Recently on Cerys Matthews’ show on Radio 6 the topic of what makes you British was being discussed, and so I got to thinking on this topic and here are a few things I thought:

It is so British to…

Complain about the weather no matter what the weather, complain full stop. Never look on the bright side of life. Refuse to raise your hands when clapping and only lightly tap them together at the end of something you didn’t enjoy, instead of just walking out. Apologise to someone who walked into you. Apologise all the time for no apparent reason. Not accept a compliment. Be quietly stubborn. Always respond that you’re okay when asked even if you totally aren’t. Subdue all emotion.

It is so British to frown upon excessive displays of emotion. Perhaps if we jumped and screamed and hugged, kissed, yelled at, cried, screamed in the street every so often we wouldn’t have so many mental issues and problems of emotional disengagement. Or, you know, maybe we’d be arrested.

I realise this list makes it seem everything about being British is terrible. It isn’t, we also make a great Victoria sponge.


One response to “Britishness

  1. Hi – love all your observations on Britishness. You might be interested in my book about the English, The Oddball English – not the British, but it contains perspectives on how we view the Welsh, Scots and Irish. Find excerpts at

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