View Full Version : Are the English Selfish and Miserable?

22nd Apr 2004, 15:28
Firstly, sorry for the sombre tone of this post, normally i try to be light hearted.. but i need your opinions.

Yesterday as i was waiting to cross the road a car that was slowing down for the crossing was hit by a truck, and flew across the road - fortunatley missing pedestrians. Then as the lights changed, everyone just crossed like nothing had happened, not a word.

I went to see if the girl in the car was ok beacuse her head was down and i thought she might have head/neck injuries. I'm glad to say that despite being tearful and shocked she was ok.

But why did neither the old driver in the truck or any one else seem to care?? It's not the first time i've seen the public fail to respond to incidents.

Are the english suffering from some kind of syndrome? Or am i just a disaffected (and disgusted) citizen?

It's not that bad in other countries, in England people live in a media ruled world where everyone might be a paedophile or murderer so they don't chat to or smile at anyone they don't know.

I'm sick of sharing a country and my tax with these people. Can anyone explain why people in this country are so selfish and miserable? Why is their behaviour so f*** up? Have you seen this strange behaviour? Or even walked by?

Altruism died yesterday when the english public walked by let him die in the middle of a crowded street, he will be sadly missed by all those with goodwill and a conscience.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:35
Depends where you live I spose, If someone says 'excuse me' in Camden Town, you put your head down and move quickly as possible without actually running. I lived for three years in north east wales and was shocked that people occasionally said 'hello' to each other and went to the aid of someone who fell over in the street.

Where do you live ssultana? chin up old bean, can't be that bad, what? stiff upper lip & all that. it's actually jolly good to be Bwitish.


22nd Apr 2004, 15:36
Yes they are

I find Canadians to be the nicest people on the planet.

And no, I'm not a Canadian.;)

22nd Apr 2004, 15:37
Quite right Noisy. Some woman said bless you in the street to me yesterday in Mayfair and I was chuffed.

Was a big sneeze though.

Other English pet-peeves?

1. People that don't hold doors/don't acknowledge the holding of doors.
2. All black-taxi drivers. Everywhere. Every single one of them.

Apologies to any black-cab drivers reading, but you know what I mean.

-Edited to hyphenate Black-cab in order to look a bit less like Big(ot) Ron.-

22nd Apr 2004, 15:38
It is unfair to have a go at the english here. Have you ever driven in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey the far east, Cuba, Mexico etc etc. It doesn't matter where you are, the reaction is very samey.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:39
Probably it was the fact there was a crowd there.

Could be a dehumanising effect of masses, could be everyone thinks that someone else will do it.

If there had been only one person there, he/she would probably have helped.

Not the poms, not the times we live in, just that crowds bring out the worst in us all.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:39
I found the Americans to be some of the friendliest. It's a bit of a fake friendliness, especially in stores/restuarants etc, but what would you rather have, fake friendliness or real hostility?

22nd Apr 2004, 15:39
I move between Southampton an Cornwall. The people in Cornwall are friendlier but, when it come to helping people i feel it should be universal.

I agree the americans are friendly.
The Cornish farmers are nice too. I got my car stuck in sand a few weeks back, walked a mile and a half and woke up a farmer at midnight to see if i could use his phone but he was happy to get his 'tracker' out and tow me free.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:40
How right you are. People are miserable and down right rude. It happend all the time. I stopped to let someone cross the road with a push chair the other day and the driver behind me put his hand on his hord and didn't let off untill I started moving again, then I got flashing lights and hand gestures.

People dont seem to care anymore and they are all in such a tearing hurry to do anything and get to where they are going that they dont care.

I smile at everyone (well almost) and it is suprising the amount of double takes people do when they see some one being friendly! They do look shoked but the majority do smile back:D

Some one once told me that it takes more muscle movements to frown than it does to smile - you wouldn't think it if you walked down the street in any English town :(

22nd Apr 2004, 15:42
Yes it's sad, but I've seen it happen all too often.

Once was with a woman who when an accident happened infront of me, I whipped out my phone and dialled 999 insinctively, she virtually screamed at me 'what are you doing...don't get involved'. I was furious with her, I try to help whenever I can, my reasoning is that you never know when your mum/sister/brother/wife etc will be the ones involved, and I'd hate to think someone would walk by and leave them.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:45
Dave, I miss-read your comment on cab drivers and thought you had done a ron atkinson!

