Tuesday, June 05, 2007

 

National Day Idea Likely to end up a Turkey

So two ministers, one in Cabinet, the other destined for it, favour a 'National British Day' to help integrate migrants and, presumably, reinforce patriotic feeling for the notion of Britishness, whatever that might mean these days. It's been known for a while that Gordon Brown, as a 'migrant' from the north, feels keen to strengthen such bonds and that he worries why American Muslims do not show any disaffection to rank with those British equivalents who blew themselves and many others up on 7/7.

So a national day, along the lines of Australia Day (see picture) is suggested. Will the idea fly? I can see the rationale and support the underlying sentiments of promoting integration but all I can think of at the moment is reasons why it won't work:

1. The idea of Britishness is currently threatening to disintegrate as a result of nationalism in Scotland and Wales, not to mention the ever more emergent English variety.

2. Most countries with national days use them to celebrate some signal moment in their history, for example Norway's May 14th national day, celebrates its constitution drawn up in 1814 when it split from Denmark; in the same way, the 4th July marks American independence from Britain in 1776. Because Britain now has a longish history of unity such celebrations seem much less appropriate.

3.'Nationalism' is not a sentiment that comes naturally to the British; our history gives us a sense of identity which is quite secure and, often in a somewhat superior fashion, we tend to deprecate those younger nations- especially the USA- which we feel indulge in slightly vulgar displays of over the top nationalism(eg 'USA!, USA!').

4. British people are anything if not perverse. Tell us to feel something we are not inclined to feel- like visiting the Millennium Dome for example- and we'll titter and sneer and the laugh the idea into oblivion.

I suspect that achieving the ends of integrating immigrants and bolstering a national sense of Britishness will have be pursued along more promising lines than this turkey of an idea.

Comments:
Yes it all comes a bit late for Britain, on the eve of our disintegration. And celebrating a specific day would be indeed be better. I saw the most popular day was Magna Carta Day. This really shows British people to be fools, because Magna Carta was nothing like how it is perceived nowadays(a shady deal between the King and the nobility, rather symbolic of Nu Labor corruption). If I was choosing, I would celebrate the defeat of Napoleon. This would remind the nation that Britain can always stand up to tyranny(be it Hitler, Bolshevism or the EU). It would also have the added bonus of irritationg the French. Or perhaps 12 July, I understand they celebrate that triumph over tyranny in Northern Ireland. We could join in and celebrate their worthy culture.

Anybody with political nouse will recognise this idea is borne from Brown's attempts to pacify the English over his identity. Brown's identity is not the problem for me as much as the unfair constitutional settlement the English people are subjected to. Better he put his effort into changing this settlement - ie abolishing the Scottish and Welsh pseudo-Parliaments and bringing disloyal elements into line - than messing around with such silly ideas as British National Day.
 
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