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Culture Vultures

by | 25th, July 2002

‘WHAT makes illegal immigrants spend all their money on a one-way ticket to Britain via the back of a lorry?

Mr Benn welcomes the new arrivals from Kosovo

Is it the food? Is it the weather? Is it our fabulous bed & breakfast hotels, with their ‘We welcome DSS’ signs and their formica furniture? Or is it the rich cultural life with which our nation is associated in the foreign imagination?

The answer, of course, is all of these factors. But a Home Office survey of 70,000 asylum seekers indicates that British culture is the clincher.

For although the UK has slipped out of the Top 10 in the UN’s newly-published ‘quality of life’ table, our nation is still regarded as a desirable destination by many of the world’s poor and dispossessed.

However, this positive image may be somewhat misleading, as the Independent reports.

Many foreigners still cling to visions of foggy streets and pin-stripe suits. Baroness Thatcher and The Beatles are widely cited, albeit as two separate entities, rather than one bill-topping attraction, and the Spice Girls are another popular choice.

The fact that all three of these phenomena are now consigned to history should not blind us to their continued significance. Nor is it all a question of history.

Two frequently cited features of the UK are Manchester United Football Club and sympathy for asylum seekers. Both of which have never been stronger… Right?



Posted: 25th, July 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink