'UK shamed again...'
We're not as smart as we'd like to think we are - Dean Freidman


This page is powered by Blogger. Why isn't yours?

* * *

Joining the dots...

Gordon Brown and basket-case Britain
"Brown presided over a policy based on excessive consumer spending based on excessive consumer credit based on massively increasing property prices, which were caused by excessively easy credit which could only ultimately lead to disaster."
Paul Moore, The IoS 15/2/09

'Gordon Brown helped fuel Britain's banking crisis by pressurising the City regulator not to intervene and stop reckless lending, the head of the Financial Services Authority said yesterday'"
Daily Telegraph 26/2/09

'We handed over a pivotal role in our economy to those only too happy to take huge risks with it. A cargo cult took hold as the money rolled in, capturing the young turks' bosses, too many politicians, the analysts, the ratings agencies, mortgage brokers, auditors and the millions who avidly absorbed tips from television programmes such as Property Ladder on the new hobby of how to be a property developer. This is an abject lesson in how groupthink can take hold of even developed societies; even the highly educated can be seduced into the tyranny of a fashionable orthodoxy.'
Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian 26/1/09

Forget education, pupils just want to be famous
'Children are turning away from schoolwork because they see education as unhelpful to their ambition to become rich and famous as reality TV stars, a teaching union claims. Their role models include the Beckhams and WAGs – wives and girlfriends of highly paid footballers – according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. "The cult of celebrity...is perverting children's aspirations and expectations"
The Times 14/3/08

Media studies overtakes physics
'Media, film and TV studies has overtaken physics in popularity as an A-level subject this summer'
BBC News 18/08/05

'The steady fall in library usage in Britain is one of many examples of the growing mental sloth of the population'
Daisy Waugh, Sunday Times
19 Nov 06

Our dumb country
'The number of university places available to 18-year-olds who dream of a career in the media now exceeds those for law, medicine and architecture combined.'
Arena magazine Apr02

'The new poverty'
'Jamie Oliver has criticised 'the new poverty' blighting the UK - obsession with widescreen TVs, cars, mobile phones and, above all, beer.'
Daily Mail

Children fit for nothing but the sofa
'Lack of exercise is turning the current generation into couch potatoes. 1 in 5 9-year-olds is overweight. These figures have almost doubled in the past decade and are rising faster than in any other Western nation.'
Times 4/3/02

Children’s enthusiasm for competitive sport is at an all time low..
..with less than a third of British kids, that’s around 2.4 million children, showing any interest in the 2012 Olympics.And 1 in 5 children aged between 7 and 16 couldn’t care less about the Games'
Tesco Sport Report 2006

Child obesity 'doubles in decade'
Childhood obesity in England has doubled in 10 years, figures show. One in four children is obese, the Health and Social Care Information Centre survey of 2,000 children found.
BBC News 21/4/06

Children eat themselves ill
Royal College of Paediatrics hears that the snack culture of the twenty-first century is creating a whole generation which is eating itself sick. Over half five to 18 year olds eat no leafy green vegetables, relying instead on junk food saturated with fat and salt.'
BBC News 30/5/02

Grab-it-and-go culture
'Datamonitor finds that the UK spent more per head on ready meals than any other European country except Sweden. Families have become the main market for them. Traditional 3-meal days have been replaced by eating on the move 5 times a day.'
Guardian 21/12/01

Health a food policy afterthought
'People's health is at risk because of the way British food is being produced and marketed, according to a report. "Current policy is neither efficient nor delivering good human and environmental health." While obesity rises, retail planning makes it hard to walk or bike to the shops.'
BBC News 24/1/02

We need change to the way we plan
'Over the last 50 years, most planning decisions relating to the wider transport network have been based on improving conditions for car travel'
DETR March 2000

Overweight, obesity, and cancer risk
'Safe and attractive places to walk, bicycle, and engage in other activities are essential to help everyone live a healthy life.'
Lancet Oncology vol.3 no9 Sept02

Lazy Brits rely on their cars
'People are swapping health for convenience, opting to drive to out-of-town supermarkets instead of walking to the local shops. 'We've turned into a convenience-based society,' said the British Heart Foundation.'
Daily Express 30/6/01

More time in cars, less time on their feet
'Out-of-town developments not only provide free parking attracting large numbers of customers travelling by car, they also force local authorities to provide more & cheaper parking at competing town centres, and more road capacity to accomodate the traffic seeking access. This undermines the pedestrian environment in town centres.'
Environment Select Committee report July01

Dependency on cars too great to avoid gridlock
'Traffic is increasing relentlessly as our passion for car travel resists all attempts to control it, a government study has found. Congestion is growing at an uncontrollable rate and the Government’s proposed solution, road tolls, will come too late to prevent widespread gridlock.'
The Times 31/1/06

Cappuccino society it ain't
'Retail outlets fled to out-of-town malls, abandoning premises that were reincarnated as lager nirvanas catering for MVVDs - male, volume, vertical drinkers. In Barcelona, where a genuine 24-hr economy exists, people live in the city and all generations feel free to use it. Families, along with elderly folk walking their dogs, mix with revellers enjoying a drink in the warm night air. Try replicating the experience in Preston or Newcastle and hypothermia is likely to take over from the threat of a good kicking as the focus of concern.'
Prof Dick Hobbs, Sunday Times 3/2/02

Britain suffering a drink problem
'Surveys reveal that Britons are now the biggest binge drinkers in the EU. Dr Martin Plant of Bristol Univ and Prof Nick Heather of Newcastle say the levels of drinking among the young are rising to umprecedented levels - 26% of 11-15 year olds drink.'
The Independent 12/8/02

Bog standards
"We are becoming a third-world country in public toileting," says Richard Chisnell, director, British Toilet Association. One consequence, he maintains, is that street fouling has reached "medieval proportions".'
The Economist 17/8/02

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Society: British homes have smallest rooms in Western Euorpe' / The Guardian 10/8/09
'Welcome to 'rabbit hutch Britain'. Homes in Britain have the smallest rooms in western Europe, with the average floor space almost a quarter smaller than in Denmark, which boasts western Europe's most spacious living accommodation. The rooms in newly built private housing are so small that close to half of buyers find their kitchens are so cramped they cannot cook properly for their families, according to the survey by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.' (more)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Society: 'British tourists named the worst behaved in Europe' / Expedia 10/7/09
'British tourists have been named as the worst behaved in Europe, according to new research out today. For the third year running, Europeans have also voted the Brits messy, bad tippers and very likely to complain. The Expedia Best Tourist Index, running annually since 2002, gauges the opinions of over 4,500 hoteliers worldwide to rank different nationalities on their behaviour abroad - everything from spending habits to their willingness to try and speak the local language.' (more)

Society: 'UK is the violent crime capital of Europe' / Daily Telegraph 2/7/09
'The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world according to new research. The total number of violent offences recorded compared to population is higher than any other country in Europe, as well as America, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The UK had a greater number of murders in 2007 than any other EU country – 927 - and the highest absolute number of burglaries, with double the number of offences recorded in Germany and France. (more)

Society: 'Britain is UN's 'cocaine capital of Europe'' / The Independent 25/6/09
'Britain is the cocaine capital of Europe with more than one million regular users of the drug, according to a United Nations report. The report states that the UK "continues to be – in absolute numbers – Europe's largest cocaine market, with its second-highest cocaine use prevalence rate."' (more)

Economy: 'UK leads Europe on food price rises' / Daily Mail 4/6/09
'Food price inflation in the UK is almost four times higher than in the rest of Europe. Figures from the OECD show that UK food inflation las year was 8.6%, compared to an average of 2.2% for the EU. In Germany there was a fall of 0.7%, while in France prices rose just 0.8%.' (more)

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Society: 'Britain has the lowest rape conviction rate in Europe' / The Times 14/5/09
'Rape victims are to be asked why they feel that they are being failed by the criminal justice system as new research suggests that Britain has the lowest conviction rates in Europe. Britain came bottom of 33 countries in the study, which is based on 1,100 case files and takes account of varying official definitions of rape, as well as the different legal processes. The first Europe-wide study of rape conviction rates found that the conviction rate in England & Wales has fallen to 6.5% (from 19% two decades ago); France, by contrast, had a conviction rate of 25% in 2006.' (more)

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Health: 'UK has worst cancer survival rate in Western Europe' / Daily Mail 24/3/09
'Britain has the worst cancer survival record in Western Europe. Survival rates are on a par with Poland and the Czech Republic, even though they spend two-thirds less on cancer. A damning league table shows that Britain is 16th out of 19 countries surveyed. Patients in some European countries are 15% more likely to be alive 5 years after diagnosis. The figures come from the hugely respected Eurocare-4 study, which compared the five-year survival rates of 2.7million adult patients up to 2004.' (more)

Society: 'Britons least likely to intervene' / The Independent 21/3/09
'Research by the think-tank Reform [The Lawful Society report] found that British people are the least likely of all Europeans to step in if they witness a crime. Three-quarters of Britons – as opposed to 45% of French or Germans – think it's the responsibility of the police and courts to confront anti-social behaviour. The idea that intervention is an individual's responsibility seems to be falling away in the UK.' (more)

Environment: 'UK tops league for toxic traffic funes' / Sunday Times 1/3/09
'Britain suffers from the most widespread levels of dangerous traffic fumes in Europe, posing a serious risk to health, according to a government report. Hundreds of local authorities breach EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which has been linked to asthma, stunted lung growth in children and premature death. The fumes on certain stretches of roads breach safety levels in 95% of cities and regions in the UK, compared with 82% in Austria, 52% in Germany and 21% in France.' (more)

Sunday, February 22, 2009
Society: 'British children worst in Europe for cannabis use' / Daily Telegraph 19/2/09
'Children in Britain are the worst in Europe for cannabis abuse, after UN [International Narcotics Control Board] researchers found that almost half of youngsters admitted having used the drug. Some 44% of 15-16 year-olds said they had tried the drug. In comparison countries such as Norway, Sweden and Greece found less than 10 per cent of their youngsters used the drug. Its use by adults in Britain was also among the highest in Europe.' (more)

Transport: 'British rail prices highest in Europe / AFP 19/2/09
'Rail fares are on average at least 50% higher in Britain than in the rest of Europe, a study by customer watchdog Passenger Focus for the government showed. The report found that in Britain, long-distance turn-up-and-go fully flexible return fares to the principal city (London) were 1.87 times more expensive than in Germany, the next most-expensive country surveyed, and 3.31 times more expensive than in the cheapest country, the Netherlands. British annual season tickets for journeys of up to 25 miles were 1.88 times pricier than the next most-expensive country, France, and 4.19 times more expensive than Italy, the cheapest country.' (more)

Sunday, January 25, 2009
Society: 'British youths are most alienated in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 23/01/08
'British youths feel more alienated than those in any other European country, according to a new happiness league table. Interviews with more than 40,000 people across the continent found that 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK have the lowest levels of trust and belonging. Among adults, only those in Slovakia and Bulgaria felt more isolated and distrustful of others. Britons are also less likely to be close to their neighbours than anyone else in Europe, with just 42 per cent claiming to feel community spirit. Among young people this figure falls to less than a third.' (more)

See also: 'New research commissioned by the BBC suggests life in UK 'has become lonelier', with traditional community life fading away.' BBC News 1/12/08

See also: 'Britain tops DNA log league' / The Scotsman 6/2/09
'The proportion of British citizens whose details are logged on a DNA database whether or not they have been convicted of a crime is the highest in the world, a House of Lords report reveals today.' (more) '[The cross-party report also records that] Britain is the world's biggest user of CCTV with an estimated 4 million cameras in operation' / Bloomberg 6/2/09 (more)

View: 'Our safety-first culture [isn't] building a good society but a sick one. This government clings to the fantasy that rules can eliminate risk. They can't, but they can destroy our faith in one another. European countries haven't chosen this path of endless suspicion. Why have we?' / Jenni Russell, The Guardian 4/2/09

Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Society: 'Britain on top in casual sex league / Sunday Times 30/11/08
'A new study has found the British are the most promiscuous western nation. In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.' (more)

[See also: 'The number of women having an abortion in England and Wales exceeded 200,000 for the first time last year. Britain's termination rate is already the highest in Western Europe.' / Daily Mail 28/11/2008 (more)]

Thursday, November 27, 2008
Economy: 'Free-spending Brits have highest credit card debt' / Forbes 26/11/08
'Free-spending Britons have the highest credit card debt of 14 European countries studied by the Datamonitor research group. [Their] propensity to pay for everything from washing machines to weddings on their credit cards has led to the average person having 1,349 euros worth of outstanding credit card debt as of the end of last year. That compares to an average outstanding credit card debt level of just 156 euros in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.' (more)

Thursday, November 06, 2008
Society: UK retains EU cocaine abuse title / Guardian 6/11/08
'The UK remains at the top of the European "league table" for cocaine abuse for the fifth consecutive year, according to the annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Britain's continuing position at top of the table of 27 EU countries is based on the fact that 12.7% of young adults aged 15 to 34 have used the drug.' (more)

Economy: 'UK energy bills rise twice as fast as EU average' / BBC 5/11/08
'Energy prices in the UK have increased twice as fast as the European Union average, according to latest figures. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics showed gas and electricity bills rose 29.7% in the past year compared with 15% in the EU. Government watchdog Consumer Focus said UK customers were being hit "faster and harder" than those in Europe' (more)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Education: 'British primary schools offer least PE in EU' / Independent on Sunday 17/08/08
'In a league table of time spent on physical education in primary and secondary schools, Britain came 15th out of 27 EU nations. In primary schools, some pupils aged between five and 11 are offered just 30 minutes of PE a week – which, together with Ireland, is the lowest in the EU. Schoolchildren in France have four hours a week of PE.' (more)

Transport: 'UK motorists pay more than European neighbours for fuel' / uSwitch 7/8/08
'An in-depth study of petrol and diesel prices in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK over the past 8 years shows that every time a British driver fills up, they are paying an average of 12% more than their European neighbours. In fact, since the year 2000, UK motorists have consistently paid 20% more for their petrol and diesel compared to drivers from the other four largest European countries. In contrast, the Spanish pay 16% less for petrol than anyone else at just 96p per litre.' (more)

Health: 'Britain has highest rates of gullet (oesophageal) cancer in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 18/07/08
'Britain now has the highest rates of gullet (oesophageal) cancer in Europe, leading Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, to issue a "public alert" [in his annual report] urging doctors to look out for the condition, which is declining in other parts of Europe. In Britain cases of oesophageal cancer have risen by 87% in men and 40% in women causing more than 6,000 deaths a year, twice the European average.' (more)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Economy: 'Britain has worst and most expensive fruit and veg in Europe' / Belfast Telegraph 7/7/08
'Britain has the worst supply of fruit and vegetables in the EU, a new Eurostat report [pdf] claims, putting the UK on a par with Lithuania when it comes to the availability of fresh produce. The findings – which also demonstrate that British fruit and vegetables are among the most expensive in Europe – point to the failure of a series of government initiatives to increase our consumption of fruit and vegetables.'

See also: 'UK food prices rising faster than most of the rest of Europe' / Guardian 7/7/08

Monday, June 09, 2008
Society: 'Britain detains more children than any other country in Western Europe' / The Times 09/06/08
'Britain detains more children than any other country in Western Europe, with 2,900 under18s locked up in the past year. The four Children’s Commissioners for England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland have issued a report for the United Nations condemning the punitive youth justice system and the vilification of teenagers as yobs. The report also questioned whether enough was being done to end child poverty. Poor families pay out a bigger proportion of their income in tax than richer families and punitive prepay tariffs often mean that they pay much higher prices for gas and electricity.' (more)

See also: '"It's a moral disgrace that we still have one of the worst child poverty records in Europe," said Kate Green, Child Poverty Action Group's chief executive. "Other countries do better, so why should British children suffer? We can end our child poverty shame and we must." The Independent 09/06/08 (more)

Education: 'English school pupils are amongst the most tested in the world' / HoC May 2008
'Many witnesses argue that..repeated testing has a negative effect on children, leading to demotivation. Teaching to the test and narrowing of the curriculum are also thought to have a negative effect on children. The resulting lack of creativity in teaching impacts on children’s enjoyment of a subject and their motivation to learn.'
House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee report Testing and assessment [pdf] May 2008

See also: 'Truancy rate 'highest since 1997' / BBC News 26/02/08 (more)

View: 'A fear of paedophilia as morphed into a general panic about adult-child relations. [In schools] the priority isn't pupils' wellbeing but to protect teachers from any accustations' / Jenni Russell, The Guardian 4/2/09

Sunday, March 02, 2008
Education: 'UK schools worst in Europe for bullying' / The Guardian 29/2/08
'Bullying in secondary schools is worse in the UK than the rest of Europe, a new British Council survey has found. The study, published today, found that nearly half of UK secondary school pupils (46%) think that bullying is a problem in their school. The situation is perceived to be worse in England, where 48% of pupils think bullying is a problem in school, compared to 43% of pupils in Scotland and 32% in Wales. But more UK students (42%) said they were happier in school most of the time than on average in the rest of Europe (33%).' (more)

Health: 'UK's teenagers most likely to be heavy drinkers' / BMA Feb08
"The British Medical Association is very worried about alcohol consumption among young people, particularly young girls. It is shocking that, in Europe, the UK's teenagers are most likely to be heavy drinkers," Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, said. The BMA report called for a raft of measures to be introduced and pointed to alarming statistics on how much youngsters, particularly teenage girls, drink. It said UK teenagers are among the most likely in Europe to admit heavy drinking and being intoxicated.' (more)

See also: 'Britons drink more heavily that Russians' / Sunday Times 2/3/08
'Britons are heavier drinkers than the Russians, according to official data from the World Health Organisation. Alcohol consumption per head is greater in the UK, and England on its own tops the European table for child and teenage drunkenness.' (more)

See also: Swimming with Crocodiles - The Culture of Extreme Drinking / Ed. by Marjana Martinic, Fiona Measham. Routledge 31 May 08 (more)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Transport: 'UK roads more congested than any major EU country' / Policy Exchange Jan08
'In no other major European country are roads as congested as in the UK. On every kilometre of Britain’s road network more than 1.6 million passenger kilometres are travelled every year – more than twice the European average.* It has been estimated that traffic congestion costs the UK economy as much as £21 billion per year.' (more)
* Calculated using data from Panorama of Transport, Eurostat, 2007

[See also:'Huge rise in traffic choking the roads' / The Times 17/01/08
'Motorists are using cars more and more despite record fuel prices, higher vehicle taxes, and entreaties by the Government for greater use of public transport. Traffic has risen sharply in the past decade in almost every part of England except Inner London.The figures, published in a written parliamentary answer yesterday, show that across England road traffic rose by 12 per cent between 1997 and 2006.' (more)]

Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Society: 'Britain rated worst in Europe for protecting privacy' / Guardian 31/12/07
'Britain, the country with the world's biggest network of surveillance cameras, has the worst record in Europe for the protection of privacy, according to a report from a London-based international watchdog. The UK is billed as "an endemic surveillance society" alongside Russia, the US, Singapore and China in the survey of 47 countries by Privacy International (PI). Britain is bottom in Europe because of its cameras, ID card plans and lack of government accountability.' (more)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Society: 'Britain stuck at bottom of social mobility league' / Reuters 13/12/07
'Social mobility has not improved in Britain in 30 years with bright children from poor families being overtaken by less able youngsters from rich homes by the age of seven, a report [says]. The findings show that the academic progress of children is still overwhelmingly linked to parental income, providing few opportunities to close the wealth gap, said the Sutton Trust charity which commissioned the study [pdf]. "Shamefully, Britain remains stuck at the bottom of the international league tables when it comes to social mobility," said Peter Lampl, the trust's chairman. "It is appalling that young people's life chances are still so tied to the fortunes of their parents, and that this situation has not improved over the last three decades." (more)

[See also: How equal are educational opportunities? Family background and student achievement in Europe and the US / Ludger Woessmann, CESIFO Working Paper No. 1162 [pdf] March 2004:
'The results of this paper are generally in line with the broad pattern of the existing crosscountry evidence on intergenerational earnings mobility, which found that the United States and the United Kingdom appear to be relatively immobile societies']

Economy: UK still setting the pace on personal debt / Financial Markets 7/12/07
'The UK is now responsible for a third of all unsecured debt in Western Europe
- average consumer debt in the UK: £3,008
- average consumer debt for Western Europe: £1,558' (more)

Thursday, November 22, 2007
Economy: Britain retains European shoplifting supremacy / Times 20/11/07
'Britain is the shoplifting capital of Europe, with more than £1.5 billion worth of products a year being stolen by customers. The annual Global Retail Theft Barometer [compiled by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham and Checkpoint Systems] looked at more than 800 retail giants, covering 32 countries, and responsible for £447 billion worth of sales every year and found that Britain had the worst record for what it refers to as “shrinkage”. It has topped the table for the past three years in Europe.' (more)

Monday, November 19, 2007
Environment: 'UK still top of the rubbish heap' / EDIE 13/11/07
'The UK is the "dustbin of Europe" and dumps more household waste into landfill than any other EU country, the Local Government Association has said. More than 22.6m tonnes of UK rubbish was buried in landfill in 2005 - the same amount of rubbish as the 18 EU countries with the lowest landfill rates combined, although together they have almost twice the population of the UK.' (more)

Transport: 'UK motorway network bottom of the European league' / Road Users' Alliance 15/12/07
'Decades of under-investment have placed the UK motorway network at the bottom of the EU–25. Road File 2007/08, the annual compilation of road statistics published today by the Road Users’ Alliance (RUA), reveals that Britain has more cars per motorway mile than any EU-25 nation. Far from competing with Germany or France, Britain’s roads languish on a par with Lithuania, Slovakia and Hungary.' (more)

Society: 'Britons have worst state pension in EU' / Daily Mail 12/11/07
'Millions of Britons are being condemned to poverty in old age by the worst state pension in the EU, a study shows. The basic state pension of £87.30 a week is equivalent to just 17 per cent of the average wage, it found. This figure rises to 30 per cent once pension payments related to earnings are taken into account. But this is still only half the EU average of 60 per cent, the financial firm Aon Consulting said. Its study concluded: "The inadequacy of the state system is beyond question." (more)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Health: 'British are the fattest in Europe, says Government' / The Independent 23/10/07
'British people are the fattest in Europe, drink more alcohol, eat less fruit and vegetables and are more likely to die from smoking than the average across the European Union. Despite declining teenage pregnancy rates, the UK still has the highest proportion of births to under-20s compared with other western European countries. The figures are set out in the Health Profile for England 2007, published by the Department of Health yesterday.' (more)

Monday, October 22, 2007
Society: Britain still top for teenage pregnancies / Daily Telegraph 18/10/07
'Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe, according to a worldwide report into sexual and reproductive health risks to women. The authors of the report A Measure of Survival: Calculating Women's Sexual and Reproductive Risk [released by Population Action International] warned that teenagers, whose pregnancies were often unplanned, run a higher risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.' (more)

Thursday, August 30, 2007
Health: 'Britain the worst for deaths from strokes' / The Times 24/8/07
'Patients who suffer strokes receive worse treatment in Britain than anywhere else in Western Europe. More die and more are left disabled, a leading expert says in this week’s British Medical Journal, even though Britain spends [at least as much as] other countries on stroke care. The gap is wide, according to Hugh Markus, of St George’s University of London medical school. One study showed that 15 to 30% more stroke patients were left dead or disabled in Britain than in other countries'. In many countries in Europe, and in North America and Australia, 20 to 30% of patients get [clot-busting] drugs. In Britain the figure is less than 1%. Britain also treats fewer patients in dedicated stroke units than other countries, though setting up such units costs nothing and there is abundant evidence that they improve outcomes.' (more)

Monday, August 13, 2007
Economy: 'UK bottom of the league for holiday entitlement' / BBC News 13/8/07
'The UK is set to stay at the bottom of the league for holiday entitlement in the EU even after a rise to 28 days in April 2009, a survey warns. A change in EU rules means the UK will have to stop counting its eight public holidays towards the EU 20-day minimum. But Incomes Data Services says the UK will still lag entitlement elsewhere, which ranges from 28-29 days in the Netherlands to 39.5 days in Denmark. (more)

Monday, July 30, 2007
Society: 'British teens the worst behaved in Europe' / Daily Mail 26/7/07
'British teenagers are the worst behaved in Europe, a report has revealed. They are more likely to binge-drink, take drugs, have sex at a young age and start fights. The IPPR report found that 44% of British youngsters had been involved in a physical fight in the previous year against 28% in Germany, 36% in France and 38% in Italy. 38% confessed to under-age sex, almost double the French figure. The same percentage had tried cannabis, more than five times the rate in Sweden. Our teenagers are also bigger drinkers, with 27 per cent admitting to getting drunk regularly. In Italy, the figure is five per cent and in France it is just three per cent. The researchers found that UK children rarely talk in any depth to their parents or sit down to family meals. The IPPR also says British adults areless likely than our European counterparts to confront teenagers about antisocial behaviour and vandalism.' (more)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Education: 'British students are laziest in Europe' / The Times 30/6/07
'British students are the laziest in Europe, according to a survey of how much time they devote to their course. Undergraduates across the UK confessed to putting in an average 32-hour week during term-time, including lectures, seminars, library time and working at home. The British performance was some way below the European average of 39 hours, and ten hours a week behind the French, according the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market at Maastricht University. The survey [also] indicated that British students were the least likely to carry on with their studies at a higher level. Only 5 per cent of British students took up postgraduate study compared with the European level of 18 per cent.' (more)

Monday, April 02, 2007
Society: 'British more dependent on cars than any other European nation' / The Times 31.3.07
'Despite being less likely to own a car, Britons rely on them more heavily. They are reluctant to catch buses and will leave their cars behind only if there is a convenient train. Only the Portuguese walk less, a survey has found. The Government's Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) studied travel patterns in major European countries to learn how to reduce congestion and improve quality of life. The starkest difference between Britain and the rest of Europe was in the level of cycling. The CfIT study found that the average Briton cycled 75km (46 miles) a year, while the average European cycled almost three times as far, covering 18km.' (more)

See also: 'Britons rely on their cars for 80% of travel' / Guardian 31/8/07
"UK citizens know the transport system lags behind those in Europe. The UK's congested network would do better with a dose of European medicine, showing how to run a truly joined-up transport system." (more)

Economy: 'British hotel prices the highest in Europe' / The Times 28.3.07
'Hotels in Britain are the costliest in Europe, with the price of an overnight stay in London rising by 22 per cent last year. The overall average cost of a night in a British hotel is £98. Bath, at an average of £114 per night, offers the nation’s most expensive lodging. The figures are compiled from data gathered from millions of travellers who book accommodation via the website hotels.com, which lists 20,000 hotels in more than a thousand locations worldwide.' (more)

Thursday, March 01, 2007
Society: 'UK jobless households highest in Europe' / The Times 21/02/07
'Britain has the highest number of children in Europe with no working parent, a European Commission report says. Two million live in “jobless households” on state benefits. The 16.2% of under-18s with no working parent at home is far higher than both the EU average of 9.5% and the general unemployment rate of 4.8%. The figure reflects the concentration of poverty in parts of Britain as well as the high level of one-parent families, experts say.' (more)

Health: 'UK women officially the fattest in Europe' / Daily Mail 21/2/07
'The scale of the obesity crisis was laid bare last night when an alarming report revealed Britons are the fattest people in Europe. The authoritative Eurostat yearbook places Britain at the top of a chart of obesity of the EU's 27 member countries. Second and third place are taken by Germany and Malta. British women head the EU league, with 23 per cent clinically obese, and men fare little better, with 22.3 per cent classified as obese -behind only Malta.' (more)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Society: 'Britain's children unhappiest in Western world' / The Times 14/02/07
'Britain’s children are the unhappiest in the West, according to a Unicef study of 21 industrialised countries. Not only do they drink the most, smoke more and have more sex than their peers, they rate their health as the poorest, dislike school more and are among the least satisfied with life. Their relative poverty, the lack of time spent eating meals with their parents and mistrust of classmates mean that Britain languishes at the bottom of the wellbeing league table.' (more)

[see also: loads of stuff below]

Friday, February 09, 2007
Society: UK comfortably retains 'least keen EU member' title / Eurobarometer 66
Bi-annual polling of every member nation reveals that the UK again finishes plum bottom of every broad index of trust in / support and regard for the European Union. 'The United Kingdom is the only Member State where fewer than 4 out of 10 citizens trust the European Parliament.'
[Eurobarometer 66 pdf]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Society: 'UK is Euro No1.. for burglary' / The Sun 6/2/07
'Britain has more burglaries and assaults than any of the other 26 Euro states. And we have the second highest crime rate in Europe, a Brussels report revealed yesterday. The only country worse is Ireland, according to The European Crime and Safety Survey. Home Office minister Tony McNulty said: "The survey is three years out of date and we have concerns about its quality and the comparisons".'

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Society: 'Britain the lock-up capital of Europe' / Daily Telegraph 29/1/07
'Prisons in England and Wales lock up more people per head of the population than any other major country in Europe. The 7th World Prisons list pdf [from the International Centre for Prison Studies,King's College, London] published today shows an incarceration rate of 148 per 100,000, higher than any western EU member apart from Luxembourg. While England and Wales's incarceration rate is 148 per 100,000, today's figures show rates of 95 in Germany, 85 in France, 104 in Italy and 128 in Holland. Only Spain among the larger EU countries rivals Britain, with 145.' (more)

Health: 'UK kids spend more on sweets than EU counterparts' / Guardian 26/1/07
'British children as young as five spend more than £100 a year on fizzy drinks and sweets, far more than their European counterparts, according to research from Datamonitor. Author Nick Beevors said:"Kids in the UK continue to top a number of unhealthy eating food consumption charts."' (more)

[See also: 'UK youth Europe’s biggest snackers' / Just-food 6/10/06]
[See also: 'Children’s enthusiasm for competitive sport at an all time low' / Tesco Sport Report 2006]
[See also: Child obesity 'doubles in decade' / BBC News 21/4/06]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Transport: 'UK transport costs higher than any in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 10/1/07
'Transport costs are higher in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new report [from the Centre for Business and Economic Research]. Britons spend 15 per cent of their disposable income on travel and pay almost twice as much for bus and train tickets as people on the continent, the study found, while journey times for commuters have increased over the past decade. A recent survey of train prices across Europe found the cost of a typical long-distance rail journey in Britain worked out at 55p a mile, compared with 17p a mile in France and Germany, 16p a mile in Spain and just 11p a mile in Italy.' (more)

Economy: 'UK pensions are Europe's worst' / Daily Mail 9/1/07
'The state pension is worse in Britain than in any other European country, according to a report yesterday. Countries such as Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia were all said to give their pensioners a better deal. The research, European Pensions Barometer [pdf], which was published by pension consultants Aon, compared the "adequacy" of state pension in all 25 members of the European Union in 2006.' (more)

Environment: 'Britain worst in Europe for landfill use' / Scotsman 8/1/07
'Britain was branded the "dustbin of Europe" yesterday as new figures showed it dumps more household waste into landfill than any other EU country. Analysis by the Local Government Association revealed that Britain sends seven million tonnes more rubbish into landfill than any other country in Europe. Germany, with a population 25% larger than the UK, puts less than half that amount of rubbish in the ground. The report estimates that, on current trends, the country will run out of landfill space in less than nine years' (more)

Monday, October 23, 2006
Environment:'British are Europe's worst energy wasters' / BBC News 23/10/06
'British people are Europe's worst energy wasters, with bad habits such as leaving appliances on stand-by likely to waste £11bn by 2010, a study claims. The Energy Saving Trust's Habits of a Lifetime report said 71% of UK consumers admit to leaving stand-by buttons on once a week. The comparison with German consumers, who top the energy efficiency league, reveals major differences. Britons leave chargers on three times as much as Germans, they leave stand-by buttons on twice as much and forget to switch off lights four times as much. Almost half (48%) of Britons admit to using the car for short journeys rather than public transport, walking or cycling.' (more)

Society: 'British teens most sexually active in Europe' / IPPR 23/10/06
'New research from the Institute for Public Policy Research shows that British teenagers are the most sexual active in Europe and are third least likely to use a condom during underage sex. Britain has the highest rate of births to teenagers in Europe, with an average of 26 live births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 – nearly a fifth higher than Latvia, the country with the next highest rate, and more than four times the rate of Cyprus, Slovenia, Sweden and Denmark.' (more)

Society: 'British adults less likely than Europeans to challenge anti-social teens' / BBC News 22/10/06
'Britain is in danger of becoming a nation fearful of its young people, a report has claimed. It says British adults are less likely than those in Europe to intervene when teenagers commit anti-social behaviour, were more likely than their European counterparts to say that young people were predominantly responsible for anti-social behaviour, and cite "lack of discipline as the root cause of anti-social behaviour". The Britons who were unwilling to get involved claimed they feared being physically attacked or verbally abused - or that they would be the victim of subsequent reprisals. The Institute for Public Policy Research blamed changes in the family, communities and the economy for the "increased risk of youth crime". (more)

Health: 'Britons have worst diets in Europe' / Which? 11/10/06
'British people have the worst diets in Europe according to the head of the nation’s food watchdog. Food Standards Agency (FSA) Chairman Dame Deirdre Hutton says all parts of society are eating badly and 'although other countries in Europe are catching us up or at least showing a trend growing the same way, we nonetheless remain right at the bottom in terms of poor nutrition and obesity.’ (more)

[See also: 'UK youth Europe’s biggest snackers' / Just-food 6/10/06]

Health: 'Britain becomes the fat man of Europe' / Telegraph 11/10/06
'Britain is the fattest country in Europe, the Government said yesterday as it published the most comprehensive picture yet of the nation's health. Figures [from The Health Profile of England] report show that 23 per cent of adults are classified as obese, ahead of Spain (13.1 per cent), Germany (12.9), France (9.4) and Italy (8.5).The problem is growing among children, with the percentage up from 9.9 per cent in 1995 to 14.3 in 2004. Caroline Flint, the public health minister, said that too many people saw fruit and vegetables as "scary food".' (more)

Economy: 'Brits pile up Europe's worst debts' / Metro 27/9/06
'Over-spending Britons are responsible for a third of all unsecured debt in Western Europe, a study reveals today. The average 'plastic-happy' British consumer owes £3,008 in unsecured debts – almost twice as much as his continental cousin, the report shows. The latest figures show that Britain's personal debt mountain, including mortgage debt, has spiralled to £1.2trillion. The consumer credit market alone hit £215billion last year, making us the most indebted country in Western Europe, according to analyst group Datamonitor.' (more)

Economy: 'Britain scores lowest in Europe-wide shopping IQ test' / Visa 27/9/06
'Surely not? Britain has come last again! This time it's for everyday shopping in a Europe-wide study by Visa UK to compare our Shopping IQ scores against old rivals France and Germany and traditional big spenders, Italy and Spain. Of the nine countries researched by Visa UK, shoppers in Britain scored the lowest overall in the Shopping IQ tests. The study focused on five main areas: thriftiness, self-control, openness to trying new products, comparison shopping (in store and online), and researching items prior to purchasing.' (more)
See also: 'Britain becomes 'never, never land' as personal debt runs out of control' / The Independent 26/9/06

Friday, May 12, 2006
Economy: 'UK has lowest maternity pay in Western Europe' / FinFacts 11/5/06
'The UK has the lowest level of statutory maternity pay in Western Europe, according to a new study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The study covered 13 European countries and the comparisons are based on statutory pay built up over six months’ maternity leave. For women earning €22,000 a year, the total pay accumulated after six months’ maternity leave would be just €5,300 in the UK and €5,850 in Ireland. Entitlements in Germany would also be relatively low, at €5,900, along with those in France, Spain and the Netherlands, all at €6,750. At the other end of the scale, pay received after six months’ leave in Italy would be €9,150 while in Denmark and Norway it would be as much as €11,000.' (more)

Society: 'Britain tops European yobs league' / Telegraph.co.uk 9/5/06
'Britain has the worst reputation for yobbish behaviour in Europe, researchers have found. A survey published today blames drunkenness and a breakdown of discipline in homes and schools for levels of anti-social behaviour greater than anything seen elsewhere in the EU. The study, devised with help from the Jill Dando Institute, found that almost three-quarters of people questioned across six of the biggest member states believed the problem was worse here than anywhere else, with France next worst. Almost 70 per cent thought the "booze culture" caused anti-social behaviour.' (more)

Monday, April 17, 2006
Health: 'Britons are biggest chocoholics in Europe' / Independent 13/4/06
'Britons are the biggest chocoholics in Europe, munching through an average 10kg (220lb) per year. In 2005, the UK accounted for one quarter of the total European spend on chocolate. The national sweet tooth cost an average £72 per person last year, compared to the Italians, who spent £18, market analysts Datamonitor said. (more)

Health: 'Britain tops European league for cocaine use' / Independent 13/4/06
'Britain is now top of the European league table for cocaine use and is fast approaching levels seen in America, according to the main EU drug agency. Alarmingly, this trend includes the use of the class-A drug among children of secondary school-age, which has doubled in a year.' (more)
[See Nov 29 2005 below]

Economy: 'UK lags behind in finance planning' / Find.co.uk 10/4/06
'UK residents are lagging behind their European counterparts in the amount of time we spend planning our finances. Brits don't spend as much time as the French, the Germans, the Italians and the Spanish when it comes to managing their money and also seem to lack rationality in the little time they do spend planning. People in the UK are spending a disproportionate amount of time planning their car insurance, for example, instead of their pensions which should provide income for years rather than last for just 12 months, according to Scottish Widows.' (more)

Health: 'UK 'tops binge drinking league'' / BBC News 7/4/06
'People in the UK top the western European binge drinking league, a study shows. Drinkers in the UK consume 6.3 units of alcohol - equivalent of 2.2 pints of strong lager - on a night out, market analysts Datamonitor found. This compared to an average European drinking rate of 5.1 units - 1.8 pints. Average UK nightly drinking levels fell by 0.5 of a unit since 2000. But the rate of 6.3 units was still higher than in Germany at 5.5 units, Spain, 5.3 units and France, 4.9 units. The Netherlands and Sweden were at the bottom of the drinking league, consuming 3.9 and 3.1 units per night out.' (more)

Society: 'Self-harm in UK highest in Europe' / Observer 26/3/06
'A hidden epidemic of self-harm is affecting teenagers across Britain, with one adolescent in 12 deliberately injuring themselves on a regular basis. The most comprehensive report into the issue, Truth hurts [available here], will say that there are likely to be two children in every classroom who self-harm. 'We have the highest rate of self-harm in Europe,' said Catherine McLoughin, inquiry chairwoman.' (more)

Sunday, March 05, 2006
Environment: 'Britain worst in Europe for power station pollution' / Independent on Sunday 5/3/06
'Britain is Europe's worst polluter, with 18 of the continent's 50 filthiest power stations, which are responsible for killing more than 7,600 people a year, a new report concludes. The report [via the Swedish Secretariat on Acid Rain] says Britain has nearly three times as many of the worst air polluters as its nearest rival. Poland has seven, the Czech Republic six, Spain five and Germany four. (more)

Economy: 'Gender pay gap in UK worst in Europe' / The Times 27/2/06
'A Government commission recommended the wholesale reform of Britain's career education system today to try to close the country's gender pay gap, which is the worst in Europe. Thirty years after the Equal Pay Act came into force, the Women and Work Commission found that the average full-time pay gap between men and women remains 13%. The gap between the average part-time woman's wage and a full-time men's wage is 41%. (more)

Sunday, February 05, 2006
Health: 'British are fattest in Europe despite diet boom' / The Independent 3/2/06
'Britons have the thickest waistlines in Europe despite being one of the biggest spenders on diet products, a survey has revealed. The Datamonitor report, partly based on medical and government figures for 2004, found 40% of the UK's population was overweight. John Band, author of the survey, said "It is a reflection of the way Britain does not have the same tradition of cooking as people in mainland Europe. Lives in Britain are more 'on the go', with people working longer hours, having to maximise leisure time with higher drinking".' (more)

Thursday, January 19, 2006
Society: 'Prison population 'highest in Western Europe'' / politics.co.uk 18/1/06
'England and Wales have the highest prison rates in western Europe, new figures show. The latest international imprisonment league table - based on statistics compiled by the Council of Europe - shows these countries have imprisonment rates 50 per cent higher than France, Germany and Italy, and almost twice that of their Scandinavian counterparts. "Not only do we send a higher proportion of our own citizens to prison than any other western European country, we also trump Turkey, Armenia and Bulgaria in the imprisonment stakes," said Frances Cook, director of the Howard League of Penal Reform, which published the figures [pdf]. "Is this really where we want to be?'

Saturday, January 07, 2006
Health: 'Increase in liver cirrhosis deaths largest in Western Europe' / MedicalNewsToday 7/1/06
'Britain has had the steepest increase in death rates from liver cirrhosis in western Europe since the 1950s, according to a study in this week's issue of The Lancet. The authors blame increases in alcohol consumption, particularly wine and spirits, as the main reason for the rise in liver cirrhosis mortality. 'The UK Government has turned a determined blind eye to the problem and has failed to make the reduction of the population's alcohol intake a policy goal.'' (more)

Economy: 'British banks bottom of the league for processing payments' / Forum for Private Business Dec05
'British banks are bottom of the European league when it comes to processing consumer payments. In Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Finland and the Netherlands, electronic payments are cleared on the same day. In Sweden, the clearance process can take just a couple of hours, with payments made in the morning appearing in customers’ bank accounts that afternoon. The fact that British businesses have to wait up to five days for a cheque to clear puts them at a competitive disadvantage to businesses in other European countries.' (more)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Society: 'Britain tops EU league for cocaine abuse' / Guardian 25/11/05
'Britain is now top of the European "league table" for cocaine abuse and is fast approaching levels seen in America, according to the annual report of EU's drug agency, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction . Nearly 12% of all young adults under the age of 35 in Britain have tried the drug at least once.' (more)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Environment: 'Britain leads EU in illegal timber imports' / Independent 22/12/05
'According to research from the conservation group WWF 28% of timber arriving in the UK comes from trees that should still be standing and Britain's imports of illegal wood are higher than any other country in the EU. Illegal logging causes manifold social and environmental problems, including climate change, lower public revenue, increased corruption, removal of indigenous people from tribal land and habitat loss for endangered animals.' (more)

Monday, November 14, 2005
Economy: 'Brain drain from UK is 'worst in the world'' / Independent 25/10/05
'Britain has lost more skilled workers to the global "brain drain" than any other country, according to a report by the World Bank. More than 1.44 million graduates have left the UK to look for more highly paid jobs in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. That far outweighs 1.26 million immigrant graduates in the UK, leaving a net "brain loss" of some 200,000 people.' (more)

Economy: UK retains retail theft 'crown' / Centre for Retail Research Oct05
'Britain's stores still have the highest shrinkage (stock loss from crime or wastage) rate in Western Europe, but, if current trends continue, next year UK retailers will lose this unwanted 'crown.' (more)

Saturday, October 01, 2005
Health: 'UK worst major European country at dealing with hepatitis C' / Hepatitis C Trust 30/9/05
'A shocking new report [pdf] confirms that the UK is facing a hepatitis C time bomb. The report compared France, Germany, Italy and Spain to the UK. The study demonstrates that we are at the bottom of each league table in every aspect of dealing with the virus. This is largely due to failure to identify and treat a sufficient number of people infected with the disease.' (more)

Thursday, August 25, 2005
Society: UK retains 'least keen Europeans' title / Eurobarometer July 05
Despite the expansion of the EU to 25 member states latest survey data from Eurobarometer shows the UK continuing to hold off all-comers as it's least enthusiastic, most sceptical member nation. UK citizens indicated:
-the most negative image of EU
-least support for common foreign policy
-least support for greater political union
-least satisfaction with EU democracy
-least support for single currency
-least trust in EU institutions generally

See: Eurobarometer 63 July05 [pdf]

Society: 'Britain shooting up European drinking league' / Daily Telegraph 25/8/05
Trebles all round!

Saturday, July 09, 2005
Economy: 'UK temps fare worst in Europe' / Personnel Today 23/6/05
'UK agency workers are the least protected in Europe, according to a new report. Even agency workers in Poland and Slovenia have more rights than UK temps, a TUC report out today claims. The EU Temp Trade shows that the UK is one of only three European countries where temporary workers are paid less than people doing similar jobs full-time. It is also one of only four other countries which do not operate a licensing scheme to protect temps from cowboy agencies. The TUC claims that negotiations about the Temporary Agency Workers Directive have deprived UK temps of decent pay and basic rights while almost all EU countries have already acted to protect their temps, with no adverse economic effects.' (more)

Monday, June 20, 2005
Society: 'Britons watching most TV in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 16/6/05
'People in Britain watch more television and read fewer books than in any other European country, a study reveals. A poll of 30,000 people found that the typical Briton spends 18 hours slumped in front of the television set every week. He or she spends only 5.3hrs reading books, magazines or newspapers. The French watch just over 17hrs of television but read for nearly seven hours a week, while Swedes watch for 12hrs and read for 6.9hrs. The Spanish watch 15.9hrs of television, the Germans 15.2hrs and Italians 14.9hrs, according to the survey of 30 countries by the research company NOP World. (more)

Friday, May 27, 2005
Health: 'Britain has highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe' / BBC News 26/5/05
'Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe. In urban areas, which account for the majority of the hot spots, as many as one in 10 young girls become pregnant. Around 20% of conceptions among under 18s are second pregnancies.' (more)

