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'Great Britain...?'


“RULE, BRITANNIA! Britannia, rule the waves! Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!” Britain sang it loud and proud during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The self-congratulation was intoxicating. The air was thick with patriotism and there was little room for dissenting thought. It was one hell of a terrible weekend for ‘fans’ of democracy and meritocracy.

Almost everyone who spoke to the roaming reporters on the endless broadcast of the Diamond Jubilee had something lovely to say about Britain and, of course, the Queen. It was a very polished affair. As a result of this, I was left wondering what would happen if one of these reporters canvassed opinion from people other than the traditional flag-waving, celebrity-worshiping monarchists.

Diamond Jubilee

To get an idea, I asked a series of friends and acquaintances (and one other person) what they would say to a tourist arriving in Britain for the Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. How would they describe Britain in one sentence?

Here are our thoughts:

Great Britain - A country that is much more interested in who manages the England Football team than who manages the Bank of England.

Great Britain - a country torn between American economic liberalism and European socialism.

Great Britain - Not as boring as Saudi Arabia, but not as tax-free either.

Great Britain - Where you’re likely to go to prison for stealing a 60p bottle of mineral water and be rewarded by society for stealing millions.

Great Britain - a near bankrupt country that insists on calling China an ‘emerging economy’.

Great Britain - The heart of Europe’s black middle class.

Great Britain - A country that would be guaranteed an Olympic gold medal if ‘synchronised vomiting in the street’ were a sport. 

Great Britain - Where “Burger sauce/mayochup” is an actual condiment.

Great Britain - A country that is much more interested in political correctness than its foundation Christian values.

Great Britain - Where the biggest talent turns out to be a canine.  

Great Britain - A country that won the Wars but lost the peace.

Great Britain - A country that God would not trust in the dark.

Great Britain - Where a man with explosives strapped to his body is considered a coward, whilst a man operating a drone from the comfort of his toilet seat is considered a courageous hero.

Great Britain - A country that bombs for human rights.

Great Britain - A country where 55% of black men between the ages of 16 – 24 are unemployed.

Great Britain - A country where the poor are subjected to ‘interrogations’, whilst the rich are subject to ‘inquiries’.

Great Britain - A country where black Americans are treated like royalty whilst black Britons are treated like servants.

Great Britain - Where there are more black men in the single worst rated university in the land than there are in the top 30 universities combined.

Great Britain - A country where Gary Barlow is strangely held in higher esteem than Quincy Jones, Mozart and Souljah Boy.

Great Britain - A country where the only black person important enough to appear at a historic inquiry into the Press ethics and standards... is a former prostitute.

Great Britain - Where you can be elected to high office for ‘being funny’.

Great Britain - Where cynicism is the way forward.

Great Britain - A country that is always at its best when it’s enduring the worst.

Great Britain - Not perfect, but I have not found anywhere overall better.

Great Britain - Land of hope (for a few) and glory.

Great Britain - It’s barbaric, but hey – its home.

With thanks to Pervell Jecty, Ansu Marrow, Salman Ahmed, David Tullett, Mabel Morris, Luke Townsend, Paul Atherton, Olu Oyewunmi, Mohammed Kamara, Emma West and Mustafa Akindele

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