He's attempting to be self deprecating to soften his stance but the long and short of it is he's being a cunt:
TOM UTLEY: It’s not Italy’s fault I can’t speak Italian. So why do we pander to people who don’t understand English?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/artic ... akers.html
Many mothers and fathers will understand, I suspect, when I say that nothing is more fatal to our parental authority than having to ask the offspring for help with a computer glitch.
In our family, the pattern is always the same. There I sit, tapping away at the laptop, when suddenly a morning’s work disappears into the ether, the screen freezes or the machine takes it into its stupid head to list all my emails in the wrong order, starting in 2007. You know the sort of thing. It happens to all of us.
For the next 20 minutes or so, I attempt to find a solution for myself, trying all the usual Ctrl-Alt-Deletes and the rest, but it’s never any good. The awful moment comes when I have to summon assistance from our one remaining resident son.
Cue a pantomime of groaning, sighing and eye-rolling from the boy, as he lumbers over to shoulder his idiot father aside. His fingers flash in a blur across the keyboard and within seconds the problem is fixed.
‘Whoa there, lad, how did you do that? Would you go through it again slowly, please, so that I’ll know for the next time?’
More groaning and eye-rolling, another blur of fingers across keys — jabbing away like machine-gun fire, far too fast to follow — and then off he stalks, leaving me none the wiser until I next need his IT services.
The balance of power is all wrong. It’s no good my protesting that it’s only because he happens to have been born in the thick of the computer age that dealing with these problems comes as second nature to him, while many of us older folk tend to struggle.
Nor is it any use pointing out I have other skills that demand his respect. For example, at the age of 12, I was awarded the coveted trophy for the best ballroom dancer at Orwell Park Preparatory School for boys. So proficient was I that I always had to be the girl and dance backwards. But is he impressed? Not he.
It’s fruitless even to remind him that in the 1970s, I was admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge University, one of the finest academic institutions in the world — a qualification I later upgraded to MA (Cantab), on payment of a fiver.
No, to my disrespectful son, as I sit humiliated at the computer keyboard, I’m just a cretin, a moron, a retard — or any one of a dozen other words we’re not allowed to use any more. Now, for many years when the boys were growing up, I had this same feeling of compromised authority on family holidays in countries where I had difficulties with the lingo.
My trouble was that all four of our sons have something of a gift for languages. One is almost fluent in Italian, three get by impressively in Spanish and one also has a smattering of German.
As for myself, I still know a little Latin (which comes in handier than many may believe) but my knowledge of modern languages is confined to schoolboy French — much improved during my 1972 gap year, spent working in a hotel in the Pas-de-Calais, but long since rusted back to basics.
For that reason, I always favoured France as our destination, knowing that I could more or less understand what the locals were saying to me — and that when push came to shove, I could make myself understood by them. But occasionally the boys would get their way, and we’d be off to Italy or Spain for my ritual humiliation.
Again and again, the same scene would be played out. There I’d stand at a hotel reception desk in some out-of-the-way place, exhausted after a long drive, struggling desperately to make myself understood by the woman behind the counter.
Displaying all the vices of the Englishman abroad, I’d speak very slowly and loudly in my own language, making absurdly exaggerated hand-gestures and gurning apologetic faces. But all to no avail.
Meanwhile, our linguist sons would stand sullenly back, in the manner of Harry Enfield’s ‘I’m not your slave’ Kevin, refusing point-blank to offer their services as interpreters. Only after an eternity of watching their father suffer would one of these young sadists soften, rattling off a few words of impeccable Spanish or Italian to make everything clear.
But my point this week (and, yes, there is a point to all this) is that it’s nobody’s fault but my own that I can’t make myself understood by Italians in Italy or monoglot Spaniards in Spain.
I could have learned their languages, just as I could have mugged up on computers (plenty of my age-group are veritable technological wizards). But the fact is that I didn’t — and my communication difficulties are the price I expect and surely deserve to pay for my omission, as one of the hazards of travelling abroad.
It has never occurred to me for a moment that the fault might lie with the Italians or Spanish for failing to make themselves understandable to their visitors (though I count it a blessing that so many of them speak English these days).
Indeed, only in mad, diversity-obsessed Britain does the idea appear to have caught on that it’s our responsibility to address foreign visitors in their own languages — or to provide interpreters at public expense if we don’t know how.
As readers with long memories may recall, this has been a subject close to my heart since 2011, when a whole lot of bumf from the local council landed on my doormat, soliciting my views on plans for traffic-calming measures in my area.
It was bad enough that this included a questionnaire enquiring about my race, religion and sexuality: ‘I am heterosexual/straight; I am gay or lesbian (homosexual); I am bisexual; other; don’t know; prefer not to say’. Could anyone explain, I wondered, what possible relevance any of this could have to my attitude to road humps?
But what really took my breath away (and this was in the depths of the debt crisis, remember) was the council’s assurance that all these documents were available not only in large print, Braille and audiotape, but in an astonishing array of foreign languages, including Portuguese, Bengali, Yoruba and Twi.
Surely to goodness, I thought, if a Twi-speaking Ashanti from Ghana can’t be bothered to learn English, it cannot be unreasonable to suggest he forfeit his right to express an opinion on whether lozenges, chicanes, ‘echelon parking with build-out’ or ‘splitter island with tree’ — or none of the above — are required in St Julian’s Farm Road, south London?
Which brings me at last to this week’s common-sense recommendation from a House of Lords committee that town halls should waste less on translating documents into foreign languages, so as to free up more cash for teaching migrants English.
True, I don’t quite see why ratepayers should foot the bill for such lessons, any more than the Government in Madrid should be expected to teach me Spanish. Clearly, however, any investment in integration must be wiser than discouraging Ghanaians from learning English by printing all documents in Twi.
But let me end with the heart-rending case, reported last weekend, of the Sri Lankan mother whose inability to speak English meant she was unable to understand midwives’ advice on how to feed her baby, who was born in an NHS hospital a year after she arrived in London as a refugee. As a result, Sinthiya Rajatheepan’s son, now eight, was left brain-damaged.
Now fast forward to a week ago today, when the High Court ruled that he should receive compensation from the NHS, expected to run into millions of pounds.
This was because the midwives failed to employ an interpreter to explain the importance of proper feeding techniques to Sinthiya, who was 21 when her boy was born.
God knows, my heart goes out to this family, and I fully accept our humane public duty to help with the boy’s upbringing. But millions of pounds’ compensation? By what perversion of sanity can the NHS be held to blame for this poor woman’s failure to understand English, in England?
Cariad, England, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
Couldnt agree more. If you're in Britain - learn English. Why should we pay for your failure to learn our language?
jimmy page, Somerset, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
she / the parents coudlnt understand English, didnt understand how to feed a baby and they obviously never met another parent ever but they knew how to claim com pen say shun ?
Gerald, Lancashire, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
The UK has lost it's War with Left wing Liberalism. That is why everything about the UK offends someone. In reality the UK offends no one but the Left wing Liberals have to find someone to be offended so they make it all up and call it the right thing to do. ? .
Nick, nottingham, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
Tom 's dead right as usual. I despair of England!
To be fair, if you move to a country I do agree that you should at least attempt to learn enough of the lingo to get by. Spending increasingly long periods of time in Spain I'm trying to practise what I preach. However, some help should always be available. It isn't "lefty liberal pandering", it's fucking human decency. Many European countries make a lot of effort to speak English to us if needed. To say "fuck you, learn our language or don't speak to us" is sadly expected from the Mail, though.