high.
    I have considered moving back before making this trip. Spending the autumn of my years back in the old country.
    The experience has taught me all the reasons I left in the first place are still there, only now much worse. New irritations which for me make life intolerable have arrived.
    So the moral of this for other ex-pats thinking of returning is this. Go there travel around, spend sometime in the country before making any decision. The grass is not any greener.
    You may find like me you cannot wait to leave. I return home next week, probably for good.

  • #100001
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    I am suprised you can speak for the whole of the UK on a few weeks visit. I was shocked at how some places have grown and hardly recognised some (Stratford-on-Avon was one) We are now in our 6th month living in a pretty village in Surrey/Hants borders. (The front overlooks the Surrey rolling hills and the back a cornfield and Hampshire forest) This is one of about 10 villages in the area more or less the same and time has stood still except there are now more people living here who work in the City than before. If I want upmarket shops etc. it is an leisurely drive on the uncrowded A31 one way into Guildford (traffic bad in centre) or an even quieter drive into Winchester. You say there is never anywhere to park…ever tried Málaga city, Marbella or other coastal towns in summer? There aren’t many places to park in our village as there aren’t any pavements and the roads are very narrow, there is the pub and village hall park though. I think you are comparing rural Spain and France with suburban UK.

    Yes there are rules and I am happy with that, far better to have strict guidelines than a free for all like in Spain where eg. the disabled cannot walk pass on pavements because cars are parked on them, or even worse the lack of clear planning rules where a neighbour can begin building an extension that blocks out light and views without the affected person ever being consulted. Rules are very annoying sometimes, I get annoyed when I go to the supermarket and see all the empty spaces set out for disabled and families with young children and there is a guy there to police it but hey, rules are part of a civilised society…bring them on 🙂

  • #99832
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    I am suprised you can speak for the whole of the UK on a few weeks visit. I was shocked at how some places have grown and hardly recognised some (Stratford-on-Avon was one) We are now in our 6th month living in a pretty village in Surrey/Hants borders. (The front overlooks the Surrey rolling hills and the back a cornfield and Hampshire forest) This is one of about 10 villages in the area more or less the same and time has stood still except there are now more people living here who work in the City than before. If I want upmarket shops etc. it is an leisurely drive on the uncrowded A31 one way into Guildford (traffic bad in centre) or an even quieter drive into Winchester. You say there is never anywhere to park…ever tried Málaga city, Marbella or other coastal towns in summer? There aren’t many places to park in our village as there aren’t any pavements and the roads are very narrow, there is the pub and village hall park though. I think you are comparing rural Spain and France with suburban UK.

    Yes there are rules and I am happy with that, far better to have strict guidelines than a free for all like in Spain where eg. the disabled cannot walk pass on pavements because cars are parked on them, or even worse the lack of clear planning rules where a neighbour can begin building an extension that blocks out light and views without the affected person ever being consulted. Rules are very annoying sometimes, I get annoyed when I go to the supermarket and see all the empty spaces set out for disabled and families with young children and there is a guy there to police it but hey, rules are part of a civilised society…bring them on 🙂

  • #99846
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    I think you have to ask yourself why there are so many rules and restrictions. It is not a sign of a civilised society. On the contrary. It is an indication of excessive malevolent behaviour and the need to control it. I suppose I notice it so much on returning to UK because I’ve been away so long and lived among a different culture.
    The UK has almost the same population as France, with over three times less geographical space. That creates pressures and stress. Anti-social behaviour by the British is well known, hence the understandable need for so many rules. The Spanish have long been on the receiving end of that. A ‘civilised society’ does not need excessive rules. People know instinctively where the boundaries lie.
    A few weeks in Britain would not generally be enough to form a strong opinion of the country, on a first visit. However I have had over forty years in another life living in the UK. That well of experience still holds good.

  • #100008
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    I think you have to ask yourself why there are so many rules and restrictions. It is not a sign of a civilised society. On the contrary. It is an indication of excessive malevolent behaviour and the need to control it. I suppose I notice it so much on returning to UK because I’ve been away so long and lived among a different culture.
    The UK has almost the same population as France, with over three times less geographical space. That creates pressures and stress. Anti-social behaviour by the British is well known, hence the understandable need for so many rules. The Spanish have long been on the receiving end of that. A ‘civilised society’ does not need excessive rules. People know instinctively where the boundaries lie.
    A few weeks in Britain would not generally be enough to form a strong opinion of the country, on a first visit. However I have had over forty years in another life living in the UK. That well of experience still holds good.

  • #99850
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Anti-social behaviour is not exclusive to the UK. Just that we have the daily mail to remind us of “Broken Britain” 🙂 France has some lovely rural areas but the Cities are not without problemas, eg. Grenoble this week. Similar in Spain. Lots of vandalism, stabbings etc. in Málaga (I read the spanish press every day and it is not much different to the Mail except it is not highlighted so much). As an ex-pat these things may not be visible but every area has a sink-hole place. CCTV’s love them, look how many criminals have been caught out.

    I do agree about the volume of people everywhere. Impossible to find a seat in most coffee shops and restaurants. We visited Hever Castle on Easter Monday (not a good idea), thousands of people, some with 2 or 3 kids all paying £12 to shuffle around! If we want to eat out on Saturday evening we need to decide by about Tuesday to reserve.

  • #100010
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Anti-social behaviour is not exclusive to the UK. Just that we have the daily mail to remind us of “Broken Britain” 🙂 France has some lovely rural areas but the Cities are not without problemas, eg. Grenoble this week. Similar in Spain. Lots of vandalism, stabbings etc. in Málaga (I read the spanish press every day and it is not much different to the Mail except it is not highlighted so much). As an ex-pat these things may not be visible but every area has a sink-hole place. CCTV’s love them, look how many criminals have been caught out.

    I do agree about the volume of people everywhere. Impossible to find a seat in most coffee shops and restaurants. We visited Hever Castle on Easter Monday (not a good idea), thousands of people, some with 2 or 3 kids all paying £12 to shuffle around! If we want to eat out on Saturday evening we need to decide by about Tuesday to reserve.

  • #100032
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I can never get round how opinions are so extreme on forums. I neither think UK or Spain or anywhere else in developed Europe is that bad. I’ve seen proverty all over the world, even in the US and one thing is common, poor is poor and only breeds crime, social outcasts and perpetuation of the system.
    I don’t think there is anywhere that is perfect and everywhere has its blackspots. To generalise is a terrible thing; I’m no fan of the UK but I recently went to Exeter and saw a little bit of Devon, I thought it was amazing how those rolling green fields ended at the sea; breathtaking. But I also remember how the mountains that surround Cabo de Gata in Almeria, abruptly finish in the Mediterranean…

  • #100034
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    It is amazing how parochial we all are in that where we live is great and most other places are somehow not quite as nice.
    Some of us are lucky enough to have the wherewithall to choose where we live and others dont.
    Middle class areas look down on the areas frequented by the poorer members of society and think how bad it is.
    Having been brought up in a poor area I know that there are many things of value there, the comradeship, good neighbours sharing what little they have and offering support to each other.
    Im lucky enough to have carved a rewarding career for myself and have enjoyed the priviledge of deciding where I live. But I have never forgotten my upbringing or those who didnt make the break.
    Lets accept that there circumstances that dictate where and how we live and dont assume that poor areas contain an underclass that should be avoided.
    I have been deeply involved in the community wherever I have lived and tried to use my experiences to make things better. Great Britain is not broken merely bruised in some areas and with the right treatment can be restored to good health.
    As with JFK ask not what your country can do for you but what can you do for your country.
    Proud of my country, proud of my roots, proud that I have made a difference to others lifes.
    Happy to live in Spain and value the benefits of both countries.
    Dont forget its Great Britain.

  • #100035
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Without losing track of the original article, great post Vilprano.

    I know that forums are used to vent anger in many occassions (ok, just about every single time…lol), but isn’t about time that criticism was constructive and good things were talked about? We all know there is crime in Málaga, Madrid, Hackney, Grenoble, Botswana…anywhere, we all know that, but what good things do we know about these places?
    Madrid in August is HOT but practically empty and visiting museums and theatres is a dream. I’ve had my own ins and outs with the UK but you get to realise that picking out the good parts is just a good, if not better, than criticising the bad parts.

    Half full, not half empty

  • #100036
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    George Macdonald Fraser was expressing eloquently his personal opinion about the cultural changes in Britain. Changes which have altered the social landscape.
    My post also described in a very small way the changes I have recently experienced on my 10 week sabbatical which affected me.
    My points are only directed towards any British ex-pat considering a return. Beware the country is not the same. Change happens, especially social change. This may be an improvement or a retrograde development depending on your own point of view. The causes that prompted your move still exist and there are new ones waiting.
    In my case Britain is not where I wish to see out the rest of my life, that’s just personal, nothing more.
    Depending on how long you have been away these changes will be more marked, more visible, perhaps less acceptable to you. Take nothing for granted Britain really is a different country now.
    Fraser sees social change as a negative development and describes it as political correctness. A silly meaningless phrase.
    Social and cultural development occurs all over the world in every country. Our societies are dynamic, nothing lasts and nothing stays the same.
    I am thankful for that. Imagine for a moment the state we would be in if societies remained stagnant.
    The world belongs to they who can embrace change and make the most of it.
    The old buffers who hark after an imaginary halcyon past have little relevance to anything. The past is just that, past.
    This is not their time it belongs to others, younger with a future to make..

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