Tuesday, 9 February 2010

It's being so cheerful as keeps me going

This was the catch phrase of Mrs Mop in the wartime radio show It's That Man Again and it seems that it could apply to British voters who are very gloomy about the state of the country: Broken Britain

I find it difficult to recognise the country represented in the survey as the one I live in. I suppose it's reflective of people who complain that Britain is like a third world country without ever having been to one. For example, Chile may be only a few years off developed status (at least its new president thinks so) but the standard of living enjoyed there is well below that in the UK.

Britain enjoys reasonably good public services. It has world class football (and top events in many other sports). The standard of theatre, opera and other arts is generally good and a wide range of music events to suit all tastes is available. The countryside has a diversity in a small space that is found in few other countries and there are plenty of historic sites to visit if that's what interests you. And if shopping is your life, you are spoilt for choice. The one downside is the winter weather and lack of light.

42 per cent of those interviewed say they would emigrate if they could, perhaps to Australia where they might be greeted with some justification as 'whingeing Poms'.

The survey will be mood music for Dave Cameron and his 'broken Britain' thesis. However, he has to be careful. If Britain is broken, can he put it back together again? Moreover, gloom and pessimism can actually disempower people from working towards effective solutions.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting question as to whether Cameron can put broken Britain back together again - but to what extent does he have to? He can continue talking about broken Britian and say how he will fix it, enough to garner the votes to get into power in May. How far are public expectations in terms of these problems being fixed. Does the public really have that much faith in politicians in what they can do?

Justin Greaves said...

Britain has 'world class football'?? I am not sure I agree with that :)

Anonymous said...

Britain has world class football i.e. the Premiership, but not world class British football players (with the exception of Rooney, Ashley Cole, and perhaps Stevie G).

Rob said...

There's no quick way to solve Britain's social problems. But it does have them. Happiness is no higher today than 60 years ago, yet stress and mental illnesses are much higher. A generation ago most people surveyed said that they sought to live by certain values. But today few people reportedly care about values and principles, instead preferring to promote words like pragmatism, efficiency and maximisation of opportunties.

Now not many people have high expectations of politicians anymore. That's true. But one of the most powerful and long lasting human emotions is hope. Expectations are not high about Cameron but hope will be. And he will be held to account if he fails to achieve what he set out as his aims.

Anonymous said...

[Bobby Zamora should also be added to the list.]