We have been selling ourselves as the Greeks ever since, trading on our reputation for wisdom and cunning, posing as older, smarter, more experienced than everybody else. The irony, of course, is that just as Greece was actually a windswept backwater during the Roman Empire, so modern Britain is nothing like the place you see in the movies.
Quiet and orderly? The headlines are full of knife crime, while the streets on Saturday nights are rife with drunken teenagers vomiting in the gutter. Austere and reserved? We’re the fattest nation in Europe, while our daytime shows make Jerry Springer’s guests look models of reticence. Tea-drinkers? Not any more: Coffee is our fastest growing non-alcoholic drink.
And, by the way, most of us never wear bow ties or sports coats. Only Americans do that.
- A British writer countering some of the American-held beliefs about Britain.