116 1 min 14 yrs

The remarkable statistics are as follows;

  • 40% of primary age children in London now speak a language other than English when at home.  
  • Secondary schools’ proportion of non-native English speakers rose from 33.5% to 35.3 %.
  • In inner city Tower Hamlets, 75%s of children in primary schools are now not native English speakers.

Since children represent our future, surely the demographics here means that London is being rapidly turned into a foreign city, a place where those who speak English are a minority. I appreciate that ALL major global cities have a swirling mass of various people but I feel that something else is happening in London, something of profound historical importance. It is becoming a non-British city.

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116 thoughts on “LONDON IS A FOREIGN LAND…

  1. Peter –

    That ought to tell you that the government doesn’t believe its own rhetoric on AGW. It is setting stringent targets for carbon reductions, yet following policies which make their achievement impossible. If the government believed that AGW was real and presented the threat we are told it does, its policies would reflect this belief.

    David Vance –

    London is already visibly foreign, even without this demographic timebomb in our midst. It’s one of the main reasons why I moved away and hate going back there. I grew up in a multiculti paradise where white faces were predominant. Now more and more areas of London have been cleansed of whities entirely.

    A particular worry on this is that London dominates the UK politically and culturally. The liberal metropolitan elite sees only this basket case of a city, smiles approvingly and makes policy with London in mind, not the millions of straight, normal Britons who live elsewhere. Thus, the influence of immigrants is already out of kilter with their numbers and reinforced all the time.

  2. There is a forecast this week that the UK population may increase from 60 million now to 108 million by 2081. And guess why? Population relpacement is not an exagerated term to describe this phenomenon.

    Full story HERE

  3. Great comment Pete, especially since it anticipates both David’s post and my comment by several hours! (?)

  4. "It’s one of the main reasons why I moved away and hate going back there."

    Seconded. There’s nothing you could do to get me to back.

    The thing here is that these statistics give the lie to the fiction that this is all about free movement of labour. The vast numbers of *families* moving into Britain and placing such overwhelming strain on our education system and health service show that this is, indeed, population replacement, pure and simple.

    It seems even UKIP’s proposal to halt immigration for a single parliamentary term isn’t going to be enough. We are drowning.

  5. Mahons

    Stick to the humour, pomposity doesn’t suit you. As outdated/old hat/old-fashioned as it may seem to modern, sofistikated liberals, I don’t want to feel like a foreigner in my own country, which is what happens whenever I’m in London. The last time I walked the High St in the area of my birth and upbringing, I was the only obvious Englishman amongst Bosnians, Polaks, blacks and Pakis.

    So please excuse me if I protest the cultural war against my country, my heritage and my birthright. You might be cool man about your gringo descendents being told to speak Spanish or go away, but I value my culture a bit higher than that.

  6. When in the course of one’s history a nation obtains (and loses) various colonies it would seem less than suprising that some folks from said colonies would happen to wind up in the capital of that nation. Add to that the globalization of trade and the international influences on most of the world’s great capital cities, and it is hardly suprising. However, in the host nation, the host language (the mother tongue) should be favored in the common exchange, which it would still seem to be in London.

    Immigration reform is a worthy goal in the UK and elesewhere (including where I live). But reform should be based on something other than fear or prejudice.

  7. It’s not the lack of white faces that is causing Britain to disappear. It’s the lack of white faces AND multiculturalism.

    Multiculturalism which states that all cultures are equal, except for the old predominant white one, which is not equal because it was racist in the past and therefore should be penalized.

  8. Patty: How about if we say all cultures are entilted equal courtesy. We don’t have to embrace cannibalism if that is the culture of some group, but surely not being white isn’t a crime.

  9. Re the cannibals, – I am sure you wouldn’t appreciate having any living close by either!…you do see that, while not objecting to any strange culture per se, we don’t really want to get too up-close and personal to any of them… say a thousand miles in any direction, would seem about right!

  10. EY – on the contrary, you sailed around to all those various cultures for centuries in an effort to be up-close and personal.

  11. Mahons

    Not being white isn’t a crime.

    If only one could say the same of being white.

