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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

June 03, 2005

This Septic Isle

You might have detected that I am fairly cynical about the state and well-being of England. It's like a computer that's been running for too long; ready for the hard disks to be wiped and the operating system reinstalled.

England has been England for a very long time now. And I suspect that over that time it has developed some bad habits that are set in stone now.

My mate Chris just got back from a holiday in the US. I've never been there, and in the globalised homogenised world of international business that we live in, it's all too easy to assume that England and the US are the same, just because we speak the same language. But I am coming to realise that that is not the case.

Bob's told me about some of the cultural differences that divide the UK and the US too. He lived there for a while.

Chris was telling me about how different people are in the US, the service, lower prices, more space, more politeness, great food, the weather, fewer youths on the streets, etc. I know some of this will be from seeing the US through a tourist's rose-tinted specs, but even so... (although I think that selling petrol at the equivalent of 20p a litre is irresponsible.)

Tellingly, he said you don't notice how crap everything is in this country (England) until you get back after being away for a while.

I suppose most other countries are too new for this sort of general malaise and greyness to be a problem yet. Maybe this is another reason why a United States of Europe would be a good thing: the chance to reinstall the OS, as it were, without having to have a war, or bloodshed, or any other radical social change.

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