1. That special burgundy book
We all forget how lucky we our to have our British passports. And not because they’ve now been fitted with nifty computer chips, but because they can take us almost anywhere in the world without foreign immigration batting an eyelid. Our passports are magic keys in a world with so many impenetrable borders, which enable us to drift through Africa to Asia, and back through Latin America without a care in the world. Sure, there are limits — we probably can’t take a nice summer’s vacation to North Korea — but we have plenty of other military dictator friends who’ll happily let us in.
2. The linguistic lottery
We won it. So, once we get to almost anywhere in the world we can at least get by, we can always find someone to communicate with, and we can, probably, even find some employment as a result of it. Unfortunately, most of the British population takes this as a given, expecting every human being on earth to be able to recite Shakespeare. Instead, we should realize how lucky we are, and start extending more courtesies to our foreign guests who aren’t so fluent, or we could even, god forbid, try and learn another language.
3. Natural disasters, or lack thereof
One cold winter’s night at University in Sheffield my friends and I felt a somewhat surprising tremor shake our house. My friend asked in all seriousness: “Is Rob having sex upstairs?” Needless to say, my housemate did not have the physical capabilities to rattle a house by his sexual prowess alone; it was indeed a small earthquake. I’m offering this example to show just how incomprehensible the idea of a natural disaster is in the UK; that a man shaking a house in the flows of passion is more believable than the UK actually experiencing an earthquake. We do get the occasional coating of snow, and let me tell you this: it causes irrepressible havoc on our sheltered society, which is about as much as we can bear. God knows how we would respond if we were to experience a genuine natural disaster.
4. The marvelous NHS
Do any of you Brits know what it feels like to go to the doctors — or avoid the doctors for this reason — just to be slapped with a head-spinning invoice? No, because we have free healthcare for all. Each and every human being in Britain is extended the right to free healthcare, which is exactly how it should be.
Unfortunately, in most of the world healthcare is costly; it’s a privilege not a right. We need to stop letting those Tory maniacs systematically dismantle our NHS just for private profit, and start sticking up for one of the only institutions we have left that we can be genuinely proud of.
5. Everything is relatively nearby
As a nation we tend to think we’re more important than we actually are; and as an island we seem to think we’re a lot bigger than we actually are. In reality, we’re pretty small, and thus have the luxury of being able to visit every corner of our quaint little land in just a matter of hours. Although, some people would have you believe that a journey to Newcastle is akin to Frodo’s trek across Middle Earth, it’s just a few hours on a comfortable, albeit overpriced, train.
6. Talking of trains, we can get them to everywhere and anywhere.
We have an extensive rail network, probably too extensive, but glorious all the same. I’ve yet to visit any other country where you can pick up a train to absolutely everywhere from absolutely anywhere. From the most-vibrant cities to the most-unthinkable hovels, we’ve put rail tracks through them. I mean, who in their right mind knows where Adlestrop or Saudersfoot are? Nobody, but you can be damn sure that there’s a train station there if you ever need to visit. Conversely, we do not take the current ticket prices for granted, as they are getting wholly ridiculous!
7. Cultural diversity
From Caribbean to African and from Arabic to Oriental, our society is influenced by a huge array of different cultures and traditions! It has made Britain so much more vibrant and colorful. Of course, it’s something that lots of people seem to moan about, but come on, get over that false image of a golden age of ‘Britishness’ gone by and start embracing a nation filled will exotic flavors, interesting stories and perspectives, coherent dancing, colorful dress, and contemporary music. If it wasn’t for the introduction of different cultures, we’d all still be sitting around in our cummerbunds, eating boiled potatoes, and playing backgammon every night.
8. Watchable television
I have often been guilty of criticizing British television myself. Often pumped full of z-list celebrities prancing around on reality TV shows, there are many aspects of British TV to scorn. But, then again, a quick trip abroad will display to you just how watchable our TV shows really are in comparison — excellent comedies, quiz shows, news specials, and documentaries. The BBC has given us a nice solid base to start, even though quality does waver from time to time, and then Channel 4 sneaks in for the slightly more racy shows for post-watershed viewing.
9. The deliciousness and versatility of fish
We’re an island nation, we’re surrounded by sea, we have bucket loads of fish. But for some godforsaken reason we’ve hardly even began to explore their culinary genius. Some British brut a long time ago decided that the only way to enjoy a good fish was to smother it in pancake batter, deep-fat fry it, and serve it up on a plate with a mountain of chips soaked in grease. What was that person thinking? And why have we never dared to question it?! We need to start appreciating our fish by showing them the love they deserve, whilst preparing them to eat.
10. 50 shades of green
You may be surprised to hear that there is more than just perpetual grey in the UK. In fact, our island is simply bursting with greenery. From forests to farms and cricket pitches to football fields, there is natural color and growth everywhere. Us Brits always seem to think that we live in a geographically boring country, but it’s really a green, vegetation-rich country. Of course, the reason for this expansive plant life and fertile ground is the unrelenting barrage of rain that lays siege to our land, but if you’ll permit me a shameless pun, the vegetation that it brings with it is quite literally the silver lining to our grey cloud.