I feel somewhat vindicated in writing this post because the friend that prompted it knew it was coming. One thing that really frustrates me in the younger, and to a certain extent, older generation is lack of ambition. I think that this is a UK thing rather than a global phenomenon, well I hope so at least. This is one of the reasons I am so eager to support happy young families that are working hard for their future, I was brought up that way. Too often I hear that “if only I could” or “if I had been born there” and of course the old faithful “it’s OK for them”. I have been lucky to travel all over the world, I have seen that there are indeed much better lifestyles out there for those that are willing to put the effort in and go and find them.
I find that I am unable to leave these inane discussions without injecting some facts. The people who idly tell me that in a few years they may move to Australia invariably get reminded that Australia does not, unlike the UK, have an open door to the uneducated and workshy. Don’t misunderstand me I encourage anyone and everyone to make a move and go and do what excites them. I have some obligations to resolve at the moment but when I have I assure you I shall be following my own advice (after all it is good advice). The US, Australia and Canada are often seen in the UK, by those less socially aware, as the land of milk and honey. I concluded a long time ago that this is due to space. The UK you see is extremely overcrowded, this drives up real estate prices and drives down the size of homes and land.
So when the huge number of ‘sofa explorers’ in the UK view exported TV shows it is obvious that life is wonderful in these countries. The domestic dwellings that barely squeeze onto the screen would be out of the reach of all but the most wealthy in this country. If you have never travelled further than the grocery store or the unemployment office it is easy to conclude that these countries are simply lucky and all inhabitants are wealthy. One of my roles in life is to dispel this myth whenever it is voiced by an uneducated spokesperson.
In actual fact people living in these countries are lucky, they are lucky that their countries havent been completely over populated by ill thought out political policies. They are lucky that they have such wonderful open spaces and countryside to explore and enjoy. An argument often put forward by my fellow countrymen is that ‘they couldnt afford that in the UK because of tax’. I love this debate because I set out the regional and federal tax rates, the sales taxes, school taxes etc. In truth the UK, whilst the birth place of stealth tax, is not significantly higher taxed than any developed country. If you wantto experience these lifestyles please do but be sure to take something to add to your new country or you won’t be there long.
So when Andre told me that he had finished the work on his house and now has “for a family of 4, we now have 4 toilets, 3 showers, 2 baths, 4 bathroom sinks” was I jealous? Of course I was, I was green with envy. But I don’t consider this fate, luck or even that bloody Ms Nature, this is choice and hard work, any of us can do it we just need to stop moaning and start changing. Andre has progressed from his own childhood where a family of 5 shared one bath/shower because of his natural drive to improve his lot. That is what I am actually jealous of, the desire to better oneself which I rarely see in my own country.
For those of you that don’t know Andre I have included a picture of him killing weeds at the end of this post. I think that standing outside killing weeds for three days solid just to get on google street view is excessive but like I said the man has drive. There are two technical notes on this story; the first is that I have deleted the address from the screen dump for privacy reasons, the second is just to confirm that Andre is not wealthy.
Whilst on the subject of other countries I have to share the conversation that Joe recounted when he went to an Australian jobs fair in London. Joe was looking to emigrate with his family and his skills and eduction meant the door was well and truly open so this was a research trip.
J – So how are you dealing with climate change?
Australian Representative – How do you mean?
J – Well you’re a desert country with a growing population
AR – Oh, don’t worry there is lots of space
J – Yeah I know that but what about water?
AR – Oh don’t worry sir, we have the best technology in the world we can deliver enough water to run everything, hell we even have sprinklers to keep the lawns green
J – Yes but a lot of that is from reverse osmosis, the output of which is not salt but brine
AR – (feeling a little out of his depth) but sir we take the salt out of sea water and there is loads of that
J – But you put the brine back in the ocean so eventually you wont be able to RO anymore
AR – Oh I see sir, don’t worry technology is always changing. Even if we were to continue with RO as the sole source, which it is not, it would be over a thousand years before there was problem
J – I am talking about emigrating with my family, my children and grandchildren living in your country. How can I consider that when you have no long-term plans, this is a disgrace.
Joe stormed off, genuinely perplexed at the lack of forward planning of a nation. I often wonder what the Australian wrote on his feedback for that discussion.
As promised, weed killer extrodinaire: