dr david bull

Brits in LA…..

In Opinion Pieces on January 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

There is something extraordinary about the British psyche. We are a fairly placid race and reasonably polite but when push comes to shove we are quietly determined, stoic, pig-headed and well.. .just get on with things.

And you don’t have to look far to see how much influence the Brits have had in world history. Even though our Empire is long gone, there remains a most extraordinary collection of 54 territories that are part of the British Commonwealth. It counts Queen Elizabeth II as its head and even though they may be thousands of miles away from blighty, many ooze Britishness. Take Barbados for example with its Parliamentary democracy and love of cricket!, India with its traditional British architecture and railways (hope they’re better than ours), and the Regency style architecture and the red telephone boxes in Malta and of course the fact that English is a national language. And a lot of people live in the Commonwealth. A lot…… more than 2 BILLION on six continents.



The British Commonwealth


Now the elephant in the room is the dear old USA.

The British did of course settle in the US early in the 1600s in Jamestown. Millions of British people emigrated after 1776. In the original 13 colonies, the law was founded on English Common law and most of the Founding Fathers were English including Samuel Adams. And most US presidents have had English ancestry.

Anyway, as you will no doubt recall from your history lessons, there was an almighty rumpus where tea was thrown from the tea clippers into the harbour as direct action against the British Government and the Tea Act which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. This outraged the colonists as they felt taxes should only be raised by their own representatives. This became known as the Boston Tea Party and was a key part of the American Revolution which escalated into War and in turn lead to the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 4th 1776.

So the US is not in the British Commonwealth but there are millions of people in the US with British Ancestry and there are over half a million British expats living in the US.

Now here in LA, Tuesdays are very important.

The reason? We, the Brits, congregate for breakfast in a British Restaurant and share stories, tales, advice and gossip over a full English Breakfast washed down with lashings of English Tea. (which actually comes from India but don’t say anything!)

It really is the most extraordinary sight!  A whole restaurant of Brits, their haughty vowels clearly audible bemoaning the shocking state of the US, how you can never find proper baked beans or marmite, how the Americans can’t drive and certainly don’t know how to use a knife and fork. And then of course comes the subject of the language they speak and how we do not share a common language and how many mistakes can be made by thinking so.

After an hour and a half of this “therapy”, having shared stories about how fantastic the UK is and how much we miss certain things and how America will never be Britain, we air-kiss, stride out into the Californian sunshine, don sunglasses and roar off into the distance in our convertibles.

Laughable?  Of course.  Inevitable? Absolutely. Would we change any of it?  NO!

You see the thing is that we actually love being in the US, we just can’t admit it!

And for the record you don’t have to be British to come to breakfast… you just have to like us!!  But remember, (as the recent song states so eloquently)……we no speak Americano!

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