Much to be proud of in this great island nation Eight ways (or more) to silence the cynics! and defeatists!

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold
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The Independent Online
REJOICE! A magnificent night for Great Britain at the Oscars! Our awards put us right back in the very epicentre of film-making (never "movie-making", I beg of you!) and return this country to its plum position on the international stage. Come, let us bang the trumpet to our heart's content: not only did we win the coveted Best Make-up in an Adapted Animated Short, but our boys in the backroom also ran away with the Best Sound Effects for an Adapted Screenplay in a Foreign Language.

Glorious achievements, one and all. Yet one can search high and low in the British "media" (dread word!) and still find not a single mention of the fact that Great Britain has once again taken on the rest of the world, and emerged victorious. Instead, one is assailed by photograph after photograph of minor Hollywood riff-raff such as Miss (Msss!) Melanie Gibson clutching her wretched little Oscar, as though the United States had triumphed once more.

I for one heartily agree with our Prime Minister that it is high time we in this country learnt to celebrate our huge successes throughout the world. For too long have we laboured under the steady drip-drip-drip of cynicism, defeat and disillusionment. For this reason, with the help of my good friends in Smith Square, I have compiled this handy cut-out-and- keep list of Neglected Great British Achievements over the past year, to keep in your waistcoat pocket, ready to flourish the moment anyone in the saloon bar sees fit to run down this country of ours:

1) Cricket. Did you know that, despite what the cynics would have us believe, the English cricket XI has scored many a notable victory o'er the past five years. In 1993, we won a resounding draw against the Uruguay XI, and as recently as 1994 we only narrowly lost to the New Zealand 2nd XI - so let's hear three cheers for British pluck!

2) Science. It is a little known fact - and one that our assorted cynics and scaremongers would have us forget - that British scientists played a major role in the internationally celebrated Microsoft success story. Bill Gates, the albeit American boss of Microsoft, will surely one day pay tribute to the doughty little band of Britons who slaved to produce the vital popper without which the Microsoft's handi-eezi-karri holdall - perfect for travel, so easy for day-to-day transportation - would quite simply fall apart. Once again, Britain proves itself a world-beater.

3) Television. We in Britain enjoy the best television in the world. Americans simply cannot wait to watch repeat episodes of the Benny Hill Show, which they screen on their exclusive Heritage channel, with an introduction by Alistair Cooke, and which is seen by a small minority of wealthy New Yorkers, who dress up in dinner jackets and evening dresses to view it.

4) Food. British Beef is once again the talk of the world. One can measure its immense popularity by the extreme lengths to which our foreign rivals have gone in order to keep it from their citizens' larders! And let's never forget we have given the world one of the most celebrated and ground- breaking diseases in post-war history. Maid Cow Disease, as my friend Mr Tim Bell and his associates have so splendidly re-christened it, is set to take on the world - lending prestige, fame and honour to the country that gave it birth.

5) Football. Let us never forget that just a few short years ago, in 1966, England managed to vanquish West Germany in the World Cup Final, proving once again that we have the muscle, skill and determination to rule the world on the soccer pitch. Between ourselves, I have spoken to many experts who are now confidently predicting from a close look at the new generation of lively youngsters that we have a very reasonable chance of once again taking on all comers in the World Cup provisionally scheduled for the year 2016.

6) Politics. Our skilful politicians have managed to steer us right into the very heart of Europe, so that we are now perfectly placed on the fourth table along to complain about the absurd laws that they have imposed on us. Hats off to Mr Major!

7) The English Language. Travel wherever you like in the world - Africa, Mexico, France, the Netherlands - and nowhere will you hear the English language spoken as fluently as it is in Great Britain. Some might argue that the Americans and the Australians have made great strides over the past few centuries, but despite their best efforts they have still not managed to lose their tell-tale accents.

8) Our Royal Family - the envy of the world!

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