October 26, 2006 GMT
COWARDLY BRIT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11
General Alvear is a small modern town with a large tree-shaded plaza. Why this need to memorialise the military? What did General Alvear do?
I find a hotel room, hot water, $7. I check the Internet and learn that England has lost to Croatia. For years the sports journalists and fans have blamed a foreigner, Sven Juric Ericson, for any failure of the national team. Perhaps the Swede did well given the paucity of talent.
I eat steak and salad and return to the hotel. A small neat man in his sixties sits on the sofa in the reception. He wears blue chinos, a blue jumper, blue socks and blue bedroom slippers. His moustache is parted in the middle and teased out into two points. The manager presents him as her friend (hence the slippers). Senor Hostility would be a better introduction. He settles himself on the sofa in the manner of fighter pilot settling in the cockpit.
“You are English.”
“Yes,” I say.
“You English are arrogant. You don’t wish to be part of Europe. You believe you are superior.”
I am pro Europe – what should I say? I suggest that some Brits are nervous of being associated with nations where political corruption is the norm: that this fear is common to most members of the six nations comprising the original European community.
“Your Blair is more corrupt than anyone. More corrupt than Belusconi. He and Belusconi are friends. Look at Iraq - he is a liar, your Blair. There is proof that more than six hundred and fifty thousand civilians have been killed. What do you say to that?”
Senor Hostility is softening me up. Soon he will shift attack to the Falklands/Malvinas war.
“I agree,” I say, “Absolutely...now, please, if you’ll excuse me, I have to be up and on the road by six-thirty.”
So sneaks away the cowardly Brit…

Posted by Simon Gandolfi at October 26, 2006 12:51 AM GMT
 
 

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