Belfast Telegraph

Smile if you want Kate, you are a real winner

By Jane Graham

The international success of our own people brings out the worst in the British. Perhaps it's a symptom of Empire hangover and an envy of ancestors who basked smugly in the knowledge that they ruled the waves, drove the industrial revolution and regularly shot half-naked spear-waving tribesmen.

Faced with an increasingly cameo role in world affairs, it seems we're left with no recourse other than to attack celebrities who have further undermined our lowly position by getting really famous abroad, thus implying that popularity in the UK isn't good enough for them.

What else can explain the onslaught of rancour thrown at Kate Winslet this week for daring to show emotion when she won an Emmy for her brilliant performance in Mildred Pierce? Her excited, joyful speech, which was clearly from the heart, even if her heart is posh (they do have them), was lambasted at home for not being stiff, apologetic and cowed in the classic British way. She didn't cry, but did emit a squeal and smiled a lot - what a howling embarrassment for the country.

Many Brits have suffered the same fate - flamboyant US-conquerers like Ricky Gervais, Chris Martin, Russell Brand and Billy Connolly have all been attacked for similar reasons.

All the worse if they have also betrayed their British roots by losing weight (Winslet, Gervais), marrying American stars (Brand, Martin) or moving out of the UK (loads). We may have lost our standing in the political/trade world, but when it comes to inner-loathing and outward bile, we're still the best on the planet.

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