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Bill Bryson: Britains Culture Is Self Absorbed And Greedy

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Interesting perspective from an Anglophile and someone who has lived in the UK since the 1970s.

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I agree with him about "the rules don't apply to me" any more.

I used to think the rules and laws were there for everybody's benefit but they have since been politicised by a liberal elite to enforce their agenda. I actively take pleasure in breaking or bending them. It's the law that has moved, not me.

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Not exactly what I'd call an "astonishing attack", if he'd said the UK was full of ****s and he would'nt wipe his **** with the place then maybe I'd be astonished...

Oh, it's the Mail.

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Bill Bryson is massively overated anyway.

He only sells well because he is already famous and used to sell well, Neither here no there wasn't great and a walk in the woods became unfunny after the first 20 pages.

Douglas Coupland used to be a good writer too but he has slipped horribly it JPOD and Generation A were terrible and it felt like he was ripping himself off.

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Bill Bryson is massively overated anyway.

He only sells well because he is already famous and used to sell well, Neither here no there wasn't great and a walk in the woods became unfunny after the first 20 pages.

Douglas Coupland used to be a good writer too but he has slipped horribly it JPOD and Generation A were terrible and it felt like he was ripping himself off.

I'll have to have you for that one Ken me old mate I thought Neither Here nor There was brilliant as was Notes From a Small Island.

Fair point on Walk in the Woods though

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He's right. When you look at how a lot of people conduct their lives you can see elements of selfishness all over the place. It's little things and it's not so much that people are doing things maliciously, they just don't think of how what they are doing might affect someone else.

I find my self going into car parks and seeing cars parked over the line line with the next bay meaning that you may not be able to get in. Why do people do that? I mean, it's not as though it's difficult to park a car properly so why obstruct someone else? You'll see things in shops that have been dumped on the wrong shelf because someone has changed their mind abut it and didn't think to put it back where it came from.

I know these things are small and are hardly the end of the world but it they do show that whoever did them was thinking of themselves to the exclusion of everything, and everyone, else.

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He's right. When you look at how a lot of people conduct their lives you can see elements of selfishness all over the place. It's little things and it's not so much that people are doing things maliciously, they just don't think of how what they are doing might affect someone else.

I find my self going into car parks and seeing cars parked over the line line with the next bay meaning that you may not be able to get in. Why do people do that? I mean, it's not as though it's difficult to park a car properly so why obstruct someone else? You'll see things in shops that have been dumped on the wrong shelf because someone has changed their mind abut it and didn't think to put it back where it came from.

I know these things are small and are hardly the end of the world but it they do show that whoever did them was thinking of themselves to the exclusion of everything, and everyone, else.

If people didn't put things in funny places in supermarkets, there'd be fewer supermarket workers needed ;)

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People can be just downright frustrating. Has anybody else been trolley jacked? half way through a shop in my local Morrisons I once parked up my trolley neatly at the end of an aisle and went off to gather more items. Upon returning all the goods I'd previously picked up were dumped on a freezer top and my trolley was gone. I'd been trolley jacked so that some chav scum could take the £1 in the coin slot. 'Yes' said a member of staff 'that's been happening quite a lot recently'.

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People can be just downright frustrating. Has anybody else been trolley jacked? half way through a shop in my local Morrisons I once parked up my trolley neatly at the end of an aisle and went off to gather more items. Upon returning all the goods I'd previously picked up were dumped on a freezer top and my trolley was gone. I'd been trolley jacked so that some chav scum could take the £1 in the coin slot. 'Yes' said a member of staff 'that's been happening quite a lot recently'.

First I've heard of it. I like the inventive thinking that comes up with this, but it seems a lot of work for £1.

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People can be just downright frustrating. Has anybody else been trolley jacked? half way through a shop in my local Morrisons I once parked up my trolley neatly at the end of an aisle and went off to gather more items. Upon returning all the goods I'd previously picked up were dumped on a freezer top and my trolley was gone. I'd been trolley jacked so that some chav scum could take the £1 in the coin slot. 'Yes' said a member of staff 'that's been happening quite a lot recently'.

Consider it a fair penalty for thinking your trolley has any significance in the queue when it is not accompanied.

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He's right. When you look at how a lot of people conduct their lives you can see elements of selfishness all over the place. It's little things and it's not so much that people are doing things maliciously, they just don't think of how what they are doing might affect someone else.

