“As Britain watches global power move to the new economies of China, India, Brazil…we are in a sense having to redefine ourselves less by our power and by our wealth and by our territory or our property, and in other ways. I think that in that sense we ought to look for things about us that make us different. It’s really about giving us a sense who on earth we actually think we are,” said author and journalist Mark Easton at British Future’s breakfast debate held at a London pub.
The Great British Breakfast, hosted at the historic Punch Tavern in Fleet Street, saw BBC News Home Editor Mark Easton, Deputy Director of the Institute of Strategic Dialogue Rachel Briggs, Natasha Walter of the Women for Refugee Women, Conservative MP Robert Halfon and Deborah Mattinson of Britain Thinks act as a Dragon’s Den-style panel. They were charged with determining what has been the most influential factor on modern British society.
Advocates argued for the monarchy, pubs, literature, migration and faith as being the most influential factors in shaping modern Britain. The lively debate saw audience members, advocates and panellists interacting and questioning what is it that defines Britishness, and culminated in a vote.
The debate was spirited and saw a wide array of contributions, from fourteen-year old student Radman Hussein’s explanation of why the Queen is cheaper than a can of coke (and great value) to the Punch Tavern’s own publican’s defence of the pub’s enduring role as a centre of community.
Watch some of our fly-on-the wall footage of the debate to hear some of what was said: