Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Post-colonial snobbery

I'm a bit tired, to be honest, of our countrymen's reversion to contempt of the third world. It showed itself in the sports journalists' presumption of guilt after the News of the World's sting operation on the Pakistan cricketers. And their equal assumption of innocence when English cricketers were impugned. We'd allowed them to play their home matches here. What ingratitude! Could we contemplate ever playing against them again, let alone 2015 when the next Test series was scheduled?

Then there was the storm over the preparations in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games. The athletes' village wasn't fit for human habitation, roofs and bridges were falling down, minors were being employed to clean up, the games would have to be cancelled; it was typical of Indian inefficiency and corruption. Oh, we made a meal of it; we loved it - and then it all came good. The accommodation was up to scratch. The news fell silent.

Nevertheless we seem to cherish a world view in which all of Africa and the Indian subcontinent is awash with corruption, ineptitude and unsophistication. And we probably lump the Russians, Arabs, South Americans, Afghans, Arabs, North Koreans and Southern Europeans in the same sort of category.... Forgetting our habits of huge sweeteners (sorry "expenses") to gain export orders, corporate hospitality, lobbying, excessive bonuses, exploitative advertising, MPs' expenses, not to mention our own sporting peccadilloes. We're not whiter than white. Of course things could be worse, but let's not pretend we're  holier than they.

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