Comments for en-gb 30 Sun 05 Jul 2015 05:42:46 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Billy Bones Over the last 50 years I've noticed a perceptible change in our British culture. It's gotten to the point that our collective behaviour are now a bit too crude and common in our society. We used to treat each other with respect. Now it's Cameroon, Bliar and Brownie instead of Cameron, Blair and Brown when we post about our recent and current Prime Ministers. The drugs culture is celebrated. Layabouts are national heroes and a "protected class." Was this the "Worker's Paradise" promised 65 years ago when Labour won a resounding electoral victory. People here are so quick to blame the Europeans with their swilling from Britain's Exchequer, yank domination of our nation's businesses and news media, etc. We've MADE our own lot in life and if you expect that anything different shall occur perhaps we should take a long and hard look at our insouciant demand that government provide everything for us. With cradle to grave benefits we've grown several generations of Britons whom have their hands out for everything. To get an education and make our own way in life is out of the question. Now we whinge about how our lives are a dog's breakfast. It didn't used to be that way here in Great Britain. We worked hard and played hard but we always respected each other. If one of us were in need, the rest of us helped them with our labour or a few shillings that we had saved for a rainy day. Back then we didn't depend upon government bureaucrats to sort out our daily lives as we do now. My point is that life is what you make out of it. You can whinge your life away or learn as much as you can in order to be more successful in your own right. To make one's own way in life provides us with either success or failure. But at least you endeavour toward attaining success. With government benefits whom has incentive to better themselves? Yes, the authoress Rowling comes to mind. However how many other author's works, currently on benefits, are of the same calibre as "Harry Potter" novels? Our whole welfare state must be held up to scrutiny as we may have government programmes however how happy and satisfied are we as a nation? Tue 16 Nov 2010 15:02:06 GMT+1 Jen It's true - Brits are a right bunch of whingers! We live in a beautiful country, full of opportunities, and yet, most UK people would much rather slate the UK for something or other. Why do we seem to have such contempt for our great nation??? I am a Brit and am very happy; I have a great life, and I wouldn't swap it for the world.Come on people - enjoy your life; you've only got one, so stop wasting it by moaning and being blind to the opportunities we have given to us on a silver platter. Tue 16 Nov 2010 13:31:31 GMT+1 Imatroll99 There will always be a reason to whinge as long as the class system is preserved under our unwritten constitution. Our government and even the latest coalition arrangement spends its time appeasing the plebs whilst subtly maintaining the status quo for the privileged. Sun 14 Nov 2010 10:51:15 GMT+1 Tom Gradgrind The much overused expressions 'whingeing Britain' and 'stop whingeing' are very effective ways of making people feel that they have to accept what they're given, no matter how unsatisfactory it is. It's a way of stopping people from thinking for themselves, and using their own judgement to assess whether or not they're having a fair piece of the cake, or the same or similar opportunities in life as others. Anybody who has ever worked in the Health Service will know that there's often a huge difference between the boxes that are ticked to please the Chief Executive or senior management and what's actually happening on the ground. People give a lot to charity in Britain, because charities have to do the work, in many areas, that should be paid for through taxation, and carried out by good public sector services. Overseas, the British are often viewed as very phlegmatic and uncomplaining. There's no doubt that in Britain, there's still a huge amount of unearned privilege, and very many of those who govern have certainly not got there through merit. They have relatives, or highly placed family friends, who find them jobs in Europe etc. People should trust their own instincts. If they feel that their lives are miserable and unfulfilled, then they're probably not imagining it. Fri 12 Nov 2010 16:49:21 GMT+1 steeplejack A few of the reasons Britons are so depressed and downbeat are: overcrowding; overpopulation; watching powerlessly while the green places are destroyed by property developers; constrictive and boring lifestyles due to lack of open space; erosion of personal freedom by political correctness and over-zealous safety laws. Wed 10 Nov 2010 21:46:42 GMT+1 Sloeng I love my country and the values it represents.One such value is empathy,which is lacking in so many other countries. I live in another EU country where thy hide the bad things and only project the good. Perhaps it is time to do the same? Tue 09 Nov 2010 06:26:28 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws Perception and reality differs because its based on individual experience. Also, expectations are higher in a developed country like the USA than say a country like Brazil. When you are told all of your life that you live in a free and open and just society then realize how manipulated you've been for the last 50 years, and your wages have been flat for the past 20 years and that corporations are given free reign to sell poisoned food, paharmaceuticals and pollute your water supplies and banks and Wall Street are allowed to pump up your home price 5x more than its worth, people stert to become unhinged. It's Toto pulling back the curtain of the great and powerful OZ,(realizing the whole thing was just one gigantic national Ponzi scheme) as you so eloquently expressed, that makes citizens realize how duped and utterly squeezed they've been for so long. Once they managed to get everyone on welfare rolls and bankrupt the country they now want to change the rules of the game and send everyone back to work at age 70. It's obvious why people's perceptions are so low because they've had to live with the unjust consequences of a corrupt and unfair society for so long. Sun 07 Nov 2010 16:55:15 GMT+1 ekspat As a Brit who has lived in Denmark since 1972 i can only say that the Scandinavian system is not heaven on earth as many seem to believe. True it has many positive aspects but everything has a price, and in my opinion the price these last few decades has become too high. To read another Brits interesting insight after living here read this:- might think of it as something from a futuristic film but it really hits the nail on the head. After so many years here i am seriously considering returning to the damp weather and moaning natives, Why, because without English humour life would be just a bore. Sun 07 Nov 2010 11:34:32 GMT+1 haynonymouse "On the economy, the data shows Britain has the fifth-largest market in the world, 20% of our manufactured goods are high-tech exports, we score well on inflation, well on affordability of food and shelter, and in the top 10 for people's satisfaction with their standard of living."I guarantee you that this will change dramatically over the next 5-10 years.Over recent history, while GDP, exports and productivity have been rising, it's fewer and fewer people that have stood to benefit from the increases.While management structures (non productive workers) have become pear-shaped, the income/pay distribution has started to resemble an exponential growth curve.Things have got seriously out of balance and a catastrophic re-arrangement is imminent.Having skimmed through some of the Legatum Institute's published Prosperity Index I find their conclusions to be meaningless propaganda. Using league charts and relative scores says nothing of a persons state dependency or the stability of said state. This is where our problems will come from over the next few years. Also, I could find no historical trends or projected data on the Legatum Institute's web site. Therefore it only gives a snapshot of very recent past.Entrepreneurship & Opportunity - Ranked 5th (that's a joke)"...only 78%* of Britons believe that hard work will get them ahead in life, which is below the global average."The other 22% must have a better grasp on reality!"Safety & Security - Ranked 23rdThe UK falls within the top 30 countries in terms of its relatively low level of refugees and internally displaced persons, group grievances based on recent or past injustices, and levels of state-sponsored violence or political terror."Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!This must surely be based on perceptions rather than reality.9/11 was an inside job.What of Canary Wharf shootings 7-7-05 or Jean Charles de Menezes?The latest toner cartridge scare was to get you to give up more of your civil liberties. having examined the suspicious ink toner device for six hours and found it to be a dud, bomb experts at East Midlands Airport only reversed their decision after being ordered to re-inspect the package by US authorities following President Obama’s Friday afternoon speech in which he claimed that the devices did in fact contain explosives.Face it suckers. (not you guys wise to it)You can't win the war if you don't even recognise the battles. Sat 06 Nov 2010 14:33:55 GMT+1 haynonymouse 97. At 4:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, Cameron wrote: @80"..your conclusion that someone's prosperity means someone else's decline is also untrue."----------------Please remove your blinkers.116. At 7:19pm on 26 Oct 2010, Stephen HughesHi. Thought you might also like this to add to your arsenal November 2010) "Government figures suggest that about 30% of workers in the UK are paid less than £14,820, subjecting them to similar financial pressures."(8th July 2010) New figures reveal employers are still exercising caution, with (average) wages falling across the board from £28,207 to £25,543 - a difference of £2,664. looking at the other end of the scale...(29 Oct 2010) "Footsie chiefs saw their pay jump 55% last year as incentive schemes paid off handsomely."'s not surprising that nobody has published figures for the GINI index (standard economic measure of income equality/inequality) for the last six years.That's 30% of the working population receiving less than c£15000.Then add in pensioners & benefit claimants and that adds up to a very significant number of poor people. Add in the falling average wage. Sheesh!"The planet is not expanding in size, so its sustainable resources are finite, I’m of the belief that we are at or over the level of sustainability of the planet already."It seems that our overlords are dealing with this situation and a startling revelation can be heard 6min 20-35sec into this presentation Catherine Austin-Fitts 04-2010Thanks for the reminder127. At 11:37pm on 26 Oct 2010, Stephen Hughes those of you moaning about how depressing the news always is, just remember this,they are presenting it WITH POSITIVE SPIN and you need to look at reality.Things are far worse than the news makes it out to be or you would have said"STOP IT, NOW!"and before you rubbish this comment, please actually follow the provided links. Sat 06 Nov 2010 12:31:33 GMT+1 haynonymouse 31. At 12:08pm on 26 Oct 2010, soton1990 wrote: Okay, so Britain has some problems and isn't perfect, but we always focus on the negatives and exaggerate them far too much.