Is your Britain a fantasy?
Some time back I featured a post from a writer who claimed to know what the Britain is really like. It’s deep fried Mars bars, homophobia, abandoned churches and tabloid hysteria. In my “rebuttal” post (Will the REAL Britain Please Stand Up?), I described what I thought Britain was, or rather, what I hoped it was. The two descriptions were poles apart.
What do you think Britain is? Do you spend all y
our time watching period dramas, eating shortbread, and talking medieval architecture, or do you quietly shake your head at those clueless, idealistic Britophiles?
Here is a myriad collection of quotes–some derogatory, some sweet, some classic–about the Britain we hate and love. Maybe we could all benefit from seeing this land from a little different perspective. Feel free to leave a comment with something quotable of your own; what do you think Britain is really like?
In England the only homage which they pay to Virtue – is hypocrisy.
At the moment, in Britain we’re facing such enormous cutbacks in education programs and music programs and art programs that you feel you are knocking your head against a brick wall.
The people of England are the most enthusiastic in the world.
I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen,
and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair.
A family with the wrong members in control;
is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.
In the end it may well be that Britain will be honored by historians more for the way she disposed of an empire than for the way in which she acquired it.
If you lead a country like Britain,
a strong country,
a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad,
a country that is always reliable,
then you have to have a touch of iron about you.
“Being hanged in England is preferable to dying a natural death in Ireland.”
Snobbery – the “pox Britannica”
– Anthony Sampson
In Wales it’s brilliant. I go to the pub and see everybody who I went to school with. And everybody goes ‘So what you doing now?’ And I go, ‘Oh, I’m doing a film with Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins.’ And they go, ‘Ooh, good.’ And that’s it.
England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse,
and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for
particularly violent cases.
If you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts.
-W. Somerset Maugham
Each section of the British Isles has its own way of laughing, except Wales,
If I could create an ideal world,
it would be an England with
the fire of the Elizabethans,
the correct taste of the Georgians,
and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians.
-H. P. Lovecraft
No one in Scotland can escape from the past.
It is everywhere, haunting like a ghost.
England is a nation of shopkeepers.
“I fall in love with Britain every day, with bridges, buses, blue skies… but it’s a brutal world, man.”
― Pete Doherty
There are few more impressive sights in the world
than a Scotsman on the make.
-James M. Barrie
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain – which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad – Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying ‘mustn’t grumble’ and ‘I’m terribly sorry but’, people apologizing to me when I conk them with a nameless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays – every bit of it.
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