Theodore Dalrymple

Global Warning | 14 June 2008

Theodore Dalrymple delivers a Global Warning

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The image of women in Victorian times veered between that of madonna and whore, but nowadays in Britain it veers between harridan and slut. This is only natural in a country where vulgarity is not only triumphant, but militant and deeply ideological. The men, of course, are just as bad.

Recently, I flew to an Aegean resort now much favoured by our permanently bronzed proletarians. I was going to a conference of intellectuals there. The pudgy tattooed women en route to paradise had diamonds in their navels; the shaven-headed men, lager made flesh, had skimpy vests stretched painfully over their beer bellies, gold chains and an earring to prove their indelible individuality. One had the words ‘If found, please return to the pub’ inscribed on his chest; another, ‘Lager recycling unit.’ I shouldn’t have laughed, but I did.

As far as I am aware, however, it is only when the British go on holiday that it is deemed necessary to warn passengers in an aircraft that drunken violence will not be tolerated (though how it will be dealt with at 35,000 feet is less clear); and it is only in British airports that arriving passengers are warned that threatening behaviour towards immigration staff is ‘taken seriously’ and will, perhaps, end in prosecution. Welcome to Britain: land of incompetent and impotent official menace. If you are not careful, you will be photographed breaking the law.

French air hostesses are elegant creatures, vastly superior to their passengers, who give the impression that they are gentlefolk fallen on hard times; German air hostesses have evidently missed their vocation as prison guards, but at least give the impression that they would know what to do in an emergency. Only British air hostesses have the voice of fishwives that would shatter or engrave glass, and make you want to scream and block your ears. Whatever happened to elocution lessons? In my opinion, they should replace sex education. They would certainly reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy far more than classes with bananas and condoms ever will.

The woman next to me on the way out was reading a magazine called Inside Soap. It was all about soap operas. Was Darren two-timing Kylie? I tried to imagine caring one way or the other, but I simply couldn’t. In fact, I find it far easier to enter the mind of Osama bin Laden than to enter the mind of my fellow Britons. British youth is another country; they do things differently there.

How ghastly the British were, compared to the Turks (for it was to Turkey that we went): how unrefined, how coarse-grained, how lumpen, vulgar and utterly stupid! I looked at them — the British — with the eyes of the Turks who served them, temporarily having to accept their rudeness and arrogance just because of a difference (also temporary) of per capita GDP, and plotted my revenge. When things are equalised, how delightful it will be to tell these self-satisfied morons to take a flying leap! Then it will be a kind of touristic Gallipoli, the barbarian hordes sent packing back to their damp homeland.

Kemal Pasha, thou shouldst be living at this hour! England hath need of thee.