22nd Apr 2004, 15:50
:uhoh: Good point, duly edited. Am blushing like a little girl.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:50
Me too SS, how silly do I feel now!:\

22nd Apr 2004, 15:58
I got hit in the face stopping two people (neither of which i knew) from fighting in a nightclub last year.. that one hurt. I would probably not try to do that again. :-

22nd Apr 2004, 16:13
{Rant Mode ON}

Every time I get off the plane at Heathrow, from there on in for the duration of my visit, I'm like "WTF is it with these people" - my fellow country persons. Everyone seems so miserable, gray, and whinging about how the government isn't doing enough to help them, blah blah, de fecking blah. In general, I do enjoy coming home for visits but the attitude of the general populace just pisses me off so.

{Rant Mode OFF}

There are some nice friendly, helpful, and generous folks out there though :)


22nd Apr 2004, 16:16
I am amazed at the things written here. I have got used to the Dutch way of life having lived here for 10 years, and I can assure you when I come back to England I feel like I am in another world...people waving their thanks when you let them out at a junction, the words "excuse me" in a supermarket, the use of "please" or "thankyou", just basic manners which Brits take for granted are so lacking over here. If you are unintentionally in somebody's way in a supermarket aisle over here you will learn of it when their trolley whacks your ankles and you turn around to see an angry face glaring wordlessly at you until you move.

ssultana, the incident you describe, although a sad reflection of modern world human apathy towards others, could and would happen anywhere. I have witnessed something similar in both Holland and Belgium, same result I'm afraid.

22nd Apr 2004, 16:59
I think, getting away from the actual incident Ssultana is refering to, that English people on the whole are selfish, arrogant and unhelpful.

Let me explain.

In shops, on the street, etc, the general public in Britain are the most inhospitable bunch I've ever been around. This includes being in North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.

Get them on their own however, one-on-one, and they are fine. Most peculiar, but true.

But collectively, interaction with other fellow Brits in this country non existant.

I agree that I'd much rather false friendliness than real hostility anyday of the week.

Send Clowns
22nd Apr 2004, 17:11
I don't recognise the lead story here. When my car was hit in the UK people could not have been more helpful, rushing over en masse, getting scissors to cut my seatbelts, looking after the driver of the lorry that hit me who was in a real state. Felt very much a community, on a trunk road (albeit through a large village).

I have found people irritatingly, pointlessly rude and wonderfully, heart-warmingly helpful in all countries I have visited.

Read Terry Pratchett and Neil Gamon's "Good Omens". The daemon and the angel (old friends due to being the only ones to be relied on still to be around) discuss their respective roles in guiding the peolpe of Earth. They decide that humans are capable of more joyous, self-sacrificing giving and more despicable evil than either immortal, often attributed tot he same individual. Same goes for the more mundane misery and generosity, I think.

22nd Apr 2004, 18:04
Selfish and Miserable? - No
Apathetic? Yes

The apathy that pervades the society of Tony Blair's Britain is increasingly depressing.

Most people have given up on ever seeing improvements as a result of Tony's policies. National Pride has been hijacked by the Far Right and displaying a Union Flag or English Flag people assume that you are football/rugby/tennis mad or a member of some militant far right group.

It would be great to see the country flying flags for St Georges Day and other National Days. Would be great to have a day to rival 'Koninginendag' (sp?) in Holland. National Pride on the streets.

Their is so much to be proud of in this Country and it is going to take a lot of people to shake off the apathy and get the UK smiling.


22nd Apr 2004, 18:08
fourthreethree , I second that after 32 years here (NL) . By the by , I suspect we work in the same box!

Lance Murdoch
22nd Apr 2004, 19:12
I think it perhaps does depend on which part of the UK you live in but there is good and bad everywhere. It is a well known fact of psychology that in a crowd of strangers any one person is reluctant to take the lead ('The Naked Pilot' by David Beaty gives an interesting introduction to psychology with an aviation slant). This probably goes a long way to explaining ssultanas experience.
I think the malaise of apathy which other posters have described is a disease of affluence. The sort of things the British moan about are quite trivial if you take a world perspective, for example not many British people know what its like to go hungry. Most Britons who moan should go and see and experience life in a third world country. That would soon shut them up.:*

22nd Apr 2004, 19:48
I think people are so hopelessly incompetent that they don't know what to do when confronted with a situation where decisions have to be made on the spot. People here are used to consulting 30 friends, reading a magazine article in 'hello' and reading horoscopes in the daily mail before deciding which type of soya latte to buy that when a real situation turns up they are overwhelmed and can't cope.

Perhaps they should teach Personal finance management, Leadership and Decision making at school instead of R.E. School in this country should teach you about real issues like credit card debt, money, and making decisions.

I mean... what if they had read in the Daily Mail the next day that the woman had died of injuries, possibly she could have been saved if action had been taken.

I and one of my friends (after an drinking session in a pub that serves kids that age) where mugged when i was 14 on a street with thousands (literally) of people on, by two short, fat (but at the time, considerably harder mid-20's blokes). Now if i was out with my mates and i saw some kids getting beaten up i'd do something.... jeez, it's not difficult to help.

Apathy might be the right word.

None of the above
22nd Apr 2004, 19:49

I suspect that nobody bothered to help in the incident you describe (with the exception of your goodself of course) because of the likelihood of finding oneself at the receiving end of a torrent of abuse, or worse, whatever the nature of the circumstances.

Sadly, aggression is the default mode nowadays.

It makes me despair.............

It might be an idea to read this in conjunction with the "Would you emigrate?" thread.

22nd Apr 2004, 22:37
I never fail to notice how miserable we in England are when I come back from even short trips abroad.

This especially so when coming from the Far East.

After spending some weeks in Thailand on business it struck me just how pleasent the people there are in comparison.

Such a shame as I love this Country.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:14
Maybe it's a foreign perspective thing, or maybe England has changed in the past 14 years; but I always found Pomgolians to be extremely affable folk, usually polite, even if not always immediately friendly; guarded on occaision, and with plenty of quirks, but that's what you expect from what is, after all, a Very Old Society.

I spent quite a bit of time pouring beer in London, and never found England's drunks to be any more (or less!) rude or obnoxious than anyone else's drunks.

As drivers, I felt quite strongly that the English were amongst the most courteous, and technically skilled, that I had come across.

Poms are OK by me.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:27
In my many visits back to England I have noticed a certain arrogance from certain sectors of the population of "I can park my car where I like" type, but all in all they aren't a bad mob.

On remarking of the few glum faces in the street my new boss says that all it needed was for someone to say "Hello" first. It's true.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:42
On remarking of the few glum faces in the street my new boss says that all it needed was for someone to say "Hello" first. It's true.

So so true. I keep getting a grilling from my Dutch wife for saying hello and giving the 'time of day' to strangers. The effort usually pays off and as a consequence, walking in my locality, nearly everyone I pass says hello and asks after me.I also have a bit of an aim in life to help those poor people who no longer possess a sense of humour to reacquire one.

All help on that front would be much appreciated.


Aileron Roll
23rd Apr 2004, 08:46
Nothing wrong with the English, generally damn fine bunch !, as for those that live accross the Chanel..........

23rd Apr 2004, 11:45
Having spent 6 years in Blighty, there are a few things I encountered on a day to day basis I just couldn't get my head around.

The first thing is an inability to actually stand up for your rights. Instead of actually confronting the problem directly at the time(poor service, somebody pushing in line infront) you guys seem to clam up ultil after the event then moan all about it to one ans sundry.........which doesn't really achieve anything. It almost seems you will endure it just so you have something to tell your friends at a later stage, rather than address the issue at the time.

Also, it seems illegal to actually have a good time on the Underground.

23rd Apr 2004, 11:49
One day me and a mate of mine whipped out our guitars on a tube train. As soon as everyone realised we were just having a laugh and didn't want money off them we had practically the whole carriage singing along and started doing requests!

But that is probably the only time I have seen people enjoying themselves on the Tube!

23rd Apr 2004, 11:54
Whatever they maybe today, if they vote PPP, in future they will be selfish and miserable, interspersed with rare moments of genuine hilarity and goodwill. Sorry for the hijack, that was a public service broadcast by the PPP. Normal programming resumes shortly... :(

23rd Apr 2004, 12:21
Yes, we are a miserable, unfriendly, bad mannered, could'nt care less, sod you I'll do what I like lot. I hate coming back here from the USA, and don't start me off on our brats. What will it be like when they grow up. Does'nt apply to anyone on here though. :p

The Invisible Man
23rd Apr 2004, 12:28
Maybe I inhabit a different part of the UK (up norf), but the majority of people I meet are friendly, helpful and very sociable.

Yes, there is the odd exception to the rule.