Economy: 'UK employee protection weakest in Europe' / Clearlybusiness 16/5/05
'UK employee protection is the weakest in Europe, trade union Amicus claims. Established information and consultation rights and stronger redundancy protection in the rest of Europe are making UK workers more vulnerable to job cuts by multinational companies, the union claims. "Unless we have employment protection parity with other European countries, UK workers will continue to be the soft touch when it comes to slashing jobs," said Derek Simpson, Amicus gen. secretary. In the last qtr of 2004 the European Restructuring Monitor for the UK recorded 69 restructuring cases, 57 of which involved job losses in excess of 100, the highest rate in all of the 18 EU countries monitored. Britain also has the highest number of redundancies [over that period]' (more)

Economy: 'British pensions 'worst in Western world' / Management Issues 3/5/05
'British pensions are among the most miserly in the Western world, and will mean UK workers retiring on incomes below almost all other developed nations. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has called how the UK funds retirement one of the "least generous" pensions systems in the world", ranking Britain 26th out of 30 developed countries. A person earning an average salary of £22,000 would collect a state pension equivalent to 48 per cent of their after-tax earnings, it calculated.' By comparison, state pension schemes in most other developed nations – including Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Turkey – provided 75 per cent of an employee's after-tax earnings. (more)

Economy: 'UK managers worst in Europe for staff communication' / Personnel Today 4/4/05
'ISR research among 40,000 workers, including 10,000 in the UK, found that managers in Britain were ranked the poorest in Europe for informing employees about any important business developments. The research was released ahead of the Information and Consultation Regulations which come into force on Wednesday 6 April 2005.'

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Education: 'Britain is Europe's foreign languages dunce' / Independent 24/12/04
'Research to be published in the new year [by CILT, the National Centre for Languages] will show that fewer people in Britain can speak a second language than anywhere else in the continent. Only one in three Britons can speak a second language - compared with 98 per cent in Luxembourg, which tops the table.' (more)

Health: 'British are biggest consumers of chocolate in Europe' / Comment Wire 17/12/04
'Chocoholic Brits each eat over 10kg of chocolate a year. Not only are they keener than people in much of the rest of Europe on snacking between meals; they are also less willing to switch to healthier alternatives. The UK is by far the largest European chocolate market in value terms, spending £3.7 billion on chocolate in 2003, nearly a third of the total European market.' (more)

Sunday, December 05, 2004
Society: 'British top Euro league of cocaine abusers' / The Guardian 26/11/04
'Britain now tops the European table for cocaine abuse, according to a study by the EU's drugs monitoring centre. The report says 5% to 7% of Britons aged 15 to 24 have used the class A drug recently, with levels in towns and cities likely to be "substantially higher". On cannabis, the report reveals that English boys are more likely than other European teenagers to have smoked a joint. England also has the highest proportion of heavy users, with 10% of 15- and 16-year-old boys having smoked it more than 40 times in the previous year.' (more)
See also: Flash Eurobarometer No.158 Young people and drugs [pdf]
'The poll shows that the British and Irish are more likely than other Europeans to think occasional ecstasy use is harmless.' Indy on Sunday 7/11/04

Economy: 'UK's "part-time pay penalty" for women is worst in Europe' / Employersnews.co.uk Nov04
'The UK has the worst part-time pay penalty anywhere in Europe, according to new research published today by the Department of Trade and Industry, and one of the worst records in allowing women to shift from full-time to part-time work without a demotion or job-change.' (more)

Friday, October 15, 2004
Economy: 'Britain biggest tax rules offender among European states' / The Times14/10/04
'Britain is the biggest offender among European states in tax rules that breach EU law, according to a leading accountancy firm, potentially costing the Treasury billions of pounds in lost tax revenues. Britain emerges top of the list in research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Breaches of the EU treaties expose Britain to a potential flood of litigation.' (more)

Society: 'Britain finishes last in Ambition Olympic Games' / Visa July 04
'Research [by ICM for Visa] reveals that 23% of British men and women admit to having never set themselves a goal - a figure considerably higher than other European nations. Britain's nearest rival for the least ambitious Gold medal is Italy where 16.1% revealed goalless lives. With only 2% saying they have never set themselves a goal, Norwegians and the Portuguese are shown to be Europe's most driven, narrowly ahead of the Greeks (2.4%) and the Turks on 3%. (more)

Monday, June 28, 2004
Transport: 'Motorway services 'worst in Europe'' / BBC News 23/6/04
'The Uk has the worst motorway service stations in Europe, a survey says. The UK finished bottom for the third year running in the survey of stations in 10 countries carried out by the AA Motoring Trust. The UK fared especially badly in terms of the cost and quality of food, and hygiene standards.' (more)

Society: 'British teenagers lag behind world's young' / The Independent 4/6/04
'They drink too much, smoke too much, feel under massive work pressure and don't even really like each other - British children are among the unhealthiest and unhappiest in the world, according to World Health Organisation report. English and Welsh youngsters have the highest rates of drinking and get drunk at a younger age than children from most other countries.' (more)

Monday, May 10, 2004
Health: 'Britain bottom of the league for dentists' / Daily Mail 10/5/04
'Research ranks Britain last in terms of dentists per head of population. Greece has nearly three times as many, while in France and Germany it is almost double. The study shows that there are 3.7 NHS dentists per 10,000 people in England and 3.6 in Wales. There are ten in Greece and Sweden. (more)

Sunday, May 09, 2004
Education: 'Performance gap between private and state schools biggest in world' / Ind on Sunday 2/5/04
'The gap in performance between independent and state schools is higher in the UK than anywhere else in the world, according to a report by Prof. Alan Smithers of Liverpool University's Centre for Education and Employment.' (more)
See also: 'Demand grows for private education' 28/4/04
'More parents are choosing to send their children to independent schools despite record rises in fees. The number of pupils in the fee-paying sector has grown for a record ninth successive year as wealthier parents turn their backs on state education.' (more)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Health: 'Euro shame for UK on lung deaths' / Evening News 27/4/04
'The UK is languishing at the bottom of the European league table for lung health, a report revealed today. More people die from respiratory diseases such as asthma and pneumonia in the UK than in any other European Union country apart from Ireland, according to the European Respiratory Society. The ERS’s European Lung White Book showed the death rate from respiratory diseases in the UK was 105 per 100,000 people - twice the EU average. The only countries where there was a higher death rate were the former Soviet Union countries Kyrgzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and Ireland.' (more)

Health: 'Britain worst in Europe as self-harm increases' / The Times 31/4/04
'Britain has the highest rates of recorded self-harm in Europe. It leads to 150,000 attendances at accident and emergency units a year. More than half of self-harmers are discharged without psychiatric assessment.' (more)

Society: 'UK teen birth rates highest in western Europe' / Daily Telegraph 5/4/04
'Teenage birth rates in Britain remain the highest in western Europe. One in every 10 babies born in England is to a teenage mother.'
See: Teenage Pregnancy Unit, 'Latest progress report'

Monday, February 09, 2004
Environment: 'Britain's environment record lower than Bangladesh' / Independent 6/2/04
'An international study places Britain's record on the environment below that of Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea. The global index of environmental sustainability, measuring water quality, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and nuclear-reactor safety, ranked the UK 91st in the world. After Britain's economic position was factored in, it came out worse than every other European country except Belgium.' (more)

Society: 'England&Wales leads EU in jailing people' / Guardian 2/2/04
'England and Wales jail more offenders per capita than any other European Union country, according to new figures. The imprisonment rate of 141 per 100,000 makes the countries the prison capital of Europe for the second year running. The data, published by the World Prison Population List [pdf], shows that the courts jail proportionately more people than Libya, Burma and Turkey. France imprisons 93 per 100,000 of its citizens while Germany jails 98. On January 4, the English and Welsh prison population stood at 73,688 inmates, a rise of 2,729 in the past year. (more)

Health: 'UK spend on food consumed on the move highest in Europe' / BBC News 23/1/04
'UK residents spend an average £229 a year on food consumed in transit, the highest in Europe, Datamonitor says. In contrast, Spanish people spend only £56 a year, while Italians spend £128 a year on average. The report's author says the difference is due to the greater amount of time Britons spend at work and commuting. Britons have the longest commuting times in Europe, spending on average 48 minutes a day travelling to and from work.' (more)

Society: 'UK has the highest level of surveillance in world' / The Independent 12/1/04
'More than four million surveillance cameras monitor our every move, making Britain the most-watched nation in the world, research has revealed. (more)

Health: 'Child asthma rates are highest in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 23/21/03
'Twice as many British children suffer from asthma as children in other European countries, a survey has shown. The European Commission said that the asthma rate for the UK was 13.8% compared with the European average of 7.2%. Poor diets may contribute to the high asthma figures as British children do not tend to eat as much foods containing vitamin E as many European children.'

