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How welcoming is Britain?

Mark Easton | 16:12 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

David Cameron today demanded that officials make it easier for foreigners to get visas to come to Britain. This, of course, is the same David Cameron who recently demanded that officials make it more difficult for foreigners to get visas to come to Britain.

Samantha and David CameronIt all depends on the kind of visa and the kind of foreigner.

The so-called immigration cap announced in June is aimed at reducing the number of foreigners being given work visas.

Today's announcement is about increasing the number of foreigners being given tourist visas. The word the government wants to send out is that Britain welcomes visitors who come to spend but not migrants who come to work.

The problem is that it is a mixed message and, as the prime minister said in his speech on boosting our tourism industry this morning, "it's a question of perception".

Mr Cameron said he was determined "to remove some of the obstacles that put people off coming here" and wanted "to improve the local delivery of visa services in key markets like China and India".

Interesting that he should mention India, of course, given the concerns that the Indian Commerce minister, Anand Sharma recently expressed in Downing Street about the "adverse effect" on relations with Britain of the new restrictions on work visas.

The prime minister is clearly aware of the huge benefits to UK plc from overseas visitors. "Tourism contributes £115bn to our economy every year" he pointed out. "It employs nearly 10% of our national workforce."

"We've just not been working hard enough to celebrate our country and home and sell our country abroad. Huge opportunities are being missed."

One of the keys to a successful tourist industry is that visitors are made to feel welcome. There are concerns, though, that in vital markets immigration controls aimed at long-term migrants are making holiday-makers and other short-term visitors think that the UK doesn't really want them.

Since the last government started introducing much tougher visa controls there has been a big drop in people coming to visit Britain. The number of visitor visas issued has fallen from 1.92m in 2006-7 to 1.67m in 2008-9.

In other words, a quarter of a million fewer travellers came to spend their cash in the United Kingdom than had done two years earlier.

Visitors from six countries currently require a visa to enter the UK for a visit of under six months duration: China, India, UAE, Thailand, Russia and most recently South Africa.

According to research by VisitBritain [2.11MB PDF], when it comes to the "welcome" potential tourists think they will get from a country, "39% of online respondents from China, Russia, and India perceive some difficulty in getting a visa to visit Britain".

The survey also found people are "far more likely to agree (49%) than disagree (16%) that getting a visa to visit Britain is expensive" and a substantial minority (42%) "agreed that the cost and trouble of getting a British visa means that they are more likely to holiday elsewhere."

Visa perceptions

The cost of a tourist visa to the UK has risen to £68, significantly more expensive than the £45 for visa to all the EU countries in the Schengen group.

A Chinese travel agent told VisitBritain that the need for a separate British visa when coming to Europe "seriously undermines" the United Kingdom's attractiveness as a destination.

"The UK visa policy is too strict and the cost of travelling to the UK is too high (1.5 times that of France). These two factors make travel agents unwilling to put much effort into promoting the UK."

However, there is an even greater factor which relates directly to efforts Britain has made to tighten its borders. The research in China found that the biggest issue for potential tourists "is not the cost of visas but the risk of being rejected".

VisitBritain's report concludes that, for the Chinese, "a black mark / rejection stamp in a passport is a worse situation than never having applied for the visa in the first place" and so the tough reputation of UK immigration officials may directly impact on people considering coming here as tourists.

Mr Cameron today spelled out the value associated with Chinese visitors. "We're their 22nd most popular destination" he said. "But Germany is forecast to break into their top 10. Why can't we?"

"Currently we only have 0.5% of the market share of Chinese tourists. If we could increase that to just 2.5% this could add over half a billion pounds of spending to our economy and some sources suggest this could mean as many as 10,000 new jobs."

So there is a difficult balancing act to be achieved. The government knows that making the UK appear welcoming to tourists with wads of travellers cheques has significant economic benefits, but worries that appearing welcoming to other foreigners may have negative repercussions.

An annual poll, the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, measures the power and appeal of a nation's brand image. As part of the survey, respondents were asked to state how far they agreed with the following sentence: "If I visited this country, they would make me feel very welcome."

Perceptions of welcome

Only half of those asked (51%) agreed that the UK would make them feel very welcome, a result which put Britain in 14th equal place internationally. As the prime minister put it in his speech this morning: "Quite frankly, right now, we're just not doing enough to make the most of our tourism."

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:43pm on 12 Aug 2010, stevecharles wrote:

    The UK should be making a concerted effort to promote tourism within the UK for overseas visitors irrespective of where they come from. Charging more for tourist visa’s than other European countries is in my view counterproductive given the money that most tourists spend in the UK.
    However the government should also rigorously enforce the immigration laws for those who are in the UK illegally Talks of amnesty’s for illegal immigrants infuriate me especially since my wife is Russian and the combination of permanent UK residency and British Citizenship for my wife has cost not far short of £2000.

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  • 2. At 5:13pm on 12 Aug 2010, charlieh777 wrote:

    Visitors from six countries currently require a visa to enter the UK for a visit of under six months duration: China, India, UAE, Thailand, Russia and most recently South Africa.
    this statement in the article is untrue. my friend from moldova needed a visa to visit britian on a holiday and it was impossible to get. Dozens of countries need a visa to visit britian for under 6 months.

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  • 3. At 5:15pm on 12 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 5:20pm on 12 Aug 2010, rodley25 wrote:

    The problem is we have never been able to monitor people leaving the country. 'counting them out' seems to be something impossible to achieve, especially at borders other than airports which appear to be a free for all. If we used the biometric technology that is now available, there should be no barriers to genuine tourists coming to the country. Let's face it anyone who can afford to come to Britain as a genuine tourist should be welcommed with open arms.

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  • 5. At 5:28pm on 12 Aug 2010, yummymummy1 wrote:

    Quite frankly Mr. Cameron is welcome to his "tourists"!

    Living in an area of out-standing beauty the tourist season
    is nothing but a nightmare for the local residents ! Crowded
    beaches, Car parks full of camper vans and people driving along
    the roads at 2 miles per hour *rubber-knecking*

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  • 6. At 5:48pm on 12 Aug 2010, Ron666 wrote:

    The lack of welcome doesn't just apply to people from outside the UK. On one visit to England, I was informed that "Hitler should have exterminated the Welsh". Not the sort of comment that makes you feel like coming back.

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  • 7. At 5:53pm on 12 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    ¡David Cameron contradicts himself!

    He has managed to look worse than Blair in just 3 months! It will be interesting watching his errors in the next few years (I doubt the government will last to term and if it does David Cameron will be ousted by his own party if he carries on like this.)

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  • 8. At 6:27pm on 12 Aug 2010, Stuart Nicoll wrote:

    I have had the "pleasure" of a holiday in this country bthree years ago in Cornwall. Never again. Rude beyond belief, from restaurants to campsites and cafe's. We have no idea of how to please money spending tourists and should look to places such as South Africa and America.

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  • 9. At 6:45pm on 12 Aug 2010, em wrote:

    Why would you come to the UK? The service is truely dreadful, the food is expensive, revolting and served by surly women who think customers are an inconvenience and the attractions old and dirty. Legoland was filthy and every attraction could have done with a good scrub. You would never see that in America. Disneyland is immaculate. If you have children, exactly what is there to do after 7/8pm when the pubs/restuarants ask you to leave. Oh, that's right, sit in a horrible hotel room whcih you probably paid the earth for and watch tv. Nightmare holiday. I will never holiday in the UK again - they have been a total waste of money and the worst holidays I have ever had. And before you think this is down to one bad experience, it's not.

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  • 10. At 6:45pm on 12 Aug 2010, Rorb wrote:

    UK tourism? I think he means London tourism.

    Why would anyone want to visit anywhere else?

    Most countries have nicer green areas and far better weather/beaches.

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  • 11. At 7:26pm on 12 Aug 2010, Karin Segway wrote:

    Most countries from the third-world (not only the 5 quoted in the article) require a visitor visa to enter the UK. This includes the majority of African and latin american countries.

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  • 12. At 7:30pm on 12 Aug 2010, flatroofstephen wrote:

    I just Googled 'Visit Britain'. visitbritain.com is the worst national tourist site I've ever seen. Where's the Top Ten? Tower of London, Warwick and Stratford, Stonehenge, The Lakes, Edinburgh, etc? Where are the panoramas? Some carnival in London was the main picture. It's literally a national disgrace. Oh, and the .org site, run by the idiots behind the .com site, came up second and third on the listings... just in case you want to see the twitter feed from the numpties who run our tourism brand.

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  • 13. At 7:48pm on 12 Aug 2010, Myatu wrote:

    The article doesn't seem to mention much about the blue bar, the portion of people that state "Neither agree or disagree".

    Looking at the previous comments, and in full agreement, it seems more that most people of those (and other) countries wouldn't even bother vacationing in the UK. Hence that wide blue bar: "We've never tried to get a holiday visa".

    And why would they? It used to be a polite place, of queues, helpful people pointing the way and "Would you like some more, sir?" in family-run restaurants.

    Now it's push and shove, being told to get a map - at risk of being physically attacked for even daring to ask someone - and "That would be £5.99, please" from a smirking American food chain operative.

    Public transportation has turned into a mish-mash of barely-regulated companies, resulting in a rubbish-ridden transportation system that hardly ever is on time, unable to bring you to those attractions without turning your mood sour. And when you do get there, in an already bad mood, the attractions seem to have been stagnant since the mid 50s, as all the money is being pumped into London.

    So again, why are we having trouble getting people to visit the UK?

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  • 14. At 7:48pm on 12 Aug 2010, doogsinscotland wrote:

    Simple solution, Dave: Join the Schengen zone!

    As it stands, people touring around all the member states only have one visa application and one fee to pay for a visa that entitles them to travel anywhere within the zone. To come to Britain, you have to apply for a separate visa with separate fees.

    As far as pure value for money goes, the UK has made the choice for tourists already: why bother with extra hassle and cost to visit one country, when a whole continent can be explored for the same price?

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  • 15. At 8:01pm on 12 Aug 2010, Paul Stancer wrote:

    Visit Britain! And expect a detailed quiz on your personal life just to get in.
    My girlfirend, who is an American, visa free, and working for a large American corporation, is greeted with a detailed grilling by immigration authorities over our relationship every time she comes in to the country. Can anyone explain why? Or do the immigration authorities think it's fair game to ask anything they want? Other friends from non-EU countries, who have also had the "pleasure" of passing through UK border control, report similar intrusive questioning. Welcome to Britian: please surrender all your personal information at the door!
    If I visited a country and was treated like that, I certainly wouldn't come back.




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  • 16. At 8:45pm on 12 Aug 2010, motorwayclaire wrote:

    Check out the statistics. VisitBritain have failed abysmally to disperse overseas visitors around the UK, especially around the English regions. Long term growth markets are fine with long term promotional budgets, get real and start delivering the volume overseas markets from mature markets (e.g. the US and the Eurozone)around England before blowing a small fortune that will only benefit London yet again.

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  • 17. At 8:46pm on 12 Aug 2010, mgaved wrote:

    More tourist locations need signs in more than just English, and there should be a big push to get staff at tourist attractions trained in other languages. A start would be more places with leaflets in French/German/Spanish etc. Even if the cost to train people or put signage up is too much then how about at least having some leaflets which could be prepared in advanced with some information on them to make visitors' stays more informative.

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  • 18. At 8:49pm on 12 Aug 2010, bluemeadowlark wrote:

    Simple solution, Dave: Join the Schengen zone!

    I am totally baffled by the UK's reluctance to be part of the schengen visa zone. When my wife became resident here from a non EU country we could not travel in mainland Europe unless we obtained a schengen visa for her. This drove us to get a UK passport and citizenship for her, the only reason for doing this was so we could travel to France, Italy etc whenever we liked...if the schengen visa was in place in the UK we would have never bothered about getting the UK passport!!!...and even after she had the UK passport immigration still questioned her legality as a UK national!!!!

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  • 19. At 9:24pm on 12 Aug 2010, matureempiricist wrote:

    Mr Cameron raised the question why the UK cannot be as popular a tourist detination for some nationalities as Germany is.

    Having travelled extensively in both countries over the past 15 years I suggest that the following may be some of the reasons:-

    - hotel / guest house accommodation in Germany is much better value

    - eating out in Germany is a more economical and generally a much better experience


    - Germany is generally much cleaner and cared for. Facilities such as toilets are almost invariably of a high standard and plentiful whereas in the UK they tend to be few and far between, often dirty and a disgrace to the country

    - German people tend to be generally better behaved, more respectful of others and of their environment as well as generally more culturally aware

    - there has been much more public investment in the country's infrastructure in Germany that makes daily life there a more pleasant and less stressful experience.

