Land of no hope and vainglory

Contempt for others is quintessentially English. As Irishman G.B. Shaw perceptively commented: "No Englishman can open his mouth without causing another Englishman to despise him".

And while the writer below rightly mocks an outrageously unbalanced comment from England (by Matthew Norman, British Press Awards Columnist of the Year 2008) about Australia, he probably does not realize that the same ignoramus would likely be even more bigoted and patronizing in his attitude towards most of his fellow countrymen: Cockneys, Scousers and Geordies, for instance.

And the fact that England is in a deep economic crisis at the moment while Australia sailed through the global financial crisis quite unscathed must be also galling to a British bigot.

And amid all its own troubles, the cash-strapped British government now has to find 7 billion pounds to help bail out the Irish. Guess how much Australia will be up for over that? Not a cent! Must not laugh!

But perhaps the biggest laugh is the bigot's comment about the cricket: "As for our boys, the tour is going so swimmingly that the Test series is as good as ours already". Perhaps that is why the England captain was caught out in the first over at the Gabba! And must not mention Siddle's hat-trick!

See here for some comments from English cricket fans who are actually IN Australia at the moment

England, I’m told you used to be this terrifically confident place which belied its speck-on-the-map geographical status by civilising the world with such benevolent and enduring cultural endowments as the Westminster system, cricket and The Benny Hill Show.

But suddenly England, you’ve gone all insecure and snipey. England, I can’t tell you how genuinely shocked I was to read this piece by journalist Matthew Norman in The Telegraph the other day. Here’s the really surprising bit.
The peculiarly upsetting thing here is that winning at games - and I hope this doesn’t sound condescending - is all Australia has. For a country without a shred of history or a soupcon of culture, and geographically distended (with apologies to New Zealand) from the developed world, sport is the only route to international relevance. Their economy may have nimbly sidestepped the global downturn, and even be booming, but sporting success is all they care about. And with excellent reason. Without it, Australia is nothing.

England, the first thing I should tell you is that I have no idea what a soupcon is. Although after googling it, I note that it should have one of those funny little hook things underneath the c. My, you really do know so much.

Oh, and speaking of hooks, I strongly suspect that your piece is exactly that, and that Aussie-bashing is the bait. Now all you need is to reel in an outraged Aussie and fillet him or her like one of your scrummy delicious kippers.

Sorry old chap. Not biting. Instead, I am going to sit here in my 25th floor office overlooking the pristine coves and beaches and waters of one of the world’s great natural wonders (Sydney Harbour), and the shimmering sails of one of the world’s cultural marvels (the Sydney Opera House). Munching on my fresh lunch sandwich with local seasonal produce which wasn’t wrapped in 10,000 layers of plastic prior to purchase, I will refrain completely from defending the virtues of my gorgeous, clean, optimistic young nation and its diverse, outward-looking inhabitants.

Neither will I direct my readers to the very first comment underneath your inexplicably insecure piece, where the commenter mentions pharmacologist Howard Florey’s role in the development of penicillin as just one Australian contribution to global culture beyond excellence in sport and the ability to enjoy really, really good beaches without leaving beer cans all over them.

Gosh, that last sentence was a bit long, wasn’t it. Anyone would think I’m getting all worked up. I’m not. I’m actually fabulously relaxed. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s Friday, the sun’s out and I live in a country where I won’t be set upon by thousands of toothless hoons for wearing the wrong colour to a football match. Well, as long as Collingwood aren’t playing.

The real question, England, is why are you so worked up? I always thought it was the little guy in any competitive relationship who was the insecure one. The one who slanders to get attention because he’s desperately unsure of his place in the world and his general reason for being. That wouldn’t be you nowadays, would it England?


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