Health: 'The Health of Adults in the European Union' / EC Dec 03
'Interesting patterns emerge. The UK population appears to have the lowest levels of health on many variables, being particularly limited in physical function.'
Source: Eurobarometer report Dec 03 [pdf]

Friday, November 21, 2003
Economy: 'Britain tops Euro league for cost of raising child' / The Independent 21/11/03
'Raising a child costs more in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, researchers claimed yesterday. The Centre for Economics and Business Research found that expenses, including child care, holidays and university funding, have reached £140,000 for every son and daughter. Bringing up a child in a typical two-parent working household from infancy to the age of 21, amounted to £129 a week, or £6,686 a year. The cost in the UK is about 33 per cent more than in Spain, 30 per cent more than in France and 26 per cent more than in Sweden. Continental Europeans tend not to pamper their children with luxury items in the same way as people in the UK. British parents are estimated to spend 71% more than their Spanish counterparts and 62 per cent more than the French.' (more)

Friday, October 31, 2003
Society: 'Britain most violent country in western Europe' / Daily Telegraph 25/10/03
'Britain has the worst record in western Europe for killings, violence and burglary, a Home Office study [International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics 2001 pdf] has shown. Britain has the highest level of homicides in western Europe and offences of violence in the UK have been running at three times the level of the next worst country.' (more)

Friday, October 24, 2003
Society: 'Britain has highest amphetamine use in EU' / The Independent 23/10/03
'The annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction shows that Britain has the highest rate of amphetamine use of the 15 EU countries. Cannabis use is also highest in the UK, with more than a third of 15 and 16-year-olds saying they have tried the drug at least once. Ecstasy use among 15 to 34-year-olds is more than twice that of countries such as Germany and France, and cocaine abuse in the UK has quadrupled in the past eight years. Campaigners warned that a culture of binge drinking and recreational drug use was threatening a generation of young people in Britain.' (more)

Monday, October 13, 2003
Employment: ''Shameful' pay makes British women worst off in Europe' / Observer 12/10/03
'A survey shows that the average British woman's pay packet is less than two-thirds that of the average British man. The disparity is by far the widest in the European Union and shatters claims that gender inequalities in Britain are disappearing. The survey, based on statistics produced by EU member states, shows that the average British woman is paid 63 per cent that of the average man, compared with an EU average of 82 per cent and a US average of 90 per cent.' (more)

Society: 'Britons are Europe's worst binge drinkers' / Reuters 19/9/03
'Britons are the worst binge drinkers in Europe and women are catching up with men in the heavy drinking stakes, the government has said, urging a "more civilised" late-night culture. A report by Downing Street's strategy unit found that while Britons drink less than most of the continental neighbours, they drink more intensively: "In the UK, binge drinking accounts for 40% of all drinking occasions by men and 22% by women." That put Britain at the top of the binge league table, ahead of Sweden and Denmark, and way ahead of Germany, Italy and France, where binge drinking accounted for less than 15% of all consumption'

See also: 'British rates of teenage drinking are appalling compared to the rest of Europe. [An EU study Oct 2003] shows that almost eight out of ten 15 to 16-year-olds have already been drunk. Only Denmark has a worse record and only 40% of French and Italian youngsters have been intoxicated. Drunkenness among teenagers in Britain has increased year on year since the report began in 1995. A spokesman for the charity Alcohol Concern said: "Our binge-drinking culture means that somehow being completely drunk is clever and something to boast about, in a way which is alien to other countries."'
The Independent 23/10/03 (more)

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Transport: 'Britons are the world's angriest drivers' / Sky News 13/8/03
'Britons are officially the world's angriest drivers according to a new poll which names the UK as road rage capital of the world. Nearly nine in 10 UK drivers said they had been road rage victims at least once, a survey by motoring magazine Max Power found. And more than 70% admitting to causing trouble themselves. The latest statistics backed up a recent Gallup [international] survey ['Aggressive behaviour behind the wheel!'] which showed Britain was the leading country in the world for road rage, with 80.4% of UK drivers being victims of it. Of those in the Max Power poll who admitted committing road rage, three in five said they felt "fine" about it, adding that victims "deserved it". (more)

Employment: 'Workers in Britain have least holiday time in EU' / The Independent 11/8/03
'Britons have less paid holiday than employees in any other country in the EU, according to a survey published [by Mercer Human Resource Consulting] yesterday. Workers in the UK are entitled to a minimum of 28 days off, including statutory annual leave and public holidays, putting them at the bottom of an EU league table. The Netherlands also offers only 28 days off a year, Irish workers 29 days, while the average leave and holiday entitlement across all EU states was 34 days. Finland topped the table with 39 days. The study also revealed that the UK had the fewest public holidays within the EU, with only eight a year.' (more)

Saturday, August 02, 2003
Society: 'Britain once again bottom of the European class' / Guardian 26/7/03
'Britain has once again come bottom of the European class - this time in knowledge of the EU's controversial new constitution. Eurobarometer, the European commission's polling unit, found that 75% of Britons have not even heard of the convention drawing up the document, which was finalised in Brussels earlier this month. The survey, released yesterday, showed that UK citizens were less well informed than any others in the current 15 and 10 future members of the union. Latvians and Hungarians, who will join next May with eight other countries, knew more about the convention than people in Britain, a member state since 1973.' (more)

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Transport: 'UK commute 'longest in Europe'' / BBC News 22/7/03'
British commuters have the longest journeys to work in Europe with the average trip taking 45 minutes, according to a study. That is almost twice as long as the commute faced by Italians and seven minutes more than the European Union average, the RAC Foundation said. Almost half of the motorists questioned said that if their car journey time doubled, they would simply allow more time for their journey. Only 7% would make the switch to public transport.' (more)

Health: : 'Britain the worst place in western Europe for IVF access' / Daily Telegraph 3/7/03
'Britain still languishes at the bottom of the European league table for IVF access, a study published yesterday showed. The postcode lottery of NHS fertility treatment means that couples in Britain are among the least likely to get in-vitro fertilisation in western Europe, the study [presented at the ESHRE conference in Madrid] found. In 2000, there were 585 cycles of IVF treatment per million people in Britain - compared with more than 1,000 cycles per million in most of Scandinavia. In Denmark, the country topping the league table, almost no one has to wait for state-funded fertility treatment. Co-author Prof Karl Nygren, of Sophiahemmet University College, Stockholm, said: "The procedure is well accepted in the UK and the laws are not restrictive. But people cannot afford it." (more)

Health: 'Britain has highest obesity levels in EU' / Financial Times 25/6/03
'The UK has the highest obesity levels in the EU, with 20% of the population having a body mass index of over 30, according to a report published yesterday. Analysing the health status of Europe's population as it ages, the report [by Pfizer], also found respiratory diseases killed considerably more people in Britain than any other EU country.'

Health: 'UK has highest prevalence of allergy in Europe' / BBC News 24/6/08
'The UK has the highest prevalence of allergy in Europe and ranks among the highest in the world..affecting one in three of the population. Of these up to five million have severe problems..[but] allergy services are "totally inadequate" and cannot meet the sheer number of referrals, according to a Royal College of Physicians report.' (more)

Economy: 'British lead Europe when it comes to shoplifting' / AFP 18/6/03
'Britain suffered more losses due to shoplifting over the past year than any other European nation, according to a study by the Centre for Retail Research. British retailers lost 1.69% of their overall turnover for the past year to theft. Portugal and Finland were next on the list, with shopkeepers in both countries reporting losses to theft worth 1.44%of overall turnover.' (more)

Employment: 'UK offers worst redundancy pay in Europe' / Accountancy Age 2/6/03
'According to new research by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, France, the Netherlands, and the UK have the worst redundancy pay, while the most generous terms are on offer in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Austria. Based on minimum statutory paid notice and severance pay for a white-collar employee aged 40, made redundant after 10 years on a salary of £20,000, the average redundancy pay across the EU was £11,163. But using the same comparison the redundancy pay would be just £5,000 in France and the Netherlands and £5,128 in the UK. In Spain and Italy the payment would be £25,464 and £18,276 respectively, and £15,000 for both Belgium and Austria.' (more)

Employment: 'UK heads European league of skills shortages' / Grant Thornton 28/4/03
'UK businesses are suffering the worst skills shortage in Europe, according to new research published today. Nearly four in ten (38%) of the businesses surveyed in the UK felt that the lack of access to a skilled workforce was a major constraint on their ability to expand their business. This puts the UK's skills shortage as the worst in Europe and third worldwide behind Canada (41%) and South Africa (39%). The Grant Thornton International Business Owners survey gauged the views of 6000 businesses in 19 countries worldwide and nine in Europe, including over 600 in the UK.'

Friday, March 14, 2003
Health: 'Britain tops EU league for obesity deaths' / Daily Mail 12/3/03
'Britain is the 'fat capital' of Europe, according to research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. More people are dying in Britain due to being overweight or obese than anywhere else. Around one in every 11 deaths in the UK is now linked to carrying excess fat - 50% more that the rate in France. The UK also tops the smoking mortality league, with 21% of deaths linked to tobacco.'

Economy: 'Britain 'most expensive' for phone calls' / Financial Times 12/3/03
'Britain is the most expensive place in Europe for making telephone calls through the dominant operator, according to new figures from the European Commission. The study, which compared the cost of local, national and long-distance calls in the EU, shows that while most countries have seen a marked drop in the cost of calls over the past five years, UK prices have simply stagnated. The UK is now the second or third most expensive country in all three categories, making it on average the most costly place in Europe to make phone calls.'

Monday, March 03, 2003
Transport: 'Britain's air delays [still] worst in Europe' / Daily Telegraph 3/3/03
'Travellers flying to and from Britain suffered the worst delays of any European country last year, new [Eurocontrol] statistics show. Of the 10 region-to-region traffic flows suffering the most delay, all began or ended in Britain. The average hold-up was 25 minutes, more than 10 times the average for all European flights.'