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  • 20. At 10:01pm on 12 Aug 2010, angelines wrote:

    The UK doesn't feel foreign visitors very welcome, the moment you arrive you come across rude people at the airport, they won't tell you not to do something but they shout at you, then it it the drivers from National Express coaches at the airports, they are usually rude and very unfriendly, therefore this is the first impression you get when you land in the UK, they also assume that everybody must speak English and if you don't they will shout at you as if you were an idiot. Once you arrive to your destination, things don't get any better, people dislike language students, after all they are the ones bringing the income to the country. I could write a book telling about the rudeness that foreign people have to go through in this country. Not everyone is that way, but at least 90% of people dislike foreigners and holidaymakers. Well, I will stop it now, but maybe one day I will write a book about what I had to observe in this country.

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  • 21. At 10:08pm on 12 Aug 2010, SteveInSurrey wrote:

    Bit rich, a Chinese travel agent complaining about the cost of coming to Britain! Last time I looked, Europe is not a single country so each European country surely can charge what it likes. By the way, I was in Shanghai (then to Japan) and back to Shanghai within 5 days last year and had to buy a 2 entry visa which cost me £120 to enter China twice in a week. Dosen't seem that fair to me!

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  • 22. At 10:21pm on 12 Aug 2010, This Comment Was Removed By The Moderators wrote:

    Imagine you are visiting the UK for the first time. You arrive at Heathrow airport, terminal 3. You queue up for at least half an hour to get through passport control. There aren't enough luggage trolleys. The toilets are broken. The lifts are broken. The traffic is chaotic. The restaurants are overpriced and the food is lousy. You haven't even got out of the airport, and you feel like going home already!

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  • 23. At 10:21pm on 12 Aug 2010, michael wrote:

    I recently went on a bit of a world tour. Every country I went to I experienced a warm welcome, good value, and got the impression that the locals were pleased to see me. And then I returned to the UK, where I was instantly reminded of the surly attitude, and the general "I hate my job" impression of people in the UK.

    I travel to the USA quite a bit, and I think the UK could learn a hell of a lot from them, especially when it comes to pride in your job, regardless of the salary.

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  • 24. At 10:28pm on 12 Aug 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 10:29pm on 12 Aug 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:

    SamCam looking as gorgeous as ever, might I add.

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  • 26. At 10:52pm on 12 Aug 2010, Murali62 wrote:

    I am a naturalised British Citizen and a die-hard anglophile. I am of Indian origin. This is a great country where there is a rule of law and a sincere attempt by the state to protect human dignity and equality.Ho wever, as they say, law is an ass.What spoils UK's reputation is the blind application of rules at the sharp end - this has good benefits - all of us are equal but the downsides - there's no discrimination or application of mind - I can quote any number of instances - Cameron is right - a system must be devised by the state to try to invite the legal tourist whilst screening /filtering out the non-genuine migrants. What this calls is honesty at the sharp end. Political correctness by the state can be downsized,I believe.
    Whilst the state can help this way, the common man should understand that UK has to move into the 21st century - learn/acknowledge non-english(read non-european)language and their speakers(whether visitors/residents sincerely to make the UK more welcoming.

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  • 27. At 10:52pm on 12 Aug 2010, cosmos wrote:

    As angelines points out, we are losing a lot of income not only from diminishing tourist numbers, but also from foreign students wanting to learn our language, one British commodity that is still very much in demand. Too many hoops to jump through to get through immigration and then a disappointing experience if they succeed. How many language schools have had to close down because of the new policies?No wonder students are going to Australia and USA. From an out-of-work EFL teacher

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  • 28. At 11:12pm on 12 Aug 2010, ferretkeeper wrote:

    "My girlfirend, who is an American, visa free, and working for a large American corporation, is greeted with a detailed grilling by immigration authorities over our relationship every time she comes in to the country."
    I've always wondered what it's like for Americans who come here. Now I know. Exactly the same as when we go there. Lots of silly questions that as far as I can see tell them nothing of any importance. Are UK immigration as grumpy as USA?

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  • 29. At 11:13pm on 12 Aug 2010, Chillster wrote:

    I agree with all the posts above that describe the UK tourist industry attitude as treating any foreign visitors as cash cows who are ripe for exploitation and second-class treatment. But in terms of the surliness and downright rudeness of border personnel, the USA and Canada win hands down! Especially as from early September visitors to the USA will have to pay $14 for the "privilege" of an ESTA, which doesn't even guarantee entry, or the rigmarole of those stupid green I-94 forms.

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  • 30. At 11:21pm on 12 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #19. matureempiricist wrote:

    [précis]: Germany is a better tourist destination because...

    "- hotel / guest house accommodation in Germany is much better value

    - eating out in Germany is a more economical and generally a much better experience
    "

    Hotels

    German hotels cost far less to own and run that UK ones do. Because of the insane way that land and houses are seen as stores of wealth and a means of sucking the general public dry by banks (and the government) where as in Germany second hand houses most times are expected to cost less than new ones. David Cameron (and indeed all politicians of all parties) simply does not understand that the British (banking) obsession with house prices destroys the country's competitiveness along with the tourist experience!

    Eating

    The cost of premises UK and because the staff have to live in absurdly overpriced house with gigantic loans so staff salaries are of necessity higher all this makes German restaurants cheaper to operate.

    However I recall some of the worst meals I have ever had were in Germany. The proportion of grease to other nutrition in the food in a particular restaurant in Hamlin was astonishing and so bad that just one meal left me feeling that the main organs of my body were about to fail. OK, I have also have the misfortune to eat badly in the UK too from time to time, but even after what must be twenty years that appalling meal sticks in my memory.

    Another terrible meal I had the misfortune to be served in a seaside hotel (off-season) in St Jean de Monte - the food was so bad that I could scarcely get outside before vomiting - included so that the French do not get off scot free! And while we about it Scottish food - including deep fried confectionery bars is also a recipe for heart failure and the Scots still do not have the same idea of what constitutes a full English breakfast!

    The style of cooking varies by the local habits. The (north) Germans seem to like huge amounts of grease with their meals when the taste for such an abundant lubricant had already substantially diminished in the UK.

    Seaside restaurants suffer a higher risk of sea food being unfit to eat. I recall eating in New York over many years and the portion size if almost offensive large - I have even complained to the chef on occasions.

    San Francisco food is generally much more to my taste as is most Japanese food in the major conurbations. I'll stop myself listing all the good and bad dining and accommodation experiences for fear of being too tiresome to everyone - except one notably experience in a hotel in central Kuala Lumpur where the back of the hotel bedroom door carried the injunction 'No durian or pets' - I just wish they had observed their own rules when it came to cockroaches in the en-suite - crunching underfoot if one had the misfortune to need to use the facilities at night! (I think this hotel has been long since demolished!)

    My main point is the economic point and is that the tourist experience is considerably influenced by the cost of the premises and the level of the necessary wages of the staff (so that the staff can afford to live near their work).

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  • 31. At 11:35pm on 12 Aug 2010, Bonebiddy wrote:

    Putting aside the horror that is UK immigration (though to be fair US immigration can be just as, if not more, horrible to visitors). I'm used to it now (mostly) from living, studying and working here, but it can be a bit off-putting for visitors to the UK to deal with the level of drunken chaos that happens on the streets on any given night of the week in cities. Shouting, swearing, fighting and generally people being obnoxious from sundown to almost sun-up can make getting a good night sleep hard. Rubbish thrown everywhere, urination on the sides of buildings and vomit on the sidewalks leaves places looking and smelling unwelcoming. These sorts of things can leave a visitor with a poor impression of the UK or at least urban UK. Hopefully visitors will also get to see and experience some of the wonderful things the UK has to offer to balance things out. The UK stepping back from the 24 hour drinking culture that seems to have taken hold would probably go a long way to making the streets calmer at night and making visitors feel less intimidated (especially those with children)...unless of course the visitors came to party.

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  • 32. At 11:58pm on 12 Aug 2010, Bonebiddy wrote:

    Yes, UK immigration is as grumpy as US immigration or Us immigration is as grumpy as UK immigration. However you want to think about it. Many of my European friends have some great (to recount, but not experience at the time) horror stories of US immigration. One even was deported back to the UK the next day after arrival because there was a mix-up with her papers. She was traveling to the USA to give a presentation, meet with some of her research collaborators and collect some research samples. She was not allowed to try and contact anyone at the museum she was working with and put in a cell overnight. The next day she was escorted to the first plane back to the UK by armed security. That beats all my bad experiences with UK immigration hands down.

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  • 33. At 00:16am on 13 Aug 2010, vBison wrote:

    Lol, shocking how many posts i completely concur with in this "have you say" section, it's uncanny.

    went to cornwell "for a week" - well planned to, only stayed there 2 days. if you want to know what hell on earth is, go to a self-service park in cornwall. we stayed in an abode which we planned on renting for a week. self-service pay-as-you-go. had to provide your for own food, no problem.

    only problem was the electricity wasnt on when we arrive, i looked in the cupboard to check what was up and it was a pay-meter where you had to put a pound an hour to get electricity. only thing was there was a lovely security lock lodged snuggly inside the slot where the pound was supposed to go and a key was not provided.

    took 3 whole hours just to get ahold of management because the geezer who had the keys didnt have the courtesy to stay on site and went to a pub 20 minutes away. when he did come he had the must sour pit-bull expression, as if he was trudging through a sewer of some sort. he grumbled to himself, loud enough so i could hear, "bl**dy foreigner".

    he then continued and in the most patronised voice ever "explained" how to work the meter... "you see this BIG BLACK SLOT HERE, watch me now, ye put the pund in here like this (there was only one slot on the meter and it has the instructions on it, i knew what to do). make sure it goes ALL THE WAY IN YES, hear it click. then the lever you press in down like this, watch my finger now doooooown we go". he then had the audacity to say, "it requires some form of intelligence to use".

    get a pound. put it in the slot, pull the lever. requires intelligence? not only that but the bathroom wasnt even cleaned properly. im never paying £500 for a trip in this country ever again.

    what i love is im british-born, white, and i got called a foreigner? so who needed to go back to school... and yes the food in heathrow is just highway robbery. mediocre food at best, at 5 star pricing. one quarter slice of pizza cost £6.99. i can get a 13" meat feast at dominos £7.00

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  • 34. At 00:20am on 13 Aug 2010, vBison wrote:

    just to add, i havent had ONE bad experience of "holidaying" in the uk, its in the double digits, almost triple. that was just the funniest since i was treated like a "foriegner" even though i am british-born... so imagine how those coming over from other countries are treated....

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  • 35. At 01:43am on 13 Aug 2010, Graphis wrote:

    Whenever I go abroad, I see places that enforce the feeling I'm somewhere different: not just the people of course, but the scenery, the architecture, the food, the customs... that's what makes it so interesting and worthwhile.... and then I look around this country... and everywhere is the bl**dy same! American chains, the same food everywhere you go, ugly concrete, shiny glass... everything actually "English" seems to have been torn down decades ago... apart from a few villages in the Cotswolds, there's very little left of what made this country unique and different, and that gave us a sense of pride in our heritage.

    Why can't we return to our national heritage, and force house builders to build English traditional style houses, instead of those cheap little ugly square boxes that pass for houses these days? Why can't our architects stop being obsessed with steel and glass, and build something to rival the great Victorian architects? Can you imagine what the Houses of Parliament would look like if it was built today? It would look no different from a shopping mall.

    The problem is, by opening up UK "plc" to foreign businesses, we allowed the homogenisation of our once beautiful and unique country: this has had the effect of taking away something we all felt fiercely proud of. You can't have a love of your country if there's nothing there to love. You wouldn't love a particular person if they were all identical would you?

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  • 36. At 03:10am on 13 Aug 2010, Dek_Dastardly wrote:

    Hello All, completely new to this (just registered), and apart from commenting that I don't believe Tourist income is high on Cameron's agenda or actually a precient issue, though the perception of 'who' is entering the country and their motives for doing so is deeply idealogical, my dander, curiosity and response have been raised by several posts. Oh! And, also, Tourist income will logically go down in a global recession.
    Comment 2. So if this is correct, you've got a major case of misinformation. BBC to please clarify.
    Comment 4. How do you propose collating the biometric data of the c.5.95billion non Brits? Don't current procedures log departures? If not, then we'll never identify someone who's overstayed their visa!
    Comment 5. You obviously don't need the income and don't believe in sharing the world!
    Comment 7. Worse than Blair! Is it possible?
    Comment 8. I suggest you holiday in the poorest of countries, as you are more likely to get the maximum cow-towing for the least engagement, per Dollar!
    Comment 9. You went to Legoland? What was it like?
    13. I virtually always holiday in Britain and I don't recognise your description. I do recognise your allusion to the move from the individual to the Corporate.
    17. Foreign languages! 'Us' having the motivation/inclination/ability to increase the percentage of our populace who speak more than one language (generally some form of English)! That's "Crazy talk".
    21. What's your pont? Plan your visits better.
    22. Imagine you are visiting the Republic of Wherever(istan) for the first time., ...!!! What are you on about?
    23. "Serve me for less, you Scum".
    24. In my experience the differentiation you speak of by the 'indegenous' population of more recently migrated groups of people and their ability or lack thereof to recognise different groups, is universal. I think we do better than most here in the UK.

