The British Council has recently revealed that it is making some changes to the way it promotes our country around the world, because it believes that the message of what modern Britain is all about is not getting through. The Council has therefore decided to portray Britain in what it considers to be a more attractive and interesting way than previously, so that rather than using writers and artists like Shakespeare or Damien Hirst, it has taken the unusual step of using British football as an example of how vibrant and happening our culture is these days. But is football the answer?

True, the British Council is not considering using British football fans as our ambassadors. Hitting people from other countries, vomiting copious amounts onto foreign streets or chanting puerile, racist slogans which they haven't even bothered to learn in the host tongue wouldn't really attract an awful lot of people to our sceptred isle. (Yes, I do realise that the vast majority of English fans are law-abiding good eggs, but the press chooses not to show them being polite and eating their tea nicely.)

No, the rest of the world is going to be treated to the silver- toed talents of Beckham, Shearer et al, who are expected to travel the globe impressing upon those who have failed to notice that we are well worth attention of some sort.

Well, I suppose it's a bit of an improvement on sending out, say, an all-singing all-dancing Jeremy Clarkson, Teresa Gorman package to harangue potential customers with a charmless anti-European rant based on petty prejudices which have no place in a civilised society. The British Council was actually formed in the 1930s to combat anti-British Nazi propaganda. I wonder if a German Council has been set up to combat anti-German British propaganda whose job it is to deaden the impact of repeated-to-the-point- of-psychosis "towels round the pool at 6am" jokes, or pictures in the paper of footballers with German helmets on.

Now, I foresee a few problems with using top footballers to promote Blighty, not least of which is how much the little gold mines are going to cost. I mean we're not sending the back four from Rushden and Diamonds out there in a charabanc with a Tupperware of cheese sandwiches are we? This mob are going to be charging a fair old whack for their services.

Not only that, Mr D Beckham and his Manchester United colleagues are too busy as it is; extra demands on their time can only result in a potential bad hair day of tragic proportions. It seems to me too that sending footballers round the world ignores a large section of British society - the ladies! Oh sorry, I forgot. We just have to sit about looking pretty until Miss World comes round. Or perhaps some of us could go with them to make the sandwiches. Come on British Council, why not send out a women's netball team? It would only cost 10 bob and we could all do our own hair.

It seems ironic too that we are choosing to represent Britain with a sport which, in the last few years, has become the least British it has ever been, because the huge sums of money available have attracted the best from all over the globe, bolstering the English players and making them look good until they have actually to play together.

Still, I suppose that using football is a better idea than using cricket at the moment. If we send the England cricket team around the world to promote us at the moment, people will just fall about laughing, but I would not mind that because it's time we promoted comedy a bit more.

The problem is that - given the way in which many countries have lost their cultural identity because of the advance of globalism and the invasion of our societies by powerful corporations from America - we are now indistinguishable from those cultures in so many ways. You could be plonked down in any shopping centre in the world pretty much and it would be impossible to tell where you were, because evidence of the invaders is everywhere.

So what is unique about Britain that you couldn't find elsewhere in the world? What message can we send out about our unique society? Here goes...

How about a troupe of morris-dancing, lacrosse-playing royals singing Andrew Lloyd Webber hits from the back of a Bedford Rascal whilst simultaneously cooking Yorkshire pudding and doing tableaux of famous incidents from the history of the Spice Girls. Well that sounds more interesting than a game of footie to me.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living