    PS: Did you know that the Brits introduced rugby to Fiji in an attempt to introduce the concept of fair play, leading toward to the idea that eating people was wrong?

    Fijian rugby players are very large and very fast and have now come back to bite us.

  12. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a ‘critical mass’ in demographic politics, but if so then elections both local and national will hardly be worth contesting in London, by white candidates in the future.
    That would make the electoral system even less democratic than it is now as the three main parties move ever closer together to garner support from an increasingly mono-cultural population.
    That would leave the provinces and elsewhere in a real fix: Who to vote for in their constituency, with the Capital being so increasingly dominant.

    This is what Enoch Powell referred to as the ‘Alien Wedge’.

  13. Paul: I’d suggest the use salt and wash you down with Guinness. Incidently, is rugby really more civilized than cannibalism?

  14. Mahons

    Rugby is a thugs game game played by gentlemen with irregularly shaped balls.

    Whether it is the equal of cannibalism rather depends on whether one is a fleet footed, closet homosexual who plays in the backs, or a misshapen, cauliflowered eared heterosexual, who plays in the forwards.

    In my playing days, I was more an a-sexual. IE: one who avoided male pyhsical contact, especially at velocity, and indeed the ball, leather, veined,slippery or hanging.

  15. As a Londoner born bred (it was already multi coloured when i was born) i’m going to stick up for this damn fine city and all its residents.

    I’d be VERY happy to see London become a seperate city state. Say like Monaco? I’m sure the economy will do just fine without us. LOL.

    We can then get on with the job of fighting the Liberal Elite and Daily Mail Doomongers and their wretched hate and influence. We might even ensure all these rotten foreigners who are here, feel some pride in who they are & what they belong to. Perish the thought!

  16. A Londoner

    With 100,000 racist whiteys legging it per year, and the fact that London is now minority white, your crowing is based on the present, rather than the future.

    If those nasty capitalist city boys decamped to Frankfurt, or, heaven help us, Dubai, London would be just another third world city, with all the socio/economic problems exhibited by San Paulo.

    Do you, perchance, live in the gated community of Gramsci Towers, Hampstead, or the more gritty and diverse parts of town such as Peckham, where blacks live in misery and whites tend not to live beyond the age of 18, if they live at all?

  17. Born in sarf London, know it well and no I don’t live in any gated wotsit or anywhere posh, ta. Hence why i don’t hold much sway by Hampstead La di Daa Liberals waxing lyrical about mutli-culti ‘havens’ anymore than i enjoy reading views of ‘Dun Roamin’ gated middle class tabloiders. Trouble reading when the mist descended?

  18. A Londoner

    I appear to have slandered you in the midst of a mist redolent of that which hung over the South London meat emporiums, spam factories and eel stands of the 1950’s.

    Your eloquent and pithy response can only lead to my acceptance of your put down, and a realisation that not all south Londoners are criminal manques or habituees at her Majesty’s pleasure.Norman Stanley Fletcher being a case in point.

  19. Mahons: I think it has nothing to do with black or white, and everything to do with assimilating into British culture. It’s NOT about courtesy or live and let live. It’s about adopting, revering and protecting the traditional British way of life. Regardless of skin color, or country of your ancestors, or even immediate family. Multiculturalism prevents this. traditional "White" British culture is demonized as racist; nonwhite countries of origin are romanticized and "celebrated."

    The same dynamic is acted out with America’s identity politics. Whereby a Black Aamerican is identified as an African-AMerican– that is to say African first, American second.

    Which becomes laughable in cases like Condi Rice and Colin Powell — one of whom traces ancestry back to Africa, the other to the Cariibean. BOth, I feel, consider themselves 100% American.

  20. PS: Had the pleasure of living in SE8 for a few years, hence my trouble with multiculti London. Five attempted muggings, one gloriously succesful mugging (15-20 very young or vertically challenged black males – I was a little pissed at the time) and I was off to pastures new, white and middle class. The trade off is mental frustration oh my god Yah, as opposed to physical pain y’know what I mean man.

  21. "I don’t know if there is such a thing as a ‘critical mass’ in demographic politics, but if so then elections both local and national will hardly be worth contesting in London, by white candidates in the future."

    Bernard (and others),

    Please stop confusing ‘white’ with ‘foreign’. It doesn’t exactly help refute the allegations of the likes of Mahons that ‘fear and prejudice’ rule the day.

  22. Patty: Some have written just above you essentially how awful London has become since it is not as white as it used to be. I do agree that the zealots of multiculturalism tend to condemn the British way of life, which is wrong. But there are those of the anti-Multiculturaists whose oppostion is race.

    As I recall, the African-American thing came from Jesse Jackson who argued that white people in America often identify themselves as Irish-American, Italian-American etc. I think in a rare moment of contribution from him he was simply trying to assist in the national dialogue about race, which has of course consummed us in our history.

    I am sure Powell and Rice consider themselves American, not doubt touched by the African-American experience. Nothing wrong with embracing the nation of your birth in the context of your heritage.

  23. Rather than Benny Hill, how about Winston Churchill?

    He was white, British, and popular precisely because he represented what typical British people imagined themselves to be, albeit on a less grandiose scale.

    Stubborn, sense of humour, lack of respect for bureaucracy, brave, defiant, dignified, sympathy for the underdog, cohesive, patriotic, proud, enlightened Christian, fair play, altruistic, etc etc.

    In other words, symbolic of those who built and maintained Western civilisation, for all it’s good or ills, as opposed to the ideology of today which has turned poor Winston’s ideology into imperialistic oppression, which is fine as long as the innate decency of his civilisation did not die with his beliefs, which sadly is not the case.

  24. Does anyone else feel the need to fan themselves when Paul enters the threads? Lord, that man can talk smooth…..

    My American opinion is that this should have less to do with color or origin and more to do with the absolute need to have all citizens speak, read & write the language, accept & celebrate the customs of the country, integrate into society and become productive law abiding members of the U.K.

    Multiculturalism does not work, mass immigration does not work. When you have both of these factors combined you have a recipe for societal failure. The immigration should be stopped and the existing immigrants need an intensive program of assimilation that requires them to fit in to your country.

  25. No Allen, that’s not what I meant, let me clarify.

    I think you can have periods of mass immigration, but a country needs a break between episodes in order to assimilate a large group of people into it’s ethos, language, culture, etc. I don’t think any country can successfully continue a program of mass immigration for 40 or 50 years and have realistic expectations of absorbing those folks in a way that’s good for the country, it’s current citizens, or newest citizens. I think spacing and a strong policy of integration are necessary components to keep any country on an even keel and have the immigration be successful for everyone involved.

  26. There is mass immigration and there is mass immigration.

    2 million Christian Europeans fulfills the multiculti ethos if they are German, Swedish, Italian, French, Scottish, and to a point, Welsh. Which is basically the ingredients of America, built by immigrants, mostly European, and shaped by a protestant, English ethos.

    2 million immigrants made up of Tutsis, Hutus, Masona and Matabele, Muslims, Mexicans and lower class Welsh would have been unlikely to build America into a democratic superpower, no matter what the fans of cultural reletavism may think.

    Sometimes reality trumps ideology, even today.

    2 million

  27. Paul: You seem to have forgotten some involuntary immigrants whose enforced labor also greatly built the country. And it was the mix of everyone (not just WASPS) that built this country.

  28. Alan are trying to pick a fight with me?

    You are trying to compare our apples to their oranges in a different age and compared to the current ideological mindset of the modern UK.

    So, I’m going to assume that you think mass immigration from non-western, culturally asymmetrical countries into a small nation with no program, or political leanings to have one, of integration and assimilation in a short period of time is a good thing? Do tell?

    And don’t you even start on the racist bigotry garbage with me, okay?

  29. >>You are trying to compare our apples to their oranges in a different age and compared<<

    Daphne, the huge influx that made up the white population of the US over about 140 years of continuous mass immigration actually looks relatively homogenous only from the distance in time and only compared to our current global perspective. At the time there was, relatively speaking, every bit as big a difference is cultural experience and social outlook between Norwegian farmers and Russian Orthodox Jews, Sicilian landless Catholics and English yeomen.

