British identity and English (only?)

Anthea Fraser Gupta A.F.Gupta at
Thu Sep 22 09:12:27 UTC 2005

22 September 2005.
BBC Radio 4: Today Programme.

Interviewer is James Naughtie.

(hesitations and changes of direction not transcribed)

Trevor Phillips (head of Commission for Racial Equality). 

"[Britishness] is a kind of identity that allows people to be very
different. Scots  are very different (as you know, Jim) from people in
Cornwall and Londoners are basically unique, as you know. But the point
is within that we all share certain things: our language; we share
certain codes of manners, we share, for example, care for children in a
particular way. These are things that we have in common. And my point
here is whatever we do in the way we dress, however we worship, there
are certain things -- if we are going to be a functioning society, one
that is successful, prosperous, and where people care for each other --
we've got to have these things in common."

Later in same programme, Dr Jeevan Singh Deol (scholar of Sikh history)
is interviewed:

Jeevan Singh Deol: "In the neighbourhood where I live [Kings Cross, in
London] young Bangladeshi kids who've grown up in this country walk
around on the streets speaking among themselves entirely in Bengali
which is not the kind of situation I would have seen when I was growing
up. Public discourse was in English."
James Naughtie: "Do you think it should be in English"
Jeevan Singh Dial: "I think it should be."

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Anthea Fraser Gupta (Dr)
School of English, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
NB: Reply to a.f.gupta at
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