------------------You are funny.You really think this?The News tells you the bad things that have happened, yet it puts a positive spin and gloss on it, especially when it comes to the economy and politics.You don't see the tyranny going on all around you, because you are a frog in the cooking pot with the temperature just about to cook your muscles.To invoke 'Godwin's law', when passing through border security the the Nazi guards at the check point would ask you for your 'Papers Please"These days, they want full nude photographs of everyone (they do store the images) or the opt out for the 'full body scanners' will have you and your CHILD'S genitals fondled. FACTThe images they take are faaaaar more detailed than illustrated and break pornography laws!! Sat 06 Nov 2010 10:05:19 GMT+1 chrisk50 Political correction over the last 20 years has taken away our sense of humour. We once took the mickey out of everyone, even ourselves and everyone laughed, now it is racist.Have you heard the one about the English, Irish and Scotsman........ oh sorry cant say that.My point is, take away the fun and life becomes miserable and there is only the option to moan. Sat 06 Nov 2010 07:37:17 GMT+1 greatBobFrance Many of the comments posted here demonstrate beyond resonable doubt that the literacy rate in the UK is indeed extremely low Fri 05 Nov 2010 13:44:09 GMT+1 trevlincs One valid whinge...if you look at the course of interest rates over the last 50 years, Britons have been paying 3 -4% above the average of mainland european interest rates...therfore all mortgage payers have been paying to keep UK interest rates high enough to encourage an inflow of funds to the city of london.What price now for joining the Euro? At least europeans ( at least on the mainland) have had a better deal than UK house buyers. The net inflow from the City of london is well paid for by struggling mortgage payers even now! Thu 04 Nov 2010 11:52:41 GMT+1 USAnglophile I just read a bunch of comments from another blog about how to make Britons happier. Once again, people continue to blame the government and the media for their unhappiness. Come on people! Is there no end to what we expect the government to provide?? Now we want them to make us happy?? And, I'm sorry, Briton has some of funniest ads in the world, let's keep our sense of humour shall we? We are now a nation of me, me, me, just like the Americans! It's crap! Get outside yourself, do some volunteer work and see how happy it makes you feel. You are responsible for your own happiness. Stop watching and reading things that make you feel bad about yourself and the state of the world. Go for a walk, renew a hobby, read some good books, play some good music. Put down the cakes and biscuits and commit yourself to being healthier. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude, this will change your focus from all that is bad to seeing all that is good. And there is plenty of good in Briton, I promise you! As a nation, we have to change these toxic thought patterns and it starts with each individual!Time for my stress pill (okay, so it's just a Smartie!!) Fri 29 Oct 2010 16:37:17 GMT+1 USAnglophile Yes, I agree with eParliament would save a packet and generate a small fortune in opening the Houses of Parliament as tourist attractions, perhaps a photo op with the speaker? But it wouldn't help us unplug, quite the contrary!Aye thank-ee pips! Thu 28 Oct 2010 22:43:26 GMT+1 Steve - Iver 136. At 8:27pm on 27 Oct 2010, USAnglophile wrote:"I have read all these posts. I find them fascinating..."Hi - thanks for the positive and funny post. This BBC blog can attract it's fair share of nuts as well as those serious posters, but I have a suggestion for the powers that be. We hear our new leaders talking about a better way to run the country. Can I suggest, and maybe the BBC would back me (think of the funding BBC), that we close the old Palace of Westminster, and in particular the lower house (House of Commons), and move the entire system onto the blogsphere. We could all sign up to be members; those BBC posters could be allowed to use their BBC sign-on. We could all take part in debates and if you're an avid follower of these blogs, you'll know that we discuss some pretty contentious issues. I vote for an eParliament - we'd save a packet! Is that positive enough for you? Aye thank-ee Thu 28 Oct 2010 13:23:56 GMT+1 ladiesandgents I have been saying this for a long time, I firmly believe that the difference between the UK and most other countries is peoples ability to look past all the positive and focus on the small negative. It appears in sport commonly hearing comments such as we never win anything (4th in the last olympics, with a degree of success in a huge range of other sports also). Public transport when it snows heavily for the first time in 5 years, you hear "pathetic, should of been prepared" although of course if the money had been spent in preparation and then not needed that would have been a "waste of taxes".The list could go on for a few pages Wed 27 Oct 2010 19:31:51 GMT+1 USAnglophile I have read all these posts. I find them fascinating. I am an American married to a Brit (the most optimistic person I have ever met). Yes, you British moan a lot, but you also laugh a lot, I see it as just part of the amazing character of the population. I love this about the British! Whatever doom and gloom is happening, you can meet up with friends at the pub and have a laugh, have dinner parties and have a laugh, this is the stuff of real life. Yes, the weather is pants a good deal of the time and the latitude of the country suggests everyone should be on Vitamin D supplements to boost mood. But these posts remind me of the Catch 22 the British find themselves in. On one hand, you are an extremely well-informed population of realists (I have to go to the BBC to get any world news at all!). The diversity of understanding and logical questioning is staggering (i.e. questioning the political motives or potential flaws of a survey/study). But being well informed citizens of the world also means that Brits cannot and will not put down their newspapers or turn off their news programs in protest of negativity. This is a huge problem, it is like a drug addiction to the media. As with other addictions, it leads to skewed perceptions and warps the consciousness. American seems to be going through the first stages of empire decline and we are also experiencing more cynicism and mistrust. We feel powerless and helpless to all the forces around us, especially political ones. But if we are to believe Maslow, in order to self-actualize, we have to separate ourselves from the fray, take stock of our personal situations objectively, rise above and change those things we can control: our relationships, our outlook - these are choices. We have to decide to be happy and then go about those tasks that will bring us greater peace and minimize the negatives we expose ourselves to. This is a difficult, disciplined inner task (isn't it easier just to moan and do nothing...well then don't expect anything to change!). Can we "unplug" as a first step? Britain has a strong and determined people, you have a huge amount of fortitude and a rich history from which to draw confidence and pride. Britain's modernization is amazing to me as are the pockets of old world charm found everywhere, both co-exist beautifully. I am no so sure American will not implode from excessive greed and debt, we don't have a good track record. I actually think we all need to learn Chinese if we are going to be the biggest Chinese economic province in the world. Keep the great discussions coming and "chin up!" You lot are amazing! Wed 27 Oct 2010 19:27:39 GMT+1 Bacuri Living in Brazil,I am often struck by how much more cheerful and positive people are despite objectively many more difficulties - in terms of crime, economic insecurity, and less developed infrastructure of all kinds. I used to think I missed having a good old English moan over a cup of tea, but now I´m not so sure. Here in Brazil we have many things that are missing in Britain - moments of collective celebration and happiness, a tendency to avoid introspection and judging of others, valuing of relationships rather than avoidance of one another, and a focus on readiness to find solutions rather than anticipate potential problems. I agree totally that economic performance is very weakly related to quality of life. I can think of many people here who have little more than a house to live in plus a few pots a pans who seem to be much richer and more content, in the widest sense of the word, than overpaid tax lawyer friends living back home. Wed 27 Oct 2010 17:30:17 GMT+1 tacrepus Comment number 38. Absolutely correct and well pointed out. Every time a study, a set of statistics or a poll is quoted by a journalist, he or she should first state the origin of the data and, more importantly, the financial sponsor of that data. All too often we are given sets of data which many people automatically assume are independent and unbiased. But since data can be slanted in many ways - leading questions, unrepresentative sampling methods, etc - it is always wise to question who benefits from the commissioning of these studies. Remember, he who pays the piper calls the tune and Mr Easton, who is particularly prone to using statistical reports as the basis of his posts, would do well to remember this. Wed 27 Oct 2010 13:32:18 GMT+1 Tim I admit that the British do moan excessively, but given the deluge of comments regarding literacy, mostly focusing on petty criticisms of others' use of English, could we please add smugness and snobbery to the list of British faults? Wed 27 Oct 2010 13:12:16 GMT+1 Jon According to that report, a mere 20% of us attend religious services, putting us in the bottom 15 in the world. I can't be the only one to feel rather pleased at the UK being at the "bottom" in this statistic. Wed 27 Oct 2010 13:09:51 GMT+1 lacplesis37 It's hardly surprising since we have one of the most relentlessly negative media in the world (it's also - certainly at the popular end, biased, shallow and providing opinion rather than fact). You try giving the media a "good news" story & see how many will use it! But I don't know whether it's poor government (why tell the straight truth when you can spin), an open society where wealth is more obviously displayed causing envy;the media building unrealistic expectations; lack of any firm foundations to many people's lives other than money - but the "Johns" & "Margarets" (your later blog) seemed to have a more "can do" attitude. Today the "Olivers" and "Olivias" seem to be "can't do". However, we keep electing these politicians & buying the media, so i suppose we get what we deserve. But when you look at crime & perceptions of crime, you have to ask yourself what we might do to encourage people to understand the reality & live happier lives. Wed 27 Oct 2010 13:03:54 GMT+1 Daisy Chained As we British are, allegedly, noted for whingeing please can I moan about yet another meaningless league table. Judging books by covers seldom leads to a good read. Was there something more interesting than an index on the last page? Wed 27 Oct 2010 08:42:00 GMT+1 jon112dk "Why are we British so much more distrusting of financial and political institutions than other wealthy, healthy and successful nations? .... Overall, we are the 13th most prosperous country in the world by this index..."