Monday, October 27, 2008

Britishness is Dead. The Nations Rejoice

The penny has finally dropped along with Brown's half-baked plan for a British Day. There never was such a thing as Britishness expect in an ad man's dream and in the minds of smart alecs who dream up television programmes and political soundbites. Now it is dead, deceased, it is no more, we can move on into the 21st century. 

This was never going to be anything more than the equally useless drivel over "British Jobs for British People". It sounded fine to some people as a soundbite to promote some kind of misguided patriotism but after a short fix of publicity, it's quietly shelved.

The idea for a British Day was part of Brown's plan to celebrate Britishness and one of the key recommendations of the Goldsmith citizenship review.

But this had nothing to do with national identity or pride. It was motivated by pure self political interest, an attempt to recreate Blair's 'Cool Britannia', a nostsalgic throwback to days of Empire and a belated attempt to get naturalised UK citizens 'on side'.

The cock-eyed plan ran into trouble from the beginning when immigration minister, Liam Byrne, reckoned making the August bank holiday weekend British Day. Not one of his brighter ideas, particularly if you live in Scotland.

The idea went gone down like a wet haggis in Scotland with the Scottish National Party (SNP) saying the proposal has "nothing to do with Britishness, and everything to do with bolstering Gordon Brown as Labour's support evaporates in swing English regions."

National identity comes from where you were born and where you were brought up. That's what makes your national identity, and that includes everyone.

Nowhere is this pride and the passion seen more than in our national football and rugby teams. The terraces are awash with national colours, face paint and fancy dress. And in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the saint's days are a real celebration.

We've had to suffer Brown's attempt at fostering 'Britishness' on our great nations with a raft of ridiculous TV programmes celebrating the 'greatest British this', or the 'longest British that'. 'Britain's got this' and 'Britain's got that'.

The Orange Party came up with a neat solution way back in June when it declared unilateral independence and was adamant 'we're not going on your public holiday'. The answer is so obvious it was starting them in the face. 

Scotland and Northern Ireland already have bank holidays on their respective saint days. But not so England and Wales. 

So just create a public holiday for England on April 23 and call it St George's Day. And in Wales make St David's day, March 1, the national holiday. 

And on those four public holidays fly the flags of the great nations, everywhere. Any other public holiday is up to the respective parliaments and assemblies. 

If this all sounds a tad too, er, nationalistic,  why not create a national holiday for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - and call it Celtic Day. 

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