The Straight Dope, on the differences between Britain and America, concludes:
A case can be made that folks in the UK are too nice for their own good. In reading parliamentary transcripts and such you're struck by how exasperatingly fair-minded and decent everyone is--not just the lefties, either. One detects little appetite for the draconian measures that some believe have reduced crime in the U.S., notably the harsh sentencing laws that have given us one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world. If present trends continue, though, no doubt the Brits will learn to be assholes just like us.I should add that very few of my American acquaintances, and none of my friends, are assholes; but then none of them are involved in law enforcement - apart from David Feige (not an asshole) and the rabid immigration lawyer I met last month (keeping an open mind about her).