chapter  8
America, Europe and the world
Pages 19

In 1983, Gallup conducted a poll for the Sunday Telegraph on British attitudes to Europe. It was discovered that more than one in four believed Germany to be Britain’s best friend in Europe, compared with more than one in ten in 1968. France had emerged as second favourite, but only of fewer than one in ten. Erstwhile favourites such as Holland and Denmark had fallen back. To this extent, the British appear to have got used to the realities of Europe in the here and now, no longer heroicizing the gallant little resisters of the war days. However, when asked which European country they would rather live in if they could not live in Britain, more preferred France and Switzerland to Germany. The most interesting findings referred to travel in Europe. More than half the respondents had visited France by 1983, compared with one in three in 1968. The number of people who had visited Spain had tripled. In spite of the enormous development in continental travel, however, British linguistic skills had improved hardly at all; only 13 per cent could speak French and a mere 6 per cent could speak German.1