Letter: This island race

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your letters on British attitudes to Europe (17, 18 June) make depressing reading. Paolo Grossi fails to appreciate one of the main reasons for Britons' non-European outlook: the psychological differences brought about by living on an island.

The British exhibit a conservatism and parochialism which makes true assimilation of external influences more difficult than for people whose national cultures are forced, by geography, to live in closer proximity.

The much mentioned pragmatism of the British approach to Europe is really a cover for a total absence of vision. This is evident at all levels, from the political and bureaucratic outlook which dictates that we still treat incoming Eurostar passengers as though they are arriving from Mars, to the mentality that Continentals are somehow an inferior species because they are not British.

We have to claim that British food, fashion, design etc is world-beating, when the truth is that we are hugely behind most continental countries in our acceptance and enjoyment of these things.

For people to become interested in European elections we need more real knowledge of how people live on the Continent. By our conservatism we are only depriving ourselves of many of the things which bring our neighbours a higher quality of life than we currently enjoy.


Colchester, Essex