Saturday, September 05, 2009

Brits and accident rates on the Balearics

Why is it that British tourists are so unlucky?

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.


Helen Highwater said...

Urgh... I can't bear to read the comments on that newspaper! Hurrah for sweeping statements. "The Spanish say they hate us but they love our money."

That's such utter crap! As long as you don't go round pissing people off and actually learn Spanish, there seems to be no "hating the Brits" going on at all. But foreigners aren't gifted with logic, according to the right-wing press. I'd hate it if people turned up where I lived and rampaged about being arseholes, but people abroad aren't allowed to feel like that and must be grateful with the way the British maraude about - because we're spending money there.

(Just don't mention Gibraltar....)

Helen Highwater said...

PS: you think they'd like the Spanish tourism industry seeing as it was started by a fascist....

claude said...

Elsewhere someone made the not unreasonable observation that most of the "partying" lot that clogs up the Balearics, Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol don't come from poor families.

So if only the Daily Mail devoted more attention to all the gangraping news, brawls, overdosing and glassing that those lovely Brits export. But then the usual 'cut their dole!' argument wouldn't work.

Helen Highwater said...

Indeed... how could you afford that kind of thing if you were on the dole?!

Anonymous said...

Cordiales saludos al autor de este artículo. I'm Sorry for not wrhite in english, but i think your understeand the spanich lenguage.

Te remito a mi nuevo artículo, "Siniestralidad Trurística II".

Toni Cantarellas

claude said...

This anonymous Toni of Mallorca is in desperate desperate need of a few English lessons. Or better, lessons in common sense.

If you are reading, Toni, you COMPLETELY COMPLETELY COMPLETELY misunderstood both 1) the article ; 2) the comments!

Helen's comments are the exact OPPOSITE of what you think! The OPPOSITE! El reves!

Can't you even understand "inverted commas"!???

I am just shocked at how superficial and nasty and personal some chaps on the internet can get. On the basis of what in particular? A terribly inaccurate translation!?

Anonymous said...

Estoy completamente avergonzado. Eliminé el desafortunado artículo hace horas, y le envié un mail pidiendo disculpas.
He abroncado a "mi intérprete", que creo que sabe menos inglés que yo: hizo su trabajo de un modo absolutamente mecánico a partir de un traductor simultaneo. Ya dije que su distinguida lengua es mi asignatura pendiente.
Quisiera presentar especialmente mis disculpas a Helen Highwater. Comprendí su reproche. Es lamentable, pero gracias a vd el error ha sido reparado. Realmente me ha hecho sonrojar. Vd conoce mejor el castellano de lo que piensa (hay errores pero es muy correcto). Le ruego se ponga en contacto con este servidor suyo en cuando tenga un momento libre, si lo cree oportuno.
A su disposición.