National British Day...Priceless!

PUBLISHED: 10:15 19 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:19 05 July 2010

AS timing goes, this week's attempt to whoop us all up to celebrate the British national identity was pretty rubbish.

A government pamphlet published by immigration minister Liam Byrne suggested “drinking” - an internationally known proud bedrock of our fine culture - as one of 27 ways to celebrate a national day.

AS timing goes, this week's attempt to whoop us all up to celebrate the British national identity was pretty rubbish.

A government pamphlet published by immigration minister Liam Byrne suggested “drinking” - an internationally known proud bedrock of our fine culture - as one of 27 ways to celebrate a national day.

The government wants us all to get drunk? Or drown our sorrows. Get totally blotto to forget the sorry state of the nation we're supposed to be celebrating. Or dedicate a day to filling the street with rampaging binge-drinking teenagers to remind us all what Britain is really about today? As if we needed reminding.

Mr Byrne's learned paper on introducing a bank holiday to celebrate Britishness suggested we enjoyed a spot of Morris dancing, hung posters of Winston Churchill, wore cultural dress and watched films on the history of Britain.

After a year of public consultation and a handsome budget, it was unleashed on the British public after weeks of persistent rain on “Black Monday.”

Monday morning brought doom and gloom. The news was full of the collapse of Lehman's Bank, 63,000 Britons stranded abroad, victims of travel firms in administration, economic experts predicting Britain was already in recession, slumps in business confidence and general proclamations of misery.

The nights are drawing in, beer's pushing up to £4 a pint, according to warnings also on Monday, and even the price of cheese, according to a report on Monday, is going up 50pc. At least the weather was supposed to perk up.

As we're digesting the gloom with our supermarket-brand cornflakes - we can't afford branded versions now - up pops Mr Byrne to suggest we all pack up all our troubles in our Bags for Life and dance, drink and make merry to celebrate our Britishness. Yeah right.

Is that before or after the house is repossessed, the bailiffs kick down the front door or great aunt Maud perishes in her freezing house? Aye. It's grand to be British in the noughties.

You couldn't make it up - one of his 27 helpful hints in his make-merry list of how to party includes appreciating the British weather. He's having a laugh, surely.

As bad luck goes - and Gordon Brown has had his fair share - the timing of the campaign - A More United Kingdom - is as bad as it could be.

Everyone is struggling. Celebration is the last of our priorities, behind feeding the family, heating the house, keeping fuel in the car tank, keeping their jobs and paying the mortgage.

Doom and gloom pokes us from all angles and all the government can do is tell us to lag our lofts, sink some booze, hang out the bunting and put bells on our heels to dance waving hankies and sticks.

Talk about a few MPs short of a Parliament. They've lost it big time.

And how do his suggestions make for a binded multi-cultural nation? He suggests sharing food from other cultures. Isn't chicken tikka masala are national dish anyway?

We're British. We know that. We don't need celebrations to remind us. That's the point of being British - we just get on with it, grit our teeth, stiff upper lip and all that and see it through. End of.

National British Day. Priceless - as a concept - but hideously pricey as a reality at a time when conspicuous consumption has become tacky and vulgar. And that just about sums it up.

Cheer up, everyone. It'll soon be Christmas.

THE heartbroken mother of Britain's latest stabbing victim said she had forgiven his killers.

Forgiveness is something most of us would find impossible to feel towards anyone who attacked and killed our child, especially within hours of our loss.

But Caroline King-Onzila, a devout Christian, believes the killers of her 19-year-old son Oliver need help because they're possessed by demons.

Christians find it possible to forgive to stop carrying hatred and bitterness for perpetrators of evil deeds.

I'm not so sure I could feel such emotions for someone, or people, who cut down my sporty, studious and loving son in cold blood for nothing. Actually, I know I couldn't. I might not believe in capital punishment but I'd want them to suffer to match the suffering they had caused.

But I admire so much those who can leave destructive feelings of bitterness and anger behind and face up to what really matters in life.

AMY Winehouse didn't turn up at her own 25th birthday party because she felt ugly. She stayed at home weeping for the looks long gone.

It's taken her how long? Does she have no mirrors in her house? At 19, Amy was voluptuous and beautiful. She captivated an audience with a voice and look. She possessed a presence that stunned.

Today the ravages of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes have made her look, err, ugly. There's no other way to describe her. She's an emaciated mess.

There's nothing attractive about Winehouse today. All that's left is the fabulous voice that made her fortune - but for how long with emphysema from all those fags - and a painfully scrawny body that's been forced to absorb all its excesses.

All those billions spent on anti-drugs campaigns - all we need is a before and after picture of Winehouse. It should put anyone off.

IF you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise.

But it's no teddy bears' picnic. You're more likely to stumble across groups of disturbed and troublesome teenagers having “woodland therapy” with the calming influence of trees.

Barking? Excuse the pun. Apparently not.

Badly behaved children, often excluded from school, are being set back on track by getting back to nature and spending their days learning traditional woodland management techniques and woodcraft.

Not quite tree hugging yet but almost.

The scheme's organisers credit the woods as a calming influence.

But surely it's simply letting these kids do what they're good at - working with their hands and learning a craft rather than forcing them to sit still in a classroom and learn stuff they've no interest in?

And there, folks, is exactly what's wrong with our education system today. Those who make the decisions can't spot the blinking obvious.

PUPILS can gain a good GCSE pass even if they can't spell basic words expected of seven-year-olds.

Papers littered with basic errors gained at least a C grade, according to research by Cambridge Assessment, one of Britain's biggest exam boards.

Some papers were so badly spelt, researchers had difficulty working out what they meant. But they still passed.

What benefit is it to anyone passing an exam to make him or her believe they're competent at English when they're practically illiterate? It should never be possible to achieve high grades with poor spelling.

As soon as these exam “successes” apply for jobs, errors that have never seen a teacher's red pen will jump off their application forms to hit employers right between the eyes. Applications will end up in the bin and all those young applicants will never know why.

We're creating a generation of unemployables.

Spelling does count, is important and sorts the competent from the incompetent. There is no excuse for bad spelling. Like manners, it's a skill for life to serve us well.

IT'S not a fable that the most loaded are often the most mean.

Only four of the 64 mostly stinking rich guests at the Rooneys' Italian wedding of the year answered the bride's plea for donations to a children's hospice where Coleen's adopted sister, Rosie, is cared for. Only four.

The couple paid £75,000 a head for their wedding, asking guests for no gifts but donations instead to help the struggling Claire House on Merseyside where Coleen's sister, Rosie, who suffers from Rett syndrome, spends time.

The hospice received just £2,000.

Footballers have money to throw away - only not on good causes, obviously. In their book, there is such thing as a free meal - and wedding.

They should hang their over-crimped highlighted heads in shame. Good for the hospice for outing their meanness.

MY pet hate at supermarkets is entire families shopping together.

One trolley, five people and much prevarication over every item equals aisle blockages and pesky hold ups. Have they nothing better to do?

On Saturday in Tesco, a teenage boy was obviously so bored by the protracted pepperoni or cheese feast debate by the pizzas, he was gliding on his trolley, meandering backwards causing a hazard to anyone in his path. He backed straight into me. Ouch.

He didn't apologise, he glared at me, obviously for having the temerity to not move out of his way quick enough. Then his father shot me a menacing glower. It didn't occur to him that his boy might be in the wrong.

The little word “sorry” never hurt anyone.

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