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  • 37. At 03:31am on 13 Aug 2010, Tokyoflash wrote:

    I had to pay £100 for a visa to enter China for less than six months earlier this year. I wanted to go so I paid it.

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  • 38. At 03:42am on 13 Aug 2010, carrianne001 wrote:

    Like many other folks here... I've had extensive travel experience & the UK has a lot to catch up on with CUSTOMER SERVICE in comparison to other Countries, no wonder Brits go abroad so much, they are treated well & come back beaming over the Friendliness, Service & value they received on their travels (especially in USA) !

    I’m a Brit & cringe at the thought of hosting the Olympic Games.

    The lack of Customer Service will clearly start at the Airports (if not before) with no-one available to ask questions, give directions (or a dam) too so many Visitors interrupting their daily routine.
    Then onto Transportation Transfers like NATIONAL EXPRESS coaches where (9 out of 10) Drivers are the Rudeness, Disrespectful & Self Empowered workers in the industry….even a written complaint to their Head office doesn’t get you a reply, least of all a resolution.

    Accommodations will mostly be…’Guests don’t want to be seen or heard...until its time to hand over the Readies’ …and may the gods help them all in the Restaurants with hiked up prices, zero care & suspicious food, not to forget the ‘scenic’ routes Taxi will take to get visitors to a 3 mile destination.
    Retail experiences has nothing to do with being Polite to the Customer & just simply interacting with the General Public is down right hostile

    Yep…it’s all going to be about the ‘Money’ nothing to do with lasting memories to encourage Foreigners to return. .No Gold Medals will be earned for Welcome, Friendliness, Care, Concern or Value.
    In fact we’d probably be disqualified compared to past Hosting Nations…as there isn’t enough time to Train or even Implement the SIMPLE meaning or importance of Customer Service in the UK.

    Perhaps the UK workforce should work more for Tips, that’d give them individual incentives to be at least half interested as right now it’s Embarrassing to show overseas Friends around the place.

    But when the Countries Leaders are just hitting each other below the belt on non-essential issues daily in Parliament: Then what chance does the Nation have of learning how to respect growth opportunities & each other!

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  • 39. At 04:19am on 13 Aug 2010, liberte wrote:

    hahaha, of course it is for money! it is to make sure loaded spectators can come and view the olympic games and pay off the new stadia.

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  • 40. At 09:38am on 13 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    A quick, easy way to sort things out - or at least set things on the right track - is to apply a minimum standard of cleanliness to all B&B's and holiday parks. Yes, there is a very real risk that many "establishments" may be forced out of business, but such places deserve to be. The point of Tourism is to encourage people to return, not to drive them away.

    Follow it up with a freely available list of recommended places to eat for both couples and families vetted by the relevant local authority.

    If there's one thing we do right in this country, it is history. We also have stunningly beautiful national parks such as dartmoor, exmoor and the peak/lake districts to mention just a few.

    I've had the pleasure of staying in some nice places. I've also had the misfortune to stay in some real decaying armpits crying out for a bulldozer. I've experienced both great customer service and also rudeness. Great food and stuff I wouldn't give the cat.

    If we improve the quality, value for money and general experience of UK accommodation and food, it's not only overseas tourists who will benefit. We will also.

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  • 41. At 10:06am on 13 Aug 2010, Dooh wrote:

    Changing immigration rules or visa rules or business practises,
    its all signs we going back to protecting local interests.
    Be it US trying to get Toyota and BP in trouble to help GM and Texaco.
    And India and China getting Blackberry or Google and Skype in trouble.
    Well for UK, its trying its best through immigration since it cant mess around with foreign owned companies as there is no local alternative.

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  • 42. At 10:11am on 13 Aug 2010, Grubble wrote:

    (Britannia) Welcome. Welcome. Please come on over. We want your money.
    (Foreigner1) Oh. Really. I'd like to visit and give you mine. Can I have a visa, please?
    (B) Sit down. Hand over quite bit of loot to apply then. Cheers. Eh. No. You can't visit.
    (F1) Why not?
    (B) That's not for us to divulge.
    (F1) Can I have my money back?
    (B) No.
    (F1) Why not?
    (B) Next please. Roll up, roll up. Welcome, welcome.

    (Repeat Dialogue N+1)

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  • 43. At 10:13am on 13 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #40. Squaids1 wrote:

    "If we improve the quality, value for money and general experience of UK accommodation and food, it's not only overseas tourists who will benefit. We will also. "

    Quite true - but all hotels & restaurants are businesses an so have to make a profit or they fold. But this is not an excuse for unacceptable and gratuitously bad service.

    I have been told of the other side of the story: I understand that one west country seaside resort was targeted by a national newspaper for a £5 offer this summer. The consequences has been an increase in crime, particularly theft and a dramatic decline is spending in the resort's shops risking the collapse of many and a downward spiral.

    The problem in the UK is that the buildings that are required to provide an hotel are far more expensive than the potential clientèle can afford and this has been getting worse over the years. So either the property must come down in price (and thus be more affordable) or the hotel business will close as they are now quite uneconomic. The depression we are now in will acerbate this problem!

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  • 44. At 10:16am on 13 Aug 2010, Grubble wrote:

    Britannia Customs Area

    (Excited Cust Of) Hello, hello, hello. What do we have here then? Nabbed ya. This is going to be my lucky day.

    (F) Eh, what's wrong?

    (ECO) Come with me.

    (15 minutes later)

    (ECO) Oh, eh, you can go.

    (Repeat)

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  • 45. At 10:21am on 13 Aug 2010, Grubble wrote:

    Passport checking counter

    (Immigration) Passport. Oh, I see. I'm going to give you right grilling now.
    (One hundred questions later)
    (Immig) You can go.

    Sign outside: Welcome to Britannia

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  • 46. At 11:16am on 13 Aug 2010, Mike Long wrote:

    As a recent and frequent visitor the the UK, I find London and it's environs cold and indifferent to the point of rudeness. Once one leaves the London area, people both inside and outside the tourism industry are warm, friendly and eager to be helpful. Perhaps Londoners in general and travel workers in particular need reminding that that old simpleton from the US pays their salaries, eats in their restaurants, stays in their hotels, shops in the unending t-shirt shops, rides in their taxis, and visits their attractions paying premium prices for these services. They need to be sent to the countryside for re-training of proper British hospitality. Also, i find the Scots fabulously welcoming!

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  • 47. At 12:38pm on 13 Aug 2010, Soul News wrote:

    While I agree with a lot of the comments here about the horrors of visiting the UK, I think that (in general) things get a lot better once you get outside the tourist trap that is London.

    The problem is that few tourists ever DO get far outside London. This is mostly down to the horrendous public transport that makes it almost impossible to get to anywhere like the beautiful Cornish beaches, or Dartmoor, or any other place where they'd have a much better time. (if they'd heard of those places, if they were advertised).

    Unfortunately most travel in the UK requires a car - which makes it very hard for tourists. So they're stuck in london being conned, ripped off and fed horrible "World Famous" fish and chips.

    Also, why is it that coach drivers on coaches from the airport don't speak any languages? And why do many of those coaches seem to require EXACT CHANGE from confused tourists who've just landed, can't communicate and only have the big notes they got from the foreign exchange counter? Horrible start to any vacation.

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  • 48. At 1:33pm on 13 Aug 2010, andy1305 wrote:

    I have reason to travel abroad fairly regularly. The consensus from other countries I have been to is that UK comes across as "clicky", rude, expensive and they won't come again. They originally came as a result of interest in the UK and its history. On going deeper into this 90% of the time it has been as a result of an experience they had in London.

    Why did they stay in London? I am told the rest of the country was perceived as relatively inaccessible unless they had to pay a premium, with little facilities at the places of interest. Public transport was viewed as bewildering and expensive. As a Brit I would be happy to correct this perception, but then I am perhaps of a minority in a population of 61m or so...

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  • 49. At 1:37pm on 13 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #47. #soulgrind wrote:

    "why is it that coach drivers on coaches from the airport don't speak any languages?"

    Ahh, there you have it - the nub of the problem - the dreadful way the British education system has with not insisting on the learning of foreign languages - many British natives (not just coach drivers) can't even handle English fluently, let alone another language!

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  • 50. At 2:02pm on 13 Aug 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    I think we would all support the idea of people coming to the UK for a short term, genuine visit.

    But the idea that 1/3 million people coming from india/pakistan/china were just coming to see buck house, give us their money and then go home is ludicrous.

    Can we let you into a secret Mark?

    Some people say they are coming as tourists and then just don't go back - shock, horror, who would have thought it?

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  • 51. At 2:41pm on 13 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    46. At 11:16am on 13 Aug 2010, Mike Long wrote:

    ..."As a recent and frequent visitor the the UK, I find London and it's environs cold and indifferent to the point of rudeness. Once one leaves the London area, people both inside and outside the tourism industry are warm, friendly and eager to be helpful"...

    Hi Mike, I cannot agree more with you there. I'm a Brit, and I have travelled this world extensively over the past 25+ years, and to paint the entire UK with the same brush as that of London distorts the picture.

    Let's start with the airport, as has been mentioned repeatedly, above. When I arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick, being a Brit and and EU passport holder, my entry is different to those on a visa, but I have eyes and ears, and I see the queues, the huddled masses, like a 21st Century (but carpeted, well lit and warm) version of Ellis Island. Agreed, the border needs to be secure, having often been a victim of terrorism, and I'm old enough to remember old fashioned terrorism when warnings were given and the terrorists invariably blew themselves up by mistake, but we need that security.

    The people of the UK have become so fed-up with what appeared to be open borders and illegal immigration, that governments have had to respond in one way or another. Yes, the message we have had to send out is that UK is not an easy place to get into, but that itself has a negative impact on law-abiding travellers / tourists. We need a balance. I agree, we have not yet achieved that.

    The balance needed requires a degree of honesty on the part of everyone travelling, at least until the technology of biometric profiling is rolled out globally, but intrusiveness is part of security when honesty cannot be trusted. It is, unfortunately, the actions of the few that are now inhibiting the travelling plans of the many.

    But none of that is an excuse for rudeness. On arrival at Heathrow T1 a few months ago, I joined the 'coming home' queue. Two desks to welcome the entire EU to UK shores, and staffed by one young girl on each desk who spent their time glancing at passports but moreso, gossiping across the void between their desks about their various shopping expeditions. A real 'Sharon & Tracy' moment.

    Into customs, and I must admit, they're there to do a job, and politeness is not really part of it, but they are. I've never been approached by an HMC&E officer and found them rude, ever. Yes, they confiscate contraband, that's their job.

    Now, out into the big wide world, if you can navigate your way around Heathrow without spending your first half hour going endlessly in circles. The UK has two (possibly three) kinds of taxi. There is the top of the tree, black cab, hail him on the street and pay the meter fee at journey's end, but risk being taken the 'long way around', apparently. I used to live close to Heathrow, and couldn't get a black cab for love nor money to drop me home because it 'wasn't worth his while' in fares. Plus, I think, he probably prefers 'foreigners' cos they won't know the way whereas I do. The daft thing is, the cabbie could well be a 'foreigner' himself. Then there's the mini-cab. Call one of these guys to collect you from the airport, and you need a degree in airport geography to find out where the pickup point is. 'Meet me outside the old BP garage that used to be next to Central Bus Station'. Imagine if I was coming here on business and had been given a number of a local cab company by my sponsor to be greeted with that kind of response. Unbelievable. There have been times when I've had to remind the driver that I'm from the UK. 'Don't rip me off like some kind of tourist'. It happens everywhere, but that's no excuse for it going on here.

    Everything else, for the tourist, is now geared to get you into Central London as quickly as possible. Use the Heathrow Express - 15 minutes, and you're in the centre of town. WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE COUNTRY?

    Tourism in the UK is too London-Centric. That would be like people visiting Kenya being encouraged to stay in Nairobi. Not the reason why they're there.

    I often encourage people to get out of London, to visit Norfolk, Wales, Devon & Cornwall, Northumbria, Edinburgh, the Highlands, the Lakes. Just get out, meet the people, view the country as we view it. Someone mentioned history - our history is part of world history, our history is inextricably linked with most of Europe - it was they that invaded and made us what we are after all. If you want to visit cities, and you're not much of a countryside person, try the historical cities of Winchester, Cantebury, Durham. The NE of England is a wonderful place now that the industry has all but gone. It's green, pleasant and not as hectic as the SE of England and London in particular. The beaches in Devon and Cornwall and all around our coast are great places to explore. Of course, we don't have the weather. London is 51 degrees North of the equator, further north than Newfoundland.

    Less people head north, invariably, than stay in London, so they're naturally more welcoming. By the time you get to Scotland, they'll throw their arms open wide to greet you - I love Scotland by the way, being of Scot descent.

