An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine”

Take it from those who know – universal healthcare access can be a good thing and isn’t the communist nightmare that Americans think it is. In fact, it far outperforms the American healthcare system.

I saw this article come across my news feed the other day, and being a Brit living in America, it piqued my interest especially given my love of the NHS (that’s the National Health Service to you non-Brits).

It’s written by an American who lives in the UK and it explains his own experience of both healthcare systems.

I think you’d be hard-pushed to find an American who doesn’t believe the healthcare system is broken (though they may have quite different opinions on how it should be fixed).

On the contrary, the NHS is much-loved in the UK and is far from the third-world car-crash that many Americans perceive it to be. Continue reading “An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine””

Why Brits make fun of themselves

An aspect of British humour that Americans really don’t seem to grasp is the process of making fun of yourself and others

Me and my wife have been married for 8 years now, but while she may be a bit more familiar with British English, as it’s something I expose her to every day, she has a lesser grasp on the cultural and societal differences in England, given that she’s only spent a few weeks in the UK (compared to me having lived here for 9 years).

One thing that she couldn’t quite grasp lately caught my attention. Me and my brother were having a friendly spar on Facebook where we tease each other and take the piss out of one another. Marti didn’t see it that way, thinking I was just being nasty. It’s a disconnect that I’ve noticed for a long time, especially when I consider how this bonding ritual is now all-but-absent from my life.

andy-clements Continue reading “Why Brits make fun of themselves”

Respecting others’ opinions

Many of our most intense disagreements arise from situations where there is more than one good opinion, so don’t be so quick to shoot others down because of what they believe.

The world has never been smaller and we’ve never been closer to people of different backgrounds than we are today. We are immersed in a world where Christians, Muslims, atheists, Brits, Mongolians, Communists and those under dictator rule are but a click away.

With so many different belief systems – political, religious, cultural, social and moral to name but a few – now part of a global, inter-weaving conversation, we’re surrounded by people who have very different views on a wide range of issues.

We have to acknowledge that, while in some disagreements there is clearly a wrong position and a right one, (many) others have two (or more) very good solutions. Continue reading “Respecting others’ opinions”

The culture of tipping

I’ve been here in the States for 9 years now, but the culture of tipping is so backwards. It’s the employer’s responsibility to pay their staff, not the customer’s.

As a Brit, the culture of “tipping” was something rather foreign to me when I moved to the States. In the UK, it’s not very common to tip anyone. Your waitress might get a few quid if she’s done a particularly decent job, but it’s by no means required or expected and would be quite small in comparison to what is the norm in the States. And you’d certainly never¬†rarely tip your barman, barista or taxi driver.

It’s taken me a few years to get used to and accept the culture of tipping, but that doesn’t mean that I agree with it.

Now, waiters and waitresses (and other workers highly reliant on tips): don’t lynch me yet.

I recognise that a large portion of your salary comes from tips. I am by no means saying that you’re not worthy of a decent income. I’m merely saying that I don’t agree that the majority of your income should come from tips. Continue reading “The culture of tipping”

Who’s my doctor?

People are unsurprisingly distrustful of their own doctors because of their conflicts of interest. Who’s My Doctor aims to end that disconnect by inviting doctors to openly disclose their financial sources and philosophies on healthcare practice.

It’s inherently hard to trust doctors in America. In the land of the free, healthcare is privatised and opened up to the free market, which brings with it the ugliness of capitalism. I’m by no means anti-capitalist: it does a lot of good and has even enabled me to start and run my own business. However, my health is one of the few things that I do not want subject to the many faces of capitalism.

In case you weren’t aware, I hail from the wonderful rolling hills of England. I am proud to be British, but don’t shove it in other people’s faces (a la “America is the best country in the world”). The British way is still very ingrained in British culture and the way we do things, regardless of the influence that America has had on our society.

One of the vastly different ways that things are done in the UK is healthcare. Established in 1948, The National Health Service (NHS) brought freely accessible healthcare to all, regardless of one’s ability to pay. Funded by taxes, the NHS is still almost¬†universally where all Britons’ healthcare is conducted, unless you happen to be quite rich and decide to opt for private healthcare. Continue reading “Who’s my doctor?”

Doc Brown: a class comedic act

Doc Brown is a rapper cum comedian who has enough street sensibility to be able to churn out a decent rap, while being middle class enough to appeal to a broad comedic audience.

His melange of politics and urban sentiment makes for a great show. It will be especially appreciated by Brits, with My Proper Tea being a particular favourite of mine. Continue reading “Doc Brown: a class comedic act”

What I miss the most about the UK

Marti said a word recently which really resonated with me. I realised that, excluding friends and family, it was probably the thing I missed the most about the UK. That word was objectivity.

As a teenager and as a young adult, when meeting with my friends at the pub, or at a friend’s house, we would often discuss certain subjects: sometimes trivial and sometimes weighty. We would pass around points of view and see the merits of differing stances. It made for intelligent and enjoyable conversation.

Since moving to the US, it’s the one thing I dearly miss. Americans are very opinionated (in case you didn’t already know) and they’re not afraid to voice their opinion, so when a point of discussion arises in conversation, every participant considers it their goal to convert you to their way of thinking, no matter the cost.

It’s really sad because I look back fondly on times that I was able to intellectually discuss a perplexing problem or topic with my peers and consider varied viewpoints: now I’m left being barked at by brainwashed stalwarts, insistent on recruiting me to their way of thinking, which is of course, the correct way.

Americans would benefit greatly from:

  • Acknowledging that they don’t know everything.
  • Realising that considering other perspectives gives you a more rounded view of the situation.
  • Acknowledging that considering the opinions of others doesn’t make you weak: it makes you stronger for being willing to listen to other viewpoints and ponder how they might fit into your belief system (and not the belief system that you think you should have).