Leading article: Goodbye to Guy?

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American grey squirrel comes in, British red squirrel goes out. American crayfish comes in, native crayfish gets crunched – quite literally. American mink comes in... you get the picture.

Quite why American imports are usually bigger, tougher, sexier and more adaptable than the native variety is a good question.

Something in the air or water? The same relationship even seems to apply to our respective national customs. Who ever heard of "trick or treat" 30 years ago, except in films? Now, like the grey squirrel, it has spread throughout the land and is edging out the older English counterpart – in this case, Guy Fawkes Night.

It's true that Bonfire Night had its origins in the anti-Catholic furies of the Jacobean era. Still, many will regret it if the cry of "penny for the guy" is in future heard only in TV costume dramas. This need not reflect a belief that British is best – merely a feeling that, as with wildlife, as with traditions, variety is the spice of life.