==========================We have a government which has just announced it is deliberately going to make 1 million people unemployed, whilst the spivs who cost the county well over a trillion pounds and trashed the economy for two years, are still in work and pocketing huge incomes from the same old scams. In the absence of economic security for ordinary people, I think you have to expect cynicism from the ordinary people. Wed 27 Oct 2010 08:04:00 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws America is 22nd on the list of the world's most corrupt nations. That should give you some idea of people's well being. Wed 27 Oct 2010 05:32:17 GMT+1 Stephen Hughes Here’s the first of a series of 8 videos I think people should watch, if you wish to understand how growth is not going to save the economy and the world. Tue 26 Oct 2010 22:37:53 GMT+1 spectrum The British corporate classes with the assistance of its media flunkies have fulfilled Orwell's prophecy."If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever". That's why there is rampant alcoholism, drug abuse and violence. That's why the British abroad are singled out for their crass and repulsive antics. According the BBC, the upper middle classes have the most serious alcohol problems. It isn't just the discarded underclass.Drinking at levels which are hazardous to health is rife in affluent middle class areas in England, research shows.Richer areas dominated the list of areas with the highest proportion of men drinking 22-50 units a week, and women drinking 15-35 units a week. Tue 26 Oct 2010 22:12:18 GMT+1 chimpboy69 Comments from think tanks like this aren't worth the effort of reading them, and certainly not the negative feelings they encourage. UK media has a lot to answer for : every daily national newspaper leads on bad news, as does national news on any TV or satellite channel. How often do you hear good news, happiness and positive news reported and celebrated in the national media? If you want to feel better about life, don't watch the news and resist buying a national newspaper for one month. You'll be amazed how much your outlook improves. I've travelled the world : news and life has a much better upbeat message overseas, even in countries with less to celebrate than the UK. Tue 26 Oct 2010 21:23:46 GMT+1 GeoffWard On retirement i moved from the most glum, cold and dank country in the world to the Bahian coast of Brazil, the happiest, warmest and most climatically equitable place on earth.I am surrounded by totally unbelievable politics, bureaucracy, corruption and crime, juxtaposed with a heady chaotic melange of peoples, beliefs, attitudes, youth, fun and sun.With education levels at only the 25% level of post-primary exposure, the population reads, it texts, it computes and it has wide-eyed ambition.For all the poverty of circumstance, there is little poverty of the spirit. The country of Carnival is at last understanding the lure of acquisition and wanting first-world lifestyles and products.And, along the way, will go that 'innocence' .... Milton's Paradise is being replaced with his Fall. The age of 'experience' of Blake's poems is being worked out before my eyes in the Brazilian election - the innocent electorate treating the process as carnival, and the baleful party of government, corruption personified, like the Black Widow pulling all power to the centre of the web.Oh, how I weep for this beautiful country. Tue 26 Oct 2010 21:12:17 GMT+1 GeoffWard RichardSorge wrote @ #25: "Maybe, we have post imperial depression? A hundred years ago, we ruled the world. Now , all our industry has been sold off to our former dominions , who are doing better than us.I wonder how the Romans felt when in their decline?" ......................I think we've got the wrong comparison when comparing Great Britain to Rome, a city state of antiquity.Rome compares well to Athens, a city state of antiquity.Rome compares BEST to Manchester United, a modern world conquering 'city state'.Great Britain of the British Empire compares well to the USSR of the past, a hegemony.Great Britain of the British Empire compares best to the USA, a hegemony itself already in decline.The fall of Rome was a sacking of murder, mayhem, rape and pillage. The decline of the Roman Empire was much like the decline of the British Empire - a regression to the core, a retrenchment, with pockets of the old empires fading like the starlight as the new dawn of post-colonialism rises. Both withdrawals proved to be messy and bloody, with warlords fighting over the spoils to establish THEIR prefered future. Tue 26 Oct 2010 20:42:15 GMT+1 Flyingbeaver I left the United Kingdom for Canada nearly five years ago for a variety of reasons all to do with achieving a better quality and standard of life. Britain seemed so pessimistic overcrowded expensive and dirty compared to life here in Vancouver. As a nurse I was so aware that the NHS is outdated and in need of drastic changes. Dentistry and access to a GP are shocking in the UK compared to Canada. The binge drinking culture of Britain encourages all sorts of social problems and anti social beahaviour. I visit Britain about twice a year to visit family and friends, and each time I visit I see the divide with the difference in Canadian and British society growing bigger each time. I am sad to say it, but,I now view Britain as something of a third world country compared to my new adopted one. Tue 26 Oct 2010 20:25:07 GMT+1 GeoffWard not_cricket wrote @ #17:I just get on with living and trying to make a good life out of it all. As the song says " always look on the bright side of life".................I may be wrong, but I really thought Brian was being ironic..... Tue 26 Oct 2010 20:13:16 GMT+1 Frogbloke @88 I couldn't agree more. I live in France, I don't have a TV but my sister (who lives nearby) does, with BBC on satellite, so I see bits of the EastEnders Omnibus there when I visit on Sundays. I think there have been four or five murders in the last year or so. It includes any number of kids born from fathers who are not the mother's partners. Partnerships that change every couple of months or so. Everybody complaining about almost everything in every episode I've seen. Non-stop drinking (why is it that so many British series have pubs as their pivotal point, is that all there is to do there?). I also see occasionally a very popular French series via the net called "Plus Belle la Vie" ("Life is better" if you like). It's rubbish of course, these things always are, but in it people smile, they don't have a crisis in every house every day, they don't swap partners every ten minutes and they don't spend their days getting pissed. The British seem to love wallowing in doom and gloom, the Daily Wail filling its columns every day with the words 'fury' and 'outrage' etc., etc. It's no wonder people are negative when they are constantly fed such rubbish.And in passing (for I'm just passing): a very good number of the comments here show a level of English that is woeful. The UK may have 100% literacy (which I take to mean that people can read and write, at whatever level) but by god they are lousy at spelling. Typos OK, not knowing the difference between 'loose' and 'lose' is utterly shameful in an adult. Tue 26 Oct 2010 19:30:06 GMT+1 PJohnston This post has been Removed Tue 26 Oct 2010 19:10:54 GMT+1 Andy Mark Easton,"Why are we British so much more distrusting of financial and political institutions than other wealthy, healthy and successful nations? Is it our adversarial culture? Is it an aggressive media? Is it the weather?"You gave a rather large indication as to why when you said:"The survey work was done last year, after the MPs expenses scandal and just as the banking crisis was pushing the world into recession."Want me to provide some extra large dots for you to follow to help your join-up thinking? ;-) Tue 26 Oct 2010 18:46:26 GMT+1 markus_uk What's the worth of that report? This so-called think tank is a deeply Anglosaxon institution, with a direct link to the deeply Anglosaxon finance world. How can this ever represent an independent, global view? Tue 26 Oct 2010 18:26:57 GMT+1 Stephen Hughes 97. At 4:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, Cameron wrote:@80 Your premise is flawed, you assume that resources are finite and therefore static, which is not true. Therefore your conclusion that someone's prosperity means someone elses decline is also untrue. World population is increasing, therefore things like the number of consumers / size of the workforce is changing. Technology allows us to increase output (such as food, with better seed strains) and use finite resources more efficiently. This means that it's possible for the Chinese and British economies to both grow at a certain pace without causing detriment to the other. But you miss the point of the article, namely that there are things other than GDP we should be considering.--------------No I said finite not static; this is not the same thing! The planet is not expanding in size, so its sustainable recourses are finite, I’m of the belief that we are at or over the level of sustainability of the planet already. Technology can improve crop yields maybe more efficient methods of power production and allow growth to continue, “for some” but not endlessly, ultimately this could lead to more starvation and poverty for others. find it very naive you believe growth benefits all; the vast inequality that’s grown between rich and poor over the previous decades is obscene, most if not all growth being absorbed by the richest 10% don’t believe I missed the point of the article; I pointed some of the limitations of GDP to measure wealth and well-being, namely inequality. article state we would be more like the Nordic countries if we were “ slightly less gloomy and cynical” and misses the point that these countries have a much better wealth distribution. Tue 26 Oct 2010 18:19:37 GMT+1 jr4412 Mark Easton."So, how do we do?"given that it has been thirty years since Thatcher forced the UK to (more or less) abandon agriculture and manufacturing to better concentrate on growing the 'tertiary sector', coming 33rd in a league table of internet consumer download speeds is visible proof of the failure of the British (political) establishment's ability to implement the changes necessary. Tue 26 Oct 2010 18:17:53 GMT+1 Richard Wilson This post has been Removed Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:52:08 GMT+1 tarquin 92. jobsagoodinThe point made about the media being far more left wing and liberal than the populace at large (in England) is absoltely valid, at least if you are talking about TV (BBC and ITV in particular).