In this fog of know-nothing, perhaps Continental ignorance about the British is unremarkable. But it's there all right, and always has been - mostly by way of disbelief that such a coarse, unserious, ill-educated, piss-taking drunken rabble with a bizarre legal system could ever amount to much (let alone being Top Nation for more than a century). To take a small example: I once read a German music critic being appalled that classical music in the UK, both at concerts and on recordings, is performed by players who are frequently brought together ad hoc, effectively as studio musicians and invited orchestras, rehearsing only for a few days. The results, he wrote, can never compare with those of a great Continental orchestra, the members of which are unchanging from year to year and who rehearse for months before a major engagement. Well, they couldn't be as good, could they? It stands to reason.
And despite the apparent a priori logic of his protectionist, subsidy-demanding 'guild' position, you know what - ? He's utterly wrong. We know you don't understand it (like you don't understand financial markets etc etc etc). But there it is. It shouldn't work - but it does.
Here's a more serious example, from some Dane called Joris Luyendijk.
Brexit Britain can no longer be considered a serious country
For over a year now, virtually all signs coming out of London suggest that Europeans are not just bidding farewell to an EU member state. They must also come to grips with a future in which their neighbours across the Channel and the North Sea are no longer predictable or rational. Britain’s reputation for reliability is simply not reconcilable with the presence of Boris Johnson in the cabinet. The country’s reputation for stable government cannot be squared with the impending Brexit-induced chaos and upheaval in Scotland and Northern Ireland ... EU leaders decided to leak the proceedings of their dinner on Sunday with May in order to warn their own public about how irrational Britain has become. How the country believes itself to have the upper hand in a negotiation with a group of nations seven times its own size. How it wants to be part of the single market while refusing to recognise the authority of the European court governing that market. And, most alarmingly, how badly informed May still is about the practical consequences both of Brexit and of a no-deal crash out of the EU ... There is no escaping it: under the leadership of Theresa May the United Kingdom can no longer be considered a serious country.You may yet live to amend your assessment, Mr Joris. If we keep sheltering you under our military umbrella, that is.