The British Identity Problem

I took Mrs P for her first beach trip in England today. We had a picnic at Studland Bay, then jumped on a bus for the sandier shores of Sandbanks – one of the most expensive spits of land in the world. How to ensure she enjoyed herself? How can I make an English beach compare to a Mexican playa? Easy. Stick a bottle of Tequila in it. That snap, and the other photos I shot and uploading to Instagram, can also been seen on my Tumblr blog.

I wrote a comment on another blog recently, declaring my admiration for the continuing ability of the US to instil a sense of American idealism and identity in newly arrived immigrants. Many of whom come because of those ideals. I lamented the lack of a ‘British’ identity to promote to immigrants here in Britain.

Wandering through Bournemouth today, I took a closer look at what passes for Britishness in the 21st century. Foul-mouthed, drunken, anti-social slackers who soak up ill-gotten state benefits as readily as they soak up the sun. Sadly, only the sun leaves them red faced. Fortunately, they are still in the minority. But they do tend to make themselves more noticeable than Mr Average, and have been actively promoting this image of Britishness abroad for years.

So I have to retract my suggestion that there is no ‘British’ identity that is being promoted to immigrants to the UK. But luckily, it doesn’t seem to be rubbing off. Today, for the first time ever, I was served by a Briton* in Costa Coffee. Normally it’s an immigrant, more often than not a Pole. Today, for the first time ever, the assistant in Costa Coffee got my order wrong. Today, for the first time ever, my coffee sucked. Normally, the Pole gets my order right, and it’s a good cuppa.

The conclusion? We need more immigration in the UK, please. Not less. Let’s hope they don’t put too much effort into ‘assimilating’. Oh, and a little more emigration. Some ‘white flight’ wouldn’t entirely be a bad thing. Of course, it’s simply not acceptable to ask others to do something that one is unwilling to do. So I shall lead by example…. 🙂

* To be fair to the girl in question, she was sporting an ‘In Training’ badge, and was very polite and friendly.

5 Comments

  • Hi Gary! I am glad the Britain is providing equal opportunity for other minorities such a ‘regular’ underemployed young Brits. But of course it comes at a price. The teguila bottle is reminder of how long it has been since we have been to the beach hear. I have been noticing the brouhaha over a Houston latino do the payback thing in offer free pizza for anyone that order is Spanish! The poor guy is just grateful for the chance to start a business in the US but that loud minority such as that your mention in your native land is putting this down. Well as they say around here ‘asi es’.

    • The real, and universally understood, language of planet earth is the dollar sign. The pizza guy was speaking everyone’s language! There are some, though, who haven’t moved on much further from grunting and gesturing, and I suspect it’s those kind of folk who gave him the hardest time.

Leave a Reply