Monday, July 24, 2006

WAS made in Great Britain...


Holiday is upon us, the roads are covered, littered with cars and a nation of car loving Brits are heading to their holiday destinations. This journey will be completed from start to finish in a car or it will take you to your exit point from the country in a car, might it be a ferry port, airport or train station. Why is this? Well two reason, the most expensive thing you can by in Great Britain is a roof over your head, aka “a house” and the second most expensive thing is a ticket on public transport…therefore the Brits love their cars. I believe there are now more cars in the whole of Great Britain than there are sheep in Wales

I watched the new season of Top Gear today on my 7th TVDrive PVR, and I must say that I do enjoy Top Gear. I like Jeremy because like me he is politically correct, health and safety consious, cares a lot about the impact of fossil fuel on the environment…NOT…

Lets just stop there for a second and settle an argument…

Imagine that all of Great Britain buys Toyota Prius or hydro converted submarine cars, which run on electricity and tealeaves…at the same time China and the United States of America spews out more crap in the atmosphere from their factories and petrol 4x4 guzzlers than you could shake a stick at. Together with increased air travel and planned journeys to space via a tourism space shuttle, am I then supposed to feel guilty about my old Renault 5, 1.4L Automatic…Get serious...I do not do hippy crap…

So watching Top Gear, I was getting concerned about Jeremy, Richard and James. They have nothing British left to talk about which make them proud. You see I was brought up in the 1960’s and early 1970’s a time when we looked at things differently than we do today. We had national pride and aspirations.

Coming from a country where every person with a driving licence, would like to own a car which was Swedish built, designed and produced it taught me a sense of nationalistic pride (I know it is a very dirty word, but true). Sweden built cars, successful cars, Saab and Volvo not bad for a country which only had 8 million citizens (9 now with the integration of Europe and all of that) less that London in total. So we all had Amazon’s, V4’s or the 96. If you had money and a good job you’d be looking forward to the release of the new Saab 99. Turbo was beyond our means but you had people believing in your country’s ability and lets be clear at this point about road safety, not sexy not cool but there are more Swedes that lost their virginity at a back of a safe Swedish car than some foreign muck… Of course there was always a wayward boy who would turn up in an Opel or God forbid in a Nissan Bluebird…

When you went to bed at night your dreams started and they inevitably involved dreaming about British craftsmanship…Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Austin Healey, Quirky Morris Minor (only very lonely Swedish men dreamt about Morris Minor) and the Mini (in Swedish called the Hundkoja=Dog cabin)

So times go by and as fate had it that I would end up in the land of the dreams, Great Britain, in 1988. So on my arrival I bought a Jaguar XJ6 the best car I ever owned. No Volvo or Saab with our without a blonde in the backseat would come close, I had arrived.

One summer my Swedish friend Lars and I drove back to Sweden, to show off, arriving in our village in convoy, if two cars can be classified as a convoy, a British built Jaguar XJ6 and a British built Lotus Esprit, both blue and did we cause a stir…two great British cars, both right hand drive, with white number plates at the front and yellow at the back…we were the talk of the village and new shiny Volvos and Saabs were designated to their garages, well out of sight…

How different it is now…I could not travel to Sweden anymore to show off my pride of Britain…cause I dont know what to bring...Steps, Celebrity Love Island, My local Pub the Dog and Bollocks...I just do not have a clue anymore...

My Jaguar is American, My Rolls Royce is German and so is my Bentley. TVR is Russian and whilst the "20 year old owner slosky something" cheers on his local Russian club football team, playing spot the Brit in the team, Chelsea, I am having a barbecue cooking minted lamb from New Zealand, Mrs E is spreading Anchor butter on the Sandwiches, whilst I have a few chilled Carling beers, brewed by Coors in America, I look across my TV set and see that both Sky and Telewest are now based in the US and on Nasdaq…Next to me is a small airfield and it reminds me of the time we lived in London and saw all those Airbus arriving for Heathrow, which BAe now looking to sell and BAA is selling the airports to the Spanish (when have the Spanish ever been known to be able to run an airport???) who has already bought the mobile phone operator O2. My bank is in Shanghai, with a call centre in Bombay, Body Shop is French and Pilkington which my Swedish neighbour Bergdahl was so proud of that it was British is now Japanese. If I support Manchester United I support an American Corporation, which has debts greater than Zimbabwe , My Typhoo Tea is Indian.

If I live under the rule of Ken Livingstone in London my electricity is French and my bloody water, if I can get any, is German…This is exhausting, so I head off to buy a toy for my nephew, at Hamleys which is Icelandic, OK so off to Harrods…epitome of British…wrong Egyptian even my bloody Sunday breakfast of sausages and bacon with HP sauce is now American infected, and it looks like my next PM is going to be Scottish...(Well it could be worse, Two Jags could be put in charge...)

So what to do…

Keep quiet integrate and look at the BIG SALEGreat Britain for sale!!!…with it each time a bit of pride goes…and I have a feeling that we are paying for the privilege...what is that all about?


Picture credit

© Richard Baker, www.bakerpictures.com

'Red Arrows'
ISBN 1-85443-217-6
Priced £19

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great picture. Sounds like a good book.

Monday, 15 January, 2007  

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