I find my self going into car parks and seeing cars parked over the line line with the next bay meaning that you may not be able to get in. Why do people do that? I mean, it's not as though it's difficult to park a car properly so why obstruct someone else? You'll see things in shops that have been dumped on the wrong shelf because someone has changed their mind abut it and didn't think to put it back where it came from.

I know these things are small and are hardly the end of the world but it they do show that whoever did them was thinking of themselves to the exclusion of everything, and everyone, else.

People with newer or expensive cars do it on purpose to stop other people parking next to them. Most cars are now too big for parking spaces and people open doors into other people cars without regard. If you park across two spaces your car is less likely to get damaged. It isn't a problem is you are disabled, or you have a kid and you get the extra space you really need. IMHO parking spaces need to be fair, all spaces need to have the extra bit on the edges to walk though and to reduce damage caused by car doors.

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Does he have a new book out which needs promoting?? <_<

Just wondering ....

And I hate to see people drop litter - very anti-social!

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People can be just downright frustrating. Has anybody else been trolley jacked? half way through a shop in my local Morrisons I once parked up my trolley neatly at the end of an aisle and went off to gather more items. Upon returning all the goods I'd previously picked up were dumped on a freezer top and my trolley was gone. I'd been trolley jacked so that some chav scum could take the £1 in the coin slot. 'Yes' said a member of staff 'that's been happening quite a lot recently'.

I hate the way unaccompanied trollies full of stuff block my way in supermarkets. To teach them a lesson I empty the contents and nick the quid :-)

To be honest it sounds more like someone needed a trolley rather than the quid in it, this is why I spraypaint any trolley I pick up with my tag "NDl ddl Cru 2010"

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lol at Noodle.

Note I said 'I once parked up my trolley neatly at the end of an aisle'.

I shouldn't moan too much, we used to have a house trolley once which went neatly into the back of a Landrover. The trolley got unpacked once it was in our kitchen.

+%*king students eh.

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Well he is 100% correct.

There are far too many self obsessed people in this country and it's changed from when I was young. I think the housing boom, the celeberty culture and buy now pay later attitude are massively to blame.

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I agree with him about "the rules don't apply to me" any more.

I used to think the rules and laws were there for everybody's benefit but they have since been politicised by a liberal elite to enforce their agenda. I actively take pleasure in breaking or bending them. It's the law that has moved, not me.

I also agree with him. But I don't think he is talking about rules or laws from the alleged "liberal elite" (who seem suspiciously like the same elite we've had for hundreds of years), I think he is talking about lesser things. Seems to be standard practice amongst owners of expensive cars to park on double yellows and inconvenience hundreds of people for example. Jumping queues, pushing in etc. Discretion or a favour is one thing, but everyone seems to think they are the special case these days...which wouldn't even be so bad if they didn't get angry and aggressive when the rules won't bend for them for the Nth time. I think its a combination of "I'm all right jack" Thatcherism, poor parenting, a culture of increasing narcissism and concomitant decrease in accepting personal responsibility. I've noticed this as a sort of linguistic phenomenon, people talk about anything negative in their lives being done to them; they weren't late, its that the train went without them, that sort of thing. For all you might say the "liberal elite" are pushing you around, what I see is a society with a complete lack of sanctions outside criminal law itself. People do what the hell they want, it seems manners, dignity and reputation count for nothing these days (perhaps this is a side-effect of the atomised society that hyper-capitalism has created, your only duty is to be a unit of economic production and consumption according to the elites...)

What is clear is that this can't be blamed on the much-maligned underclass, its just as -- if not more common -- in the middle class and the elites, we just prefer to wag the finger at the scum. It isn't the young either, the greedy boomer is of course by now an established stereotype.

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There's always has and always will be uncouth, selfish people pushing past queues, and the words "shit", "fvck", and "****" have been around for centuries; it seems more prevalent since we live in a much larger and more socially isolated population, with society not being quite as coherent and close knit as it used to be.

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I also agree with him. But I don't think he is talking about rules or laws from the alleged "liberal elite" (who seem suspiciously like the same elite we've had for hundreds of years), I think he is talking about lesser things. Seems to be standard practice amongst owners of expensive cars to park on double yellows and inconvenience hundreds of people for example. Jumping queues, pushing in etc. Discretion or a favour is one thing, but everyone seems to think they are the special case these days...which wouldn't even be so bad if they didn't get angry and aggressive when the rules won't bend for them for the Nth time. I think its a combination of "I'm all right jack" Thatcherism, poor parenting, a culture of increasing narcissism and concomitant decrease in accepting personal responsibility. I've noticed this as a sort of linguistic phenomenon, people talk about anything negative in their lives being done to them; they weren't late, its that the train went without them, that sort of thing. For all you might say the "liberal elite" are pushing you around, what I see is a society with a complete lack of sanctions outside criminal law itself. People do what the hell they want, it seems manners, dignity and reputation count for nothing these days (perhaps this is a side-effect of the atomised society that hyper-capitalism has created, your only duty is to be a unit of economic production and consumption according to the elites...)

What is clear is that this can't be blamed on the much-maligned underclass, its just as -- if not more common -- in the middle class and the elites, we just prefer to wag the finger at the scum. It isn't the young either, the greedy boomer is of course by now an established stereotype.

Well said. It seems other people are just there to be clambered over to fulfill one's next selfish goal.

The media and big business in the UK has been cheer-leading this sort of behavior for years, L'Oreal "because you're worth it" and the appalling adverts by Virgin Credit Cards and the likes ("just say yes!" was it?).

I think some of the most pernicious creations of this selfish society are Facebook and Twitter ("me! me! me! look at me!"). Some people value themselves based on the number of "friends" or "followers" they have gathered. Don't get me started on celebrity culture.

Depressing.

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I was at the event.

He did not `launch an astonishing attack'. The Mail is trying to stir - it is at best misinterpreting and at worst lying about what Bryson's opinions are.

The format was a gentle interview/conversation with a Guardian senior journo , not a speech or lecture.

Towards the end, the journo asked what he found had changed in the UK since he first came here as a backpacker in '73. The gist of the answer was that in '73 he felt that British people seemed happier and more community minded, although they were financially poorer and had fewer possessions. Today there is more selfishness and he felt there was more unhappiness despite people having more money and more possessions.

The queuing thing, was that he often hears British people bemoan a lessening willingness to queue. His comment was that having visited Italy, we should still recognise we are superior in that regard (my words paraphrasing his reply).

There was absolutely nothing controversial or newsworthy, unless you happen to be a journalist with the instruction from your editor to deliver a controversy story no matter what the truth is.

Oh, and he wants England to beat the US in the football world cup.

btw, I also attended a similar, but much smaller session with Ed Vaisey (new culture minister). A malicious journalist could have picked up his unguarded (and, to be fair, later retracted) comment about cuts in Health and Education.

Y.

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It is the inevitable result of social isolation. People these days drive to work and come home to a TV. The kids spend all their time on consoles. People do not meet other people any more and they are not dependent on each other for anything. Every man lives in his own little box and it could just as well be located in the desert as the UK in terms of social interaction. Even the pubs are closing down. When people believe that others do not matter, that they will never encounter them again, they change to selfish strategies. I see this ever increasing isolation as the biggest threat to the country there is.

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I also agree with him. But I don't think he is talking about rules or laws from the alleged "liberal elite" (who seem suspiciously like the same elite we've had for hundreds of years), I think he is talking about lesser things. Seems to be standard practice amongst owners of expensive cars to park on double yellows and inconvenience hundreds of people for example. Jumping queues, pushing in etc. Discretion or a favour is one thing, but everyone seems to think they are the special case these days...which wouldn't even be so bad if they didn't get angry and aggressive when the rules won't bend for them for the Nth time. I think its a combination of "I'm all right jack" Thatcherism, poor parenting, a culture of increasing narcissism and concomitant decrease in accepting personal responsibility. I've noticed this as a sort of linguistic phenomenon, people talk about anything negative in their lives being done to them; they weren't late, its that the train went without them, that sort of thing. For all you might say the "liberal elite" are pushing you around, what I see is a society with a complete lack of sanctions outside criminal law itself. People do what the hell they want, it seems manners, dignity and reputation count for nothing these days (perhaps this is a side-effect of the atomised society that hyper-capitalism has created, your only duty is to be a unit of economic production and consumption according to the elites...)

What is clear is that this can't be blamed on the much-maligned underclass, its just as -- if not more common -- in the middle class and the elites, we just prefer to wag the finger at the scum. It isn't the young either, the greedy boomer is of course by now an established stereotype.

It is an interesting phenomenon.

Although, I'm unsure if people have become more 'selfish' (if I may awkwardly encapsulate it in one term) or if our cultural shift towards 'suing the ass' of anyone that looks at us the wrong way 'infringing our liberties' has just made us more 'aware' of the inconvenient / selfish actions of others.This ties in with your point about the train. If our locus of control is becoming more external, it is a bit of a vicious (or virtuous depending upon you point of view) circle.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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