Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: There's No One More British Than Me: I Own a Union Jack Bikini. It Doesn't Fit but I Still Wear It Down the High Street

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: There's No One More British Than Me: I Own a Union Jack Bikini. It Doesn't Fit but I Still Wear It Down the High Street

Article excerpt

I may as well go back to where I came from. Which I'd say is Birmingham, but the BNP says is Rawalpindi. The BNP doesn't like brown: chocolate brown, dark brown, Gordon Brown. "I'm not being racist," the BNP says, "but only white people are allowed in our party." Or: "I'm not being racist, but there are too many mosques in this country and that halal meat is not to my taste and I don't think it should be allowed."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Well, I'm not being racist, but I think we should ban all sunbeds, because there's nothing worse than being a plastic Paki.

Recently, Nick Griffin was asked on Sky News how you could tell if someone was British. He said: "You just look and you just know." Mystic Nick, eh? In the past ten days I have been in Amsterdam, Cyprus and Paris. In those places

I have been mistaken for French, Italian, Spanish, Malaysian and Egyptian. I was once even mistaken for an Indian (that really annoyed me!) but never once for a repressed, spotty, sweary lager lover with bad teeth.

I suppose he has a point, though: you can tell what people are just by looking at them. I know that if I see an overweight, double-chinned man with eyes like Dobby from the Harry Potter films, then his name is probably Nick, and he probably isn't very fond of anyone who doesn't look pasty.

"You just look and you just know ..." If we all followed that policy, most of us would be in prison. Rolf Harris looks like a paedophile, but he's actually an artist. Don King looks like a serial killer, but he's a boxing promoter. And Anne Robinson could pass for one your aunties, but really she's just a cow.

The irony is that there is no one more British than the Pakistanis I grew up with in Birmingham. I know women who wear Union Jack G -strings underneath their saris, young lads who can't eat chicken biryani without HP Sauce, and kids who have halal turkey on Christmas Day. …

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