    The UK has become depressed, self-centric and critical of almost everything. It's not true that we are like that, but it is true that we have become that. The poison begins in London and spreads out around the M25, up the arteries of England, the M1, the M6, west along the M4. It's not yet crossed into my beloved Northumbria and therefore not yet into Scotland. I think the rivers have blocked the progress of dissent. That could explain why Wales, and South Wales in particular, is so successful at the moment - you have to pay to get in, but you can leave for free.

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  • 52. At 3:14pm on 13 Aug 2010, johford97 wrote:

    Am I overlooking something but can someone tell me why we just dont do a happy medium. So go in between the times so we are half hour from 1 hour forward and 1 hour back?

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  • 53. At 5:24pm on 13 Aug 2010, sofie wrote:

    I love the UK, and I would probably visit it very often a year, as Eurostar gives a very good connexion.
    Just one problem: my dog can't enter the UK.
    And holiday without my dog, is no holiday at all!
    So, I stopped visiting the UK and I won't come until this quaranteen law stops

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  • 54. At 8:12pm on 13 Aug 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    53. At 5:24pm on 13 Aug 2010, sofie

    Does this help?
    http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/index.htm

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  • 55. At 9:44pm on 13 Aug 2010, Neel wrote:

    Well,
    I have visited britain 3 times, but it seriously makes me feel stupid that everytime i apply for a visa i need to wait much longer than i actually would have to wait if i was applying elsewhere. And finally i decided i would not go to England again. Why waste my time, energy and money on fighting to get a visa when countries like Canada and the U.S have arms wide open for me.
    It doesn't make any sense to go to Britain anymore, there is nothing much to see, everything is expensive and some people are really unfriendly. The last thing i want when i travel abroad as a guest is friendly and helpful people not ignorant people.
    And why put those 5 countries on the list to obtain visas when many other countries have an open walkway to get there. Its injustice and absolutely not fair. India, China and Russia these countries have massive purchasing power and people from these countries spend a lot on traveling, and UK makes it difficult for them to enter, who is the one losing on revenue they could have made on these tourists if the visa policy was lenient.... of course the UK would have benefited from this.
    You cant just say that work visas would be restricted to immigrants, do you have any idea on how many brits work abroad, the data is huge and never ending. So it doesnt make sense to block people from coming into Britain to work while britons themselves work overseas.
    It just doesnt balance at all. David Cameron, i dont think he will last long on his post. Truly speaking, Gordon Brown was the man who saved UK from disaster, which so many people dont even realize. He showed the way during recession and many of the european countries as well as the US followed him. He should be brought back i say.
    The country where i live now, many people go on holidays but i havent heard about anyone going to the UK, they all say the same thing about it and they prefer not to go the UK.

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  • 56. At 9:49pm on 13 Aug 2010, jimmyjenks wrote:

    I've lived in the UK for 10 years and think it is by far the most beautiful and interesting country in Europe now because of all the beautiful new buildings and bridges that have been built and the way streets have been upgraded. The problem always comes down to the cost of everything. Anyone visiting the UK probably lives frugally due to the high cost of everything compared to just about everywhere. But in Europe the prices always feel a lot cheaper and encourage spending. It's probably also the reason so many Brits go overseas for holidays. Not being part of the euro and schengen probably doesn't help.

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  • 57. At 00:22am on 14 Aug 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    "The word the government wants to send out is that Britain welcomes visitors who come to spend but not migrants who come to work."

    No, you've got it totally wrong. The message the Government wants to put out is that we want visitors to come, spend, and return; we do not want visitors to come, stay, and sponge off the state.

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  • 58. At 00:51am on 14 Aug 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    .
    Neel @ 55: "Truly speaking, Gordon Brown was the man who saved UK from disaster, which so many people dont even realize. He showed the way during recession and many of the european countries as well as the US followed him. He should be brought back i say.
    .
    The country where i live now, many people go on holidays but i havent heard about anyone going to the UK, they all say the same thing about it and they prefer not to go the UK."
    ...............
    What a mixed message!!!
    .
    I guess you're a foreigner to the UK.
    .
    The demise of the UK was on the watch of the two Labour leaders, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The demise of the world banking system through the mixing of Current Account Banking with straightforward Gambling-With-Other-People's-Money was done on their watch.
    .
    They were constantly informed of the impending disaster over at least a ten year period.
    .
    They signally FAILED to manage affairs through their control of the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority. These were the agencies tasked with ensuring the Banks managed financial affairs of the nation and the people of the UK with prudence and safety.
    .
    The Prime Ministers were not sacked, though they should have been. The Heads of the Bank of England and the FSA were not sacked, though they should have been. The heads of the major City banks were not sacked, though they should have been.
    .
    Any prime minister that brings his country to absolute bankrupcy should not be praised for not making matters even worse; he should be in jail, along with the heads of the BoE and the FSA who allowed it to happen.
    .
    Culpability is there for all to see; sentence is conspicuous by its absence.
    .

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  • 59. At 02:03am on 14 Aug 2010, pirate101 wrote:

    Londoners are not polite, they put their head down and get on with life. It is just their personality. If london was like America where everyone says 'hey, how are you?' it would be terrible. I feel happy to live in a place where I can live my life without bother and hassle.
    As far as immigration is concerned legal, high spenders should be welcomed with open arms. Foreigners looking to abuse our hospitality must be dealt with harshly. Ban them for 10 years, whatever. Just make life in the UK very difficult as an illegal immigrant.

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  • 60. At 02:41am on 14 Aug 2010, Soul News wrote:

    To be more positive, there are a lot of people who want to come to the UK. Considering its small size, it's long history means that there are a lot of potential visitors. The problem, I sense, is that most people who visit one time, wouldn't want to ever come back.

    Top 4 steps to improve the situation:
    - Make airports and airport-transport staff more friendly and helpful. Require language training for all such staff.
    - Advertise the UK based on all the beautiful and historic locations outside london. (Mont san michel is advertised everywhere. St Michael's mount, nowhere).
    - Improve public transport and get people out of london as soon as possible.
    - Improve standards of hotels and food. (Introduce some kind of "gold standard" badge which people have to really work for - then promote them).

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  • 61. At 05:47am on 14 Aug 2010, cww wrote:

    I am British and my wife is Chinese. As I work abroad she lives in China. We are coming to the UK for a visit at the end of August and for her to get a visit visa in Beijing 1) she had to wait 3 weeks to receive it (it takes 3/4 days to get a visa to visit China) 2) the agency wanted to know her exact itinerary for each day of the visit and 3) yes - there is a fear factor of getting rejection every time of requesting a UK visit visa resulting in most of our vacations being spent in China or other countries.

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  • 62. At 1:35pm on 14 Aug 2010, Michael wrote:

    My 80 year old sister in law born and brought up in a British Colony whose husbans was ahonorary British Consul in Surinam who has visited her family in England many many times over the last 50 years went to the consular office in Amsterdam to get a visitors visa last month after presenting an invitation from her English niece;this distinguished lady was interviewed by a consular clerk,not allowed anybody else in the room with her and was told that they would have to send her passport to "BERLIN"! and that it would take three weeks.She has returned to Surinam without seeing any of her english family.Do you wonder that British people are completely fed up with the Immigration authorities or Border guard or whatever they are now called.On the one hand we have borders leaking like hell with illegal and illintentioned immigrants and on the othger decent citizens who wish to pay a short visit to their friends and family in this country are pushed around by hidebound bureaucrats whose sole objective is to see their statistics look good

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  • 63. At 3:07pm on 14 Aug 2010, Kenneth wrote:

    - Mr Cameron today spelled out the value associated with Chinese visitors. "We're their 22nd most popular destination" he said. "But Germany is forecast to break into their top 10. Why can't we?"

    Errr, because we're not in the Schengen area. A non-EU visa-requiring tourist can get a Schengen visa which gets them access to 25 different countries in Europe (including now even staunchly eurosceptic Switzerland!), or a UK visa which gets them access to 1 country. Why on earth would your average tourist from, say, China bother going for the UK visa?

    I also don't understand how the British public can be so ignorant that most of them don't even know what the Schengen area is and think it is perfectly normal to have to go through passport control 3 times on a return trip to the European mainland, whilst in most other parts of Europe people just breeze through the gate like on a UK domestic flight.

    And why are successive UK governments *so* incredibly staunchly opposed to the UK joining Schengen? It is not like joining the euro; you can reverse the decision at a moment's notice - indeed, it is perfectly normal for border controls to be temporarily reintroduced by Schengen member states if there is a particular national security requirement for doing so.

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  • 64. At 4:21pm on 14 Aug 2010, pam wrote:

    My Uncle (who doesn't speak good english) came form Vancouver for a vacation. When leaving from Heathrow a very rude customs officer yelled at him as he didn't understand what he was asking - by the way there was a punjabi speaking officer watching the whole incident and did not intervene. It left my Uncle scared and bewildered. If you're not going to treat people with some dignity and respect they won't come. By the way he was 71 at the time and yes, i have since migrated to Toronto!!

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  • 65. At 6:45pm on 14 Aug 2010, destinyrules wrote:

    Honestly, I feel UK should change its attitude towards the countries like India, China and South Africa. When it comes to immigration they impose stricter rules (bcoz their own ppl bcome jobless) and for visitor visas they want to make little easier policies, so, that they can benefit 4m them. Mr. Cameron’s recent visit to India is one of the best examples to show how Britain is greedy and hunger to grab the investments. On one hand UK is hungry to grab the opportunities from these countries but on the other hand it’s not the same. No wonder why many of my frnds would like to study in countries like Australia, Russia, New Zealand, Ukraine rather than UK.

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  • 66. At 7:05pm on 14 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    This seems to me like another quick, knee-jerk, little-thought-out idea of the Coalition Government in response to the Tourism Alliance (Lobby).
    David Cameron intends to make it easier and quicker for people from countries like China and India to get hold of UK visas. And once they're inside the UK as tourists, does Mr. Cameron have another effective strategy for getting them out - if they don't want to go or are busy planning mayhem?
    Mr. Cameron says he will make the UK visa system simpler for holidaymakers, doesn't this automatically include terrorists who can easily declare themselves as "holidaymakers"?
    Mr. Cameron added that he intends to increase the use of online UK visa applications from the current one-third of all tourist visas. I read somewhere that part of this online service will be to Saudi Arabia "holidaymakers".
    Apparently, tourism contributes £115B to the UK economy each year and as a result, it is vital that people keep coming to the UK for holidays.
    Remember the student visa scam that allowed potential terrorists into UK? Is it not possible to have a hoildaymaker scam that allows potential terrorists into the UK?
    I thought that the visa norms were supposed to be tightened after the Lashkar jihadi David Coleman Headley affair. The new visa rules were supposed to stop the current system where an Indian tourist visa could double as a business visa. Has the follow-up occurred on this?
    Issues like the foregoing, represent the conflicting interests when trying to balance counter-terrorism while boosting tourism.

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  • 67. At 10:00pm on 14 Aug 2010, Beruang wrote:

    Indonesians also need a tourist visa for the UK and when my wife tried to apply we found that the UK government has outsourced all visa applications to a third party private company and this now involves 9 pages of form filling online, a very hefty fee paid by credit card plus an interview and fingerprinting at a UK embassy or high commission where most of the same questions were asked all over again by bored staff.
    Then the applicant's passport has to be sent to another location ( not necessarily the same place as where the interview was held - in our case the interview was in Barbados but the passport had to go to New York and back at our expense ) for the visa to be inserted. The result? As we live in the Caribbean the entire cost to us of getting a two week tourist visa for my Indonesian wife to travel with me to the UK was over GBP 400, almost the cost of the airfare from here to London and back, and it took almost a whole month.
    Next holiday we will not be going back to the UK but to Indonesia where a one month tourist visa will be issued to me on arrival in a few minutes at a cost of US$ 25. This is how it should be done - wake up Cameron!

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  • 68. At 11:21pm on 14 Aug 2010, laughingjkings wrote:

    jimmyjenks wrote:

    I've lived in the UK for 10 years and think it is by far the most beautiful and interesting country in Europe

    The average High street in the UK is a concrete, featureless, treeless, copy of the next street. Very few areas of any actual urban beauty, merely crowded, functional and utilitarian.....

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  • 69. At 10:56am on 15 Aug 2010, Nikhtas wrote:

    jimmyjenks wrote:
    "I've lived in the UK for 10 years and think it is by far the most beautiful and interesting country in Europe now because of all the beautiful new buildings and bridges that have been built and the way streets have been upgraded."

    I completely agree with you.But once more i am completely amazed by some of the comments here. Some people just try to present another reality. It seems many who write comments in bbc's site have an agenda. I can't explain it otherwise. For example: Londoners rude? Every single person i know who visited London and England in general are impressed with the politeness of the people. Wanna interact with really rude people? Go to France. Oh my God! And the possibilities to get your wallet stolen in France are huge. And the most annoying thing but also a bit funny is that if you go to a store and speak english they wont want to talk to you. They demand from you to speak french but then if you walk away from the store they suddenly begin to speak english. Anyways, English are the most polite compared to people from all the other EU countries that is something that is considered a fact and this can't be changed by some typical anti-british comments on the internet.

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  • 70. At 12:42pm on 15 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #63. Kenneth wrote:

    "And why are successive UK governments *so* incredibly staunchly opposed to the UK joining Schengen? It is not like joining the euro;"

    You know the answer to this don't you.... The British are chronic xenophobes - they hate and mistrust all foreigners - they are even a bit unsure about anyone who lives outside the M25 (London's Périphérique). All political parties are so scared of losing the support of the extreme right wing red-top press that they are paralysed. All the political parties are extreme Nationalists and hate all foreigners. There is no internationalist political movement left in the UK any-more! (OK I am a bit over the top but that is the essential truth.)

    However, we must join both Schengen and the Euro for our own benefit or we will become increasingly socially and economically isolated and become even more desperate and slump into extreme nationalism which will be a danger to all out neighbours. Little Englanders are the thin end of a very 'thick' wedge - this is the result of our appallingly poor educational system that insists that everyone has passed when they majority can hardly read and write their own language or add up and certainly can't functionally use any other language.

    Essentially unless the thinking part of the British people take on the tabloid press and insist on ensuring that common-sense and sensible cooperation with our near neighbours in Europe is as open and free as is the links of London are with the UK provinces we are writing our own death warrant. There is I believe a central core of kind open and friendly people in the UK, but the media is dominated by such extremist that the majority is silenced. The UK needs to be and remain an equal part of the EU, fully committed to all of the institutions (incl. Schengen and the Euro). We need to lead further sensible integration but always to insist that sensible subsidiarity remains core to the way we run the European Federation of States. We need to admit that we have a United States of Europe and that we are fully committed to making the institutions as efficient as possible. We need to push for further integration and a fully democratic Europe (why can't the people elect their President?)

    On a practical point - no UK school leaver should be able to leave school unless that can speak, read and write in a foreign language (in addition to English and of course that they must have basic numeracy too!) And no one should be able to go to University unless they also met these criteria.

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  • 71. At 12:49pm on 15 Aug 2010, Ron666 wrote:

    Nikhtas wrote:
    "Anyways, English are the most polite compared to people from all the other EU countries"

    To other English people maybe. I'm Welsh, and I've visited about 60 or 70 countries by now I think. Some are more welcoming than others; Greece stands out for the warmth of the welcome. The French are actually pretty friendly outside Paris. I've only ever been subjected to abuse because of my nationality in one country. I've also only ever had anything stolen in one country, the same one. Would you like to guess which one it was, Nikhtas?

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  • 72. At 1:22pm on 15 Aug 2010, Nikhtas wrote:

    Ron666 wrote
    "To other English people maybe"

    I'm sorry to dissapoint you but i'm Greek. And the people who i were reffering too none of them was English,ron666.


    matureempiricist wrote:
    "Mr Cameron raised the question why the UK cannot be as popular a tourist detination for some nationalities as Germany is."

    A bit strange thing to say(if he said it)
    International tourist arrivals by country of destination 2009
    The top international destinations in 2009 are:[1]

    Rank Country International tourist arrivals
    1 France 74.2 million
    2 United States 54.9 million
    3 Spain 52.2 million
    4 China 50.9 million
    5 Italy 43.2 million
    6 United Kingdom 28.0 million
    7 Turkey 25.5 million
    8 Germany 24.2 million
    9 Malaysia 23.6 million
    10 Mexico 21.5 million


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tourism_rankings

    United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

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  • 73. At 2:42pm on 15 Aug 2010, Nikhtas wrote:

    Oh and ron66 you might want to check this
    http://www.canada.com/news/Europe+dominates+list+pickpocket+traps/2058792/story.html No London in the list. Paris is in as is Rome and other european cities. Not suprising at all as this is common knowledge among the tourists.

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  • 74. At 3:14pm on 15 Aug 2010, Paul Hamilton wrote:

    Nikhtas (69, 72 & 73) - I completely agree with you. I am Australian and cannot believe the amount of criticism that flies around this website, mainly from British people themselves. I have found London and the rest of the UK to be extremely welcoming and a fantastic place to visit. Every country has its problems. It just seems that sadly many British people look upon their experiences abroad with rose-tinted glasses whilst expecting their lives at home to replicate those on holiday.

    It's not just me who thinks this either. Every friend or relative I've travelled with into the UK is impressed by the efficiency and modernness of the airports and public transport getting into the city, let alone the history and culture they really come to experience.

    And I loved my trip to Greece a couple of months ago by the way!

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  • 75. At 3:19pm on 15 Aug 2010, Paul Hamilton wrote:

    "71. At 12:49pm on 15 Aug 2010, Ron666 wrote:
    Nikhtas wrote:
    "Anyways, English are the most polite compared to people from all the other EU countries"

    To other English people maybe. I'm Welsh, and I've visited about 60 or 70 countries by now I think."

    I completely disagree. As mentioned in my post above, I'm Australian living in London and have found almost everybody I've met to be friendly and welcoming. I've also visited about 60 countries (and lived in ten) and the UK is certainly up there as one of the best. Just a shame most British people can't see it!

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  • 76. At 3:38pm on 15 Aug 2010, rustyabroad wrote:

    I moved to Malaysia in April and was amazed, frankly, at how many people here actually WANT to go to the UK. Malaysia has 3 ethnic groups; Malays, Indians and Chinese. Everywhere I go I am quizzed on what the UK is like. Of course one is diplomatic but frankly, right now, I don't want to go back there - and I'm British!!
    It's expensive, people are rude - London is shocking, even in its reception to other UK nationals - the other nations and regions of the UK can be intolerant and moaning; now I am living here I understand 'Little Britain' even better.
    Conversely, I have had some of the most memorable and inspiring holidays ever in the UK - walking across the machair in Harris; taking a coastal path from Polruan to Polperro in Cornwall, seeing an exhibition at the BALTIC gallery in Gateshead. I have the greatest fortune in being able to call Edinburgh my home.
    What makes Britain 'great'? The places or the people?

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  • 77. At 5:09pm on 15 Aug 2010, Forlornehope wrote:

    Could not the UK government simply accept Schengen visas for Chinese tourists? It hardly seems a major threat to UK sovreignty. All that would be required would be for tourists to present their passport and evidence that they have the relevant visa on entry to the UK. It is hardly brain surgery to solve this.

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  • 78. At 9:25pm on 15 Aug 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    We, in the UK, have much to learn, much to emplace and much to co-ordinate if we wish to make tourism a central plank to our economic revival.
    ”Tourism: Britain´s 5th biggest industry, worth 85 billion gbp p.a., generates over 15 billion gbp of export earnings p.a., domestic and non-domestic tourists pay over 14 billion gbp in tax each year, etc, etc”. It is Big Stuff – and virtually disregarded in terms of central planning and co-ordination.
    .
    Government needs to fully understand its role. This has not been the case during my lifetime. UK tourist visas need to be managed AS A PACKAGE with EU visas – this is why we have an EU, to make matters controlled, swifter and easier. The Schengen Agreement is no practical constraint, and the terrorist control legislation is applied massively too heavily to tourists.
    .
    Government CAN make attractive the tourist hot-spots and their environs, but it must UNDERSTAND what it is doing and why. Any penny spent must show a penny-plus return on the investment (not discounted over eg 20 years or more, we don’t have this luxury), and it must be LONG-TERM investment to the environs as well as the tourism artefact.
    .
    The long-term responsibility is to powerfully plan indigenous, quality, architectural unity – and to refuse ersatz (local authority) alternatives; to treat ever tourist node as a St Paul’s Cathedral, so that gradually the environs become upgraded, eventually merging with contiguous environs to create a coherent British architectural experience.
    .
    The Government’s short-term goal is, through planning co-ordination, to move tourists rapidly around the capital and other tourism nodes, and especially between nodes.
    .
    Yes, tourism has been a major part of the English (London) economy for many years. Elsewhere in the UK it is 'small potatoes' compared to London, but locally of great significance. Edinburgh has a festival and Dublin has its Guinness; both have built a tourist industry around these 'core values'.
    .
    One thing influences the British perception of tourists in London - the inability to distinguish them readily from the (ethnic) maelstrom that has become the country's capital. This may be what the tourists come to see, however. An American tourist is very unlikely to have seen a modern day Lithuanian or a Latvian, but here in London you can rub shoulders with all nationalities. A USA citizen can meet Iraquis and Iranians, and have a cultured conversation - totally overturning the perception that they are 'the spawn of the devil' (as I have read in American blog-postings).
    .
    But London is a dirty city. It is the biggest jewel in the UK crown, but its provision is a mess of pebbles. Wars and fire have destroyed much of the more ancient architecture, and the 1960s infill architecture is an incredibly negative advert; in London you have to look between the crap to hunt out the jewels of history.
    .
    London (and elsewhere in the UK) can learn a HUGE amount about tourism provision by looking at the USA. If any country has got it right it is the USA. Heritage is really important to the Americans and, apart from the Native American heritage which frequently has less well developed tourism provision, colonial and post-colonial heritage is extremely well presented, clean, friendly and 'accessible' - in short, everything a tourist might wish for. Yes, there is New York - with the same tourism problems as London; and there is the naff artificiality of the Disney and Vegas 'experiences´ that people travel to from all over the world; but to see Space Centers, Dinosaur museums, National Parks, etc, etc, is a pleasure indeed.
    .
    If you want proper tourism provision – LEARN FROM THE USA.

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  • 79. At 9:41pm on 15 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    As many have said - promote places outside London, a visitor from far away like China (or Japan) is going to be happy enough with lots of famous sites in London, Bath, and Cambridge - focus on nearer, wealthy markets, like Europe, who can come here as frequently as we trot off to France, and emphasise the rest of the country to them - London, Bath and Cambridge do not need more gaggles of idiots wandering around with cameras

    As an aside - London is the 9th most popular destination for Chinese according to my research, behind only New York and Paris in the west

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  • 80. At 11:03pm on 15 Aug 2010, Allan Stabler wrote:

    yet again Cameron shows his utter naivety with Visas and indeed all immigration. I may add I voted Conservative but his public school upbringing and no subsequent 'work' is showing in such naivety.
    Anything that encourages immigration is a disaster and Cameron keeps trying to be 'nice' and friendly. Well as far as immigration is concerned everybody from third world countries want to come here and Cameron is falling for it all 'hook line and sinker' he's really turning out to be a bit like spacemen judges.

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  • 81. At 02:20am on 16 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "One of the keys to a successful tourist industry is that visitors are made to feel welcome. There are concerns, though, that in vital markets immigration controls aimed at long-term migrants are making holiday-makers and other short-term visitors think that the UK doesn't really want them."

    LOL. Who in their right mind would think that?

    A person going on holiday somewhere and a person trying to stay and work there are two totally different situations with two totally different goals. Neither has a bearing on the other.

    Besides, no country is obligated to give work to foreigners in their own country. Most reasonable people would understand, accept and respect that.

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  • 82. At 08:40am on 16 Aug 2010, Rose wrote:

    I am British living in Germany but have spent a lot of time in London over the years as well as travelling around Germany, so can't help but make comparisons. London tourist hotels do compare unfavourably with pretty much any hotel in Germany, on price, cleanliness, service and maintenance. However, just to pick on service, I have also noticed that there are very, very few British workers in the London hotel industry. There are huge numbers of foreign workers, many of whom I have found extremely surly or just inept, not to mention that too many of them desperately need an English language course. The same applies to restaurant personnel. I can only assume that, in comparison, the pay and conditions in London are awful, otherwise why would I have such excellent experiences with (e.g.)Spanish hotel workers in Spain and such poor experiences with them in London?

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  • 83. At 09:48am on 16 Aug 2010, Rose wrote:

    Sorry to write in twice in such quick succession, when I normally don't write at all, but have just seen a comment that made me very indignant - #79, tarquin, wrote:
    "London, Bath and Cambridge do not need more gaggles of idiots wandering around with cameras"
    Why is a person coming to one of the top designated tourist sites in England - and spending quite a bit of money in order to do so - an idiot? I think most people take their cameras on holiday. I worked for many years near Marienplatz in Munich and just about any time of the year there are loads of groups of people (with cameras) there. OK, you have to work your way around them to get where you want to, but they do help bring prosperity to the city and I like seeing them enjoy themselves.
    With the Olympics coming up, there are going to be even more tourists in London, Bath and Cambridge - what a pity if everyone thought they were idiots.

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  • 84. At 10:59am on 16 Aug 2010, RYGnotB wrote:

    Glad to see the BBC picking up on Camoron's propensity to say one thing and do something altogether different.

    Should also be mentioned that he promised a dedicated tourism minister (pre-election, didn't happen), will increase tax on all flights from the UK and has scrapped plans to increase the capacity of UK airports.

    It should also be said that, those tourists from China, India, etc. will be very wealthy. They wouldn't be able to afford to travel otherwise. Therefore, the extra £68 they have to pay for a UK visa is a tiny drop in the ocean to what they're probably already paying for their trip.

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  • 85. At 12:18pm on 16 Aug 2010, buckeridge wrote:

    I'm living in Germany, and it's been a real eye-opener. What becomes clear is that over here there's an emphasis on good basic amenities and joined-up planning.
    In England, although London and other large cities such as Manchester and Birmingham have received investment, other places - particularly coastal towns - have been left to rot. Visiting East Anglia, there was a general air of decline in many of the towns; King's Lynn, Lowestoft, Yarmouth and Hunstanton in particular. All have interesting historic parts, but are blighted by identikit town centres, poor public transport connections/heavy traffic and unrealistically high prices for food and accommodation.
    In Germany, Deutsche Bahn actively promote tourist rail excursions to the coast and other attractions with special prices and deals on accommodation. Here, Beeching closed our lines to the coast and the rail companies have no interest beyond charging as much as they can for relatively short journeys.
    Not enough is done to promote and preserve what this country has to offer, whilst at the same time cutting back on the excesses of corporate rip-off Britain.

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  • 86. At 4:54pm on 16 Aug 2010, Ursula G wrote:

    I used to work in London, and only recently paid a visit after more than 10 years. I'm now living in Ireland. I have to say that London itself is wonderful and the courtesy of all those I met, whether it be in the hotel, restaurants or in any of the stores I visited, was fantastic. It was a completely changed city to that which I worked in during the 1980s. Friends are also recently returned from a holiday in Cornwall and equally had a wonderful time thanks to the locals. I do believe people will treat you as they find you. An old saying but with a lot of truth.

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  • 87. At 10:07pm on 16 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    This is completely off topic but so lifted my spirits today I thought I would share it with you anyway.
    Like many other, I received a "contract" between myself, my good ladywife and Mr Cameron just befor the last election. He promised, amongst other things, to listen to my opinions on behalf of himself and his colleagues.
    Taking this promise in good faith I wrote, on 14 June, to his colleague, Mr Osborne, with ten suggestions for reducing the economic deficit.
    Lo and behold, today I received a response from HM TREASURY. The postman was very impressed.
    I'm pleased to report that action has already been taken on three of my suggestions: QUANGOs, public sector pensions and government advertising.
    I'm beginning to think that:
    a) they might actually be listening
    and
    b) realise that we know as much as they do
    I will sleep contentedly tonight.
    Regards

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  • 88. At 10:36pm on 16 Aug 2010, Malkava wrote:

    How interesting. Just from reading the previous posts, I'm almost put off from visiting London!

    However, I've come across many friendly and polite British folk on this side of the pond, and I find it hard to believe that rudeness would deter visitors. To me, that's just city life in general. My father was stationed in London while in the military, and he's told me nothing but good things during his stay. Although he did warn me that if you're looking for 3 good English meals for the day - eat three breakfasts!

    Regardless, I think I'll visit some time next year. Here's hoping I come out relatively unscathed!

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  • 89. At 10:53pm on 16 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @88 Malkava
    You'll be very very welcome - especially in Bronte country. That's about 200 miles north of London. Train services are regular but expensive - you have been warned.
    The Old Silent Inn outside Stanbury, near Haworth. has some of the finest dishes made from local produce that you will find anywhere in the area.
    Come and enjoy.
    I post as a user not a shareholder.

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  • 90. At 00:26am on 17 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    83 Rose

    The point is not that they don't help bring wealth to such places - it's that we don't need more in those particular places, London is one of the most visited places on Earth, getting more people in there would do little for say, Lincolnshire

    As for the idiots - I am perhaps marred in my view of generic tourists thanks to having to put up with it nearly every day, but I'm really referring to the idiots who stand in the road to take a picture and such, of which there are many...so, so many

    And bear in mind this is not English specific - I've found that we're positively kind to tourists, go to Rome and see how Italians treat their 'idiots'

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  • 91. At 09:28am on 17 Aug 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    As usual Kid Cameron is having trouble in engaging his brain.

    So Britain is too expensive to get a visa, but welcoming if you have the cash. Sounds like a banana republics if you ask me; when the cash is gone beware the men in uniforms.

    Perhaps the Kid would like to ask his Indian counterpart just how tough their visa system has become and is that indicative they do not want any more British visitors?

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  • 92. At 10:39am on 17 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    Since when did it become so trendy for us Brits to be so negative? Kudos to Nikhtas and Paul H for sharing positive experiences as visitors.

    Malkava - I hope you have a great time when you are here. Well worth doing some research about where to eat as well as what to see. The quality of food here can be fantastic if you know where to go. If you don't mind spending $60USD per head, lunch at the Glasshouse in Kew is a real experience and can be combined with a trip to Kew Gardens.

    Good quality, authentic and well priced mexican food can be found in Covent Garden at Wahaca. $25USD per head will see you well fed.

    For a fast food outlet, Nando's has become widespread over here and is much, much better for your health than KFC, MacDonalds and the like. $15USD for a good feed.

    Hope the weather is kind to you!

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  • 93. At 12:40pm on 17 Aug 2010, paul hodge wrote:

    Cancel plans for the proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Slash funding for Culture and the Arts. Increase the rate of vat. Sell off our forests and parks. This will really encourage foreigh tourists to come to Britain!

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  • 94. At 3:50pm on 17 Aug 2010, ATNotts wrote:

    #70 - John_from_Hendon

    100% correct! The UK needs to join Schengen if it wants tourists "doing europe" to "do the UK" as well.

    But also, arriving in the UK from the EU is also a pain, because of the passport checks at the UK border - again absent from Schengen borders across most of the rest of Europe. Not just for inbound tourists, but also for UK citizens returning home.

    We could also be more welcoming by having a properly functioning integrated public transport system that was cheap enough to use; and to speak other European's languages.

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  • 95. At 4:38pm on 17 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Squaids1 wrote:

    "For a fast food outlet, Nando's has become widespread over here and is much, much better for your health than KFC, MacDonalds and the like."

    Eating in moderation at most any restaurant, including the more obvious fast food ones, is fine for your health.

    "$15USD for a good feed."

    $15 for fast food?! :O



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  • 96. At 4:44pm on 17 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Malkava wrote:

    "Regardless, I think I'll visit some time next year. Here's hoping I come out relatively unscathed!"

    Your best bet would be not to tell them that your American and that your a conservative. :)

    Sorry to break it to you Malkava but the UK reaks with anti-Americanism. At best it is insidious sarcastic and at worse it is quite blatant and hostile.

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  • 97. At 8:00pm on 17 Aug 2010, Moscow_Joe wrote:

    Several posts have mentionned the need to teach other languages to staff in UK airports... good luck with that, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Even in surly Russia, where the welcome is designed to install the fear of god into you and the airport is a lesson in "how not to greet visitors", the prim immigration staff can speak English. I am British but have lived outside of the UK for over 20 years. Even a connecting flight over a UK airport to other destinations is a nightmare and English is my mother-tongue.

    Travelling with foreign friends and speaking their language to them to explain this and that as we passed through the different connecting proceedures, they were frankly treated with disrespect and distain...until I spoke English that is. Never again, I was ashamed of my own passport.

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  • 98. At 8:12pm on 17 Aug 2010, Malkava wrote:

    #89 EBAHGUM

    I've looked into Bronte country. It looks to be a lovely area - rolling hills and the towns look very charming!

    #92 Squaids1

    Thank you! I'll need to take a look at your recommendations, hopefully I'll have enough cash for that experience! There is actually a Nando's near my office. Quite possibly one of the best places for spicy chicken wings after a hectic day of work. :)

    #96 AllenT2

    I'm not too worried about that. I've been mistaken for a Canadian before! The conservative bit might be a stretch though.

    I don't believe many people judge a person based solely on nationality. Granted, I'm not the most weathered traveler, but I think one's demeanor is the main factor in how others treat you. Don't be an obnoxious and loud American, and I'm sure there will be a noticeable difference in how we're treated. ;)


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  • 99. At 11:23pm on 17 Aug 2010, Walter-Spitty wrote:

    bluemeadowlark wrote: "...and even after she had the UK passport immigration still questioned her legality as a UK national!!!!"

    Next time she could try the response that my friend used; when asked by an Asian immigration officer at Heathrow why he has the right to a UK passport, he responded: "You're just jealous because you haven't got one yet."

    Is it a Home Office requirement that all immigration officers at Heathrow are of non-British ethnic origin?

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  • 100. At 00:07am on 18 Aug 2010, John in Kent wrote:

    99. At 11:23pm on 17 Aug 2010, Walter-Spitty wrote:
    bluemeadowlark wrote: "...and even after she had the UK passport immigration still questioned her legality as a UK national!!!!"
    Next time she could try the response that my friend used; when asked by an Asian immigration officer at Heathrow why he has the right to a UK passport, he responded: "You're just jealous because you haven't got one yet."
    Is it a Home Office requirement that all immigration officers at Heathrow are of non-British ethnic origin?

    Simply feel free not to answer any questions. As a UK (and EU) citizen you are not required to answer any, simply to produce evidence of your citizenship - in this case a passport. So, refuse to be interrogated - it's illegal!

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  • 101. At 00:44am on 18 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    99. Walter-Spitty:


    Is it a Home Office requirement that all immigration officers at Heathrow are of non-British ethnic origin?

    ---

    There's no such thing as a British ethnic origin

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  • 102. At 07:32am on 18 Aug 2010, DickieT wrote:

    30. At 11:21pm on 12 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote along with a load of various Little Englander views of how the rest of the world isn'ty like England:

    "And while we about it Scottish food - including deep fried confectionery bars is also a recipe for heart failure and the Scots still do not have the same idea of what constitutes a full English breakfast!"

    John - sorry to burst your bubble but the deep fried confectionery story is a myth which has turned into reality as a joke in some establishments. More importantantly however why on earth would Scottish hotels and B&Bs sell English breakfasts and not Scottish breakfasts (which are clearly more superior).

    It is people like John from Hendon that epitomise the xenophobic Englishness that expects all othe rcountries to be like theirs. fortunatelly Scotlands tourism industry is far better run and Scotland has beautiful and attractive scenery, less traffic and an abundance of high quality accomodation. Also the Scots are a welcoming and compassionate nation unlike our neighbours down south (and I know - i lived there for 20 years)

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  • 103. At 09:46am on 18 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote:
    "$15 for fast food?! :O"

    Welcome to the uk!! (Jazz hands) - Seriously, the only reason Nandos counts as fast food is that flame-grilled chicken doesn't take long to do. It is much, much more healthy and better quality than the deep fried rubbish or rubbery, fatty burgers of questionable composition at the other two aforementioned places. I'll gladly pay that premium!!

    AllenT2 wrote:
    "Sorry to break it to you Malkava but the UK reaks with anti-Americanism. At best it is insidious sarcastic and at worse it is quite blatant and hostile."

    Yeah, I'll have to call you on that one. What are you basing this on. Attendance to a rather leftist UK blog where you tend to come in a-swinging' telling all and sundry non-US citizens that they're not allowed to comment on US affairs because it's none of their business?

    I'd be interested to know how many times you have been over here - and how long for. I'm guessing none and never, though I've been wrong before.

    Myself, I've been to the US a number of times on business and pleasure. I have family in NY, New Jersey, Milwaukee and Californ-i-a. I certainly know better than to generalise so and assume all Americans are Sarah Palin.

    Nationalism can be a curse. It can be easy to find reasons why you don't like a country or a people. Even if the reasons you use are the flimsiest available. You even see it in the UK between the countries that comprise it. The sad thing is it's easier to be intolerant than the other way around. And in doing so you will miss out on some truly great experiences.

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  • 104. At 12:47pm on 18 Aug 2010, ATNotts wrote:

    #100 John in Kent said:-

    "Simply feel free not to answer any questions. As a UK (and EU) citizen you are not required to answer any, simply to produce evidence of your citizenship - in this case a passport. So, refuse to be interrogated - it's illegal!"

    From personal experience, I suggest you don't try that one! I was being interrogated at Coquelles (Eurotunnel) a couple of years ago, and when asked where I had come from replied "Schengen area". The officer didn't like that one, let us go, only to be stopped by the Rummage Squad 50m further on, who's staff member was sarcastic and rude in the extreme.

    The UK border agency behaves like a bunch of demigods towards European citizens who should enjoy the right of free movement across borders. Sadly, where the UK is concerned that is a total myth.

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  • 105. At 2:30pm on 18 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    According to the spirit level - the places with the most equal distribution of wealth are the most content (making them nice places to be / come to).

    This is at complete odds with the ConDem's policies.

    Maybe if we weren't seen as a 'country run by liars and thieves' then people would be more encouraged to come. As it is, most of our 'attractions' are based around our colonial or fuedal past. Not such a nice thing to come and look at (the stolen artefacts of your ancestors)

    The idea that we're not working hard enough to attract visitors shows Cameron's naeivity - the reason people aren't coming is because they're skint - brassic - hard up - nothing to do with effort. Considering how many people work in the tourism industry 10% (although it's not clear how that's been defined) - I'd say dedicating 10% of your workforce to tourisim is plenty of effort.

    I'm only on here because my 'usual place of blogging' seems to have shut down whilst half the BBC staff take their holidays. It seems that BBC journalists didn't book with Goldtrail or Kiss flights then.

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  • 106. At 2:33pm on 18 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    If I were a 'foreigner' - I don't think I would want to come to this overpriced, racist, corrupt, wet and windy island either.

    You can get the overpricing, racism and corruption just as easily in Spain or Italy - and they have much better weather!

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  • 107. At 5:48pm on 18 Aug 2010, Tom SW5 wrote:

    It's pretty rich of Cameron to complain that Britain is unwelcome and draw adverse comparisons with Germany when he heads a party which has done more to create an atmosphere of xenophobia and British arrogance than any other, missing no opportunity to slight and bad mouth Europeans and create trouble in Europe - up to virtually the last minute trying to sabotage the Lisbon Treaty - and then is surprised this doesn't have some effect on how others see us? Most of the time the noise from his party has been of putting up barbed wire around our sceptered isle and portraying common sense measures - like the Schengen Zone mentioned by many commentators - as the last rites of Olde England. Over ten years after the euro was adopted by the rest of western Europe, it is still regarded as an unfortunate exotic foreign experiment and the barriers we willfully erect to make it more complicated for our nearest European neighbours to come here by (a) staying out of the euro or at least (b) accepting it widely in tourist locations, just as in Central Europe or in Canada the US$ is widely accepted, send a clear message that "you lot out there in the rest of the world had better adapt to us, or else!"

    As a number of the other comments reveal, the truth is that quite a lot of people don't want visitors here; the bad perception is a reality and frankly there is an awful lot against us in terms of high prices for hotels and guest houses and abysmal, insulting standards meted out by many establishments to their guests. Recently I paid £80 for bed-and-breakfast in Dorset; the proprietor cheerfully supplied ear-plugs because the noise from the air-con unit on the roof of the adjacent pub was so loud; guests were not trusted with a glass tumbler but given a plastic cup in the bathroom; the sheets were sweaty poly-cotton; any taste other than the Full English breakfast not catered for. Tiny room, absolutely no view.

    And then the reality is that our towns and cities are full of loud, vomiting, drunken youth on Friday and Saturday nights. It might seem amusing for five minutes to an on-looker, but that's all. You have to be a pretty determined Anglophile to put up with all that, plus unpredictable weather and a largely monolingual population, to want to come here these days.

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  • 108. At 1:38pm on 19 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Squaids1 wrote:

    "Yeah, I'll have to call you on that one. What are you basing this on."

    Plenty of experience in your country, your media, your so-called intellectuals and your politicians.

    "Attendance to a rather leftist UK blog where you tend to come in a-swinging' telling all and sundry non-US citizens that they're not allowed to comment on US affairs because it's none of their business?"

    You are being dishonest.

    There's a big difference between someone respectfully sharing their opinion and someone condescendingly, arrogantly and disrespectfully, typically with contempt and hostility, criticizing the way another free and democratic country chooses to run their country (domestic policies) in matters that have absolutely nothing to do with them or their country. And then to further act as if they should somehow have a say on how that country makes those decisions.

    That's a big problem many of you Brits and many of your fellow Europeans have. At best, America is the exception in such people's claims of respecting another culture and its people.

    "I'd be interested to know how many times you have been over here - and how long for. I'm guessing none and never, though I've been wrong before."

    Then if you have "been wrong before" why would you continue to assume something you have no knowledge of?

    And further, why should I bother to answer you when you have already made up your mind before I even got a chance to answer your question?

    "Myself, I've been to the US a number of times on business and pleasure. I have family in NY, New Jersey, Milwaukee and Californ-i-a. I certainly know better than to generalise so and assume all Americans are Sarah Palin."

    You say it as if there is something wrong with Americans being like her. You sure you are not "rather leftist" yourself? The fact of the matter is, overall, she is quite typically American.

    And what does you having "family in" America have to do with first-hand deep-seated knowledge of a country? So many of you Brits like to claim that as if somehow that now makes you some kind of expert on America and its culture.

    "Nationalism can be a curse."

    Of course it can be, that's why you and your fellow countrymen should learn the difference between "nationalism" and patriotism.

    "It can be easy to find reasons why you don't like a country or a people. Even if the reasons you use are the flimsiest available. You even see it in the UK between the countries that comprise it. The sad thing is it's easier to be intolerant than the other way around. And in doing so you will miss out on some truly great experiences."

    Who says I don't like Brits or your country? That's quite a leap from what I actually said in the original post.

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  • 109. At 4:02pm on 19 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    "Squaids1 wrote:

    "Yeah, I'll have to call you on that one. What are you basing this on."

    AllenT2 wrote:

    Plenty of experience in your country, your media, your so-called intellectuals and your politicians."

    In other words; selected channel & site surfing. Bravo. That makes you quite the expert.

    "There's a big difference between someone respectfully sharing their opinion and someone condescendingly, arrogantly and disrespectfully, typically with contempt and hostility, criticizing the way another free and democratic country chooses to run their country (domestic policies) in matters that have absolutely nothing to do with them or their country. And then to further act as if they should somehow have a say on how that country makes those decisions."

    It's called free speech. Deal with it. I'm sure that many find your posts condescending, arrogant and hostile - but you have the right to express them.

    "Then if you have "been wrong before" why would you continue to assume something you have no knowledge of?"

    ...And your response to time spent over here is where, precisely? But hey, anything to avoid an honest answer.

    "You say it as if there is something wrong with Americans being like her. You sure you are not "rather leftist" yourself? The fact of the matter is, overall, she is quite typically American."

    Horse apples. The idea that she is typical does your country a great disservice. Me, I'd be a little to the right of Obama myself. Quite a bit right of the Beeb.

    "And what does you having "family in" America have to do with first-hand deep-seated knowledge of a country? So many of you Brits like to claim that as if somehow that now makes you some kind of expert on America and its culture."

    It demonstrates I know for a fact that the US is full of respectful, hard-working people who just get on with it. Though i've never claimed it to be "first-hand deep-seated knowledge of a country". Those are your words. I find the idea that you can't comment on other countries without being born to them rather small-minded and very sad.

    "Who says I don't like Brits or your country? That's quite a leap from what I actually said in the original post. "

    Yeah, it's a real love fest. That's why you came in raining all over Malkava's parade. Ergo: "Sorry to break it to you Malkava but the UK reaks with anti-Americanism. At best it is insidious sarcastic and at worse it is quite blatant and hostile."

    Do you read your own posts?

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  • 110. At 09:27am on 20 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Squaids1 wrote:

    "In other words; selected channel & site surfing. Bravo. That makes you quite the expert."

    There you go again, assuming.

    "It's called free speech. Deal with it."

    There's a big difference between "free speech" and disrespecting the choices and right for a free and democratic people of another country to choose for themselves how they wish to run their country on matters that have nothing to do with foreigners or their countries.

    It's called respect, a respect for other cultures, something many people in your part of the world need to learn. You all like to claim that you have that respect but America is always the obvious exception. Why is that?

    "I'm sure that many find your posts condescending, arrogant and hostile - but you have the right to express them."

    Oh, so because I address the wrongs of "condescending, arrogant and hostile" and interfering posts into my country's domestic policies on matters that have nothing to do with them, and the attitude that somehow they should have a say in those matters, now all of a sudden that makes me the same as them? By what kind of logic did you arrive at that conclusion.

    I'm not telling people how they should run their countries on matters that have nothing to do with me and my country. I don't act as if I should have a say on those matters. That makes me respectful of other free and democratic cultures, unlike you and those I have mentioned.

    That said, since you say I have a "right to express them" then what's your problem?

    "...And your response to time spent over here is where, precisely? But hey, anything to avoid an honest answer."

    Why should I even bother to answer since you have now already blown me off three times to the possibility of having an open and objective view to whatever I have to say in that regard?

    "Horse apples. The idea that she is typical does your country a great disservice."

    Right, because you would know America better than an American would? Because you would know what is best for America?

    See what I mean, you are just like the people I have been talking about. That kind of arrogance is astounding to express to the people of other countries.

    "Me, I'd be a little to the right of Obama myself. Quite a bit right of the Beeb."

    Good for you, but that would still make you a leftist. Of course that is your right but to refer to others as leftist while trying to exclude yourself from the thinking and behavior of such people, as you did with your original comment in reference to some other blogs, and to now defend them in this latest post of yours, and to express their same kind of sentiment, is quite contradictory.

    "It demonstrates I know for a fact that the US is full of respectful, hard-working people who just get on with it."

    Why would you need to have family in America to know that??

    "Though i've never claimed it to be "first-hand deep-seated knowledge of a country". Those are your words. I find the idea that you can't comment on other countries without being born to them rather small-minded and very sad."

    When did I ever say, or even suggest, that "you can't comment" on my country? Are you even reading the actual words that I am writing?

    "Yeah, it's a real love fest. That's why you came in raining all over Malkava's parade. Ergo: "Sorry to break it to you Malkava but the UK reaks with anti-Americanism. At best it is insidious sarcastic and at worse it is quite blatant and hostile."

    My warning a fellow American on what they are likely to experience is not what I would call "raining all over" someone's "parade." It offends you because it is critical of your society and culture. And because you are offended you somehow think that that same negative sentiment should somehow be shared by my fellow American without even considering that that American may be appreciative of my input.

    But once again, you think you know what is best for Americans and America so it doesn't surprise me that you make such an assumption.

    "Do you read your own posts?"

    I sure do, as I write them, and before I hit "post comment." I also have no problem understanding what I clearly write, which is something, with all due respect, you obviously have a problem with.

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  • 111. At 10:40am on 20 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    "Squaids1 wrote:

    "In other words; selected channel & site surfing. Bravo. That makes you quite the expert."

    There you go again, assuming."

    So correct me then. I'm still waiting.

    "There's a big difference between "free speech" and disrespecting the choices and right for a free and democratic people of another country to choose for themselves how they wish to run their country on matters that have nothing to do with foreigners or their countries."

    Ah, so it's free speech as long as it agrees with you, right? Wrong.

    "It's called respect, a respect for other cultures, something many people in your part of the world need to learn. You all like to claim that you have that respect but America is always the obvious exception. Why is that?"

    You want respect, but you don't want to give it. Get used to dissenting opinions, it's part of life.

    "Oh, so because I address the wrongs of "condescending, arrogant and hostile" and interfering posts into my country's domestic policies on matters that have nothing to do with them, and the attitude that somehow they should have a say in those matters, now all of a sudden that makes me the same as them? By what kind of logic did you arrive at that conclusion."

    Very simple logic. The way in which you are "addressing the wrongs" of someone else's right to free speech qualifies for all three; Condescending. Arrogant. Hostile.

    "I'm not telling people how they should run their countries on matters that have nothing to do with me and my country. I don't act as if I should have a say on those matters. That makes me respectful of other free and democratic cultures, unlike you and those I have mentioned."

    Insular rubbish. It doesn't make you respectful. it makes you myopic. Learn about other cultures and open your mind a little. You might learn something.

    "That said, since you say I have a "right to express them" then what's your problem?"

    My "problem" is your insular and arrogant attitude. The idea that no foreigner is allowed to comment on US domestic policies, particularly on a "foreign" website.

    "Why should I even bother to answer since you have now already blown me off three times to the possibility of having an open and objective view to whatever I have to say in that regard?"

    Open and objective are not words I would use to describe your view. Closed and divisive are more like it.

    ""Horse apples. The idea that she is typical does your country a great disservice."

    Right, because you would know America better than an American would? Because you would know what is best for America?""

    I know that you are not the grand arbiter of what is and what is not American. You claim that Palin is quite typical. That is a lie.

    "Good for you, but that would still make you a leftist. Of course that is your right but to refer to others as leftist while trying to exclude yourself from the thinking and behavior of such people, as you did with your original comment in reference to some other blogs, and to now defend them in this latest post of yours, and to express their same kind of sentiment, is quite contradictory."

    According to who? You? Another strawman argument. I will always defend the right to free speech. Don't like it? Tough.

    ""Though i've never claimed it to be "first-hand deep-seated knowledge of a country". Those are your words. I find the idea that you can't comment on other countries without being born to them rather small-minded and very sad."

    When did I ever say, or even suggest, that "you can't comment" on my country? Are you even reading the actual words that I am writing?""

    Read: "... I address the wrongs of "condescending, arrogant and hostile" and interfering posts into my country's domestic policies on matters that have nothing to do with them, and the attitude that somehow they should have a say in those matters"

    "My warning a fellow American on what they are likely to experience is not what I would call "raining all over" someone's "parade." It offends you because it is critical of your society and culture. And because you are offended you somehow think that that same negative sentiment should somehow be shared by my fellow American without even considering that that American may be appreciative of my input. "

    No, what you did was downright mean spirited. But guess what? I don't think she'll have a problem. People with positive attitudes rarely do. Check her response. Learn from it.

