We, Brits, tend to be a bit wary of foreigners and all things foreign; well, unless it is a German Christmas market. 

We usually find foreign news a bit complex and... well foreign.  We kind of know some foreign news is important; but we aren't gripped by it.  The British media, of course, reported the rise of Islamic State in Syria & Iraq, and the crisis in Ukraine and Russia.  These were probably the two biggest International News stories of 2014.  We knew both of these stories were important, but they captured the imagination (at best) fleetingly.  You'd be unlikely to find any sustained discussion among us, Brits, about Islamic State or Ukraine.   A banal discussion about the weather is just far more gripping.

However, one International story did grip us in 2014: Ebola.  Ebola is a perfect story.  Ebola is a dangerous plague from abroad; read: "be wary of foreigners; and you don't have to worry about being racist or xenophobic".  Yes, Ebola allowed us to worry we were being invaded from abroad.  But we could worry about this invasion from abroad, without worrying about political correctness. When we get "invaded" by migrants, we worry that we are being racist, xenophobic and politically incorrect.  But we can have a good panic about the risk of invasion from Ebola.

Ebola, of course, has allowed the usual hyperbole and deranged media frenzy that comes with Another Invented Disease. If you read the media or watched the TV in 2014, you would be excused for thinking that the entire population of Africa is contaminated with Ebola, and it's a good job we are an island, and the sea "might" protect us.  There is no sense of proportion when writing about a foreign disease, be it Ebola, Bird Flu, SARS or any of the diseases that have terrified us. The impression you would get from the British Media is that just about everyone in the affected countries is infected with Ebola, even though the number of people with Ebola could occupy Manchester United's Old Trafford about 12 times over.

Our wonderful, rational, calm media have also failed to note the differences between the UK and Sierra Leone/Liberia. Sierra Leone and Liberia are underdeveloped countries with (at best) a basic, rudimentary health care system. Probably as many women have died in childbirth in Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2014 as have died of Ebola.  However that just isn't a good headline. It's far more re-assuring to think that the vast hordes of Africans have this terrible disease that we are about to import at any moment. That is much easier to think about than the fact the healthcare system in places like Sierra Leone and Liberia results in (what would be in Western countries) unthinkable numbers of deaths through childbirth.