What is the most British thing ever?
During the high times of British rule in India a British administrator was warned not to offend Indian cultural sensitivities. He agreed. One day an important Hindu man died. His relatives wanted to throw a massive funeral procession finishing with a pyre and came to him to arrange it. He noticed on the sheet of what was required that they had sectioned an area suttee. Suttee is an ancient practice where surviving wives of a dead Hindu man are thrown onto his funeral pyre. The administrator stated in no uncertain terms that this wasn't going to happen on his watch. The relatives insisted and mentioned that they were aware he wasn't to interfere with local customs and practices. This they insisted was such a one. He conceded the point and allowed them to have this vile act on the programme but then with the same breath summoned his orderly. He told his orderly to have a gallows erected next to the pyre on the same day. The relatives were puzzled. He mentioned to them that it was only fair, that since he was observing Indian customs, that they should observe a British custom. That custom being to hang cowardly murderers who chuck woman onto fires. He said he was only erecting a gallows there so as to save time. The matter of Suttee was dropped. It was eventually banned outright.
In fact British rule in India has many instances of typical British insanity in the face of adversity. There are many instances of Brits having posh formal dinners whilst simultaneously being under siege by pissed off natives. As in bullets flying in whilst they are engaged in polite conversation over the fish course. During the Afghan war in the middle of an insurgency one general complained of the lack of good bowlers for his commands cricket team and insisted that amongst his desperately needed reinforcements there be a good fast bowler. Finally one should look no further for the bastion of true Britishness - British wives. These were the fearsome woman who presided over the society functions that ruled the British social scene. Wherever they went they brought, no matter the hardship, true blue spirit with them. They were sometimes respected, sometimes scorned but always feared for their scathing put downs and condescension.