Makes you proud to be British ….

At last – something at which we British excel! Just when you thought it was safe to open a newspaper, a recent report from yet another think tank trumpets the news that teenagers in the UK are among the worst behaved in Europe.

In a series of indicators on bad behaviour, including drugs, drink and violence, Britain was at, or close to the top.

Here are a couple of quotes on this shocking new problem that will, I hope, help to put it in context:

‘The world is passing through troubled times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness to them. As for the girls, they are immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress.’

Peter the Monk, in AD1274


‘Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their household. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers.’

Socrates, Greek philosopher and teacher, 470-399BC

Yep, breaking news indeed. But I think I have the solution to this, and many other problems. It’s simple, it would save tax payers’ money, and I’m pretty sure it would be popular. Are you ready? Brace yourselves, cos this is going to form the backbone of my bid to seize ultimate power.

Get rid of all the think tanks.





14 thoughts on “Makes you proud to be British ….

  1. Have you ever read the Paston or the Lisle letters?

    There’s a great letter that Margaret Paston wrote to her husband with a list of items of clothing that their son, who was studying to be a lawyer in London wanted. All the doublets and hose came from a special shop in Cheapside, the cloak had to be trimmed with marten’s fur, and it had to be a very expensive colour. There were special shoes too. She also mentioned that the son had told her that ‘all the other scholars had them’, and that he was feeling left out. He also asked for money. Anyway, his father went and spoke to the head of the son’s Inn, and was told that the son was out drinking and carrousing, and not paying any attention to his studies.

    John wrote back to Margaret, basically saying that unless the son, who was also called John, as was his brother, pulled his hose up, he would be getting nothing.

    I particularly liked the way he said to Margaret ‘As to your son…’.

    It was just instantly contemporary, even though the language is somewhat arcane. The Lisle letters, 150 years later, has similar incidents.

  2. I’m with oh the joys…i’d rather have a bunch of insouciant youth than overachieving Japanese robotic teens.

    yeah, blow up the think tanks.

  3. I’m with you – get rid of the think tanks! And statistics. And surveys.

    Emma – Am I missing something in the article where it contrasts the British youth to, as you put it “overachieving Japanese robotic teens?” Or is this just personal conjecture?

  4. ha ha – thanks for those very wise and wry comments! i’ll be calling on you all for wise and soothing words when hormone levels reach critical chez mad!

  5. i have been a fourteen year old girl. with this in mind, small person will be locked in the loft on her thirteenth birthday. she can come out when she’s twenty seven.

    i won’t be swayed on this. it’s the only way.

  6. sg – yeah, strange, isn’t it – suddenly i can see the point of boarding school …
    jenny – i’d quite forgotten, of course, that socrates was a brit. cars getting keyed is most definitely NOT good clean fun. grrrrr!

  7. Yeah, blow up the think tanks and keep all the Brit bands. The Brits have much to be proud of…for example, Helen Mirren, who needs to find a way to keep doing Prime Suspect, I don’t care how old she gets…

  8. Yes, but without the Brit punks, they’re wouldn’t be Brit pop! And without that, I would be sad.

    And yes, get rid of the tanks. Good idea. Especially the one that just released the shocking news that Mexican food is fattening. What? You mean, cheese, refried beans, chips and tortillas are bad for you? It took real brainchildren to come up with that one.

  9. Ha! That’s been my same argument to my husband and other old grumps for ages! I love that you used the same tool of historical context!

  10. Children and parents never change, at least it looks that way. Socrates had the same complaints we have. I guess we could look at it from a different point of view, our kids aren’t worse than any other generation. Gives me a little hope that they’ll turn out to be, at least, not any worse than my husband and me. Fingers crossed.

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