There's a wonderfully frank interview with Manchester United's brilliant Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic in today's DT.
"I will never stay to live in England, that's for sure. You get only a brief glimpse of sunlight before it's all cloudy again. The winters are mild, but in summer the temperatures seldom go higher than 20C. And it rains, rains, rains. "In Russia and Serbia the people's way of life is similar. In England it's totally different. Here they just don't have time to feel the joy of life."
"Throughout the week they all work so hard. They only talk to people at lunch break. Then in the evening they come home and watch the telly, so they can get up early for work the next day. The only time to meet friends is at weekends, but for football players it's the busiest time of all. It was much easier for me to adapt to Russia than England. In England I had no one to talk to. The first month was especially hard. I lived alone in a hotel, which I left only for training. I thought I would go crazy inside those four walls."
Well, I'm not a Serb but I agree with much of what Vidic says. Turbo-capitalist Britain is a country where money-making comes before social interraction and feeling the 'joy of life'. Moving to a neoliberal, privatised economy may have given us more material goods, but it's also made us less friendly and sociable. None of this has happened by chance- the big corporations who control our lives don't want sociable, affiliative people taking delight in the simplest of pleasures, but materialistic and perenially dissatisfied consumers. Britain is probably the hardest country in Europe for newcomers, like Nemanja Vidic, to forge deep and lasting friendships and that's because we have by far the most rapacious and profit-obsessed economic system.
And the worst thing of all, is that it's this dehumanising turbo-capitalist model that Britain, and America, are trying to impose on the rest of the world.