If I had a dollar for every time I had been called an "English gentleman", I would have, let me see, several dollars by now. If there ever were such creature, if would perhaps be defined as having grass stains on its elbows, if you get my drift, but - even so - I have my doubts.
The closest anyone might come to showing gentlemanly conduct these days would be some Johnny Foreigner such as the luckless David Nalbandian, an Argentine yet with a distinctly unswarthy name.
Cruising towards a win at a minor English tennis tournament yesterday, he lost his serve and kicked a hoarding advertising French fizzy wine. The poor British workmanship meant that the hoarding sprang loose and caught the linesman duffer on the leg. The resulting scratch bled - the horror! - the linesman whinged, and Nalbandian was disqualified for a code violation.
Did Nalbers complain? Did he blame anyone but himself? Did he even suggest that if some cnut had taken the trouble to do his job properly then there would have been no problem? Thrice no.
Poor old Britain. It even has to import gentlemen these days.