    And that’s not even taking account of the enormous numbers arriving from China, Latin America and of course Africa.

    Yet this mass immigration over a very long period worked. And the main reason IMO is economics, not social outlook or cultural background etc. The US was growing, and its economy and infrastructure (or the very lack of it) could absorb these masses.

  30. Daphne,

    Yes and no.

    I’m probably always trying to pick a fight with you, but in this case I was only directing your attention to America (where we both live). Your earlier comments were general (therefore including America) and posited an immigration scenario that does not jibe with our historical experience.

    If I understand your last comment, you are now distinguishing our American experience (immigration over a 50 year period works) from that of the British (immigration over a 50 year period doesn’t work). Am I correct?

  31. Mahons

    I won’t disagree that involuntary immigrants helped build the country, but would say that their involvement was more economic than cultural, even allowing for the undoubted effect that jazz had on not just America, but the world.

    However, the America of 1950 was a highly successful country, and the culture, rather than the race, that built it was Anglo-Protestant.

    America 2050 will no longer have an Anglo-Protestant culture, how that impacts on it’s economic success remains to be seen.

    Western Civilisation was built by all the attributes so out of political favour today and I can see little information to persuade me that the ideology of the new socialist man can sustain it, let alone improve it.

    Time will tell I suppose, but should WC disappear, I think it will be impossible to ressurrect.

  32. Paul: We American Catholics sometimes forget old-fashioned anti-Catholicism tensions as it was dying out around the 1950’s so thanks for reminding me. One can not but stand in awe of the Protestants who left England, in great extent to escape the Protestantism of their neighbors, and who settled here an over the course of time embraced the idea of inclusion of all creeds as well as non-believers.

    As for African-Americans, they had a profound impact on the nation, often fighting in the nation’s wars without the full blessings of its promises. It might just be Jazz to you, but we know better.

  33. "It might just be Jazz to you, but we know better".

    Says the man who cited Benny Hill as an example of white British culture.

  34. Allen – I’m not brilliant, intellectual or very good at keeping/recalling historical information at hand for smooth highbrow arguments like Paul or others on this site.

    I do know the current ‘new immigrant’ situation in England is not working and I’ve told you why. I think our mass immigration during the time period you referenced worked for many different reasons, none of which are in place in the UK at this point. I think the people who are currently coming into our country legally are doing so very well and to the benefit of our country. I am not anti-immigration per say – but there needs to be comprehension on the part of the host nation of the need to envelope new immigrants into the prevailing culture.

    I’ve seen that some people on ATW that are against all immigration, or immigration of third world people, or muslims, or any others of real or imagined differences. My point of view on this issue is much more simplistic, if the nation needs need new citizens because of the economy, employment needs or because the natives aren’t reproducing, so be it, but I would advise selectivity on the part of government to fill that need with the best people applying to come; honest, hardworking, desirous of freedom to fulfill their dreams and hoping to fit in and make their children full countrymen.

  35. "We American Catholics sometimes forget old-fashioned anti-Catholicism tensions as it was dying out around the 1950’s so thanks for reminding me"

    Funny but this English catholic sometimes cannot quite place the faint whiff of anti-British snobbery as it appears on this site from time to time (Daphne always the exception) so thanks to you and Alan for reminding me.

  36. >>I would advise selectivity on the part of government to fill that need with the best people applying to come; honest, hardworking, desirous of freedom to fulfill their dreams and hoping to fit in and make their children full countrym<<

    Daphne, you do yourself an injustice with your opening comments. I think your views are some of the best formulated – certainly among the right – on this site, they’re also definitely entertaining, warm and always worth reading.

  37. Daphne and Allison,

    Let me be less obscure. Here is my point. If immigration worked for America from 1880-1930, can it work now? I am not talking about Britain or Europe or any location per se, but what did we as a nation do for those 50 years that worked and can we help others learn from our experience.

    BTW, if the answer is that those 50 years can never be recreated, why is that?

  38. >>anti-British snobbery as it appears on this site<<

    But I hope you admit it comes from all sides of the political spectrum, Alison.