As an experiment try smiling at passers by, not a cheesy grin just a warm smile, makes all the difference and 95% will respond with a smile back.

:D :D :D :D

23rd Apr 2004, 13:39
davethelimey says People that don't hold doors/don't acknowledge the holding of doors
I still do it though I am nearly ready to give up, following the increasing number of people, usually middle-aged women, who tell me that they are quite capable of opening the door themselves! :yuk:

23rd Apr 2004, 15:09
The next person to go through a door I'm holding without saying anything is getting it in the kidneys... :E

Black Fly
24th Apr 2004, 05:52
Near as I can tell ya'll British ain't nothin' but a bunch of slack jawed faggots....but you stand by George W. and that makes you A-OK in my book. God Bless the United States of America and that there Queen of yours!

24th Apr 2004, 07:13
Black Fly

Why thank you for that!

Do I detect just a hint of a double edged compliment? Or is it me just being a suspicious Brit?

The Invisible Man
24th Apr 2004, 07:35
Black Fly,

Near as I can tell ya'll British ain't nothin' but a bunch of slack jawed faggots

If I wasn't such a slack jawed faggot, I'd be over there an bite ya nose!!!:p

Maybe you'd like to attend the forthcoming Pprune Paintball Deathmatch....if ya dare:E

We'll show ya

24th Apr 2004, 08:01
Near as I can tell ya'll British ain't nothin' but a bunch of slack jawed faggots....but you stand by George W. and that makes you A-OK in my book. God Bless the United States of America and that there Queen of yours!

Thank you for your kind words. We also appreciate your queen, Tony Blair spends a lot of time supporting him and his actions!!!!

24th Apr 2004, 14:07
Who was it (a Yank, one recalls) that was in line to meet the Queen at some royal gathering and had the following exchange with Lizzie?

Queen: "Oh you are a photographer! I have a brother-in-law who is a photographer"

Unknown Yank: "What a coincidence! I have a brother-in-law who is a queen!"

- - SILENCE - -

:E :E


Huron Topp
24th Apr 2004, 15:07
Black Fly,

were you born that way? Or, is it something you've developed over time?:suspect:

24th Apr 2004, 15:19
Near as I can tell ya'll

Near enough because it took you several days how to express yourself without cursing and swearing?

The Poms may be a little on the odd side, but they kicked some of my rellies out of there a couple of centuries ago............and my rellies have been thanking them ever since!

24th Apr 2004, 16:38
This can get to be a big debate (the like of which we've seen on JB before) with no definite conclusion. My observations: 1) being helpful and considerate gets to be contagious, and 2) The willingness to help can be connected with the time of day.

With #1, I've always worked this way, and as a first-aider, competent mechanic, and generally nosey git, I'll always stop to assist people. With #2, sometimes time pressures make people walk on by. In the original incident in this thread, was it lunchtime, with everyone rushing to get back to work? In your generous move to assist, you may not have noticed that the passers-by checked to see that someone was already going to assist.

A fight (especially drunken) is the one time I never get involved. I've seen two fighters gang up on the "helper". (I gave him first-aid afterwards though...)

Black Fly
24th Apr 2004, 17:00
Howdy to all my little English brothers and sisters,

Now I don't know where you come up with this George W. is a Queen stuff, but let me set you straight. He is the President. We don't really have a Queen here in the good old U.S. of A.

Now I haven't met your Queen but I have met some of her relatives and they seem to be right nice folks. As for the Blair fellow, well I guess if he ran for President here he might just win except we have this law here that you have to be born in the U.S. to run for President which is too bad because Arnold sure is doing a good job here in California. I don't understand why ya'll give Blair such a hard time except ya'll just enjoy complaining about the weather and all.

See ya'll later. God Bless America and Great Britain!

Ed Winchester
24th Apr 2004, 18:21
I agree Black Fly - If Blair was eligible to run as a presidential candidate, he probably would win.

As much as I loathe the man, he can at least string a coherent sentence together, unlike the present leader of the free world.

25th Apr 2004, 06:01

If Blair was eligible to run as a presidential candidate, he probably would win.

Please change your Constitution to allow him to run for President.

We will give him to you for free!

Anything to get him out of the UK!!!!!!!!!

