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Davis Journal

The British are very much like us Americans

Jun 02, 2022 11:33AM ● By Bryan Gray

International travel is more costly and, due to the U.S. insistence that Americans get a 24-hour negative COVID test before boarding the airplane coming back, a somewhat apprehensive venture. However, travel still offers the best glimpse of other cultures and an educational sweep through modern and ancient history.

After two weeks in southern England, I found little separating Americans from the Brits.  Forget the blood pudding, unflavorful pastys, and afternoon tea.  Most of the country’s residents look much like us, carrying Starbucks cups, energy drinks, and Burger King sacks. 

And it was the same with political issues. The newspapers were full of accounts of skyrocketing inflation, the difficulty in hiring workers (in one city, two out of three taxi companies had closed due to driver shortages), and the unapproachable cost of housing (only one in five 30-somethings can afford a home).

Sounds like America? And like us, the British are taking it out on their politicians. The only difference is the target: a majority of Americans are blaming the liberals (those nasty Democrats) while British voters did exactly the opposite by voting out the ruling conservatives, electing the left-leaning Labour Party. 

We are not the only country experiencing rising prices. Inflation in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany is about the same as it is here and some of the Baltic countries are seeing 13-19% inflation. So much for Joe Biden causing all the problems!  

There are other similarities in attitudes between the U.S. and England. For instance, political analysts often say that Americans will vote for a candidate with whom they would enjoy drinking a beer.  Americans don’t like stuffy!  

Similarly, the most up-and-coming political newcomer in England is a liberal woman who resonates with voters. As one newspaper columnist summed up, “She (Angela Raynor) has a slightly naughty side that appeals to the public. You want to go for a drink with her. The worst thing in politics is being boring. While some candidates are like a drink of water, Angela is a cocktail with an umbrella sticking out.”

And here is another attitude the Brits share with Americans: the idea that their country is the best!

A government minister recently said, “We have the very best people in this county and the best medical system. Much better than the French have, much better than the Belgians have, much better than Americans have. After all, we are a much better country than every single one of them!”

I disagree with him, but there is nothing wrong with enthusiastic pride.  With that comes the energy and willpower to conquer any challenge.  Like England, Americans also have the resolve to meet the economic challenges. Our major obstacle is to eliminate the extreme partisanship making it difficult to rationally view proposals, actions, and consequences.

If that happens, I might even be tempted to taste a spoonful of that blood pudding.