    "But once again, you think you know what is best for Americans and America so it doesn't surprise me that you make such an assumption. "

    Once again, your words. Not mine. That's an impressively sized chip on your shoulder.

    ""Do you read your own posts?"

    "I sure do, as I write them, and before I hit "post comment." I also have no problem understanding what I clearly write, which is something, with all due respect, you obviously have a problem with.""

    As expressed previously, the only thing I have a problem with is your attitude. You need to grow up. It's a big world out there.

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  • 112. At 12:05pm on 20 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 113. At 12:54pm on 20 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    Back on topic once more:

    2009 BIGGEST VISITORS TO THE UK'S GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS
    United States - 1.52m visits
    France - 1.42m visits
    Germany - 1.13m visits
    Spain - 0.92m visits
    Italy - 0.69m visits
    Source: VisitBritain

    Good news, surely?

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  • 114. At 1:25pm on 20 Aug 2010, warden wrote:

    #104: From personal experience, I suggest you don't try that one! I was being interrogated at Coquelles (Eurotunnel) a couple of years ago, and when asked where I had come from replied "Schengen area". The officer didn't like that one, let us go, only to be stopped by the Rummage Squad 50m further on, who's staff member was sarcastic and rude in the extreme.

    The UK border agency behaves like a bunch of demigods towards European citizens who should enjoy the right of free movement across borders. Sadly, where the UK is concerned that is a total myth.


    Yes, it's a myth. Well actually it's not a myth, because it's never been reputed to be true: the UK enforces border controls, as it's permitted to do. In fact to mention the word "Schengen" was almost the worst answer you could have made. The UK is not party to the Schengen agreement and almost certainly never will be. People entering from the Schengen area still have to prove that they have right of entry.

    That's what John in Kent was saying. If you have a British passport, that is sufficient, although it's still wise to answer questions like where you have travelled from. If you have a Schengen area passport, you are still required to show it and answer any questions. Free movement within the EU doesn't mean a free-for-all.

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  • 115. At 11:39pm on 20 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    AllenT2

    'There's a big difference between someone respectfully sharing their opinion and someone condescendingly, arrogantly and disrespectfully, typically with contempt and hostility, criticizing the way another free and democratic country chooses to run their country (domestic policies) in matters that have absolutely nothing to do with them or their country. And then to further act as if they should somehow have a say on how that country makes those decisions. '

    I seem to remember quite recently some US senators thought they had the right to question British/Scottish politicians over the Al-Megrahi release affair - a completely sovereign issue over which US parliamentarians were attempting to summon parliamentarians of another state like naughty schoolchildren

    tell me that was respecting the way another free and democratic country works

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  • 116. At 04:23am on 23 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    tarquin wrote:

    "I seem to remember quite recently some US senators thought they had the right to question British/Scottish politicians over the Al-Megrahi release affair - a completely sovereign issue over which US parliamentarians were attempting to summon parliamentarians of another state like naughty schoolchildren

    tell me that was respecting the way another free and democratic country works"
    ________________________________________________________________________

    You left out one important detail of my comment. Here, I'll quote myself:

    "There's a big difference between someone respectfully sharing their opinion and someone condescendingly, arrogantly and disrespectfully, typically with contempt and hostility, criticizing the way another free and democratic country chooses to run their country (domestic policies) *****in matters that have absolutely nothing to do with them or their country."*****

    So you tell me how 190 Americans killed, the vast majority of the casualties, is not something that didn't involve America.

    You need to read more carefully what people write before commenting.

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  • 117. At 05:34am on 23 Aug 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Squaids1 wrote:

    "As expressed previously, the only thing I have a problem with is your attitude. You need to grow up. It's a big world out there."

    Since my whole response to you was "removed" by the biased BBC moderators I will try again. I guess its OK for the moderators for a fellow countrymen to tell an American to grow up but not for an American to respond likewise. No surprise there. This is after all a bastion of anti-Americanism, as is much of the UK.

    As for it being a "big world" out there. It sure is, and I've probably seen more of it than you have. I have traveled to over 20 countries and lived and traveled for years all throughout Europe. What's going to be your reply to that? More cynicism and sarcasm?

    As for me needing to "grow up," I'll say it again. Considering the way you write, and your attitude, I would bet I have been on this earth quite a bit longer than you have. I'd bet you don't even have a gray hair on your head. No, it is you that needs to grow up!

    You need to learn respect. You need to learn respect for the cultures of other countries. So many of your type like to claim you respect other cultures but America is always the exception. Why is that?!

    You need to learn the difference between respectfully commenting on something as opposed to airing comments that are condescending, arrogant and hostile, and then ultimately interfering, when it concerns the decisions that other free and democratic countries make concerning their domestic policies that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your country.

    I have no problem with the former. Got that? But most reasonable people from any other free and democratic country would take equal exception to the latter!

    And as for your latest Palin comment, once again I am not surprised. After all, and as I already said, you as a non-American would surely know America and its culture better than an American would. If only I had a dollar for every Brit or European I met who felt he knew my country and its culture better than I, or any other American, I'd be a rich man. The arrogance boggles the mind.

    The same arrogance that assumes my comments regarding the level of anti-Americanism in your country would not be helpful or appreciated by other Americans considering travel to your country.

    I'll say it again, there is a lot of anti-Americanism in the UK. It is in the general population, the media, universities and in government. It is insidious, subtle and sarcastic at best and quite visible and quite hostile and hateful at worse. And I say that as someone who is truly politically independent. Even Obama used the word insidious to describe anti-Americanism in Europe. Even Obama.

    Are there still things to see and do in the UK? Sure. Are there still Britons that are not anti-American? Of course, but none of that makes what I have said any less true.

    This will be my last response to you. That is, assuming the BBC moderators believe in free speech as much as you supposedly do. If they delete my post, again, will you publicly complain about it? :)






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  • 118. At 10:26am on 23 Aug 2010, mephistophelesstephen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 119. At 10:39am on 23 Aug 2010, mephistophelesstephen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 120. At 10:52am on 23 Aug 2010, mephistophelesstephen wrote:

    The bbc should look into the selling of a public house (the game cock)that tesco is trying to buy,its on a council estate,but the point is the back-handers that is going about with the planning people,these who have vested interest in the land,ALL the tenants around the Putson area do not want this site to be knocked down and a mini-tesco in its place,hereford council are already spoiling this beautiful City with this building work that no one wants,we blame the make-up of the council,too many vested interest.Mephistophelestephen

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  • 121. At 11:20am on 23 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote:

    "Since my whole response to you was "removed" by the biased BBC moderators I will try again. I guess its OK for the moderators for a fellow countrymen to tell an American to grow up but not for an American to respond likewise. No surprise there. This is after all a bastion of anti-Americanism, as is much of the UK."

    There's a term: professional victim. The house rules apply to everyone. You don't get a free pass. I've had a post sanctioned before, but didn't consider myself discriminated against.

    "As for it being a "big world" out there. It sure is, and I've probably seen more of it than you have. I have traveled to over 20 countries and lived and traveled for years all throughout Europe. What's going to be your reply to that? More cynicism and sarcasm? As for me needing to "grow up," I'll say it again. Considering the way you write, and your attitude, I would bet I have been on this earth quite a bit longer than you have. I'd bet you don't even have a gray hair on your head. No, it is you that needs to grow up! "

    Yet you don't seem to have learned anything, except a belief that you get to dictate what people can and cannot discuss. You don't. You'd lose your bet, by the way.

    "You need to learn the difference between respectfully commenting on something as opposed to airing comments that are condescending, arrogant and hostile, and then ultimately interfering, when it concerns the decisions that other free and democratic countries make concerning their domestic policies that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your country."

    I'll say it again. Horse apples. I'll discuss US domestic policies until I'm blue in the face if that's what I want. You're welcome to do the same with UK domestic policies. If you choose not to have a voice, that's your decision.

    "And as for your latest Palin comment, once again I am not surprised. After all, and as I already said, you as a non-American would surely know America and its culture better than an American would. If only I had a dollar for every Brit or European I met who felt he knew my country and its culture better than I, or any other American, I'd be a rich man. The arrogance boggles the mind.

    I'll say it again; Palin is not typical. No matter how much you'd like to think she is. America is not about abuse of power, ignorance and fear-mongering. She is a millstone around the neck of the Republican party.

    "The same arrogance that assumes my comments regarding the level of anti-Americanism in your country would not be helpful or appreciated by other Americans considering travel to your country."

    I find this very dishonest. Your comment was based on the fact that you have an axe to grind. Nothing more.

    "Are there still Britons that are not anti-American? Of course, but none of that makes what I have said any less true."

    Your "truth" is not based on reality. If anti-Americanism was anywhere near the levels you like to think, why do millions of Americans continue to spend their hard-earned dollars over here? Just as valid, why do millions of Brits spend their hard-earned pounds in the US? Why do we watch so much of each other's television and listen to each other's music? You might want to put a little bit more thought into this.

    No. It's very easy to make sweeping statements about a country. It's very easy to assume the mantle of the wronged. Your perception is skewed. Yes, it has become trendy in certain quarters in the UK to blame the US for everything up to and including the heartbreak of Psoriasis, but to believe this represents the majority is patently ridiculous. There are also Americans who are rabidly anti-UK. I know better than to assume this is typical.

    "This will be my last response to you. That is, assuming the BBC moderators believe in free speech as much as you supposedly do. If they delete my post, again, will you publicly complain about it? :)"

    I think I'll live. Regarding your post, how could I complain if I didn't get to see it? To borrow an Americanism: D'oh!

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  • 122. At 1:17pm on 23 Aug 2010, DibbySpot wrote:

    The UK is welcoming to the wrong people. We do not need football players ruining the national game nor do we need refugees with no skills coming to the UK to steal the benefits of the people of this country.

    What we do need are skilled articulate people willing to do the jobs that the British cannot do. Note the UK unemployed need to be made to do work - if they are too limited to do some highly paid job so be it.

    We only need people coming to the UK who can do things Brits cannot.

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  • 123. At 11:31am on 24 Aug 2010, Macca2 wrote:

    Hey John_from_Hendon - "the Scots still do not have the same idea of what constitutes a full English breakfast!".

    You don't say - perhaps that's because in Scotland you get a full Scottish breakfast, not a full English breakfast. The clue is in the name, you clown.

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  • 124. At 8:32pm on 24 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    116 - AllenT2

    I am well aware of the American ramifications of the Lockerbie bombing - that does not give your parliament the right to summon ours, nothing does, ever - it's called sovereignty

    The American people can protest and talk about it all they want, as can the Senate, I understand that completely, but for a major part of the government to behave in such a way is completely against those views you quoted - which is why I chose that particular example

    Many Brits died in 9/11 - imagine if the British government had dared to officially question the senate...

    I don't know if you're still reading these but on this anti-American argument you're having - you're making a massively sweeping statement about us, and then you make statements like "It is insidious, subtle and sarcastic at best and quite visible and quite hostile and hateful at worse." and then say nobody else may make the same sweeping generalisations about your precious country - face it, by your own standards you have no right to say you know us so well

    And if you find the sarcasm offensive and anti-American then you surely don't know us very well, we're always bloody sarcastic! You sound like you've got an axe to grind based on a few experiences and misunderstanding our sense of humour, yo are not every American, don't generalise about them the same way you say we do

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  • 125. At 11:45am on 25 Aug 2010, stirling222 wrote:

    Hi AllenT2.

    So, we 'need to learn the difference between respectfully commenting on something as opposed to airing comments that are condescending, arrogant and hostile' do we? You claim to have no problem with people 'respectfully commenting' on your country, but also appear to have appointed yourself the sole arbiter of what is and what is not acceptable.

    I don't think I have ever read a post of yours that isn't directly aggressive and condecending towards the British. You know you can't stick to your own rules AND side with your senators demanding British politicians answer to them, and it is clear this really rankles.

    Squaids1 seems to have you firmly in his pocket, but I would add that your claim that you lived in the UK and got to know the place very well looks rather spurious when one considers your admission in a previous blog that you hadn't even heard the word 'lad' before.

    I think you've been rumbled, buddy.

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  • 126. At 12:08pm on 25 Aug 2010, stirling222 wrote:

    Oh, and by the way Allen, do you apply your stringent rules on comment to Rupert Murdoch? It's just that he seems to be telling an awful lot of Americans exactly what they should be thinking, every day.

    Surely you must be furious with him, no? A foreigner directly interferring with American politics. He is also manipulating patriotism to such an extent that one could be forgiven for thinking rampant nationalism is rife in the USA. He even passes lies off as news (Ground Zero Mosque) to con many Americans into becoming dangerously nationalistic, despite his ideals being in direct contrast to what America stands for.

    Or is your contempt reserved solely for us Brits?

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