I love the English, Welsh and Scottish
but not the Briton
Trevor the Tramp
The UK finance minister - Scotsman, Gordon Brown - is widely tipped to move next door to Number 10 and take centre stage in the coming months, when Tony Blair begins his retirement tour in earnest hand-wringing, at the front line of a lecture-circuit - and Brown has been presenting his ideas of citizenship and duty in a speech on the danger of the Scottish parliament splitting from England. The Scottish National Party are tipped to oust Labour in the next general election and he warns against such a drastic move of dissolving the union, which was created in 1707.
He unimaginatively proposes a simple and clapped out mantra from the founded-on-the-back-of-a-fag-packet school of thought, whose ignoble imperialist history of bankrupting values he cites and offers as a valid 21C Britishness which will best facilitate the newcomer non-national to feel a sense of inclusion and civic pride; quoting Churchill and musing on the idea of an open competition for coming up with citizenship ideas which best reflect our shared culture in the multi-mediated age.
But most pundits agree that his real concern is the fact that he would be on politically unstable ground as a potential Prime Minister of England, if this came to pass - representing - as he does - a Scottish constituency.
I think it would be a daft move and that the island should be united, but it is somewhat ironic, as it was labour who cheered in - along with the Welsh assembly - the devolved Scottish parliament when it came into being in 1999.
However, whilst I agree Brown is right that the two countries would be mad to split up, instead of just coming straight out with his personal dillema of wanting to safeguard his PM position once Tony goes, he disingenuously tries to attempt cranking up a potentially divisive and jingoistic bandwagon, as his main selling point for this wish of keeping the union intact is that Britain -
"pioneered the modern idea of liberty"
which is palpably false.
Britain was/is an imperial power. It ended up outstaying it's welcome in countries where it wasn't wanted for so long that - like a spouse beater whose partner is scared of them - didn't/can't see a problem and gets upset when forced to leave. It's material greatness was/is controlled by a small band of rich and powerful cabals going into countries under the guise of trade to rip off and subjagte less technologically advanced cultures, then fooling themselves it was/is because of a civilising instinct on their part and a beneficial thing for jenny foreigner to be ordered around in her own home.
The base of Great Britain supports a pschologically imperialist pyramid promting inequality and propogating envy. One crown to be jealous of, covet and desire, which gushes down the societal slopes and infects a nation with the belief that a monarchist society is normal and healthy. That aristocratic society is the natural inherent social order we are born into and should therefore know our place, defer to our betters and feel superior to those born beneath us on the clearly dilineated scale. From King to commoner all are tagged with an official title, from Ms to she who is the indigenous queen of sixteen sovereign states, Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith.
Is the imperial legacy a great civilising thing, or something to be ashamed of?
I believe it's neither. The truths of past realities are numerous and varied, and the bulk of Britons are just honest grafters, but in the pre-modern era were there solely to serve a tiny elite in society whose top bottle washer's whole rationale was that one person is born, Greater than all others. A living god
The vast majority loved their monarch in much the the same way a continuously beaten wife with no chance of escaping an abusive relationship loves her violent partner. "He only hits me because he loves me" attitude. And it is only in the last 50 years - with the rise of global technology - that the con has become clear, culminating around the time of Prince Charles and Diana's marriage luridly unraveling in the tabloid press.
Why can't people just change their name by deed poll if they want us to address them in a way which re-enforces their fuedalised tendenies? Once the full extent of his Highnesses regal morality became public knowledge, the ghost finally dissolved like a rice-paper tampon.
The imperial legacy means that a few ruthless people who died ridiculously rich have left the rest of us shouldering the residual culpability of their guilt we will never be free from unless we face up to the fact they weren't that Great. Were indeed pretty immoral and spiritually shabby as human beings go. We are brainwashed with the notion that a monarchy is somehow our collective responsibilty and in our best interest as a society of un-equals, just because it was the force of history we could never be free of and had to die on demand for, until very recently.
Yet still we cling to a past where our lives were mere pawns to be sacraficed - in their many many millions - on the whim of monarchs, born to boss us about in games of greed and vanity - wrapping ourselves in their flags and falling for fallacy and false debates about what we are told is important. Sleight of hand, codology and misdirection to keep our minds off what's relevant, like -"should barristers wear a wig?"
"Is the smoking ban a bad thing?"
These are given more priority than genuine questions people on the island want addressed, like -
"How come the sole and wholly inaccurate premise for going into Iraq has never been publicly talked about?"
"Why has Tony never admitted to getting it completely wrong?"
This brushing-under-the-carpet ethos stifles the real domestic questions - such as immigration - which remain unvoiced for fear of being considered racist. The raft of legislation supposedly passed to make Britain a place more tolerant and at ease with itself, has acheived the opposite effect, as Brown concedes in his speech. If the country was at ease people would be talking honestly about how they felt and there would be more acceptance and integration all round.
Because the queen is still queen of the island and we have not demobbed her to private citizen status, non nationals who come to the UK can get away (and some do) with playing a victim-of-British-imperialism card, as we manifest a guilt about a past that had nothing to do with us, and the legacy of which we are confused about, purely because the most significant symbol of imperialism influencing society today, is the living god-head of our state.
We know imperialism is morally wrong, but tradition/habit means we still sing god save the queen. We only become fully cognisant of how insidious the class system in the UK is when we have been out of the country and return, then it hits. The important root and branch stuff that needs changing remains unchallenged, your Lord, Sir, Knight of the Earl and majestic holy reverence officially above us. The woman we feel a duty to defer to who is a large land-owning multi-millionaire many times over because of who her parents - parents - parents - parents ad infinitum were. Why doesn't she do the curtsey?
So we stay silent and shun immigrants with little English who work for a pittance, and who we project our fears onto and these unvoiced feelings turn to resentment the longer the lack of social interaction goes on. Then the BNP milk the energy and pick up the voters who are most disturbed and who tip over the edge - looking to lash out and foist their misplaced anger on the most vulnerable group which over-legislation has silenced open debate about .
Unfortunately most professional politicians are not intellectually sophisticated enough to grasp or in possession of the language skills to articulate this issue without another vote chasing clown becoming full of faux indignation - purporting to take offence on behalf of some other person or group they think might cast a ballot their way. Twist a genuine desire to speak constructively about an important area of national interest, by gassing up the idea of even broaching this subject into some theoretical hate crime.
Honest debate doesn't mean black or white - one group in the right whilst the other is wrong, as talking openly leaves us feeling hopeful - just by the act of externalising our inner fears. It is the greedy, cynics and evil men and women of the world who stir up or preach divisive doom for political power and financial gain. Just speak honestly and bin off the past. Then we can be straight about the immigration/citizenship issue that isn't a "problem" no one dare voice.
Think about it, language is the defining factor. Don't get mugged off by politicians preaching
"you're for union or against it" rubbish.
Wake up, ditch the queen and stop being slaves to the past. Great Britain?
Supremo Espana? King Size USA?
Free yourself. Start talking.