Melvin Bragg loves our language in all its variety. He delightedly chronicles its evolution. Though English does not boast the largest number of native speakers in the world (that would be Mandarin Chinese), it is far and away the essential second language of the most people -- and hence the essential world medium of much communication. It has thrived by incorporating words from all the cultures it encountered -- and now many of those cultures, for example the Indian sub-continent, are evolving their own variants.
Somewhat surprisingly for a Brit, Bragg celebrates the creativity and informality of the U.S. variant. He thinks our contributions are enjoyable, not some corruption visited on the pure mother tongue.
And he has a great sense of English's considerable absurdity. Here's what is apparently a British school room ditty that captures the mess that is our spelling.