---Perhaps you should have made it clearer then - the printed press are by far the most partisan part of the media, and the most obvious choice when you criticise the 'media'Why is this? Because broadcast media is subject to much stricter rules on impartiality than the dead tree press, that goes for sky, ITV or BBC - if you read, and agree with, the right-wing tabloids, then pretty much anything with a more moderate viewpoint is going to be seen as left or 'liberal'there's a famous saying - 'reality has a liberal bias' Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:49:07 GMT+1 Ghost1972 Hmmm this is a toughy... This is the best country in the world i don't have to shout and sing anthems that seems a very foreign thing to do. Occasionally i do these things, at the local St.Georges day march very nice too.Hmmm most people, i cant stand i mean it. the weather is really pants. and i have no money. However within reason i can walk about at night without too much trouble if you stay away from the all night garages. I would like to see the sea again, haven't seen the coast in 20 years, even Rhyl i like Rhyl even if the last time i went the sea was brown...hmmBut this low level pettiness that pervades society the old class thing that the new(bah) government has reintroduced. you are this cos i have this... it grates me to the bone.....I still live in the best country in the world, the whole world mind.oh and support the bestest team ever...Boing Boing!Ahem... Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:31:24 GMT+1 ATNotts The media (including the BBC) has a lot to answer for with the negativity of the British towards Britain. To listen to the media you would think that the UK was as crime ridden as Bogata or back end of Los Angeles - it isn't. Their simply aren't people on every corner out to get us, and we aren't a nation of drunken yobs - though there are too many drunken yobs living here.However, the UK is exceedingly petty, and extraordinarily backward looking. We desparately need to get back to some of the forward thinking attitudes from the late 19th century, otherwise we will continue to languish in a backwater of quaintness - which is really good for American tourists, but not for much else. Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:27:45 GMT+1 dump_a_grump We live in a very adversarial society.This has advantages. Many MPs have commented that the worst legislation is the stuff nobody challenged properly because it seemed like a good idea at the time.The downside is that art of compromise and co-operation and making concessions is something that many people in politics refuse to learn. It is of course how the rest of us actually live.The formation of a Coalition government has been greeted by the media with utter cynicism, and by Labour and the unions with a retreat into class warfare.Media pundits pontificate loudly about voter apathy, but don’t seem to realise how negative and divisive their own attitudes are.You may not like this post, but is there nothing in it you can agree with? Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:19:34 GMT+1 smallvizier "100% literacy in 2008? That's an incredible improvement on the 44% that the DES calculated in 2003. 'Incredible' as in 'unbelievable', which makes me doubt the results."For some studies, "literacy" is the ability to sign your own name. For others, it's a C or better at GCSE. Which brings us back to the theme of the article - what does it take to make us happy?If 99.5% of Brits - which rounds up - can read the menu at the takeaway and write to their friends on Facebook, then we ARE a literate society, no matter how our kids do at Key Stage 2. If an immigrant can get a job here and rent an apartment without being glared at in the street, then we ARE a tolerant society. And when we're still one of the biggest exporters of music, movies, books and TV in the world, we ARE a cultured society.It's just that a bunch of sour-puss loudmouths think the place is rubbish just because we've still got a lot of work to do. Tue 26 Oct 2010 17:13:33 GMT+1 StanleyRIP Why are we so blind to our good fortune: three reasons, The media, the media and the media,John Tue 26 Oct 2010 16:30:21 GMT+1 saffler I think making people chase money around all the time can lead some to lead lives that are less fulfilling than they could have been. Maybe it's OK for a person who has a fast agile mind as they can fit everything in, but unfortunately for many of us more average people we simply need more time, time we are not given (because of the ones with the agility?). Tue 26 Oct 2010 16:28:27 GMT+1 Edwin Schrodinger 86. At 2:13pm on 26 Oct 2010, Stevie D wrote:@78, chiptheduck wrote:'You aren't a Daily Mail reader are you, by any chance?Rubbish. About the same number of Britons emigrate as other people immigrate, our population levels have been pretty static as a result.'Laughable. The population increased by three million in the last ten years Labour was in power. Go to any railway station and look around you. Or try and get through the Dartford tunnel without being stuck in a traffic jam for three hours. Why is it people who blame The Daily Mail/Rupert Murdoch/Margaret Thatcher for everthing seem to walk around blindfolded? Britain has become vile place to live, largely thanks to the politically motivated social engineering of the Labour Party. The fact they bankrupted us too does not help the gloom in this country. But hey -let's ignore the fact they destroyed us socially and economically and be happy. Tue 26 Oct 2010 16:26:19 GMT+1 squareoldccodger There are many "Brits" voting with their feet and very sensibly getting out of the Country, one that has been in decline for over 60 years now. The majority of both my Family and Friends have had the good sense to move, were I younger I would certainly have joined them. Visiting Family in France recently I was impressed by both the quality of their Schools and the way of life there. I shortly will be revisiting Canada, Australia and New Zealand all vibrant Countries with a great future and not like the UK merely a past. We have just replaced a poor Government with an even worse one, they seem to have just one talent "Spin" , every major policy announced so far, once you get the detail, is deeply flawed and will do damage to "society" and to the people, but then as their patron saint - the blessed Margaret said - there is no such thing as society. Tue 26 Oct 2010 16:26:05 GMT+1 Barry Horne BBC News has a lot to answer for. Before the cuts were known the news was all doom and gloom. When the cuts were made known more doom and gloom. When the higher pension proposals were made known more doom and gloom - how are they going to be paid for. This lunchtime a reporter was decidedly unhappy when the two men she asked about the cuts told her they were necessary and didn't really affect them.A classic was how the BBC dealt with the introduction of the London Congestion charge. For weeks before the News was all about the problems that were going to be caused. On the day no problems. The reporters were so disappointed. Cheer up BBC. Tue 26 Oct 2010 16:07:38 GMT+1 baias After quite a lot of travelling around the globe, I am persuaded that the UK is one of the best places to live in the world too. The island is beautiful. Lots of historic places and buildings. Great museums. Locals are full of character. Great night life. Extensive and charming parks in cities. Perfectly good free health service. Good schools and universities abound. Britons are in general polite and friendly. Where else can you chat with a funny old lady while waiting for the bus?The UK could even be the 2nd best in the world, after that glorious nation called Euskal Herria/Basque Country!! Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:54:24 GMT+1 Laurie Wilson What's not to love about living in the United Kingdom? As a "child of the troubles" I rejoice in the fact that I live in Northern Ireland, its part of the UK and I am in fact British! I've seen bombings, shootings, been scared witless but it doesn't stop me loving living here and as much as I love a sunshine holiday, I couldn't live in it permanently.I fly to mainland UK regularly, mainly to South Yorkshire and love landing on a clear bright day and viewing "this green and pleasant land" because lets be honest, steering clear of the monotonous overtones of doom and gloom on every news channel, it is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. I love the fact that we "Brits" have a reserve about us, where we say hello and shyly smile at the person passing us on the street as we walk to get our morning paper, or the young man who stands up on the bus/train to allow his elders to have his seat. I love the fact that we have a sense of humour which mainly pokes fun at ourselves! Its what makes Britain/UK great!Yes, there's the elements of society that we don't want to see, that strike fear into the elderly but, especially in NI, its a small element, maybe 2/3% of the population and its there in every country, and if anyone wants to argue that point, well let them, they are either liars or have rose tinted glasses on!I'm proud to say that when I travel to mainland UK or abroad, that I carry my british passport and when I land in Belfast, well, it IS gods own country full of cheerful, beautiful people who've seen atrocities and overcome them.Enjoy our wonderful country, imagine, we could living behind a communist wall, I might be living in a muslim country where I can't work for a living or be seen outside my house unless covered from head to toe. I think I know where I'd rather be......... Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:50:36 GMT+1 Steve - Iver Mark, there is no single issue that makes a nation happy or sad, cheerful or miserable. It's a combination of events and circumstances over a period of time, measured against the outcome of those events and the effect on the individual and the population at large. For those that think that Brits are depressed because of the loss of Empire, you're greatly mistaken. That's long lost history, not part of current thinking by the population. Absolute rubbish. A weather beaten isle? Yes, but it's green and lush outside of the big cities. London is a concrete jungle but it has more green space than most cities. Look at the big picture. I don't think that the UK is a particularly miserable place. In my village, people stop to say hi, even to strangers. A simple fix that would affect everyones mood would be a 'good morning' given to people you encounter and it really does put a smile on their face. Being less selfish can also improve your own mood. Interacting with your fellow human beings is a positive step to happiness. Why is it necessary to be nasty?I agree with one train of thought - our Media are not most optimistic around. By that I don't just mean the printed news or radio / TV bulletins, but in general. I steer away from the so-called 'real-life dramas' or 'soaps'. Eastenders is a case in point. The proportion of characters that 'have it in' for other characters is so imbalanced. Everyone hates everyone else. I mean, if we all treated each other how it's represented in the soaps, we really would be a miserable bunch, wouldn't we? It's deemed to be 'good TV' though. OK for a drama that is meant to hit where it hurts, a one off, or a movie, but imagine if all movies were about doom and gloom like the soaps seem to be and we'd have suicide watch on every street corner. You can't make 'good news' out of bad, but the way news is reported can be more neutral. The cost of living is a problem. Greed seems to have overtaken customer service in the race for corporate success. Everyone is conscious of the 'bottom line', GP and P&L. An inevitable outcome to a nation obsessed by the finance industry. We have a lot to be thankful for here in the UK. In general, we are a secure country. A safe country. An educated country. A wealthy country. A modern country. A free country. We are at the forefront of technology and science in the electronics, robotics and medical arenas. We have engineering skills to be proud of, not just historical but modern, up to date too. We are chosen by many to be their new home. Immigrants are not always a problem but are often cited as such. That, however, can make the indigenous population feel used and abused and we sometimes feel that the world sees us as a soft touch. Not strictly true. Corruption doesn't help. When you hear stories of cheating, particularly in big business or, just as bad, government, it eats at our self respect. Internally, we see it one way, levelling the blame to those we see responsible, but externally, we feel it is a slur on our own character. Then we are told by government it's about to get worse. It needs to get worse to get better. The cuts are needed to create a fairer Britain. I can see that, but the proof will not be seen for another 4 to 5 years. In the meantime, we all fear the worst and that fear is reinforced by the News Media. And you wonder why people use drugs!!!! If we all put a bit of an effort into getting along instead of judging our neighbours all the time, we might find we're really not that bad after all. As for society, we've lost part of it. A pub closes every day, likely more often. We're losing more of it as e-Society takes over. How many 'friends' have you got on Facebook? How many followers on Twitter? I like my friends to have a voice, skin and bone, a mind and individual thoughts. I can count them on one hand. Sad! My Facebook profile says I have about 135 friends. I've not seen any of them, bar about 3, in the past 2 years. The e-community is stealing society from under our duvets. You don't even need to leave the house, and that part is really sad. From getting up in the morning, getting into the car, into work and using the car to get home again, my interaction with real people is getting less and less. I dare say I'm not the only one. All these things put together cumulate into a whole load of sadness, but it needn't be this way. We've lost motivation, and base too much on our finances. Friends, real friends, cost nothing and contribute so much. When I travel abroad, I always promote the UK as a great place to live. There are negatives, but we should reinforce the positives. Let immigration handle the influx of people who want to make the UK their home, and we should tell the world what a wonderful place it really is. Only then will we believe it. Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:49:24 GMT+1 Charlie Farlie Freckles I think we should just face the fact that people like a good old moan, and leave them to it.Take any Britwhinger and plop them in the middle of any one of the "higher ranking" countries (as seen in the Legatum Institute prosperity index), and they will still find something to complain about - that is simply human nature. I could give a [insert mirth-inducing gift] to a particularly prolific moaning neighbour of mine in celebration of his birthday, and I can tell you categorically that he would respond by remarking how he is "just another year closer to death". Mind you, he is 79. Let's hope he doesn't take the Legatum report as seriously as some people... Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:28:43 GMT+1 Piglet3 There is a certain realism in being a moaner, but I think alot comes from having a huge chip on our shoulder from the 19th century grandure and Christian heritage that we feel we've lost. A lack of realism in our assessment of our past and plenty of realism now would acount for our grumpiness. We tend to selectively compare the past with the present: the now with what we might think of as a superior moral and industrial heritage, but there's alot of inaccuracy too in this reading of our past and it only comes from second-hand experience of it, unless of course we're old and wise and lived through it.So I think it's a slightly skewed concept of ourselves, that we've basically have come down from such heights from those empire days (in the cliched events we often get told of in history). Coming down from such a perceived height makes us critical of anything less perhaps, and the traditions and Christian heritage set the mark very high indeed. Of course with mass immigration, our concept of British has changed, as has the perspective alot of people have on alot of things, so many of the bloggers have a world-travelled perspective which colours their view. Things like the dayly grind so familiar to those 'caught in the gridlock of long working hours and commutes' is a perspective perhaps those outside take time to appreciate and it's very difficult for many these days to make a living. But it all comes down to expectations.I'm cheered up when so many younger people than myself appear hopeful and optimistic, and haven't been blunted by the realism and negativity so common in our society. It's not all bad. In fact I like the diversity of this island. History and our own past empire do explain alot and it's deeply rooted. It might make us critical, yet still aspiring. Gumble, don't forget the weather!! Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:18:20 GMT+1 nikki I would prefer to live in this country than any other. People don't appreciate it enough. We get too bogged down with the media that surrounds us. If we just turned off the telly every now and again we would appreciate the things that we value most: Safety and good health for ourselves and our families, freedom of speech, and tolerance. All countries have gripes, but we certainly don't live in the country ranked 110 do we?? Get. A . Grip.Listen to the lyrics from Baz Luhrmann's "Wear Sunsreen", life isn't so bad, is it? Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:11:35 GMT+1 Cameron @80 Your premise is flawed, you assume that resources are finite and therefore static, which is not true. Therefore your conclusion that someone's prosperity means someone elses decline is also untrue. World population is increasing, therefore things like the number of consumers / size of the workforce is changing. Technology allows us to increase output (such as food, with better seed strains) and use finite resources more efficiently. This means that it's possible for the Chinese and British economies to both grow at a certain pace without causing detriment to the other. But you miss the point of the article, namely that there are things other than GDP we should be considering. Tue 26 Oct 2010 15:06:21 GMT+1 Cameron I'm tempted to blame the media but it's actually how people in Britain feed off the media that does the damage. Comedian Russell Howard calls in the 'what next' crowd, as in 'a stabbing in London! What next? Gang warfare in our local village...' We seem to have the ability to automatically take any new to it's worst possible conclusion. Perfect example, read the news about the GDP figures today and then look at the comments on the Stephanomics blog! Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:54:27 GMT+1 Voodoo_Doll @JPublicAllow me to disillusion you (and I freely admit to being a cynical Brit). Britain was not better in the old days. The "Blitz Spirit" did not exist. During WW2, gangs of criminals used to go around stealing people's possessions from their bombed homes. Sometimes they even stole the rings off dead people's fingers. In the Victorian period, there were homeless and starving children on the streets. Many people at the time did not see this as objectionable -Disraeli used to refer to homeless, unemployed people as the "residuum." There was no NHS before 1945 either.I could go on, but the point is that the UK in 2010 (despite still being controlled by the tiny Oxbridge elite at the top - oops, sorry forgot this is the BBC. I didn't say that) is a place where most in society think it is wrong to discriminate against someone because of their race or on other grounds and where people fight to keep the NHS for everybody. Of course it isn't perfect, and of course we're cynical, but UK society has experienced changes for the better over the past century. As another poster said, we've still to get rid of the ruling elites (sorry, government) but as history shows, the English don't have revolutions very often (last one was in 1640). (And yes, I do mean revolution and not English Civil War. I'm with the Marxist historian Christopher Hill on this one.) Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:49:19 GMT+1 DibbySpot I freely admit to being a cynical winger. There is a simple reason for this the majority of UK companies are managed or staffed by people who have no idea of what they should be doing, what they could do to improve things. Their sole interest is in doing the minimum necessary to extract the maximum salary or benefit.Here are some examples:+ The financial service company that despite having all my details and potentially benefitting from my money beleives I have to filling a 16 page form of information that they already hold.