Around the world in 80 cliches

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FORGET "COOL Britannia" - as far as the rest of the world is concerned, Britain is about Royalty, Beefeaters, and the class divide. And the British are still seen as cold,unadventurous and unwelcoming.

A MORI poll in 13 countries shows a typical Russian view is: "They [the British] have very strong political traditions - their parliaments, Queen, judges in wigs and special gowns."

In Brazil: "I can't recall any important discovery in England. I think they invest in science, in the scientific research, but they are few."

In Germany: "The permanent up-and-down risk which the Americans take is much too exhausting for the Britons."

In Malaysia: "British arts represent their culture - very reserved and grey."

In Saudi Arabia: "They don't have any famous artists. They like soccer."

In Mexico: "If you smile at an English person, he or she won't smile back at you."

In France: "The daily press is much more powerful in Great Britain, of good quality and much cheaper."

One of the bright spots is British higher education. Eighty eight per cent rated it as good. US education was top, with 58 per cent believing US qualifications had most credibility with employers. But we are out of favour with 250 million Chinese. One in four says: "In a word, I don't like Britain."