Silly sur­vey not fit for true Brits

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Steve Con­sta­ble

FRI­DAY: My news­pa­per re­ports a sur­vey of 21stcen­tury at­ti­tudes to Bri­tish life; specif­i­cally, which tra­di­tions (tea and queue­ing, for in­stance) we think it’s time to ditch, along with Tony Blair. In­cred­i­bly, most un­pop­u­lar of all is the Queen’s Christ­mas mes­sage. Who did they ask, Martin McGuin­ness? Tony Benn? Mohamed Al Fayed? Kate Mid­dle­ton’s mother? Any­way, the sur­vey’s cred­i­bil­ity is surely un­der­mined by its con­clu­sion that the “Bri­tish tra­di­tion” we most trea­sure is the beach hol­i­day; what’s the bet­ting the re­spon­dents were think­ing more of Tor­re­moli­nos than Torquay, when they con­sid­ered that one? Why should any­one ob­ject to a ram­bling homily from a well-mean­ing grand­mother af­ter the fruity pud? I thought that was what Christ­mas was all about. SATUR­DAY: Ev­ery­one’s talk­ing about the new, mo­bile, work­sta­tion that you can take to the of­fice tread­mill – no, lit­er­ally, a real tread­mill – and jog while you type. The idea, to in­crease fit­ness lev­els among seden­tary, over­weight com­puter work­ers, was re­port­edly tested on 14 obese women in Min­nesota, but only one man. Surely they weren’t wor­ried that the blokes, no­to­ri­ously less ac­com­plished at multi-task­ing, would be un­able to use a mouse and an ex­er­cise ma­chine, let alone walk and chew gum, at the same time? They say the de­sign in­cor­po­rates a vase, cup-holder, pen-holder and pa­per tray. Huh, that’s all very well, but where are we go­ing to put the dough­nuts? MON­DAY: The Univer­sity of Cam­bridge is of­fer­ing a four-day course to teach chil­dren good man­ners. Well, we al­ready en­trust the in­struc­tion of maths and physics to the ex­perts, send the kids to foot­ball coach­ing and bal­let class, why not ex­tend the spe­cial­ist par­ent­ing to all ar­eas of life? Imag­ine all our chil­dren col­lec­tively raised by Nigella Law­son, Alan Hansen, Ar­lene Phillips, Adam HartDavis, Richard Ham­mond, Trinny and Su­san­nah, Kim and Ag­gie, Kate Hum­ble, Monty Don, Tony Robin­son, Sir Alan Sugar and Sir David At­ten­bor­ough. Hmmm, yes, OK, come to think of it, most of them al­ready are – and all for the price of the li­cence fee. And yet Cam­bridge wants to charge you £850 a week. That’s be­gin­ning to look a bit steep, just for learn­ing how to queue po­litely for a cup of tea.

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