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Quotes / Stiff Upper Lip

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"If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle—that's the thing."
—"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," Monty Python's Life of Brian

"It's a difficult decision." [pause] "...all right. It's Friday and the sun is shining. You won't go to prison."
A British Judge, handing down a sentence.

Robber: I want money or I will 'effing shoot you.
[no one in the shop co-operates and the robber flees]
Customer: [in regards to the would-be robber's weapon] I think what this guy has got is actually a banana.
Reported in The Times and The Guardian. The Robber was caught after a sniffer dog found the banana nearby.

These English are a strange people. They came here in the morning, looked at the wall, walked over it, killed all the garrison, and returned to breakfast. What can withstand them?
— Quoted from Maratha chieftain allied to Wellington during his campaigns in India. From Highlander by Tim Newark.

"If you are going to kill me then do so. Otherwise I have considerable work to do."
Lennier, Babylon 5

"How are ya supposed to know what you British are feeling? What? Y'all wear mood rings?"
Fran Fine, The Nanny

Their grief? If you imagine I'm going to drop everything and come down to London before I attend to my grandchildren who've just lost their mother...then you're mistaken. I doubt there is anyone who knows the British people more than I do, Mr. Blair, nor who has greater faith in their wisdom and judgment. And it is my belief that they will any moment reject this—this 'mood', which is being stirred up by the press, in favor of a period of restrained grief, and sober, private mourning. That's the way we do things in this country, quietly, with dignity. That's what the rest of the world has always admired us for.

"London is the only city on earth where people attempt to fight The War on Terror using boredom."

"For whatever it's worth, here's my message to anyone planning on carrying out another attack: I've lived in London on and off for fifteen years. I can tell you first-hand: this shit. Never. Works. It never works. London has seen attack, after attack, after attack, each with the aim of driving us further apart. And you know what happens? London has just banded together! You know what happened yesterday? Strangers talked to each other on the tube! They smiled at police officers! They were actually kinder to Muslims! You're achieving the opposite of what you want, you fucking idiots! And not just in the capital: you've done something that no one in the history of Britian has ever done: you've made the rest of the UK feel sympathy for London! And you didn't even shut London down! You know what the trending topic was the day after the attack?! NATIONAL PUPPY DAY! You've got no fucking idea how to shut this city down!"
"If you really want to stop this city, buy thirty snow machines, place them around town, and turn them on at the same time! Gather up a shitload of leaves, dump 'em on the railway tracks and watch the havoc begin! But don't tell us you're doing it, though, because Londoners will quite happily get ridiculously annoyed over the tiniest thing, as long as it's on our terms! There's no way we'll do it if we think it's what you want us to do!"
"And to the guy who did this, here's what you achieved this week. You killed four people. You injured dozens more. And when you get to your god, who is, incidentally, also our god, he's probably going to have a few issues with that. If you're looking up at us right now, because there's no fucking way you're looking down, wondering what effect you had on the people of Great Britain, let me summarise: no one is scared, people are resilient, we think you're an idiot, you're dead, and even your God thinks you're a dick."

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find. And not to yield.

It was part of war; men died, more would die, that was past, and what mattered now was the business in hand; those who lived would get on with it. Whatever sorrow was felt, there was no point in talking or brooding about it, much less in making, for form’s sake, a parade of it. Better and healthier to forget it, and look to tomorrow.
The celebrated British stiff upper lip, the resolve to conceal emotion which is not only embarrassing and useless, but harmful, is just plain common sense.
George MacDonald Fraser, Quartered Safe Out Here

Some readers may think I have at times, whether as subaltern or as general, treated too lightly, even when in this minor key, the grim and tragic business of war. If they do, I can only plead guilty to a fault — or is it a virtue? — that has for centuries marked the British soldier. There would be fewer battle honours emblazoned on his colours had he lacked it.
— Field Marshal William Slim, Unofficial History

Pray for me now my calamity is at hand.
John Stubbs before his public behanding, 1579

Luckily, we’re all English so no-one’s going to ask any questions. Thank you, centuries of emotional repression!
Mark, Peep Show

As a Brit I am not sure what I would call an "emergency". For example an incoming nuclear strike is not an "emergency" but maybe more a sub-optimal situation that calls for the kettle to be put on.
Sultan_of_win, Reddit (link)

We see the Stationmaster. The tremors disturb his careful order. But he carries on. He keeps calm. He works as he has always worked, as he always will work. Our kindly Sisyphus. You cannot even see the tears behind his smile. "How much longer?" he asks, when no one is looking. And the silence answers forever.
The Buzzing, The Secret World

"You go have your emotions in... a small room that you've designed for emotions... and when you come back, we can pretend that there are no extremes of anything going on."

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