Contrary to popular belief The Times isn’t every Englishman’s favourite newspaper but it does throw up interesting little articles now and again. While rummaging amongst some old copies recently I came across this item. The British, and English particularly, have always considered themselves kind-hearted and generous though perhaps not overly so. Within our isles there are many variations, as you might expect, and some regions are well-known for opposite traits; the Scots, Aberdonians especially, are reputed to be thrifty and Yorkshire people are careful, as they put it [or just plain tightfisted as others would say], for example, but behind our stoic outward-facing masks we all have beating hearts of gold. At least that is what we like to tell ourselves and anyone else who is listening. Unfortunately, as Richard Morrison points out this notion simply doesn’t square up with the facts collected by the Office for National Statistics. During the last 50 years we have been less and less willing to give to charity, and at the same time have become more and more uncaring for others. If you have the means and the opportunity it is OK to flaunt your wealth, preferably in the most contemptuous and shameless manner possible, it is perfectly acceptable to cheat others and to put down those less fortunate than yourself. Morrison pins everything down to an absence of ‘love’ in our society, I would use the word ‘care’ but otherwise, in essence, agree with what he says; if anything I would be even less charitable than he is in describing our society, we are simply a bunch of greedy and selfish, uncaring tightwads.

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