There’s no escaping it, the last few months have been tough here in the UK. Starting with the attack on Westminster Bridge, then the explosion in Manchester, another attack in London, and, most recently, the Grenfell Tower fire. So many people needlessly killed, so many lives ruined, so many wide-reaching ripples of grief.
In fact, things haven’t been right for a while. In short, it’s felt like a country divided. And over the last few years, I’ve heard a lot of people going on about British culture, and how mass immigration is watering it down. Attacking it, even.
But what the hell is ‘British culture’ anyway?
I’ve never been able to pin it down. I’ve asked people, challenged those who say we’re losing it, asked for a definition. And no one’s given me a satisfactory answer yet. What is it? Eating fish and chips by the sea? Meat and two veg? Binge drinking? What exactly are these British values that everyone is so desperate to save?
But watching the events unfolding in the last few months, watching the reactions and responses, I’ve finally nailed it down. I finally feel like I know exactly what British culture is.
It’s joining together in times of trouble; looking for the things we have in common, and not our differences. Standing strong in the face of adversity, with a bold display of bravery, unity, and bloody mindedness. Helping those in more need than yourself, even when you have little to give. Carrying on, no matter how wet, difficult, or horrendous things are. And doing so with a sense of humour, always able to laugh at ourselves and our enemies. And above all, above all, love over hatred, and the knowledge that good will always win.
That’s what British culture is to me. And I couldn’t be prouder to be a Brit.