Society: 'UK now Europe's jail capital' / Guardian 27/2/03
'Britain is now the prison capital of western Europe, with an average incarceration rate of 139 for every 100,000 of population in England and Wales, and is even outstripping the jailing rate of Libya and Malaysia, according to official figures [pdf] published yesterday. The statistics confirm that its courts are far more punitive than those of Canada and Australia, and beat all those of its closest European neighbours, including courts in France (jailing 85 for every 100,000), Germany (96), and Spain (126).' (more)

Thursday, February 27, 2003
Economy: 'UK house price inflation highest in Europe' / Financial Times 26/2/03
'House prices rose during periods of last year at more than twice the rate of those in Spain and Denmark, the two European countries with the next highest house price inflation, according to a new report. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors compared the annual house price inflation rate of 31% recorded in the UK last October to 12% in Spain - the only other European country with double-digit house price inflation - over the first part of 2002. The report argued that one significant reason for the surge in the UK was the shortage of available housing. "No other EU country has such a poor supply record, despite the scale of the price rises in the UK and one of the most market- oriented housing systems in Europe," it said. (more)

Society: Brits buy more ready meals than any other major EU country / Ananova 21/2/03
'Consumers in the UK buy more ready-made meals than any other major European country, according to a new Mintel report. Around £1.9 billion was spent on them in the UK last year - double that of France and six times more than in Spain. And while demand for ready-made meals across Europe rose by 29% between 1998 and 2002, in the UK it soared by 44%. 30% of adults in the UK eat a ready-made meal more than once a week compared with just 16% in France. A sign the UK has more of a convenience culture is shown by the fact 80% of the UK population owns a microwave oven while in Italy it is 27%, the report says.' (more)

'On the continent there's not such a cookbook culture - because they know how to cook' - Rosie Kindersley, owner, Books for Cooks (Mail on Sunday 30/9/01)


'This is the greatest nation on earth'
Tony Blair, BBC News

'I think the anti-social behaviour, the vandalism, the graffiti, the lack of respect for people, I think that's all part of a society that has lost its way'
Tony Blair, Newsnight 16/5/02

'The invisibility of the conventional family is something that distinguishes Britain .. in Continental Europe you can always see family groups out enjoying their free time together'
Mary Dejevsky
The Independent 3/2/09

'What's crumbling is the civility that is so essential to wellbeing, to trust and to the conviviality of our lives. It's a pathology of individual entitlement..the sheer gratuitousness of aggression over minor driving misdemeanours or the fuck-you indifference of those whose behaviour is affecting others.'
Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian 28/01/08

'Somewhere, some time, the soul of the United Kingdom lost its pride in itself. The complicated mix of public and private, foreign and domestic ownership of so many things that we still consider public services, the jumble of foreign workers, temporary contracts and corner-cutting in the drive for productivity..have so muddled the lines of responsibility and removed the traditional British pride and courtesy that no one seems to care who should clean a loo at Gatwick any more.'
Alice Miles, The Times 02/01/08

'It is no coincidence that the UK has the least-regulated economy in Europe and is the least productive in the industrialised world'
Prof. Cary Cooper
Guardian 20/8/05

'Before it is too late, someone should ask why Britons, uniquely in the world, want to be controlled by foreign corporations.'
Tom Bower
Guardian 9/2/07

'A German magazine has had the effrontery to examine Britain and reach critical conclusions'
Independent 14/4/04 (trans.)
Der Spiegel original

'The Brits' pride in their public standards, compared with those of other countries, lies in ruins.'
Hugo Young, Guardian 22/7/03

'The truth is that when it comes to developing our cities, design tends to take second place to the more prosaic imperatives of the market. The planning committee simply wants to know that the scheme is trouble-free. The outcome may be mediocre, but it is safe and reliable mediocrity rather than dangerous originality.'
The Times 13/08/08

'The experience of walking round French, German or Scandinavian towns and cities is sobering for any Briton. How do they get it right and we get it so wrong? As far as town planning is concerned Britain is still in the Dark Ages.'
Simon Jenkins
Remaking the Landscape

'High St Anywhere - Why are all our towns the same?'
Guardian Weekend Mag

23 Nov 02

Clone Town Britain 2005

Crap UK towns A-Z

'The majority of Northern town centres have now become desperate retail wastelands, pock-marked with pound shops and closing-down sales, because massive, dismal hinterlands of drive-in electrical stores, cinemas and burger-eating malls are attracting the money and turning the North into a soulless car culture'
Simon Mills
ES Magazine 24/10/03

'The steady fall in library usage in Britain is one of many examples of the growing mental sloth of the population'
Daisy Waugh, Sunday Times 19 Nov 06

'England is a nation of "overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex-and-celebrity obsessed television addicts", according to the latest edition of the Rough Guide to England which also warns potential visitors that the hearts of many towns "consist of identikit retail zones".
BBC News 22/4/06

'These results are concerning and we can only conclude that Britain certainly is dumbing down,' says Whitaker's Almanack editor as survey reveals 1-in-10 cannot name a single world leader, including their own.'
SkyNews 21/10/02

'The common ground of C21st Britain: a children's book about a little wizard, 24-hour reality TV and novelty ring tones..the most trivial, vacuous, intellectually lightweight generation in history.'
Brian Schofield, Arena Apr02

'Shoddy service and high prices are putting foreign visitors off the UK, threatening 1000s of jobs, the Government's tourism boss says'
The Independent 8/1/09

'Do we expect parents with young families to migrate to Europe until their children are fit to pass muster in British hotels? We found it much easier to compile a list of hotels that welcome dogs than those that positively welcome children.'
Good Hotel Guide 2003

'It's a wonder to me that tourists come back, actually'
Kim Howells, minister for Tourism
Caterer 12/7/01

'The ubiquity of market values came as quite a shock to me after 3 years away. We may live in the age of freedom, but it should more properly be described as the age of selfishness. The combination of marketisation and unrestrained individualism is profoundly corrosive'
Martin Jacques, Guardian 5/10/02

'We've become a paranoid and trustless society'
Deborah Orr, The Independent 3/9/02

'Study shows "Good Samaritans" face extinction as stranded motorists admit they're 'too scared' to accept help from strangers. 83% of female drivers don't want help even when stranded. "The harsh reality is that British motorists today are not only reluctant to stop and offer assistance themselves, but are also unwilling to accept help from others."
Direct Line survey Aug02

'On the continent there's not such a cookbook culture - because they know how to cook'.
Rosie Kindersley, owner, Books for Cooks
Mail on Sunday 30/9/01

'After a year of eating out across Britain, Monty Don finds that our food is mostly depressingly poor. The standard of food offered in most restaurants and hotels outside London is dire and expensively dire at that. Crap service is part of our class system. Wind up in a hundred small towns all over Britain and there is an immediate sense of sickly deja vu..the bland uniformity of so many high streets..the idea of local identity seems to be rapidly becoming historical.'
The Observer 11/11/01

'Other Europeans drink in a civilised way because drunkenness is not socially acceptable; in Britain it is a way of life.'
Letter to The Independent 16/8/02

'There's a bit of a habit in Britain that we don't engage early enough in Europe with directives. Then when we get a directive, we tend to hold off implementing it until the absolute last moment. We do it at breakneck speed, don't get regulations fit for the purpose, and it's a mess.'
Baroness Young, ch.exec., Environment Agency
The Times 12/8/02

'I was shocked at the state of the [hospital] equipment, and the waste. I can't believe the grubbiness and the acceptance of it. All the girls I've met from NZ and Australia worry about this.'
Australian contract nurse, Guardian 4/4/02

"You are a modern country, one of the leading countries in the world, and you place your citizens in a situation where they don't receive the healthcare they need. In the 21st century, this is intolerable."
Bernard Kouchner, French health minister New Statesman 5/10/01

'The flap over A-levels illustrates with painful clarity Britain's pathological inability to learn from other countries.'
Michael Prowse, FT 23/2/02

"I realise one thing here that is really bad - the young generation doesn't respect the old people." Dr. Mohammad Wali, Afghan asylum seeker Independent 2/10/01

'[Our] family has been in Britain for five months now, and still we cannot get used to the general lack of discipline among children here. Our daughter..was utterly shocked at the rudeness and behaviour of her schoolmates.'
Kaizer Nyatsumba Associate Editor, The Independent 24/8/01

'With extraordinary acquiesence, the British have accepted the longest working hours, the least job security and the biggest pay differentials in Europe'
Madeleine Bunting, Guardian 22/4/02

'British players should ask themselves, why is it that you never see foreign players getting drunk, abusing their bodies and hogging the headlines for misbehaviour.'
Ex-Leeds Utd manager David O'Leary, Sunday People 16/12/01

'In France, where chefs have a higher standing, they are more likely to stay put as part of a community. What happens to good newcomers to the restaurant scene in England; almost immediately, people ask them whether they are going to expand, or start a chain.'
Hattie Ellis, Eating England, 2001

'Every English market town seems much the same these days. Dinky-brickwork shopping centres [and] the near-identical trail of Starbucks and Waterstone's, M&S and Dixons, overwhelming any purely local relics.'
Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph 10/7/02

'We have become a nation of slobs. It's part of our national pride to dress like we just don't care. We like comfort, we crave it. We like our fabrics to be soft and stretchy.'
Annalisa Barbieri, Observer 10/3/02