Vulgarity with a gun.
Vladimir Putin says that Britain is just a small island. Well, someone should remind him that size isn’t important: it’s what you do with it that counts. Russia may be bigger than us but while its population is drinking vodka and doing silly dances with big furry hats on, Britain is busy being frightfully witty at cocktail parties, driving on the correct side of the road and generally acting like a boss. Here’s the ten ways in which we’re vastly superior.
1. The British haven’t felt the need to kill their royal family for a good 500 years. We haven’t found it necessary to have a popular revolution at all – thanks to our very sensible constitution, clement weather and having “better things to do”. By contrast, the Russkies had about twelve revolutions in one year in 1917, before deciding that the only way to settle the matter was to shoot not only their royals but their servant, nanny, doctor and pastry chef. If they’d owned a parrot, they’d have shot that, too.
2. The British don’t think that shell suits are the last word in fashion. Why is that Russian oligarchs who have so much money that they could purchase the moon choose to walk around in DayGlo bright tracksuits that give the impression they live on an Essex council estate in the early 1990s? Also, note that the first thing they do when they’ve made their fortunes in whale oil is move to Chelsea and send their kids to Eton.
3. The British think fascism is silly. Some Russians rather like it. The man who placed third in the 1991 Russian presidential election, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, ran on a platform of extreme nationalism, anti-Semitism and the promise of a free bottle of vodka and a pair of Y-fronts should he win. In 2001, he admitted that he was half Jewish, which must’ve messed with his voters’ tiny minds.
4. The British have an alphabet that makes sense. Cyrillic is just a series of squiggles. Also, the Russians can’t pronounce their language without it sounding like they’re barking orders at you – something that old ladies with brooms appear to be employed by the state to do.
5. British films last 90 minutes, not 4 hours. Everyone says Andrei Tarkovsky is a genius, but his best movie – Solaris – features a ten minute close up of an actor’s ear. “Comedies” also tend to involve fat men falling in ponds and women crying about the price of bread. Dwarves feature prominently.
6. When a British prime minister takes his top off in public, no one pretends it’s sexy. In fact, we all try to pretend that we haven’t seen it at all.
7. The British would never put a dog in space. When the Russians sent little Laika up into space in 1957, where she eventually died for lack of oxygen, the RSPCA should’ve considered dropping the big one on Moscow. Very poor behaviour.
8. The British never had a Chernobyl because we take ‘ealth and safety seriously. Our nuclear plants don’t blow up because they’re smothered in angry men and women with clipboards who regulate everything within an inch of its life. Chernobyl, on the other hand, was not only a marvel of Russian engineering (one theory is that it blew up when the donkey working the treadmill had a heart attack and died) but it was supervised by shouty old ladies with brooms. A disaster waiting to happen.
9. There’s no such thing as a British mail order bride. Although you really wouldn’t want one. When a Brit sends off for a wife from Moscow he gets a stunning blonde with cold blue eyes and a fiery appetite for love. If a Russian sent off for a wife from Luton he’d get an foul mouthed chain smoker in a boob-tube with an appetite for MacDonalds.
10. The British are comfortable with their sexuality. We’re so gay friendly that it’s practically compulsory now. The Russians, on the other hand, feel the need to assert their “masculinity” by passing regressive laws that make it illegal to flame in public. Homosexuality, you see, is simply not part of the Russian character. Unless you count Ivan the Terrible, Tchaikovsky, Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Diaghilev, Nijinsky, Sophia Parnok, Rudolf Nuryev…