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BREXIT Episode Five - Being British

Episode Five - Being British

Ah Mr Tusk, you said that ‘there would be a special place in hell for the Brexiteers’. So let me tell you Donald, what it means to be British.

We are of the course the country of pubs and strange dark beer, red telephone boxes and ‘afternoon tea’ darling. Drying our laundry on washing lines in the winter is deemed normal behaviour (we call it ‘good drying weather). And we are a country of unhealthy food and a terrible climate. But these things define us. If you don’t understand these things, you can never be British.

Drinking beer and talking to our pets - it's what makes us British.
Great drying weather, pubs and red telephone boxes.

There is a War Memorial in Bradford. Amongst many things, there is a commemoration in honour of the Polish who died fighting alongside Britain during the second world war. We will never forget…

The Bradford War Memorial.

We have a reputation for awful food too, and once rightly so, though those days are long gone. However, fish and chips shops maintain that tradition. These establishments are basically a way to murder your population slowly. Over a lifetime you consume so much fat that you have a heart attack and die. In the good old days, our fish and chips were wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. I would love to eat my chips off your face Donald.

Now let’s talk about the weather. We don’t get the glory of snowy alps or white sandy beaches. It’s basically grey and it mostly rains. As a result, we embrace the weather. We have a saying in Britain, ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’. As I sat in my car one morning as the latest storm lashed Bradford, a gentleman and his dog went for their morning walk. That’s because they are British and they just don’t care.

A lonely dog walker on an horrendous day.

We are also a country of tribes. We support our teams for life (unless it’s Europe it seems). I spent the perfect day with the fans of the Bradford Bulls and Featherstone Rovers rugby league team, as they endured two hours of freezing temperatures and driving rain. But they sang and they cheered and they drank a few pints. I can’t repeat what they said, because it was mostly swearing, at their team, and the opposition. And at each other. This is what it means to be British. Anyone can support a football team in a sunny place like Nice or Montpellier - try supporting your team through a Yorkshire winter - that’s for real people.

Fans of Featherstone Rovers rugby league team, enjoy a few pre-match beers.
If you are British, the Weather is never an excuse.

I met with Mark Teale, punk guitarist with the band ‘Anti-System’ and an anarchist, an ideology he has regretted just once, when he didn’t vote in the referendum.

He said to me:

‘I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe recently and it was just great to flow with people, where you want to go, this that and the other. I think people are bigger than this, people get on. I’ve got loads of international friends. They are my brothers. What’s a bit of fucking land and water.’

I am sure that those words are something you would agree with Donald.

On my Brexit road trip, I found the British to be civilised, smart, and always informed. I found no ignorance. We have our eccentricities like all nations. We are a melting pot of everything that’s good and bad in the world, like every other country.

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© Martin Middlebrook | All Rights Reserved

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