For this post, I’m pleased to announce my first guest blogger: Franz Keiser, who hails from the small Alpine country of Liechtenstein. We met via Twitter, and he’s been eager to share his views on Britain, its culture and its history. Here is his first post for Expat Claptrap:
Hello, you may be surprised to discover that Liechtensteiners such as myself would have so many strong opinions on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But of course we do! Yours is a huge country, many times larger than ours. Your economy is bigger, and your cultural, political and military presence all dwarf that of my country.
But it is a shame that you do not ask Liechtensteiners what they think about you and your massive country. We have much to offer you, and to be perfectly honest, you could learn much from us. I offer you here my advice and critiques in the honest hope that you heed my words.
Of course, all Liechtensteiners know the cliches about loud, fat Britons. You are naturally aware that you are the fattest people in Europe, according to your own NHS. We have a saying in Liechtenstein when we see someone overweight. We say: “Is he just fat, or British fat?” and of course everyone knows what we mean. Ha ha! And your clothes and manners are very very loud. You can always tell a Briton a mile away- they are always dressed like they are going to a football match.
I think the problem is that you don’t travel enough. Only around 60% – 70% of Britons have passports. This is inconceivable to a Liechtensteiner, where all citizens have passports, or at least close to 100%. Perhaps this is because we are such a small country, with other nations so close by, but there is no excuse for 30-40% of your citizens to have no ability or interest in traveling abroad. And your language skills are abysmal. All of us here of course speak German, but second languages are nearly as common as passports. We would make fun of you for your worst-in-Europe language abilities, but you would not understand us while we were doing so. Ha ha ha! Unsophisticated Britons are a regular hallmark of Liechtenstinian television.
I know Britain very well. Not just from television and the movies, but I have also visited your Windsor Legoland two times, thus I am a bit of an expert. You Britons are very violent people, and we find this quite disturbing here in Liechtenstein. We often ask ourselves: “Why do you British not ask us Liechtensteiners for our advice on how to avoid crime and violence?” It seems culturally arrogant of you not to learn from our example. After all, we have had no murders at all here since 2007. Yes, of course, we are very different countries, with huge differences around demographics, history, culture and economic inequality, but that doesn’t mean we Liechtensteiners don’t know what is best for you Britons. We clearly do. Just read any of our newspapers, where our columnists can often be found pontificating on the dangers of creeping Britain-ism.
I think the problem is cultural. You see yourselves as the policemen of Europe. You are always invading other countries supposedly in the name of freedom- Iraq, Afghanistan, and more! I think we have had too much of your freedom!
I read somewhere that more Britons believe in space aliens than believe in God. And that 58% of you believe that Sherlock Holmes was a real person, and that Winston Churchill was a fictional character. I have overheard British tourists (again, you can’t help but hear them as they are so loud) say the most contemptibly ignorant things, virtually shouting at our local citizens: “What do you mean you don’t accept pounds?! Don’t you know we saved your arses in World War II?!” Of course, many Britons, believing such nonsense as Winston Churchill to be a fictional person, will not be aware that Liechtenstein remained neutral in World War II. We did not need saving.
But your country clearly does. We have all the answers. Let’s start with changing your cultural output. You have so much of the hip-hop music and bad movies. Perhaps these are reflections of your troubled culture, filled with police injustices and racial violence. But you must stop making drivel such as the movie “Love Actually” and “Mrs Brown, D Movie.” Don’t you realise that all of Liechtenstein is laughing not with you, but at you, for such trash? You have very low tastes. We of course have only a very small movie industry, but all of our films are properly serious and worthy. Yes, again, our countries are starkly different, but we judge each and every one of you nonetheless for what we perceive to be your coarseness and vulgarity.
And your political leaders are laughable. In Liechtenstein, we have sober, somber, serious statesmen such as economist Adrian Hasler. Very good chap he is. But you have public schoolboy and lightweight David Cameron, who is not very elegant or intellectual. And of course every Liechtensteiner trembles at the memory of Gordon Brown and his awkwardness, and Tony Blair and his huge ego and cavalier disregard for international law. These are not statespeople- they are more like clowns. In Liechtenstein we have a saying: “You must judge all people in a country by one or two of their worst leaders.”
What bothers me the most about Britain, is that your people remain blissfully unaware of what we think of you here in Liechtenstein! You live in an arrogant bubble.
Yes, I’ve met some good Britons, but overall, you are seen by us as a bunch of fat, ignorant, provincial, violent, crass…
Editor’s note: I’ve had to cut off Franz’s blog entry here, as he continues on in a long curse-laden tirade about British people. I apologise to regular readers of Expat Claptrap for this post. It’s really shocking to me that a resident of a small, faraway country would have the nerve to obsessively and arrogantly criticise a larger, spectacularly different country that they have never even lived in- as if they had all the answers and were inherently superior just by virtue of their nationality.
It’s shocking. Just shocking, innit?