A tourist visiting the UK has split opinion and sparked heated debate after labelling it as somewhere that “looks and feels like a poor country”.
Alison K Montijin posted on Twitter/X that she often visits from the Netherlands and that what she sees in Britain is “shocking at times.”
“Everything’s tatty. Dysfunctional, high streets boarded up, trains and buses no shows, broken machines, signs of decay and poverty everywhere. It doesn’t have to be like that,” she wrote.
She went on to clarify that there are “pockets of loveliness” that went against her initial characterisation – “most of Cambridge, parts of London, parts of Bristol, parts of York, well-heeled posh villages” – but claimed that the “majority is grim”.
She added: “It is disgraceful how run-down it has been allowed to get”.
Her posts, the first of which has been viewed more than one million times, were met with both derision and agreement from fellow social media users.
Glyn Lewis replied that he’s “not sure where you have been but it’s not a reflection of the country I live in”, while Charles Forsyth suggested Ms Montijin “get out a bit more”.
Another user questioned which parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland she had visited, with all the places she mentioned located in England, while one sarcastic user responded: “Everything is perfect where you live.”
However, many replies were in agreement with Ms Montijin’s statement. Andrew Ashton wrote that he believes “many UK citizens don’t realise how awful this country has become”, citing “nothing working properly, late or cancelled trains, empty high streets” among the problems.
Another user wrote: “I live in a nice part of London and have friends in other nice parts of the country. They obviously exist. But I’m really shocked when I go beyond that to see how much some areas have deteriorated. The poverty is palpable, and services such as public transport are appalling.”
J M Wall said that the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year demonstrated “what would be possible if we invested in all our towns, cities and neighbourhoods properly all the time”, while another Twitter user suggested a comparison: “Visit Poland. Now there’s a country very obviously on the up. Ditto Ireland.”
Her comments were such a talking point that Ms Montijin was forced to mute the thread, pointing out that it was “getting a bit big for me to handle”. She signed off with some advice: “Change is possible!”