There’s a very funny ad for 42 Below vodka that celebrates Britain for inventing ‘cricket for the Aussies, Rugby for the Kiwis, soccer for the Brazilians and Robbie Williams for the gays.’
Robbie Williams aside, this being the year of the Euros, the World Cup and the Olympics I did get to thinking about whether our sporting heroes would, with a valiant and magnificent effort in the dying seconds of the competition, come fourth again.
According to 42 Below, the truth, and it hurts, is that Britain is not really world class at much these days. Every other country has chipped away at our prowess at this and our aptitude for that to leave us with the darts championship and a bronze medal in rowing.
You’d have thought that with so many unemployed we’d be good at the stuff that happens at home but we’re not even on top in the sex league. No, the Germans are outshooting and outscoring us there too.
There is one thing that Britain is really good at.
We’re amazing at it. We excel at it. We are the best, the very best, the undisputed heavyweight champions of the world. Our nearest competitor, and that’s Italy, is less than half as good as we are. We dominate the world to such an extent that we’d be running a 100 yard sprint in 4.3 seconds and Usain Bolt would be crying into his Jamaican rum.
And, despite what the government says about us not getting involved, most people in the country are actually taking part.
I’m talking about the highly skilled sport of chugging cheap booze.
Most alcohol in the UK, and it’s a massive three quarters, is sold on promotion. In Italy it’s only about a third and the rest of the world is firmly in the ‘also ran’ column.
Accordingly to SymphonyIRI our retailers are hacking the price of alcohol to such an extent that they (or the producers of the tasty beverages) lose money purely to entice us into the store so we’ll buy other stuff.
This is great news for alcoholics, partygoers, anyone without a day job, and those of a fighting disposition. For the rest of us, not so much. Most of my, and your, NHS tax pounds fund A&E wards treating the colossal number of alcohol related injuries pouring in every Friday and Saturday night.
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), said extreme measures including the ending of alcohol sponsorship deals and advertising were needed to “reset society’s norms”.
He’s clearly been drinking. Whether it’s advertised or not, if you give the stuff away Brits are the world champions at necking it. I can hear the national anthem now.