The Third Leader: Foreign fry

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The Independent Online

There may well be a time coming when the nation cries, "Hold, enough!" - one thinks, for example, of any external threat to Uncle Joe's Mint Balls or Tunnock's Teacakes - but I doubt that this is it. To be as blunt and forthright as is perennially fashionable in Mr Ramsden's home county, Harry's has been but a faint sizzle of itself since it expanded beyond the Yorkshire boundaries.

No, Harry apart, the chippy, whoever owns it, remains a cheery (have you ever met a gloomy frier?) symbol of the proudly independent British single or sole (sorry) trader noted by the late Emperor Napoleon. And while we regret the long decline of dripping and the problems of cod, there are still enough quirky and regionally varied accoutrements available to satisfy the traditionalist and puzzle Peter Mandelson.

All change, however, provokes concern. There will, naturally, be worries about Swedish influence on the institution, fears that customers might have to assemble their own polystyrene containers, or that, worse, there will be calls to chuck out the chips. I remain sanguine. While it is true that there are very few, if any, chippies in Sweden, they are quite keen on fast food there. A particular favourite is varmkorv, the hotdog, although admittedly with potatis mos: mashed. But the clincher for me is the popularity of pizza combined with an encouraging local interpretation. Deep frying is safe with a country that specialises in curry and banana topping.