+ The bank whose staff refuse to refer me to a supervisor or log a complaint.+ The hospital that thinks it is OK that; a 5yr old needs to wait 26 weeks to have his deafness resolved, it is OK to wait 15 minutes on the phone queuing to make an appoibntment, cannot provide choose and book as it does not offer that facility.+ The ferry company that is paid for VIP travel and priority boarding and disembarkation but fails to deliver priority disembarkation.+ The insurance company that promises recompense but then fails to deliver this.And on it goes. Why do I complain? Becuase if I did not I would be condoning this corporate incompetence - that I can never do. Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:49:07 GMT+1 chrisasmith777 We have the "mother of parliaments", but a ludicrously unfair voting system.We invented some of the world's most popular sports, but can only watch them on TV by agreeing to Murdoch's blackmail and thereby financing his despicable non-tax paying empire. Still, mustn't grumble; had 2 sunny days this week already. Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:47:12 GMT+1 jobsagoodin Bluebaldee 82'A right wing country? So right wing that it didn't give the Tories a majority even after the most unpopular Prime Minister for a generation!'I think you'll find that England isn't the same as the UK. The Tories DID have an absolute majority in England in the 2010 elections and they even outscored Labour in 2005.The point made about the media being far more left wing and liberal than the populace at large (in England) is absoltely valid, at least if you are talking about TV (BBC and ITV in particular). Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:29:04 GMT+1 paul scarf 100% literate and 7th in FIFA football rankings. Yeah ok !!What's the gullability quotient ? Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:25:16 GMT+1 Brian_NE37 Like others I believe that the UK media has a lot to answer for. But this can't be the full explanation.And, the downbeat cynicism has an upside - I'm sure that has a bearing on the relatively low levels of corruption etc. Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:20:30 GMT+1 thesteve Two Words.Daily Mail. Tue 26 Oct 2010 13:54:33 GMT+1 Stel Looking for something/one to lay the blame on for our negativity and lack of trust? Start with "East Enders" - night after night, decade after decade of moaning, anger, and violence on prime time main channel TV seeps into the national subconscious, whether you watch it or not!Full marks auntie! Tue 26 Oct 2010 13:45:07 GMT+1 littletenter There would be a lot more faith in things and belief if we were not constantly lied to and fed a diet of soap opera. If we faced down reality instead of the wishy washy lets make up a new acceptable name for something we dont like Society only to find we dont like that either eventually and realise the problems are not in what you call them. No one does what they say they will do when they say they will. Business is all about small print screwing the customer and dont tell me your problems just give us yer money. Tradesmen who want to be gone before they they are through your door because some accountant gave him 10 mins to change a ball cock, he cant care if it works or leaks his job depends on that 10 mins. In short the nation has lost its pride its self esteem. Multi culturalism means being ashamed to be English dont fly the flag because some minority group might be offended. I dont see any improvement its all downhill from here. How long before "Daves" Government is discredited like the last and the one before it. Cynical, the new reality? Tue 26 Oct 2010 13:33:46 GMT+1 Stevie D @78, chiptheduck wrote:You aren't a Daily Mail reader are you, by any chance?1) We have no say in how our country is run - that's decided in BrusselsRubbish. The laws that are passed in Brussels affect all EU countries equally, and certainly do not dictate how we live - just look at the 3600 new criminal offences introduced by Labour in their 13 years in office.2) The authorities are vindictive beyond belief - fines, spy cameras, taxes on everything including deathVindictive? Hardly - they are trying to uphold the law and make the country a safe place. If there are no fines for wrongdoing, how are you going to stop people from doing it? The majority of people are generally in favour of CCTV as it improves safety and crime detection. Taxes are necessary if we are to enjoy the high level of social security that we do.3) We are over-populated and yet immigrants continue to flood the countryRubbish. About the same number of Britons emigrate as other people immigrate, our population levels have been pretty static as a result.4) We have too many financial passengers relying on too few taxpayers5) The class system needs to be curbed6) Politicians are out of touch with real life in the UKAnd how do you suggest we go about solving those? The majority of immigrants become taxpayers rather than welfare-leeches, so we'd be worse off without them. Tue 26 Oct 2010 13:13:00 GMT+1 Andrew The problem is the the UK is a nation of strangers. Strangers are to be fearedbecause they may abuse your kids and strangers are to be taken advantage of because if you don't look after yourself no one else will.It is okay to torment or abuse strangers for fun because they have no value. Crimes against the person, purely for kicks seem to be a uniquely British phenomenon, It doesn't happen in other countries. Tue 26 Oct 2010 13:05:52 GMT+1 Steve_M-H Considering Legatum is run by a bunch of ex-Dubya Whitehouse staffers, I would take what it says with an extremely generous measure of salt.Mandy probably only turned up to partake of the champagne & lobster lunch... Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:55:32 GMT+1 2flops A look down the first 18 comments says it all. Look at the user names: dogeared, forlornehope, fickle finger, not cricket, ruffled feathers and wossorntelly. Too much sarcasm has an effect. Look at cynical and sarcastic colleagues at work - they are never the high achievers. In Britain we revel in under-achievement and unfairness. Same with our sports men and women. I imagine most readers of this news item are looking for negativity. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:55:02 GMT+1 Baldeeheed 48. Chazz Trinder:"England is a largely right wing country but has a leftwing dominated media. Leftwing journalists and broadcasters continually stress all that is negative about the country and our society in order to sell their alternative left wing agenda. The BBC should know this as they are the worst offenders."Now that is absolute comedy gold, it really is.A right wing country? So right wing that it didn't give the Tories a majority even after the most unpopular Prime Minister for a generation!Chazz - have you ever read the Daily Mail or Express? Every single day those papers are chock full of how dire life is in the UK, how we're all going to hell in a hand basket. Reading one of the many right wing papers in this country should carry a health warning: "Repeated reading of this paper may cause suicidal thoughts."Absolutely incredible nonsense. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:49:58 GMT+1 Andy M Re: #3I wouldn't normally comment, but 44% adult literacy in 2003? Do you actually believe that figure? Please provide a full reference for this incredible statistic. Let's think about it for a minute: you're saying that more than half of the adult population of the UK can't read or write. Where are all these people? That would put us 170th out of 180 countries in the world based on UNESCO statistics. Behind Bangladesh. Behind Togo. Just ahead of Gambia.If you're going to post on here, please try to at least be plausible. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:46:17 GMT+1 Stephen Hughes I always find it useful to look into the background of BBC journalists who write articles like this. I couldn’t find a an Oxbridge University background ( there could well be one I could not find) but a Grammar school in Hampshire, would seem to be enough to let you in to the little club. A point Witch no one has raised, or it seems, even thinking of raising, is whether growth is sustainable for all. If you wisely assume resources are finite, then for some individual, social group or nation to grow then some individual social group or nation must decline.In a world were the resources are finite and all the GDP figures, for most counties in the world, say they are out of recession and in “growth” this term growth must be misleading; it’s a relative term i.e. the UK is growing at a higher rate than France but less than Germany; therefor declining relative to Germany. Givien that the UK has been in decline for a very long time, in relative terms. Which social group in the UK has been suffering the effects of the decline? Is it he the top 10% who can afford to send their children to an Oxbridge University, who then go on to work in corrupt financial institutions, a government or media ware they perpetuate the institutional class warfare indoctrinated into them, from the elite university system. Or the rest of us who become poorer losing your job, pension and public services to keep the top 10% wealthy? If you wish the UK to be less gloomy and more like the Nordic countries perhaps we should redistribute the wealth."These levels of inequality are grotesque" Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:44:20 GMT+1 Sybarite MyVoiceinYrHead wrote: "... We have no insentive to learn forign languages or wish to experience other culture - because we have them all represented here and ours is good enough..."Irony alert, anyone?Some of do make the effort to learn other languages, instead of retaining the arrogant attitude that everyone else can speak English. And besides, it's also about education and learning and self-improvement etc.And if you bother to travel – which really does broaden the mind – then it's not difficult to see many things that are a great deal better than in this country: food, lifestyle and the standard of public discourse in France, for instance.Yes, the media here is a huge problem: as an example – during the recent strikes in France, the French media doesn't simply whinge about what an inconvenience it all is, but looks at the issues. Yes, that's even the right-wing French media.We're dominated by gutter-scraping sensationalism from tabloid papers and tabloid TV – just one of the dumbing-down consequences of the 'market' being foisted on every single part of life.David Richerby – my experience of the French train network is a joined-up system that is cheaper and infinitely easier to deal with than that in the UK. My journeys in France have been comfortable and hassle-free – apart from one situation last August where a train was delayed because we were waiting for a connection. As I said, a "joined-up system". Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:40:40 GMT+1 chiptheduck Britain is a miserable place to live because:1) We have no say in how our country is run - that's decided in Brussels2) The authorities are vindictive beyond belief - fines, spy cameras, taxes on everything including death3) We are over-populated and yet immigrants continue to flood the country4) We have too many financial passengers relying on too few taxpayers5) The class system needs to be curbed6) Politicians are out of touch with real life in the UK Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:29:33 GMT+1 Piglet3 I probably fit the personality type. Weather certainly. Living on an island probably led to us building an empire. One off-shoot of this might have been the multi-cultural element. The breaking down of barriers, and so much societal norm changes, and because of so much interconnectivity with the outside world (to stereotype, compare mid-US) life is very rich and complex here. I think many naturally introverted people cope with conflicts in such a complex world by being depressed and grumbling because so many things aren't simple or reconcilled around them.Weather yes, but internal conflict and lack of resolution too. The other dimension obviously is debt and we're pretty good debt slaves over here so that might give us genuine reason to grumble. I figure if we went back a few hundred years before all this interconnectivity of news, we'd grumble about the weather but less than we do now about other things.I worked in Holland and do think it's a national thing. They too loved to grumble. The Russians too have a unique kind of sobriety too. Interesting subject! Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:25:31 GMT+1 Kieran I bow to no one in appreciation of the good old British predilection for self deprecation (which is not to say others do not also use it, but we are are among the most frequent), but it is important to keep things in perspective at times. We are a rich country, a well educated, stable, mostly safe country, and that we are not perfect and are inclined to be pessimistic does not mean we should believe that broad picture is not true. Even during the derision of our MPs after the expenses scandal and general low regard we hold them, particularly when assessing their trustworthiness, truly corrupt areas would look on in envy that our lot were, for the most part, indulging in petty, small scale corruption only. That doesn't make it acceptable, but we are not doing too badly all things considered.I've no doubt there are issues to take with aspects of this report (though I'd take in mind that 'literate' does not necessarily mean someone is especially proficient with words, for one example), but the media is hysterical about these things.I love the UK and all its constituent countries, and am proud we are still doing comparatively great. I'll still moan about it though; I cannot change that much.-----#64Yes, those are reasons to be cynical alright. The question posed by this report is, after all that, are we in the UK still doing well on a global scale? The answer is yes. A certain degree of cynicism, enhanced no doubt by our national character, is perfectly expected and warranted - one can hardly be expected to think after a benefit cut, 'well, at least I'm doing better than people from "insert country here"!' after all - but there are still things to be proud of, and whether this report is an unscientific mess or not, I think we can recognize that much is true regardless.------54. No, I suspect this is just another politically charged index, trying to produce facts where they are none, with the aim of advancing whatever goals they have- "shut up and take it, look, your country is fine, our index says so so it must be true".----------I take any survey like this with a pinch of salt, even ones like this which make me fell all positive for a change(in fact especially those ones), but that stated goal seems unlikely methinks. What about the countries at the bottom of the list for one? Are they saying to them, 'Look, your country is awful, our index says so so it must be true'? What would be the point of that? One look at the comments on this page will show if you say that to people they'll probably say, '...yeah, your probably right'. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:16:01 GMT+1 JPublic Also, I would like to know the true origins and 'purpose' of this report.I personally beleive that Britain is a broken society, certainly if you compare it to 40years + ago.Crime in those days was exactly that - a crime and punnishable by less-than-lenient sentancing. You certainly were not given 'human rights' in those days and had access to Playstations, satellite tv, internet etc. Britain was not awash with drugs in the same way it is now with users using them more frequently and for many years. It also did not have a binge drinking epidemic and teenagers were generally polite and better behaved than they are now.When you have teenagers killing people with weapons on a daily basis, stealing cars to joyride, breaking into houses to sell their illegal gains for drug money, family breakdown's, working long, stressful hours and on top of this, the corrupt politcians and their banker friends - all of this on a much larger scale than in the past leading to Broken Britain and it is 'broke' most of which, in one way or another due to dreadful and corrupt Governance. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:13:55 GMT+1 tarquin 54. iwinter wrote:It's quite telling to look at Australia- it scores in the top 5 on civil liberties yet is the only country in the world outside of the truly autocratic dictatorships like China that has been fighting heavily for strong internet censorship, it's a country that censors computer games and videos regularly due to not having an 18 age rating such that anything rated over 15 is unclassified and hence banned and so on.---A look at a variety of civil liberties assessments tells us that Australia is virtually always near the top, albeit based on very tiny margins between western countriesYou cite the inactive and unpopular internet filter proposed by the last government - it's now virtually dead, having never even passed parliament, and was surely no different to the raft of scary measures that our own labour government came up with and never followed throughThe video games issue is a well-known one, and it's wrong, and held up by one particular individual in SA - however that's your whole point? A couple of games get banned (most are simply reclassified) because of a bloke in Adelaide - have you seen our anti-terror legislation?Curbs on protests, free speech, habeus corpus, our ridiculous libel laws...the list goes onMuch of Europe has fairly restrictive laws like these, and I would expect the 'anglosphere' countries to rate fairly highly - unsurprisingly Canada, New Zealand, Oz and the US rank very highly on this index, from Europe only the Nordics compete (and Ireland?) - perhaps a sad reflection on liberty in the world, but there you have itI'd argue Australia's worst offence is that abortion remains illegal in NSW and Qld Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:12:18 GMT+1 Portman Out critical view of living in Britain is based on a comparison with some ideal notion not a comparison with other countries. It is not human to walk about thinking 'this is rubbish but not as rubbish as Germany so I shall be happy'. Happiness is complex over an above the basic requirements of life. Anybody remember their Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Britain starts to fail above the second layer but is brilliant for the bottom two. To bring Britain out of its gloom we need to understand this greater complexity not just make crass assumptions which treat us all as mere resources. Tue 26 Oct 2010 12:02:36 GMT+1 Don MacAskill Once more Great Britian fails to achieve top marks. How depressing! Come on guys we've got to try harder. We can make it top for gloominess next time. That will give us something to be proud of and of course it's much easier to reach. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:59:12 GMT+1 JPublic When you feel like you are being screwed by the wealthy, ruling elite it is no surprise that people feel pesimistic. We have been denied a real and proper vote on joining the EU run by the most wasteful and arrogant self-serving people on the planet while we are forced to pay £billions in taxation to it only then to be run by petty small-minded laws and regulation to help justify their existence.And as for this report saying we are highly tollerant of immigration, I do not for one second beleive we are. Laws and equality were brought in by the hideous Labour party to prevent people from speaking out, and in fact, the UK public were not asked if we wanted mass, uncontrolled immigration and that very issue is one reason the UK public is so gloomy. The hideous Labour party only listened to Business and Corporations on immigration. It did not ask the very people who voted it into power and most people do not want it but are affraid to speak out for fear of being called racist and having their lives adversely affected by it if they do not comply to the Labour Party's views on it - that is bullying but I will always stand against the bullies and that is why I will NEVER vote for the hideous Labour party again.Now we are left with social tensions rising, a housing crisis with homes unaffordable to buy and rents at sky-high prices, schools overcrowded and unfair queue-jumping by immigrants which a lot of them are claiming benefits from a system they have not or have hardly paid into. Many people are outraged and deeply angry and frustrated by it but the politicians are not listening.The simple fact is, our politicians are voted in by the public but then run the country to their own ideals and will only listen to business and Corporations and in the case of the hideous Labour party, have created a 'dark' authoritarian society where it was becoming illegal to leave the lid up on your bin.Politicians do not listen to their voting public. They also behave in corrupt and unscrupulous ways and are beyond reproach and punnishment despite dictating the rules and laws for the rest of us - why should they be treated differently or with leinency? CORRUPTION, that is all it is. