Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Guest Blogger No.2 - Lois Brown: The Moaning Moaners who Moan

Some time ago (OK, it was almost a year ago, for those of you who have been counting), I published this piece as the first an occasional series of guest posts. Today, I'm publishing the next guest post by History graduate, IT master and Internationalist, Lois Brown:

The Moaning Moaners who Moan

One of the fascinating things about British people is how much we moan. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have free healthcare, free education and free speech (which we predictably use to moan about the government), and all we can see is what is wrong with our lives, the country, the whole planet. I thought about this a few weeks ago when at the height of the Edinburgh International Festival, the month long extravaganza that hosts thousands of shows across hundreds of venues and packs out every hotel room, restaurant and pub in the city (and probably every tent too), I overheard this conversation:

American Gentleman: What do you make of the Edinburgh Festival?

Typical Scottish Moaner: Oh, I hate it. Every idiot who thinks he’s a comedian or actor descends on this city. You can’t go anywhere for all the crowds. (He went on for a fair bit longer than this. I am summarising.)

American Gentleman: And what do you make of the tourists?

Typical Scottish Moaner (showing a modicum of tact): Oh they’re OK, I don’t mind them.
I don’t understand this mentality. What’s to hate? How else would a cold, grey city of 300,000 on the northern edge of the inhabited world attract the cream of the world’s talent performs on their doorstep? Imagine Edinburgh without the festival –with no culture, no entertainment and no money.

At the moment, with the banking crisis having decimated the city’s main industry, where else is the money coming from? The Edinburgh Festival brings tourists flooding into the city leaving millions of pounds in their wake. Half the businesses in Edinburgh are kept afloat by that one month of the year allowing us to enjoy them the other 11 months. And then there’s the small matter of pride that such a teeny tiny country can successfully run the biggest arts festival in the world.

But these are all minor considerations when Mr Moaner has to share his streets with performers and visitors.

I’d bet he’d really moan if there was no festival, though.

I think Lois has a point - we do tend to see the problems not the opportunities in all walks of life in Britain. Rather than celebrating what we've got and how fortunate we are in comparison with the vast majority of the world's population, our default position is often to complain about everything from the weather to the price of cheddar. A little more positivity and, if something is broken, positive action is required!



Stephen Chapman said...

My favourite post on your blog... ever. Well, after mine anyway.


Mind Of Mine said...

Oh I would love to guest post!

I actually think the Scottish and the Irish not only share their Celtic roots, but also their pessimism.

Irish people moan about everything, I think some Irish folk actually enjoy the recession, as it gives them a wealth of problems to complain about.

When I lived in Manchester, Northeners were so more optimistic about life in general.