by | 26th, January 2007

how-british-are-you.jpg“HOW BRITISH ARE YOU?”

Take the Telegraph’s quiz. “TEST YOURSELF,” offers the paper’s front-page teaser.

So you do.

Question: “There has never been a revolution in Britain because: a) We couldn’t be bothered; b) Only foreigners get that excited; c) There has. It was in 1649 when Cromwell chopped off Charles I’s head, but we’ve calmed down now; d) Just you wait, my friends.”

The correct answer is given as ‘b’. That scores ten points. Give yourself a round of applause, but do not whoop or fire a pistol into the air. Answers ‘a’ and ‘c’ score five points each. And answer ‘d’ is wrong.

According to the Telegraph’s Brit-ometer, there will be no revolution. Things just trot along. Tickety-boo. Musn’t grumble. Make the best of a bad lot.

You take the test. You score the points. And that is so very British. Consider the question: “The figure from British history I would most like to see in the Celebrity Big Brother house is a) Sir Isaac Newton; b) Nell Gwynne; c) Jade Goody; d) Anybody in severely infectious stages of the Black Death.”

(It sounds like the kind of question Cambridge University hopefuls are asked at interview: Which character from Martin Amis’s London Fields do you most associate with? Can you juggle? Would you like to make a donation?)

The revolution will be televised. And it will be decided by a phone vote and hosted by Davina McCall. The winner will lead an invasion of French; the loser will be beheaded on daytime telly.

But can the non-British – the kind of people who don’t watch Big Brother – be made British? Can you learn British? Is there a course? A GCSE? A module?

Well, yes. The Times (“Pupils to learn the best of British”) looks at the new lessons in British history and the “national identity”.

The course in Identity and Diversity: Living Together in the UK stems from the work of Sir Keith Ajebo, a Home Office Advisor.

Says he: “It is the duty of all schools to address issues of ‘how we love together’ and ‘dealing with difference’, however difficult and controversial they may seem.”

It’s a new way of looking at things. It’s a new perspective. Can society be taught? Or is it more of a sandwich course to be studied in the field and precinct?

And what happens if you fail New History? Do you get to moan about it? Or will you lop the teacher’s head off and declare today the beginning of Year Zero?

Posted: 26th, January 2007 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink