Anorak News | What It Is To Be British

What It Is To Be British

by | 15th, November 2004

‘ASK the residents of Faliraki, Ayia Napa or Megalluf the characteristics that typify the British – and we suspect the words ”polite”, ”eccentric” and ”aloof” will not crop up.

Proud, aloof and very, very drunk

Ask any of the countries that have hosted England’s football fans in recent years and see if ”patriotic free spirits” is the term they use to describe their guests.

Ask most British blacks and Asians what they think of their Anglo Saxon neighbours and don’t hold your breath for the word ”tolerant” to spill from their lips.

But that is apparently how we are seen abroad, according to research commissioned by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) and reproduced in this morning’s Telegraph.

The survey found that foreigners generally held a positive view of the UK and its people, with our sense of humour emphasised as a defining characteristic.

”Politeness was also agreed upon as typically British,” the paper says, ”though this was considered by some to be a front for reserve and an uptight approach to social situations.”

However, it appears that, while respondents were aware of the constituent parts of the UK, it’s not just President Bush who has difficulty identifying Wales.

”England was generally seen as urban and Scotland was seen simply as countryside with ‘nice’ people,” the researchers say.

”There was little knowledge of Wales, though some people pointed out that Catherine Zeta Jones grew up there.”

Thousands of sheep, decades of close harmony singing and Charlotte Church – and the only thing people know about Wales is that Mrs Michael Douglas was born there.

The survey, which also suggests that we are fiercely individualistic, provides the Telegraph with a perfect excuse to launch its own search for the greatest Brit of the past year.

And for the Times to launch its search for the greatest British invention of all time.

And for the Indy to launch its search for the greatest British building.

And for the Guardian to launch its search for the best kept British beard…’

Posted: 15th, November 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink