Perhaps with the threat of being shipped out of Whitehall to the regions, to save money, the Foreign Office has decided to drag its image of Britain into the modern age.
The official book, The United Kingdom: 100 Questions Answered, used in UK embassies abroad, to explain Britain to the world is now considered too out of date to be useful. Some of the top questions the book asks are: ‘What is Cockney rhyming slang?’ and ‘Why do the British like drinking tea’!
The book claims: “Britain’s most popular ‘fast food’ has got to be fish and chips… curry — a spicy dish with meat, fish and vegetables — is now the most popular meal”.
According to the Telegraph, the book admits “British humour” is often a source of “mystification for other nations”, the book suggests: “It may be loosely defined as an attitude of mind which is readily responsive to the incongruous and ridiculous.”
Other concepts explained are the difference between “tea time” and “high tea” and the rules of darts which involves “short, weighted steel darts thrown at a circular dartboard numbered in sections”.
The FCO has decided to phase the book out as, although it had been helpful in the past, they ‘recognise that parts of it are a little dated and Sir Humphreyesque.’
No wonder we have such international influence with this level of self-awareness!