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Please show some respect

Readers' letters | Published:

What cultural influences should newcomers to the UK be encouraged to engage with, to help them get to grips with the British persona and help make them feel more at home and more importantly make them feel British?

Now to those of you just about to shout “racist!” or “fascist!” or even “mine’s a pint!” and then reach for your Twittering device I say, keep calm, sit down and have a nice cup of tea while you turn all your mobile devices off and read the rest of my letter.

I speak with no authority at all on this subject (what do you mean no change there?), except from some family experience. A grandmother from 1920’s Northern Ireland who left any Catholic religious bigotry behind to marry a Protestant Scotsman and set up home in the N.E. of England. My Scottish grandfather left any anti-Englishness behind in Scotland, well I think he did, his trade was as an Undertaker. My other grandfather came from the good old Norfolk countryside, but when he moved to London and stayed he became a Londoner, but you cannot fight DNA, I love tractors.

His wife and my other grandmother was born in London in 1900 to Italian parents just after the immigration boat docked, but Nan was a pure Londoner. Hence when she went to Chapel Market to complain about some meat she had purchased the previous week she just walked up to the stall holder and said, “That bleedin’ meat you sold me last week was as tough as old boots. Whatcha gonna do about it!” I hasten to add that any Mafia connections were left in Italy, although I do wear sunglasses a lot and hate being owed money.

My point is where ever you come from you do owe your new home something, respect. A respect of its history and culture. This applies if you move even within a nation like the UK, as my grandparents demonstrated, even the Norfolk one.

Now if you feel the need to go a Twittering, don’t bother I’m not on Twit. I am only on the recently launched messaging service Chirping. When you go to send a message on Chirping the first part of the message is already entered, it reads, “Having just had a sit down and a lovely cup of tea, I just wondered............(280 characters left).”

As for some of those cultural influences newcomers should be exposed to, for good or ill, I suggest:

Chip butty with red sauce. ITV 2. The Proms. BBC 4. Radio 3 & 4. Talk Radio & 5 Live. The Goons. Monty Python. On The Buses. Are You Being Served. Church of England. Basil Brush.

Peter Steggles, Longnor

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