A survey out today by a US magazine called International Living places Britain at number 37 in the world of best countries to live. We share this dubious honour with Greece, Ecuador, Cyprus, Iceland and Lithuania. Apart from Greece I have never been to any of those places. Partly because on a scale of must-visit countries they’re way down there. Actually I think in my dim and distant past as a financial journalist I did once go to Lithuania to write about its central bank; but it could have been Latvia or Estonia.
It is depressing news that Britain scored so badly. Especially if you live there. Obviously I don’t. I live in France, which was voted, guess what? Number one of course.
But the fact that Britain is on a par with Cyprus and ranks way below a whole host of unlikely places like Finland (have you any idea how COLD and miserable it can get there?) and Bulgaria surprises me. I have been to Bulgaria and won’t be heartbroken if I never go there again. And maybe things have gone horribly downhill in the six years since we left, but I would always rate London over Ljubljana as a place to winter.
If Britain is such a dreadful place, why do countless foreigners want to live there? Did you know, for example, that there are more than 300,000 French people living in London? Just take a walk around South Kensington if you don’t believe me.
Tomorrow morning I head off to Blighty so I will be able to keep you posted on whether or not it really is one of the worst places in the world. I am looking forward to my trip, I always enjoy myself there whatever the surveys say.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007