“Oh yes” I replied, “Come on, I’ll show you”. So we trotted off down to the newsagents in the atrium and I spent about €4 on the most expensive copy of The Sun I’ve ever bought.
Needless to say my colleague was astounded, and in a funny kind of way I’ve rarely felt more proud to be British than in that moment. It was up there with hearing the national anthem played over and over this summer at the Olympics, or eating tiny scones at the Queen’s jubilee party in our village.
America may have Coca-Cola, Marilyn Monroe, and the Empire State Building, but we’re the nation that’s unafraid to have scantily clad girls in our newspapers and attribute erudite quotes to them. America makes much of their freedom, but we’re the liberated nation.
“Wow” said my colleague, awed. “You’d never get that back home”. He’s right, of course, and there’s a reason: in 1630 the first puritans set sail from England for Massachusetts and founded Boston. They were joined in the New England colonies by up to 20,000 fellow puritans, all seeking a place where they could be free to worship as they saw fit.