25th Apr 2004, 07:28
Anything to get him out of the UK!!!!!!!!! I second that - I'll even pay the postage.......:ooh:

25th Apr 2004, 08:07
Black Fly - nice wind up, but you seem a little confused about which part of the colonies you're actually from: Texas, Georgia or California...? ;)

25th Apr 2004, 08:34
We'll take Blair but y'all have to take Hillary - permanently.

25th Apr 2004, 09:49
No, no 46, they can have Bush.....for free, him and his whole family in fact.....

26th Apr 2004, 14:20
Oh, I'd say it's a little worse than being "miserable and selfish:"

Terror on the dole
By David Cohen, Evening Standard
20 April 2004
Four young British Muslims in their twenties - a social worker, an IT specialist, a security guard and a financial adviser - occupy a table at a fast-food chicken restaurant in Luton. Perched on their plastic chairs, wolfing down their dinner, they seem just ordinary young men. Yet out of their mouths pour heated words of revolution.

"As far as I'm concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better," says Abdul Haq, the social worker. "I know it's going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid - I pray for it, I look forward to the day."

26th Apr 2004, 15:01
For crying out loud!!!!

26th Apr 2004, 17:19
Of course, there are no loonies planning, advocating and supporting acts of terror and insurrection (http://www.buildfreedom.com/portal/category.php/65) where Bubbette comes from.

No siree!!!! :hmm:

26th Apr 2004, 18:12
David Cohen would have to be very brave to do a story on them in the murkier regions of Bubetteland. As opposed to walking into a Luton fast-food.

Anyway, who hijacked this thread in the first place? They should be afraid, very afraid! :=

26th Apr 2004, 18:21
Hey, it was even picked up in the extreme left paper here, the NYTimes!


UTON, England, April 24 The call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered, counterterrorism officials say.

In this former industrial town north of London, a small group of young Britons whose parents emigrated from Pakistan after World War II have turned against their families' new home. They say they would like to see Prime Minister Tony Blair dead or deposed and an Islamic flag hanging outside No. 10 Downing Street.

Of course, there are no loonies planning, advocating and supporting acts of terror and insurrection where Bubbette comes from. Those all look like very old links, Cas. I also didn\'t see any of them calling for the destruction of the US and imposition of sharia or any other religious law, but please point those out to me if they are there.

26th Apr 2004, 18:27
My my Bubbette - fancy hijacking such a culturally relevant thread and trying to turn it into "yet another" treatise on the evils of "terrorists under the bed"!

Being a nice British person with a typically sunny disposition, I can't countenance such beastly goings-on. Especially when the sun is shining, and the people of Britain are going about their daily rounds, sharing the goodness and niceness of their hearts with each other in their usual stoic and uncomplicated way.

Lie down, dear, before you hurt yourself.

26th Apr 2004, 20:14
I also didn't see any of them calling for the destruction of the US and imposition of sharia or any other religious law, but please point those out to me if they are there. Ladies first, Bubbette, I'll have a go as soon as you show me the links to the Islamic sites preaching white supremacy and calling for laxer gun controls in the US. ;)

Actually, you're right about some of the links being defunct but, hey, it's not my website!

In any case, how am I expected to seriously debate an issue with someone who thinks the "New York Times" is an "extreme left paper"? :rolleyes:

Still got the radio spot, Bubbette? :ok:

26th Apr 2004, 20:25
heh, yes--I will be happy to notify you of the next show--scheduled for May 10, 7-8 pm eastern time at www.smartwomen.org

Well the killing and enslaving of blacks in Saudi Arabia and Sudan is evidence of the Islamic feeling on blacks; otherwise, this French emir is preaching man's superiority:

Algerian-born Abdelkader Bouziane was detained on Tuesday after telling a magazine the Koran backed the beating and stoning of adulterous wives.

Mr Bouziane also expressed hopes that "the entire world becomes Muslim".

The remarks caused an immediate outcry in France, which hosts Western Europe's largest Muslim community - about five million people, mainly of north African origin.

26th Apr 2004, 20:39
Good risposte, kiddo, but not quite white supremacy and no mention of US gun "controls" at all! :ok:

We can carry on ad infinitum quoting cases like this, from all around the world, at each other to no good effect can't we?

I suppose the only lesson to be drawn from this is that homo sapiens (now there's irony!) can be a very nasty animal indeed.

What's "7-8 PM eastern time" in UK money???

26th Apr 2004, 21:10
I think that's 12-1am your time. But I will send you a PM before, if you'd like.

26th Apr 2004, 21:19
That's very kind of you. Thank you. :ok: