A special investigation by Claude.
Newspapers are reporting that a 44-year-old plumber from England was involved in a brawl and beaten to death while on holiday in Magaluf, on the south-west coast of Mallorca (more details here).
Aside from the fact that each story should be considered on its own merit, it would be deeply wrong to speculate on a tragedy we know nothing about. What invites some reflection, however, is how some people chose to read the events. For instance on -hear, hear- the Daily Mail.
Some comments were so idiotic that even a number of Mail readers felt the need to highlight how beastly British tourists (especially on the Balearics) behave while holidaying abroad.
Amongst the commenters, 'Mowdiwarp' from Huddersfield writes:
Spanish say they hate the British but by heck they like our money! Wouldn't dream of going back to that God-forsaken country ever again and am quite willing to let the cheap booze and terrible food sellers find alternative ways to earn a living!while someone called 'nonpc' opnionates: "Isn't the EU wonderful? We are all pals together. I never liked Spain".
Then there's those who complain of a surge of "Brit-bashing" abroad, while others suggest we all "scatch (sic) Magaluf from next years holiday list". Finally, my favourite, 'Derek MacDonald' from Saigon, Vietnam, wonders: "Is this the same Spain that refuses to fight terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan?". Quality.
So let's have a quick look at this alleged 'Brit-bashing'. But, as we do so, let's not even consider that entire regions and islands have been completely ravaged in order to allow millions of 18-30 Brits to play Club Reps on the streets of Ibiza et al. Let's ignore the impact that turning peaceful villages into giant hedonistic dancefloors (remember the old advert "danceathon, drinkathon, bronzathon, partyathon"?) may have had on the locals.
Let's overlook the tons of vomit and piddle exported each year on to the alleyways of the Mediterranean. Let's not reflect on the fact that the word "Ibiza" is no longer a place to visit but has become like a warmer annex to Ministry of Sound. Let's not even consider what would happen if the opposite had been inflicted by "foreigners" upon British cities.
What we'll do, we'll just look at some facts. For instance, the fact that, like noted by Spanish blogger Antoni, it really looks like "the anglosajones have a special inclination for the risks associated with gravity law". In a piece called Siniestralidad turistica ("Tourist accident rate"), Antoni pieces together the staggering amount of Brit-involving accidents on the Balearics, to the point that you wonder if the insurance premiums for Brits abroad hasn't hit sky high already.
An unbelievable amount, and a wholly British exclusive, seems to be associated with falling from their holiday balcony while pissed (see here for an example).
However, there are many other accident types and the clockwork regularity with which they make the news each summer is just breathtaking. There's the British tourists who get done for dealing; those gang raping their fellow tourist; those who overdose after partying; those who stab people in nightclubs; and those who get into more fights, assaults, brawls.
The frequency is unbelievable, as is the lack of variety in the nationalities involved.
So, perhaps keeping things into perspective may be a good idea, and rather than blaming the Spaniards' exit from Iraq for some spoilt British kids not being able to control their liver, knob and repressed selves, some people could do with an honest analysis of why Britain, each summer, is capable of exporting so much barbaric dross.
Cross posted from Hagley Road to Ladywood.