But that doesn't matter too much as the rankings aren't very accurate. France, for example, was ranked at Number 1 at Australia and Number 2.
France and Australia WOULD be nice places to live in if you didn't mind listening to people speak French all day; eating things which people in other countries would fumigate their homes to get rid of; running away at the faintest whiff of sauerkraut; knowing that 99% of your country is made of sand; knowing that your ancestor was a convict; knowing that one of your greatest tourist attractions is just a rock; panicking every time you see a glimpse of Johnny Wilkinson; and you didn't care about the giant hopping mice bounding around.
But Rod Liddle would rather live in Ed Balls's pantry than live in France.
Weíre all emigrating Ė to the countryside
From The Sunday Times
January 10, 2010
I suppose it should come as some sort of consolation to us that there are still 169 countries in the world which are less pleasurable to live in than our own, according to a recent survey.
We have some way to go before we hit rock bottom. Benin, for example, or Rwanda ó countries to which the more caring and concerned of us send sponsored goats every Christmas, instead of buying presents for the kids. The goats are not always pleased about this but hell, one does what one can. You canít please everybody, or everything.
A recent survey by the magazine International Living suggests that Britain has dropped to 25 in the list of countries in which it is desirable to live, its lowest-ever ranking.
We are below Uruguay, which is basically just a large, sluggish river full of bad-tempered fish, and the Czech Republic, the entire population of which is over in Britain working as plumbers or hotel receptionists. Perhaps thatís why the Czech Republic is so attractive ó all that space.
We are virtually at the bottom of the pile within Europe, despite having won the war etc. We are below even Belgium. How does that make you feel? It is like being told that Peter Andre has a higher IQ than yours.
International Living is a mimsy, middle-class publication dedicated to persuading Brits and Americans to live abroad, and some allowance should be made for this.
Further, it suggests that the best country in the world in which to live is France. I would rather live inside Ed Ballsís pantry than in France, but I was not canvassed for an opinion.
France has been mysteriously named the greatest nation in the world to live
I suspect that International Living is using different criteria to sort out these positions in the chart than the ones Iíd use. I suspect that they do not take account of things like how much you want to leg it every time a Frenchman opens his mouth, which must surely militate against a high score.
But whatever the case, we have been dropping down the lists these past 10 or so years, as evidenced not so much by tendentious analyses, but by the increasing numbers of reasonably well-off British people getting the hell out of the place every year.
This number has been increasing quite rapidly of late, but been hidden by the net figures for total population. Three hundred thousand Brits leave the place, 300,000 Somalis, Algerians and eastern Europeans come in, ergo things remain pretty much as they were.
Of course there is a net change, not least to the wealth-producing potential of the population. To be sure, some absolutely appalling people have left ó you may well know them ó and Iím sure some very nice people have come in; but this is not an equable change of like for like. Perhaps it should not be an exchange of like for like, either; but let us not pretend that it is.
Some people have not got the hell out of the country, they have simply got the hell out of the cities.
The latest figures suggest that the middle classes are deserting London at the rate of a quarter of a million every year, and heading for the new suburbs of Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset and Dorset ó the existing suburbs being already full up.
They yearn for roads that are never gritted, village shops where the sell-by date on foodstuff engenders a warm nostalgia, Agas that they cannot operate and more aspirational criminals. Instead of being relieved of their wallets on the way home by a knife-wielding black teenager, they wish to be tied up with electric cable in their bedrooms by gun-wielding middle-aged white men asking them where the safe is.
They want schools for their children where the Ofsted mark is a happy parade of ones (excellent) except for the section on awareness of cultural diversity where itís usually four (unsatisfactory). They can live with that little failing.
This exodus, too, is changing the shape of city and country, politically, socially and economically. But we do not pry too closely into the reasons, in case they upset us.