Saturday, July 24, 2010

Britons putting Britain down

Almost everyday there are examples of Britain being criticised. These criticisms don't generally come from foreign countries, though there are a few. Most critical comment comes from the general population, politicians and the media. 

During the World Cup tournament, there was a barage of criticism lambasted towards the England team. In pubs across the country conversations are often negative. Whether its complaints about the price of a pint, the cost of the television licence fee or the lack of work, there is often very little positive to hear. "It's very bad at the moment," says Chris, a computer engineer who has been out of work for over a year. He has now decided to head east to Asia in the hope he might secure employment there. Even those with a job can be heard complaining, whether its the work load, low wages or simply the fact they don't like their job. 

There was widespread criticism too following the emergency budget which the new coalition government put in motion to help clear Britain's massive £160 bn deficit. And even within the coalition there has been grumbling in the ranks. This morning the Financial Times reported on comments made by Conservative MP David Davis [pictured above] who aired his criticism of the LibDem Conservative pact calling it a "Brokeback coalition", a reference to Brokeback Mountain a 2005 American romantic drama film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1983. "There was no-one in the pub who wouldn't have heard his views," FT journalist Chris Cook told Sky News.

All of this does nothing to boost confidence and help the country climb out of recession and set Britain on course of recovery. But of course there are still real problems to be seen, a reminder that the recession hit Britain hard. There are empty stores up and down many high streets and banks are still reticent to lend to both consumers and businesses. 

However, while the future may seem bleak for many, it is important to remain positive. In technical terms Britain emerged from the recession in January [BBC]. Full recovery may take some time yet, but there were further positive signs after it emerged that Britain's four biggest banks were named as among the strongest in Europe after seven others in the EU failed a health check of the financial system.

The Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) published its report this week and said that Barclays, HSBC and the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds all comfortably passed European scrutiny of how they would withstand a double-dip recession and sovereign debt crisis. Barclays had the highest ranking of the UK banks in the stress test [Guardian]. But the news was virtually ignored in the main headlines. One popular comedy series relabelled the country  Little Britain. Others, it seems, are more interested in belittling Britain.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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