When my first wife and I lived in England many years ago we befriended a French-Canadian girl who was also on teacher exchange as was my wife.
During a trip to London from Great Yarmouth for some exchange teacher function she told us she had been very unhappy and had been thinking of bailing from the program. We asked her what had gone wrong. She told us that she reached a point, theretofore assuming her understanding of English was pretty decent, where she could no longer understand what her students, the boys especially, were saying.
She had gone in tears to the headmaster and he was a pretty astute cat. He told her he knew what was happening. The boys were reverting to speaking ‘Broad Norfolk’ which is a local dialect that even a lot of English people cannot decipher. The head called the little buggers aside and asked them why they were doing such a nasty thing.
“Cos she’s a Froggie, int she?” replied the ring leader. And in their minds a Froggie was a Froggie even if said Froggie was from La Belle Province.
And there, dear friends, lies the crux of a lot of the Brexit debacle. The English, via instinct, do not warm to the Gallic folk across the Channel. In another incident when we were there a fisherman was apprehended heading out from Lowestoft with a cannon mounted on the prow of his craft. His intention was to blow the Froggies out of the water for having destroyed the fortunes of the Lowestoft herring fleet, once the most vibrant in the world. But, the EU and its quota system had destroyed that in his esteem and in the esteem of a lot of other Anglos.
I harken back to a book I read years ago called Great Britain or Little England by John Mander in which he opines that there is a huge impulse for of a lot of English folk to eschew any sense of ‘European-ness’ and remaining content to just be in their little island and keep the Frogs and Wogs at bay.
And a lot of this antagonism, in my esteem and from my observations, stems from attitudes towards the French. I mean, this is shit that goes back to Agincourt in 1415 and there is little impulse to change it. And, of course, knavish politicians of an Anglo-Saxon Trump level of bigotry pray on it. Read a page or two of the Express and you will see what I mean. And it matters not that the English in droves travel to France, or even live there, the bias continues to exist. You would think, what with a couple of world wars that the Germans might be at the fore of UK antagonism, but dislike and mistrust of the French too often prevails.
Personal bias, I think the Brexit vote was stupid and counterproductive for a country I love second only to my own, but I don’t have the legacy of bigotry so what do I know?