We’re exporting Tinky Winky to North Korea

Share this article
Have your say

It is not that long ago that Britain had some real clout, with an empire that stretched far and wide

While there are some jingoistic types, probably owners of a dog called Darkie, who are firmly of the belief that we are still world players, the fact is that those empire days are long behind us.

While we may still sit at the top table, in terms of belonging to the G8 group of the planet’s top economies and our permanent membership on the UN’s Security Council, we have the seat closest to the toilet.

The big boys are the USA, China and Russia, and we are only brought into a debate when there is no other option. The illegal Iraq War being a case in point.

But our influence on the world isn’t entirely a risible mess as we have had many great exports including Shakespeare, the English language, Association Football and the world wide web.

It now seems that we are now giving foreigners something they will never forget – crap telly.

The latest wheeze of Hague and his Foreign Office chums is to help break down barriers with North Korea – the planet’s most isolated nation – by sending them programmes such as the Teletubbies, EastEnders and The Good Life.

Hague, who causes a nation to wince as one whenever he opens his trap, has claimed in an official letter that the move is a “good way to improve understanding about the outside world within such a closed society”.

Apparently Tinky Winky and La-La can make more of a difference with North Korea’s despot leader, the uncle murdering Kim Jong-un, that any president, prime minister or diplomat ever has.

The main flaw in the plan is that ordinary North Koreans, the people we need to reach, are dirt poor and starving and are unlikely to own a television set.

It is also incredibly cruel to export The Good Life, a 40-year-old sitcom about a couple who leave the Rat Race of Suburbia to grow their own food, when you consider that North Korea is home to the world’s worst farmers.

But I suppose that if we are incapable of invading countries anymore then the best we can do is make them watch ancient repeats too.