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What does being british mean to you?


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This country is epitomised by surprise - nothing is as you expect it to be. Unlike a police state, there is a tradition of allowing eccentricity and variety in Britain. The language is terribly important. Of course they speak English elsewhere, but it does not have the same reverberations. That, for a writer, is one of the most important aspects.
UA Fanthorpe, poet, United Kingdom

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Britishness is about valuing freedom, fair play, tolerance, inventiveness, adventurousness, and self-deprecating humour and irony. It is also about understanding that our responsibilities to society and the duty to contribute to it are just as important as standing on our rights. Important to all this is at least some understanding of the history of the British Isles - how and why our social and political capital has been accrued and protected over the centuries. And I would say that this should be accompanied by a basic level of appreciation of our territory - the portion of the earth that Britons share together, the landscape and ecology of which which is highly varied and intricate in proportion to its size. Finally, itís about valuing and holding onto the depth of our rich language and vocabulary and not letting it get pared down into a kind of estuarial pigeon-English!
Ray, Bromley, United Kingdom

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Weíre the only race on earth which is so emotionally secure that we donít mind our actors constantly being cast to play the Bad Guys in Hollywood movies. Come to think of it, weíre the only race on earth which still laughs at ridiculous phrases like "emotionally secure".... for a little while longer, at least.
Ian Kemmish, Biggleswade, United Kingdom

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Being British gave me the privilege of being taught by a wonderful man, Captain Keith Waterhouse he served through the whole of The Great War and the Second World War campaigns and still remained the most humanitarian person you could possibly meet, it was he together with a Russian Jewish ťmigrť Mr Prinz who had a wonderful gentle and philosophical outlook on life and who introduced me to the subject of the natural world that had a huge influence on my childhood they are to me what is great about Britain the example they both set of tolerance and reason is one that has been hard to emulate but some of their influence lives on in most of those who came into contact with them. Being British is the feeling that there is a large rump of the population who may not have all the virtues of tolerance, reason, patience, generosity, fair play ect but between them can muster up most of them most of the time
Liverpool Lad, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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Britishness is the countryside, individual liberty, unbroken tradition, and no revolutions. For the British countryside I would pick out the West Highlands, the Lake District and the West Country. There is a strange mistiness alight, such as Turner picked up on so brilliantly. It is a country of poetry.
Shirley Williams, Liberal Democrat peer, United Kingdom

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I feel the most British characteristic of all is a sense of humour. Use it to mock authority and keep those who exert it from getting too big for their boots. Doesnít matter if itís satire, wordplay, sarcasm, farce or screwball. Jokes to beat tears when youíre sad, and jokes to get you out of saying anything too sentimental when youíre emotional. If you do not possess a highly developed sense of the ridiculous, you havenít really arrived as a Brit yet. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Anon, United Kingdom

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Only in Britain would you find its inhabitants whingeing and moaning about the country in which they live. Move! Leave the country! Deal with it! Weíre extraordinarily lucky to live in a country where the majority of people are open minded, open to a multicultural society and such like. You can also wear what you want, worship what you want, say pretty much what you want. Isnít that GREAT? I think so.
Charlotte, West London, United Kingdom

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Being British means I would be willing to stand by the country that gave me the freedom and education to form into the honest and hardworking individual that I am.
Anon, United Kingdom

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Itís tolerance, decency and a determination to talk about the weather on all occasions and a tendency, when a stranger stands on oneís foot, to apologise
Martin Bell, MP, United Kingdom

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