What is the most valuable thing that out tiny island has ever produced?
And still produces today?
Something that is so valuable, it is impossible to put a value on it.
Something which is sought after over the entire world.
An undisputed world leading product.
A product which the whole world envies and the entire world depends upon and tries desperately to acquire.
Something which is both powerful and unifying.
Something which transcends all religions, creeds and boundaries. Even binds us with the Scots for God’s sake.
And something which is given to all Brits free of charge as a birth right.
It is our language of course.
The English language.
In Thailand with my family whilst my son, Tom shot The Impossible – the language of the film and the international crew was English.
An Afghan meeting a Mexican in a Hong Kong bar – and the only way forward is likely to be English.
Millions of people across the world spend fortunes and many hours learning English because they understand what a valuable tool it is.
And yet it is so completely taken for granted by too many people born here.
I have long been irritated by the faux Jamaican meets London patois which infects kids from London – the innit blood and fam brigade. It sounds ignorant and ridiculous. And now with the internet and the jet plane, the world has shrunk down to the size of a pea – and our kids choose to ignore the one advantage that they have over the rest of the world by speaking like complete morons.
I say this because I was approached by a kid this morning – asking for money. Sixteen or so. Tattoos all over his arms. Baseball cap on sideways. New trainers and he could barely speak. Or at least I could barely understand him and just got the flavour that he would like me to give him some money.
Money was not his priority. What he needed was a wake up slap and then an English teacher… and I got to wondering about the eleven years of mandatory education that had been presumably been provided for him and what such provision could be done with by a kid from Mumbai or Malaysia – and if I were an employer, which kid I would employ?
I’d go for the kid who sounds intelligent when speaking English – which rules out a vast swathe of kids lucky enough to be born here.