‘There’s a chance Australia will lose, I suppose,’ said the courier. ‘After all they somehow did in 2003.’
‘Hang on,’ I said, nettled. ‘What do you mean Australia might lose? Don’t you mean England might win?’
‘England win? I don’t think we can go that far,’ he said. ‘England win!’ he left shaking his head and chuckling.
That’s Britain: we can’t win. We just have to hope the other guys lose.
Would I live in America? In a heartbeat. Would I miss Britain? No, for I’d take it with me, bag and baggage, scrip and scrippage, attitude and affect, manner and mannerism. I couldn’t not.
Finally then, as a lover of empiricism and passionate advocate of the fruits of the enlightenment I confess that it worries me that, despite President Obama’s commitment to science, his statement ‘I believe it is not in [the] … American character, to follow – but to lead’ might more accurately have been phrased: ‘I believe it is in the American character to lead the world in our willingness to follow. To follow anything be it never so trite, simplistic, irrational or incredible.’ But then perhaps we British lead the world in our unwillingness to follow anything, be it never so appealing, beguiling or bright with possibility.
Ah well. I am not sure we have arrived at any resolute certainties this evening. If you have not enjoyed or agreed with what I have said, well you can just – add sugar.
© Stephen Fry 2009