Alex Massie

Hey, Britannia!

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I'm glad to see that Tim Worstall has found some good news!

Sounds like things are all well and good in Britannia's realm:

Britons lack "national purpose" according to a study which found that most people prefer to spend their Bank Holiday watching television or surfing the internet rather than celebrating the country's heritage.

Excellent, there's nothing more repellent than a "national purpose".

Quite so. Though, how can anyone be surprised by this?

Mind you, in other patriot games, the extent to which Britons have developed an unhealthy fascination with the Olympic medal table now that we're actually winning some events is mildly distasteful. There's a slightly boorish boastfulness to it all that is somewhat unbecoming. Sort of stuff one associates with foreigners, frankly. Better to permit oneself a small smile while paying tribute to the gallantry of the plucky, foreign losers. Winning generously seems every bit as important as losing gracefully.

London 2012 will, of course, be much, much worse. Great sport, but intolerable media coverage I suspect.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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