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Has alcohol sapped the British spirit?

Justin Webb | 15:20 UK time, Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ages ago someone suggested I might compare my experience of the Isle of Wight with life in the US and I resisted the temptation (could only lead to trouble) but this postscript to the discussion on this site about why some Brits like America and are so optimistic about it, raises (in a few of the links) one of the principal issues I would have raised myself had I addressed the US/US topic with total honesty: everyone in the UK is drunk!

Well, not everyone. But public drunkenness - people shouting in the street drunkenness - is simply much less common in comparable areas of the US.

And I agree as well that Americans take themselves more seriously. Sometimes too seriously for my tastes.

But this seriousness gives individuals an inner strength - a dependability - that some Brits lack.

Again, these are generalisations that cry out to be contradicted by individual examples (drunken American college students, or Gordon Brown's seriousness) but in general I think they ring true.


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