Ex-pats are a funny lot.
Before the web became what it is today, the most visibility we had of them was their curious habit of being the most vehement contributors to the letters pages of the British right wing press.
The intermong, however, has shone a light on the British Diaspora and I’ve noticed some things.
British ex-pats never really leave Britain – they take a piece of it with them. Whether they spend their days in Linekers Bar, drinking Carling, watching ManU vs Arsenal and gorging on egg, chips and beans, or they listen diligently listen to Radio4 using a huge directional antenna, and scour the Daily Mail for evidence of woes being inflicted upon the dear Motherland.
In a way I can understand it. Emigrating to France wouldn’t change who I am and where my cultural roots lie, however much I immersed myself in the local culture. I love France. To a lesser extent, Germany too. But I can’t imagine ever making it out of bed without a cup of Twinings tea; and cold meat before mid-day is just plain wrong.
After a week or two away, I can’t wait to get home. Yet getting home – or at least getting back to the UK – is always tinged for me with such sadness.
So I like to imagine that, were I to find myself living abroad, while I would undoubtedly remain quite English, the affairs of this woebegone place would very much become Someone Else’s Problem. After all, no place is without it’s local difficulties, which should provide adequate annoyances.
Steve Shark will be the next rat to abandon the sinking ship, so I’ll watch his progress with great interest.
On this subject, Clarkson sees the dichotomy as “Stand and fight, or run and hide.”
“Don’t know how you can live in Britain. Bloody weather. Bloody Muslims. Bloody Brown,” and then, after a wistful pause, “. . . you don’t have a copy of today’s Telegraph do you?”
I’d like to think he was wrong. Steve?