What is British about a drink from India? What is British about having a permanent or semi-permanent residence in an African commune, Spain, or the Antipodes?
While the labels of English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh are labels which have entirely native customs, idioms, stereotypes and practices associated to them. The notion of the British is homogeneous, countries and many customs that have come to be associated with the label British, we may be surprised to find that things that are iconic of the British are often of English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish origin, but we may find their origin as far as the Caribbean. This was the irony that characterised Britishness over the past two centuries.
Some people have come to recognise that the next century may see English as a universal language, but we may find that this would be the remaining heritage of the west. We may find a cultural shift, in these difficult economic times. Our values may change, our standards and expectations may accord to what is realistic, and Brtitain’s shocking debt that shall emerge after the recession may cause permanent damage. A further irony still, would be the universal legacy of the English language without the international dominance of the formerly native English speaking nation.