Lingua franca

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The Independent Online

Sacre bleu! Another study, we see, has found that the British are really terrible at foreign languages and is demanding, inter alia, the appointment of a language "tsar", whatever that means.

Sacre bleu! Another study, we see, has found that the British are really terrible at foreign languages and is demanding, inter alia, the appointment of a language "tsar", whatever that means.

Down here in the Third Leader Department, as you can tell from our opening remarks, we yield to few in the internationalism of our outlook. But really, what is the point? The battle is over, the Days of Babel are drawing to a close. And the British, with some support from our former colonies, have won. English is plainly the international language of the air, the internet and everything.

There will, of course, be those who will mount a defence of wasting the valuable time of our students on various outmoded tongues; ignore them. We believe, confident in the support of our practical, forward-looking Government, that it is time to revive Cecil Rhodes's great, ringing pronouncement: "Remember that you are English and have therefore drawn first prize in the Lottery of Life." And don't forget: when in doubt, shout!

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