  39. I like the British quite a bit Alison, as a Texan I appreciate a group of people who see their place and people as clearly superior in the wider scheme of things. 🙂

  40. >>what did we as a nation do for those 50 years that worked<<

    Alan, Another reason I forgot to mention before is that there was generally a level playing field in the States. Everybody was so busy trying to get on that they didn’t bother about where someone came from.

  41. Noel: I wish we were that utopian but point of fact is that where folks came from was always in the mix. Luckily, we tended to overcome those issues with the passage of time with each new group taking the low man’s position for a time.

  42. Noel, there was, still is, a lot of room here for new people. We have a lot of empty land mass and room in our cities outside of the coasts to accommodate people without crowding. People are happier when they aren’t piled on top one another and housing is affordable.

  43. Noel: God yes. And that was also me above (Londoner), having a dig at the incessant right wing doomongering.

    Mahons: Ditto the jazz remark (and protestant work ethic). It’s not as though that comment of Paul’s was akin to him blacking up and singing ‘mammy’.

    Daphne: You’re cool. And I like the Americans. They are never down on their country or negative even in the face of change.

  44. Apropos of nothing: There seems to be a disproportionate number of Catholics on this ‘wasp’ owned blog site. (?)

  45. Bernard – you’ve dissed us women (yes, I saw your comments on Lao’s post) now you’re going to unload on the Catholics?

    So, does that mean you don’t like, or want to talk to, or read my womanly Catholic conservative contributions to ATW? I thought we had a good rapport, I’m seriously feeling a lack of friendliness here on your part good man…………:-)

  46. Daphne

    Bernard’s nightmare (or secret guilty fantasy) must be being trapped in catecombs with a load of fierce no nonsense Catholic nuns.

  47. Alan: We are learning from your experience. It’s called ‘political correctness’ and noone likes it.

  48. I’ve just spent the day shopping in Birmingham. London is not the only British, or should thst be English, city changing beyond recognition. It’s so sad, like watching an old friend slowly dying. The test, surely, is whether what’s happening is in any way an improvement. From my point of view, a born and bred Midlander, it is not. I find it quite staggering. Birmingham, London and many other towns and cities are being transformed. England as we knew it is being slowly destroyed and what is replacing it isn’t anywhere I would choose to live. All of this has been done without the consent of the majority population. Indeed any dissent has been actively suppressed by a variety of means.

    One more point, which I’ve made before, which is that the whole question of skin colour is utterly irrelevant. The fact that the native British have light coloured skin is an accident of geography and no more. The native British are having their homeland and culture radically altered and are expected to do absolutely nothing about it. Indeed we are bombarded with Orwellian newspeak such as ‘diversity is strength’ and told that the transformation we are witnessing is maing our cities ‘vibrant’. As far as I’m concerned monocultural England (or even the early days of modest immigration) was far better than the sorry mess we have today.

  49. Daphne.
    That’s the trouble with you Yanks, you just don’t understand English self-deprecating irony.
    I belong to Britain’s largest extended Catholic family, with over 50 nieces & great nieces.
    No nuns yet, Colm, alas.

  50. Not to oversimplfy what it means to be typically British, but The Boy Scout Promise seems to encapsulate what I think Bristish tradition is:

    "I promise to do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country,
    To help other people, and
    To obey the Law of the Pack".

    Law and order, work ethic, God, country, helping others, ….Britain.

  51. Bernard – you need to use some smiley faces after your dry wit – we Yanks aren’t as adept with the nuance of language as you. Plus – I can’t hear you or see your face when you talk to me. Forgive us our failings. 🙂

  52. Note to self: assume insulting comments directed my way are in fact witticism and have no basis in fact or intent! …me likey…:)

  53. >>"I promise to do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country,
    To help other people, and
    To obey the Law of the Pack".<<

    I find it rather amusing that you consider these to be particularly British characteristics, Patty. I could probably name you half a dozen other European countries where you’d find these attitudes much more easily.

    There are a lot of Catholics here, come to think of it, true. And that’s only those we know, many more probably just don’t admit it. (but who can compete with Frank O’Dwyer and his Jesuit upbringing!)

    BTW Does anyone know if we have any blacks commenting here? How about that Jamiefool chap or Ron what’it?

  54. >>We have no Muslims, or Jewish people as far as I know either.<<

    There used to be some Muslim lad posting here, but he soon took fright. There is also a lady, Rebecca, who is Jewish and comments now and again (crossed swords with her 2 days ago)

  55. Alison,

    You say: We are learning from your experience. It’s called ‘political correctness’ and noone likes it.

    I said: If immigration worked for America from 1880-1930, can it work now? I am not talking about Britain or Europe or any location per se, but what did we as a nation do for those 50 years that worked and can we help others learn from our experience.

    There was no "political correctness" in America in 1880-1930. Mahons has correctly noted that every new wave of immigrants was reviled by the ones already here. Daphne may be correct in pointing to our size as a mitigator of tensions by avoiding overcrowding. I point to the active Americanization and assimilation of all immigrant children through our newly created public school system as the "experience" that made those 50 years successful. I myself am a product of that non-PC experience, and I can proudly say that I have been fully Americanized (with no remnants of Britishness, except for the tendency to drink tea).

  56. Daphne,

    Allen wants all to feel guilty, screw that.

    As you can plainly see, I am not guilty at all. I am proud of our American experience, and I wish others could profit from it.

    If you prefer low wit, "I never feel guilty, and don’t call me Shirley (or Allen for that matter)!"

  57. Noel: what difference does it make if there are any blacks, Jews, Muslims etc. ?

    Is this a dating service or a debate site?

    Shouldn’t ideas stand on their own merits? If you know that someone is black, Jewish, Muslim etc. do you judge them differently?

  58. I visited London the first time in 1978. There was a higher percentage of English to be found there then.

    What will it be like say 25 years from now?

  59. Patty, I asked because I think a lot of commenters presume there are no blacks here, and talk disparagingly about them in a way that they wouldn’t if they thought they were not "among their own".

    My point is that no-one should assume that the people commenting here are not black (or Muslim or Jewish for that matter)

  60. Phantom – I visited New York the first time in 1993. There was a higher percentage of English spoken there then than now. What will it be like say 25 years from now?


    Of course we had immigration into the British isles beforehand – and successfully. One example that springs to mind of how well immigrants fare is a Prime Minister called Benjamin Disraeli, descended from Italian Sephardic Jews, he was the creator of the modern conservative party.

    Our experience of mass immigration started in the 70s. And it very much was shaped using politcal correctness in the American rights fashion.

  61. Alison,

    What in the world does politcal correctness in the American rights fashion mean? We enacted a Bill of Rights in the 18th century and marched for Civil Rights in the 20th. Was that PC, or is your comment just an example of anti-American snobbery?

  62. Paul- you are clearly not an Australian- your picture of CHurchill is not how he is known by many here. I htink the moral of this is, that cultural heroes have devotees froma very specific cultural strand, that sees itself aas the "given", the "us" … while the newcomers / descendants of non-us peple are seen as a problem. Maybe it’s not "the others’ who are the problem at all?

  63. Alan

    You know exactly what political correctness was and is all about – and the implications of it within the context of modern mass immigration. If you want to cite the modern American example – that is a part of it.

    Would a snob place so much emphasis on the positive nature of American attitudes to immigrants? I don’t think so.

    Perhaps you could define British culture for us. In terms other than the scouts honour and Benny Hill?

    Using your examples of positive contributions on this level maybe we could go back a bit further than the American Bill of Rights and take a look at the British one or the Magna Carta?

  64. Alsion,

    I have no interest in modern, recent or ancient British culture, I simply want to address what appear to be misunderstandings about the American immigrant experience voiced by Daphne and championed by you.

    Now, I will give you that this is a British site (or Irish if one is snarky) that deals with British issues. As an American, I try to limit my comments to issues that bleed over into our politics and history (which I know something about) and stay out of yours (about which I know little).

  65. Alan

    Of course there are successes in your system as there have been in ours. What about the negative immigrant experiences?

    The KKK, the Mafia, the L.A riots and gang culture, Hurricane Katrina?

    All of these expose similar vulnerabilities.

    You are talking about attitude, education and embracing your culture – being "fully Americanized". What does that actually mean?

    Regards immigrants coming here and not becoming "fully British" – it is because we are no longer able to identify it.

    I’m convinced it is a number of factors as I said earlier.

    Since even you guys cannot identify what our culture is I truly think that is becoming self evident.

    I challenge you guys to define the British outside of Benny Hill, scouts honour and drinking tea.

    And Churchill. Certainly, a great British statesman and gentleman but you cannot define a country by one man alone.

  66. >>I challenge you guys to define the British outside of Benny Hill, scouts honour and drinking tea<<

    You’re a hard taskmistress, Alison. I challenge you, or anybody else, to do the same. Almost impossible to define any nation, and quite impossible to define the British.

  67. Noel,

    I’m going to accept Alison’s challenge, daunting though it is, because I raised the issue of Americanization. I will use my personal experience to posit a plan for the Britishization of a modern day immigrant (while avoiding any mention of "Americanizing" Emily aka Julie Andrews with chocolates and nylons).

    Watch this space as the task will take a little while.

  68. Noel

    Alan brought up Americanized which i’m keen to get into. So how do you become British-sed. In this context it’s very important to the discussion on immigration and us as a country, the future. I would be genuinely pleased to see an American have a go at it.

    It would be interesting to compare and contrast his experience to my own familys as immigrants to this country.

  69. >>Alan brought up Americanized which i’m keen to get into<<

    I think it was quite clear from Alan’s context that be meant adapting to his new found home, severing psychological links to the country of his birth.

    When he said he was proud to be American and no longer had any trace of Britishness, I don’t think he meant any slur against Britain, in which way it appears to have been taken. He was saying he relates exclusively to and has exclusive loyalty to the US, that’s all.

    So far, so simple. But "defining" what it means to be American, or British, is something totally different. Just because you feel sick, or drunk, doesn’t mean you can define the physiological processes that entails.

    But for what it’s worth: I would say tentatively that one central element of "Britishness" is that people’s famous nonchalance, their reluctance to get uptight about trivia and real or imagined slights.

  70. Alison: Please don’t be so quick to dismiss the Boy Scouts – created in 1907 by the Englishman Baden-Powell – the Boy Scouts have spread around the world, and have "civilized" many a boy with British values – to the benefit of the Western world.

    The values underlying a legal system are the reasons that a legal system – first formally expressed in the Magna Carta – can exist.

    While America’s "gift" might be marketing and innovation, England’s "gift" might be this ability to spread British values around the world.
    Unlike so many who feel that the British Empire was detrimental to the world, I think the British Empire – through the spread of English values was a great boon to the world.

    Noel: Thanks for explaining the black etc. thing. I was thinking that you intended the opposite.

  71. "I’m going to accept Alison’s challenge, daunting though it is, because I raised the issue of Americanization"

    Thanks Alan.

  72. "Benny Hill, scouts honour and drinking tea"

    This is probably as good a definition as has ever been formulated, although Pete’s right – we really shouldn’t talk about it.

  73. Patty, It’s hard to imagine that the "British values" you admire were the same at the time of the Plantagenets.

    But forget Magna Carta, have you read "How the Irish Saved Civilization"? (note spelling)
    Now there are value!

  74. For clarification – we Yanks have a great deal of fondness for the UK, its people, history, literature, etc. Historical unpleasantness at the birth of our nation now water under the bridge (indeed isn’t your most famous bridge over here?). A few slagging exchanges between friends imo is healthy.

  75. "This is probably as good a definition as has ever been formulated, although Pete’s right – we really shouldn’t talk about it"

    Okaaaay lets try this another way then shall we folks?

    Why don’t you Americans simply define ‘being American’ and the immigrant experience of it.

  76. Alison: Mark Twain’s Huck Finn said it best in the last lines of the book: "But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before."

  77. alison,
    your request is something I have been working to define myself. Time wise, compared to the rest of the world, as a civilization we are children in a sense still growing into what we will be. which kind of explains how the more "mature" nations describe us as people, and why there doesnt seem to be any real set rules. Believe it or not we try to learn from past gererations what works and what doesnt and go from there. We are a counrty built on idealism.
    Growing up in the industrial city of pittsburgh I was raised by the WWII era uorpean immigrants and love and respect everyone of them!!
    this was the view my gerneration had pounded into them…. http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Great.html
    I’m positive at the time it wasnt all nice and fluffy but they made it work, and a foundation of community was set in place. Any problem we have ever faced has been improved even solved with this philosophy.
    Now we have a new wave of immigration and cultures to deal with, and I have been spending alot of time speaking with as many groups as I can. One thing I’ve found is a diffrence in traditions on how to behave in public …… which causes some confussion on both sides – but I dont want to get O/T.
    and I don’t want to include any politics or radicals in my definionition (just yet)
    You may call it "PC" …… but I feel the majority of americans realise we are all in the same boat and need to work together.
    sooo I guess so far I define american as " a group of idealistic children struggeling to build a community and home of their own"
    and please no insults including the words liberal-left etc…..

  78. Lonestar

    Thanks for the comment and having a stab at it. As always it comes with a lot of thought and lots of good points to extract.

  79. Alison,

    Let me take an idiosyncratic memoir approach to answering your questions in a manner that I will define as “How an American boy from Belfast looks back (and forward) at Britain and Britishness.”

    I recently found this profound definition of modern Britishness in Daniel Finkelstein’s “Comment Central” November 8, 2007 column Britishness in five little words on Times Online:

    Americans who missed the boat

    My aunt Vickie was such a one. She missed the boat to America (actually, she wasn’t invited) when we left Belfast in 1950, but she often came to visit us during her summer vacations. (See my family history blog for a picture of Aunt Vickie on a Bench.)

    Vickie was named for the reigning queen when she was born, and she bore herself with regal elegance. She was amazingly erect and well spoken, and she was very proud of her English heritage (on her father’s side). Every Christmas, Vickie sent us a calendar with pictures of the Royal Family, and every summer she showed up at our home on Rockaway Beach.

    My otherwise positive view of my aunt was colored by my mother’s utter disdain for the woman. Mom was annoyed that Vickie free loaded off us all summer, never offered to help around the house and drank gin on the sly. Mom also noted that Vickie was a waitress and not a member of royalty, even though she lorded it over everyone she met.

    So, here’s my point: America is a classless society that is fascinated by visiting “royalty,” but in the end we reject unearned privilege. Britain has produced great poets, playwrights, warriors and statesmen who have earned the world’s praise. She has also produced some “first class” prats (like my aunt) who can keep their snooty attitudes at home (or just take them to the Costa del Sol like she had to after my mother rescinded her annual invitation).

  80. Alison: Why don’t you Americans define ‘being American’:

    O beautiful, for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.

    O beautiful, for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern, impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw;
    Confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law!

    O beautiful, for heroes proved
    In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America! May God thy gold refine,
    ‘Til all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine!

    O beautiful, for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years,
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!

  81. I know what Britishness is…it is a sense of humour, fair play, friendliness, inventiveness. heroism, discovery, tolerance (which is now stretched to breaking point), a fantastic language which is now the world’s no 1 language, literacy. All these traits have now been corrupted by the ‘invaders’ of our country.

  82. >>a fantastic language which is now the world’s no 1 language, literacy. All these traits have now been corrupted by the ‘invaders’ of our country.<<

    Maggie, that fantastic language was brought and made by those ‘invaders’.

  83. The winner of the public vote in The Times for a five word national motto was

    "No motto please we’re British"

  84. It’s genuine RC. Gordon Browne wanted a ‘national conversation’ to choose an official motto to ‘brand’ the UKs identity, and the Times produced a shortlist of 10 most popular suggestions and thousands of readers voted and that quote won, which I think is actually a very accurate depiction of the British sense of identity.

  85. I am aware of that Noel and some of them stayed and we all integrated well. I am also eternally grateful to the Arabs for the maths. I was talking more in line with modern ‘invaders’ and the traits corrupted, not necessarily those of language…more we are losing our patience, our sense of humour and our land. Its called lateral thinking.

  86. BTW I didn’t read about creating a British conversation but I suppose "Know wot I mean" was suggested.Or "Naa it’s my round mate".

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