British Media, British People – stop whinging, we’ve got plenty to be positive about!

After travelling three months to return to the UK from Australia in time for the Olympics, I arrived at Heathrow airport on Sunday 15th July 2012, and was welcomed by helpful and efficient staff who had been brought in to welcome international guests. As my Olympic excitement was building I was then rewarded with a fantastic Olympic choir (the ‘Rock choir’ I believe) as we entered the arrivals hall. The airport was decked out in Olympic-themed bunting and there was a great buzz in the airport. It was the most fantastic way to arrive back in the UK.

Once I was in the car on the way home the radio was tuned in to the news…

Boom. There it was!

The moaning and incessantly negative British reporting. If it wasn’t the coverage of the G4S fiasco, the ticketing worries and the fact that the London transport system would be buckling with the sheer volume of people, it was also giving airtime to the one Olympic bus that got lost on the way to the Olympic village, inviting suggestions that the Olympics was going to be a shambles. I don’t deny that these stories should be covered (maybe less so for the lost bus) but it is a continual negative approach that pervades through radio, TV, national press and online news coverage.

Why? There is plenty to be excited about.

We are hosting the Olympics in one of the very best cities and countries in the world! Guests are coming from around the world to see top athletes at their very best in a huge array of sports. People will be tuned into coverage across the globe and London will get the best ever tourism TV campaign ever. Yes, there will of course be a couple of glitches along the way, but please let us focus on the positives. My worry is that the media will cloud the optimism of international guests who may not remember the amazing experiences that they have enjoyed whist staying in London.

The negative coverage is not just an Olympic phenomenon – it is a constant.

Having lived the last four years in Sydney, it has been interesting to see the stark difference in attitude towards news coverage. I have always respected British media and believe that the journalism is second to none in the world. However, I do feel there needs to be more of a balance in the tonality of coverage.

Australia celebrates its Australia-ness and people are genuinely proud to be Australian.

Things are by no means perfect in Australia and they admit this through their news coverage but they endeavour to focus on areas that they are good at, making progress at and enjoying. Indeed, this is also reflected in the attitude of people living there and people are happier and more motivated. Not so for the UK.

It was unfortunate and quite depressing that the few English people I met on my travels were, as the Australians would say, “whinging poms”. They would remark to me, “Why would you go back to the UK now?”, “The Olympics is going to be awful – London will be horrendous with all the people in town” and “More fool you for leaving your expat life in Australia; you won’t enjoy being back in the UK”. Well, thanks for that.

So far I am glad that my experience of the UK has been a fantastic one as there is so much great stuff to focus on (not just the Olympics). Come on, let’s throw away that whinging pom tag and compel the British media to be just a little bit more positive!

Katie Affleck

Hi Katie,

Thanks so much for contributing this to the site!

I’m pleased in so many ways to hear that other countries and other people are more positive in their outlook – if it was everywhere then I think I’d start to worry a little more.

Let’s hope that your positivity rubs off on a few others… even the media!!



About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!