Thursday, May 29, 2008

Being European

What does it mean to be proud of ones country? This is a question that I never really asked myself until I moved here to France.

When I joined the Royal Air Force many years ago, I swore allegiance to the Queen, but at the tender young age of 17, I saw it as swearing allegiance to the country. I went on to serve 24 years in the RAF doing what was asked of me and willing to defend my country come what may. Now, as an outsider, I have come to see things a little differently.

It was not the Queen who sent the armed forces to the middle east to fight for something that is not British, but the Government. I doubt if the Queen even had any say in the matter. In fact does the Queen have any say in anything? I believe that the whole of the royal family are just bloodsuckers on a country that is being brought to its knees by a government who love the power.

Another gripe is the national anthem. Why do the English sing about a Queen and not about a country? The French national anthem is about the united citizens of France and is much more appealing in these modern days.

I am sometimes asked, by French people, what team I support in the six nations rugby. The answer has to be France. Why would I support a team that comes from a country where the people are overburdened buy taxes and petty laws, with CCTV trying to catch the innocent on every street corner. No I support the country that has let me come to live here, and welcomed me with open arms.

I meet other Brits around the area who ask how often I go home, the standard answer is that I am at home, I don't intend to visit the UK again in a hurry. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti the English people, but anti the English government whose aim seems to be to oppress the population.

I found it interesting that the UK prime minister, a scot, met with the big UK oil companies to discuss increasing oil output to try and bring the price of fuel down. Hang on a minute, most of the fuel price is tax! There is an easy way to bring the price down, didn't anyone tell him?

Why is it that in the UK, many institutions have the power to fine people? Try putting too much rubbish in your dustbin, parking in the wrong place, driving slightly too fast, not taxing your car exactly on time, or many other things. Can an individual fine the local council for something that they don't get right? If you should go overdrawn by a few pence on your bank account you will get a letter that will cost you around £25 for making a mistake. When the bank makes a mistake can you charge then £25 for writing a letter to point it out?

If you live in the north of England and receive a penalty charge for the London congestion charge, when you have never visited London in your life, you would think that you could ignore it, but no, you have to appeal against the charge. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

I know that I will get many emails from people who do not agree with what I am saying here, but you must remember that this is my blog and I can write what I want. If you are one of those people, feel free to start your own blog and write what you like!


At 8:25 am, Blogger joel said...

Hi Bob,
You sound a bit p****d off but I can agree on your point of view. Its not only in the UK. We have a very simmilar situation here.

At 9:30 am, Blogger François said...

Actually, much of what you say I feel is true about The Netherlands in an equal sense. One of the main reasons we want to leave is the ridiculous administrative burden the 'State' puts onto a guy who decided NOT to take advantage of the money for 'out of job' people or 'social security', but instead take the risk on his own shoulders and start a company at 51 years old.

I get punished for that by our tax office and other authorities !

The question that introduces itself more andmore however is; isn't that true in France as well? I have German friends who complain about the same things you mention, and people in Austria, and Italy.

Sure enough, in the countryside and just living the life of a retired person the stress is less there, if only because there are less people to trip over.

But isn't all of Europe getting filled up by useless regulations, anal-retentive fears of terrorism and overzealous politicians?

Lets not even discuss 'Brussels' !!!



At 7:57 pm, Blogger houbahop said...


As being French, I'm afraid to think that France will become the same that UK on the points that you are quoting. We will see in a few years..

I have really appreciated to read about the fact that you have been welcomed with open arms. The Brits and the Frogs are quite different, but I don't see why we couldn't be friends. So when I hear those english people on tv saying that they like France but not the french, it hurts a little.


At 8:48 pm, Blogger madman said...

Thanks for that nice comment Dominique. I think that it will take a long time for France to become as bad as the UK, I am not sure that the French people would accept the change very quickly either.
I may be just lucky that I live in the Perigord as many locals have pointed out that this part of France and England were once united!
The kindness of the people is in their blood and I find that if I offer friendship, then the offer is always returned.
Most English people who say that they do not like the French are probably narrow minded and have never tried to mix.


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