We read more about ‘Britishness’ with each passing year as we attempt, to some degree of success, to find some common ground and societal cohesion in a land that has become a cultural melting pot.

As with any country that has large levels of immigration, the expectation should not be  ‘whilst in Rome’, as ingrained cultures passed through generations do not suddenly dissipate once you arrive in pastures new. As long as the laws are abided by, and the unwritten rules are adhered to, we should, in theory, all be able to live together in peace.

So, undertaking some research as to ‘what is Britishness?’, I came across an online thread that explains more about being British that any government information pamphlet could ever do. Many of them are jocular in nature, but I found myself nodding in agreement as to what makes us act so, well British, which are traits unique to those from this island.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis has been doing some research into BritishnessBrett Ellis has been doing some research into Britishness (Image: Brett Ellis)

The sense of always being in trouble is such an example. When asked for a ticket by a train inspector or being breathalysed, we, despite having a ticket or being sober, act guilty, only relenting on the stress once we have been proven innocent.

This same level of guilt displays itself during airport customs checks, with the added pressure of having watched those programmes that show legions of big brothers zooming in on the crowd for ‘tells’ as you sweat profusely despite having nothing more sinister than a 150ml tube of factor 50.

Apologising even when wronged, and not hearing someone for the third time, having now reached the stage of awkwardness, when you give up and agree to their utterances which does little but leave you with a 50/50 chance of being demonised for your views.

One of the most peculiar foibles is when trying to impress on a job interview - numerous doors are held open for you and you struggle to find different ways to show your gratitude. After thanks, thank you, cheers and ta, your options are limited, to be replaced only by a smile and a desire to get to the next door first so they can be put under the pressure you have just endured.

After finding a queue to while away a couple of hours in, you arrive home tired and moan about your tiredness before bid your other half a farewell as you climb the ‘wooden ladder’ to bed which, roughly translated, means you are going to another part of the house to stare at your phone for an hour or three.

All these things are ‘Britishness’ personified and, to be honest, when written down on paper, it makes me wonder why anyone would want to succumb to the aforementioned, although I wouldn’t dare say that out loud to avoid offending youse, what-oh?

  • Brett Ellis is at school teacher.