A Mexican friend of mine once told me that it took her three years to realise that what she took for pleasant comments from her British friends were in fact either patronising or downright insulting. That sadly is not uncommon. The way that we treat foreigners can quite frankly be pretty damning.

Even more so if they happen to be using English as a second language – Americans come right at the top of this category. I should point out that all non-English people are automatically regarded as inferior, so please don’t get hurt or upset about any particular racial slurs. The one thing about the English is that they truly are non-racist. When you are clearly right at the top of the cultural ladder then it is only natural to look down on the rest of the world. It has nothing to do with our sense of superiority, it’s just a fact of life, we are superior so deal with it!

Now that I have cleared the air and set out the first and most important fact, I had better explain a few more essential pieces of information to help you acclimatise to either working with or just meeting English people in social situations. The first of these is how we see various nationalities:

Americans.

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These are hopelessly ill educated people, with a completely misguided sense of their own importance in the world. Just because you have the biggest economy and the best equipped military around, that merely means “Bully” in the eyes of the rest of the world. Yes, you may have the biggest stick, but that doesn’t make you everyone’s favourite.

But far worse than that, you are seemingly incapable of understanding subtlety and nuance. Phrases such as “Have you lost weight?” are not signs of interest, they are our way of asking you how the hell do you manage to find clothes to fit such a huge body. As I said at the start there is nothing worse than wasting carefully crafted insults on morons. Sadly, far too many Americans fit this description.

Canadians

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Educated Americans, who also bother to spell correctly. For this they get extra marks, but then they lose them by trying to brag about their humanitarian status and their credentials as green eco people. Nobody really gives a damn about saving the planet if it means that our fuel bills keep skyrocketing. So cut the crap, accept that a few whales and dolphins are going to be slathered in oil whenever a drilling rig goes wrong and just stop whinging. Oh and don’t get all sniffy when we describe you as Americans with a bit more education. The way that you depend on the Yanks to prop up your economy must have sunk in by now. And besides which you can always snigger at the fact that you export most of your landfill rubbish to Minnesota or some other god-forsaken State.

French

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There’s only one word for these, and it’s a French word “Boff”. Basically it is said with a shrug of the shoulders and means “Who the hell gives a damn!”  And that is just how the French are regarded by most other countries, a nd quite rightly too. After all anyone who has a president whose name is another country (sorry Mr Holland) Perhaps you thought we hadn’t noticed. Well we have, so go and try and get round Angela Merkel by pretending to be Dutch and see if that works.  As for your silly ideas about saving the euro by just saying that things are getting better – well, do remember that on your first day as President you got hit by lightning and then got soaked in a rainstorm. ‘Nuff said!

Indians

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Nice chappies, whose aim is to be more British than us. Weird really that the biggest democracy in the world seems to survive on speaking English with an accent that defies anyone other than another Indian to understand what the hell you are saying.  Main employment is acting as phone non-support for failing companies and utilities. Best known for pissing people off after a five hour phone conversation, that has failed to go anywhere but is always finished with “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Germans

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The real winners of World War Two. Britain has only just finished paying off its debt to America some fifty years after being “Helped” by them. In the meantime Germany has gone from strength to strength and is now the powerhouse of Europe from an industrial perspective.  Not only that but it has happily ensured that its goods remained competitive by dragging more and more countries into the euro and thus added yet more markets for the German industrial giants. Worse still it appears that you do have a sense of humour, which blows our stereotype out of the water! How annoying.

Greeks

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Any country that has managed to pull the wool over the Germans’ eyes for so long has got to be worth at least a grudging wink of approval. For years they have spent money they didn’t have and lied shamelessly to the central European bankers about how well their economy is doing. Eventually when asked about how big a deficit they were running (think overdraft); they finally admitted that they had absolutely no idea. They had been pulling numbers out of a hat for so long that nobody in power actually had the slightest inkling of even what their tax revenues were.

What’s even better is the fact that they now think that they can either a) declare themselves bankrupt go back to the old currency and become the biggest, cheapest and best tourist hotspot for the next twenty years or b) get bailed out so that the Germans don’t lose face!  Either way it looks like they’re onto a winner!

Italians

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Make good and very expensive cars in small numbers, Have a country that is divided into two or three parts. The North is where stuff is made, the south is where the Mafia do whatever it is that they do, which is even more profitable and is exported worldwide; and the Vatican is where the Pope hangs out with the biggest begging bowl in the world. Italy is best summed up by the fact that it receives more farming subsidies for olive growing than there is olive oil in the entire world. So far all investigations (run by an Italian in Brussels) have failed to discover anything untoward.