I have soon lived in the UK for two years, so I guess it is about time to assess whether I like being here on the personal level. And yes, I really do like this country. My love affair with UK started when I was only five years old.
It was a nice summer day, and I was sitting on a swing with one of my older brothers. I was five years old, so just a small kid running around playing all the time. My brother then said “brrrrrrrr, tatatatatatatata – kapooow”. He was obviously an airplane that shot down another airplane. I asked “what are you playing”, and he immediately replied “I am an English pilot in a Spitfire shooting down a Messerschmitt in the battle of Britain”. That sounded pretty cool, so immediately I was also flying a Spitfire and started shooting down those Messrritrrr’r.
Many of the heroic Spitfire pilots flew out of an airfield North of London next to a small village called Cranfield, and later on that airstrip was turned into a very good engineering school, which also ended up having a well respected MBA School. In 1993 I therefore moved to Cranfield for half a year, where I took term 3 and 4 at the school. It was a busy time, but I remember that just as much as I fell out with some of the English politeness (why do you say “how do you do?”, when you are not really interested in getting an honest answer?), I really enjoyed the humor and general feel of the society.
During the 90’s I was very often in London, either on business trips or as a weekend trips around Christmas. But all this is of course not the same as moving to London with wife and kids knowing that this is the real deal for several years. Now I am truly living here, and how is it?
I don’t want to write a long essay about England/Britain/United Kingdom, because so many people with much better observation and writing skills have done that already, so I will make it brief: I really-really like this country. Not only London, which together with New York are the two “big pulse” cities for me, but also countless places outside London with all the beatiful landscapes, the many other towns and diverse regions each with their own charachter. I absolutely do not love everything I see here (the trust among people is too low, the education system should be fundamentally overhauled, the transportation infrastructure needs a serious upgrade,the emmigration policy has failed etc.), but if I for some reason was kicked out of Denmark on a permanent basis, then this is probably the country I would choose to settle in for good with my family (in tough competition with the other Scandinavian countries though). No one can bicker and be sarcastic about their country as the British, but to that you should add much more pride, and get on with it. This society is not broken as some of your newspapers try to portray, you just need to keep on upgrading, revitalising and strengthening the society like you have done so many times before. From my perspective, no other nation has for the last several centuries given so much to the rest of the World. Some bear a grudge to the British due to the history of the Empire, but I turn it around: how many empires with all their power and glory has been as civilised ad the British, and given as much in terms science, philosophy, battles for democracy and social development? Yes, they overdid it from time to time (so did my ancestral forefathers in their longboats I have heard), but every other empire out there has done much worse. And no other empire decided to dismantle it self in the end and establish democracies and institutions all over the World. Then there were the Boer wars, Irish famine, slave trade, the Peshawar Bazaar massacre, etc. – yes, yes, but I hope you get my point!
So long live Britania, Britania rule the ways, and please: move on and find that spirit that gives this society a vibe we all need, whether we are Russian oligarchs, Indian software engineers, Danish entrepreneurs or just ordinary British people.