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:56:57 GMT+1 David Richerby 29. At 12:07pm on 26 Oct 2010, And_here_we_go_again wrote:> Many people in Britain look at the rest of the world through Rose tinted glasses whilst looking at us through a garbage bag.Indeed. People in the UK believe that the French railway system is some sort of utopia where the trains are so cheap they're practically paying you to travel and so fast they arrive almost before they've departed. My experience of it this March was as follows. I paid around £90 for the 200-mile-each-way journey from Paris to Nancy on trains that can do 190mph. The outward journey took over five hours because bad timetabling meant that I had to wait an hour and a half for a train, which spent 40 minutes taking me geographically farther away from my destination (I emphasize that I had not got on the wrong train). I then waited over an hour for a connecting train, which spent the first thirty minutes of its journey retracing the path I'd just taken. That train would have taken me to a station in the middle of nowhere, a 20-minute bus ride from Nancy, except that a death on the line caused it to be diverted, half an hour late, through Nancy. The return journey was fast and efficient except for that 20-minute bus ride from Nancy to the TGV station and the fact that, again, poor timetabling gave me the choice of arriving either six hours before my flight or an hour and a quarter before take-off. These trains had no wireless internet and no electrical sockets.And the trams in Nancy grind literally to a halt in less than a centimetre of snow. Not so different to the UK, really, is it? Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:50:50 GMT+1 Sophie Sometimes I really wish people would stop complaining so much!I'm not originally from Britain but it's now been my home for over ten years and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. People here don't know how lucky they are, I suggest they make a few trips to other parts of the world, then maybe they would appreciate what they've got!As someone who's actually lived in other countries, incl. South Africa, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Australia and the USA, and extensively travelled to many other countries, I feel that I can justify my views. Britain comes top on my list and it's the most tolerant, safe, etc. society I've lived in, which is why I'm staying put. :)People need to realise that the grass is not always greener on the other side!! Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:50:43 GMT+1 des321 its all cheryl coles fault she is so miserable Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:50:10 GMT+1 Robin Smyth Speaking of cynicism are we going to let the George Osbourne's of this world walk all over us like we are a bunch of weak minded stooges. 10% of poor peoples wealth is not the same as 10% of rich peoples wealth. "oh dear I lost a couple of million" why's up if people on lower incomes loose a few pounds they panic. This article is suggesting the British should be more American more subservient. In my opinion we are not cynical enough when it comes to government and big business. Viva la France. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:48:38 GMT+1 righteous fury Unfortunately there is a "whinging pom" stereotype and also unfortunate, is that many stereotypes have expanded from an element of truth.Brits concentrate too much on the glorious past. History and what you're taught to think about it, is everywhere. Britain's declining place in world politics and sport combined with Britain's international reputation of producing junk media (read: tabloids, reality TV) doesn't really have to worry Brits too much. But yet it seems to. There's too much ego in the national identity. You don't have to be a military and political might. Has anyone ever stopped to consider that nothing dangerous happens to you, if you aren't? Canada, Switzerland, Aust, NZ etc etc all perfectly happy and don't spend £40bn a year posturing with big guns & subs. It's a simple message. You do not automatically deserve a seat at the high table. You're a little island. A very nice island actually, but that's all. Accept being average. Then you'll be happy. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:45:33 GMT+1 YorkshireKnight "England is a largely right wing country but has a leftwing dominated media." Obviously it is down to the left wing rubbish spouted by the Mail, Express, Sun, Telegraph and Times! Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:44:15 GMT+1 Keith B Why are we cynical? Because we have very good reason. Politicians who promise to preserve benefits for certain groups during an election campaign, and then as soon as they're elected, they wipe those benefits out and try to blame the previous government. Politicians who attack the main parties for not being responsive and humane enough, and then when they get the chance to grab a seat of power, immediately ditch their principles. A police force which is more interested in arrest statistics than in justice. A country where the population is subjugated by the government, using the excuse of the threat of "terrorism". Companies who control the marketplace, stifle competition, and make customers and suppliers lose a lot of money. Oh dear, I've run out of space...... :-( Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:43:11 GMT+1 Steve I beleive I know the reason we are regarded as such a dicontented nation, despite our relaive prosperity. The reason is an historical one,this island has been invaded over the last 2000 or so years by people from the Continent of Europe who were not happy with their lot in their original locations, and so migrated westwards to find somewhere better.It's the old 'Grass is Greener' syndrome and it's buried deep in our national soul. Early on came various bands of Saxon tribes who drove the ancient British towards Wales and Scotland. No sooner had they got settled when the Norsemen arrived, in a series of vicious raids over a period of many years.They eventually reached a compromise with the Saxons, when 100 or so years later along came the Romans, who had been on the rampage around most the known world for a long in effort to improve their lot. Although they didn't do much in the long term colonisation stakes, they had a huge impact on the native population, even today, we see Roman this and Roman that, the scattered around the country.After they departed in the 4th Century, Britain experienced a relatively quiet spell invasion wise, until Wham Bang, along comes Bastard Billy and his Norman cohorts and knocks twelve bells out of the Saxon/Danish Alliance led by Harold. If the locals weren't too unhappy with their lot up to that point, you can bet your 'sweet bip', they terribly impressed from then on. That day in 1066 was probably the worst day in this island's history. Virtually everything changed almost overnight.The Government and monarchy,the law, the currency, the language and probably worst of all the way the land was used and its bounty dispersed. However, despite our underlying discontent we can't be thet bad as a Nation as thousands and thousands of immigrants will testify. So cheer up, you Guys, you never know we might beat the Aussies this winter! Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:42:15 GMT+1 sickofitall What is amazing in that anyone has any confidence in the financial institutions or any confidence in the government.. as for job prospects, join the queue.The ruling elite of Great Britain (that's an oxymoron) has got the population stitched up. The 'elite' have almost all of the good things and the rest get just enough to keep working for them. Simples? Simpletons? Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:41:34 GMT+1 Andy Because we never got off our arses and had a proper revolution! The standard UK stance on things which annoy us is it shrug, put up with it and whinge to anyone who will listen while doing nothing about it.As a good example, I was like this until recently when I tried to start a small campaign to get the UK govt to extract the entire £6Bn tax sum out of Vodafone instead of the paltry £1.2Bn over 5 years they've got away with: the response was fantastic - but someone has to actually start this stuff. Otherwise everybody just whinges a bit and does bugger all.Come on britain - do a France - let's have a proper revolution and expand our collective egos enough to realise that everybody can make a difference, and stop bloody moaning about how awful it all is!Sneaky plug - if you _do_ agree that Vodafone's £4.8Bn tax avoidance was miserable in the current climate, and that our Govt letting them off was tragic and hypocritical, please do sign up to - and take a look at Twitter searching for "vodafone tax". It's an eye opener, lots of people DOING SOMETHING (small, but something). Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:40:44 GMT+1 tarquin 48. Chazz Trinder 'England is a largely right wing country but has a leftwing dominated media. Leftwing journalists and broadcasters continually stress all that is negative about the country and our society in order to sell their alternative left wing agenda.'the Daily Mail is left wing? Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:39:42 GMT+1 osutora So in other words, "we don't know how lucky we are. (BBC - official)." This is not an original doctrine, nor one easy to take seriously, see e.g. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:39:19 GMT+1 zorba The BBC is one of the worst offenders and engenders an atmosphere of gloom. The news reports are always ready to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory and take the worst possible scenario. I have watched endless BBC commentaries on the economy over the last three years and every time there is good news it is always followed by a statement that the next quarter is expected to be much worse due to xyz. It usually isn't! How about adopting a more positive spin? If the country feels good and optimistic then it is much more likely to achieve it or at least to enjoy the considerable priviledges we have in living here. Come on BBC - let's be more positive! Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:39:06 GMT+1 James Stowell The '100% literacy rate' results were compiled from a census that was advertised in a newspaper or other written media? Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:36:32 GMT+1 tarquin 40. mshansen'#28 - Can you "certainly" say that Denmark beat "us"? Well, if so, I can certainly say you're wrong. In my opinion. As for Sweden, check the news'I don't mind, I was trying to show how good we actually are - feel free to question the Nordics, but most of these reports put them at the top of everything, I was essentially saying 13th was about as low as we could be seen Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:36:03 GMT+1 Rob London i love to hate these kind of ''surveys'' - we get the usual crop of tiny countries being compared directly to one of the Giants. Usually they are about GDP and all that, showing small countries so much 'wealthier' etc., (Complete rubbish of course as nowdays its about tax bases not actual GDP) - but it this time its the Happy league - i never believe any of them anyway. Who do they ask? and did the people answering actually give their real answer?all reports of this type should by law have a massive ' Warning: Not to be taken seriously' Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:33:35 GMT+1