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England, Scotland, Ireland and also Wales


In the crass and unthinking knockabout world of international teasing, here in the – big breath – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Scots have a largely undeserved reputation for parsimony. The stereotypical dour and flinty, tight-fisted Jock – with a combination-lock on his wallet – has long been a staple of both fiction and comedy.

The Irish have a reciprocal and similarly baseless reputation for reckless spending. Okay, so since 1922 the Irish Republic has been a separate entity, and emphatically not part of the UKBG&NI, finally correcting an 800-year-old injustice. The Irish are nevertheless our  much-loved ‘cousins’. So, it was slightly counter-intuitive to see this headline yesterday:

£18Now, we all know that Ireland has had its deep budgetary problems of late, but this boundless generosity is humbling to us all. Today, £18 is €21.0663, or a generous €0.000003923063 for every man, woman and child in the country (2011 Census).

The Scots keep the Sabbath – and everything else they can lay their hands on.
The Welsh pray on their knees,  and on their neighbours.
The Irish never know what they want – and are willing to fight anybody to get it.
The English consider themselves to be self-made men, thereby relieving the Almighty of a terrible responsibility.

The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven’t seen the joke yet. [Oliver Herford]

If one could teach the English to talk and the Irish to listen, society would be quite civilised. [Oscar Wilde]



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