Future Voices: Is Britain really that British?

Fish and Chips ready to go. Picture: Matthew Usher

Fish and Chips ready to go. Picture: Matthew Usher - Credit: Archant

Britain has always been a country which takes great pride in its achievements, best highlighted to me this Christmas whilst watching Hugh Grant's speech as Prime Minister in Love Actually.

Although sometimes we forget that many aspects of British culture is possibly not quite as British as we may have expected.

You can't get much more British than sitting down your local pub, The Saint George, a hot cuppa tea in one hand, a pint of beer in the other with a mighty portion of fish and chips before you.

Funnily enough, none of it actually originated in Britain.

Pubs were originally Italian wine houses, Saint George - the patron saint of England - is believed to be born to a Greek family in Syria, tea actually originated in China as a medicinal drink, the first evidence of beer was found in ancient Iraq, battered fish arrived on British soil with Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal and chips were developed by a Belgian housewife!


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I'm all for a bit of national pride when it comes to the success of our Olympians and Paralympians during the 2016 games, the Yorkshire pudding and, perhaps ironically, the great chicken tikka masala.

I also think it's important that we are a little more accepting of foreign cultures because of all they have done to help us construct ours.

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It's such a shame, though, that we still have some ignorant cretins with Union Jacks smeared across their faces in Japanese face paint, holding a piece of German cardboard that sports some repugnant remark about the dilution of traditional British culture by foreign integration. Seems a bit ironic to me.

We often seem to forget how much Britain has gained and developed as a result of immigration and foreign culture and simply look at the detrimental effects that it has on our country.

We still try to pick and choose which aspects of foreign culture we adopt with arms stretched wide and which parts should go back to where they came from.

What would we actually be left with if everything were truly 'made in Britain'?

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