Fish fingers, the inside story

My how the tables have turned

It's quite exciting really, to think that newspapers in other countries publish articles about stupid things we do. It's like when you pick up a guidebook to the UK in another country and you remember that yes, people do come here on holiday! Or perhaps it's not like that at all, but anyway, this South African newspaper has had a good look at our eating habits.

Now some might read the article and think it paints a narrow, stereotypical view of the British and our culinary traditions. We are now a nation of foodies, don't you know, with truffle risotto and spelt and gluten-free bananas. We don't eat deep-fried Mars Bars any more, actually.

I got quite excited, however, about the development in fish-finger technology the article refers to. I'm being serious. This is pretty big news -- proper, crispy fish fingers! They may mock in South Africa with their Table Mountain and lovely weather, but in fact this is really quite momentous. Unfortunately, the Mail and Guardian seems to find it all rather wryly amusing:

Due in supermarkets next month, Young's Micro Fish Fingers "could be the fast-food breakthrough of the decade", opined the Grocer, the food industry trade journal in Britain.

Oh so now you're mocking our trade magazines, are you?

Before I work myself into a lather, let me leave you with this wonderful fact that ends the piece:

With Britain in recession, the fish finger market has grown 7 per cent in the past year to £131 million, the Grocer reported, citing a Nielsen market study.

That's right, South Africa, we like fish fingers. Crispy ones especially.








Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.