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Sunday, 29 July 2007

The Importance of Being British....

Every time I return to England, I am reminded of how Britain is the best country in the world, I know this because reminding me of this supremacy is the principle job of British politicians, who serve her Majesty's Government in the "Mother of Parliaments" (a claim which ignores the earlier assemblies of the San, the Icelandics, Manx, Romans, New Guineans and Greeks ). I am told how the British Police Force, Army, Air Force, Navy, medical staff, road system, Royal Family, Fire Service, authors, pop music(under Tony Blair), dry cleaning suppliers, agriculture, tradespeople, technology, food chain, and entrepreneurs are all the Best in the World. Everybody in this country of Britain is apparently the best at what they do in the whole World,(with the noticeable exception of teachers and people living on council estates who apparently suck - big time). Even our cows, whose last wild ancestor, Bos Primogenitus, was hunted to extinction in Poland in about 1630, have since this time evolved into genetically superior cows, and our sheep are apparently unique, being genetically immune to the effects of fallout from Chernobyl just by virtue of being British.

Now our"ordinary people" are also the best in the World, according to Gordon Brown, the new Prime Minister, who wants to get rid of 5,000 potentially the Best Immigrants in The Whole World as soon as possible. This is because immigrants have to become British before they can be the Best Former Immigrants in The Whole World, and apparently there are strict limits on the number of people who are allowed to become the best low-paid workers the World has ever seen.

Usually these claims about how five British commandos (often from a Scottish background) armed only with blunt pen-knives, and of course, supported from 5000 miles away by their leaders, could have easily supplanted 300 gay Spartan psychopaths at Thermopylae, are quickly followed by an announcement that the Best Army, Navy, sheep, turkeys, and House of Lords , etc. is in urgent need of reform and our brilliant politicians have just the plan to improve the formerly un-improvable.

One problem with all of this is that no-one believes a word of it, and furthermore, no-one seems to care about "Britain". The assembled races of the British Isles are all involved in a frantic dash to disassociate themselves from Britain as quickly as possible. The Scots, Welsh, Irish have Regional Assemblies and the Cornish, Northumbrians and Wessex Men all have separatist movements. Most regions of Britain have a strong regional identity first, and are British by passport only. Even the English, possibly the most maligned breed in this hybrid country, are rightly proud of being English, and support the English cricket team. There is no British Cricket team.

This popular feeling is totally at odds with the current line being sold by politicians who are desperately trying to define what it means to be British, and making a complete mess of the job, confusing everyone. Gordon Brown, our Scottish Prime Minister, is constantly babbling on about this subject, and committees, working parties, studies and questionnaires have been launched to investigate "What is Britishness?", "Who is British?", "Why we should all be more British", "Who is the World's Best Brit?" (hint; Robbie Williams or Ginger Spice), "How Britain invented the Moon" and other such rubbish.

Another problem with this confused and manufactured debate is that by British, most people mean English, and a good proportion of the country have never been, and will never be, English. The population of this country is in constant flux, with the latest wave of immigrants being Poles, Slovacks and Rumanians. While politicians see nothing wrong with ethnic English going to Spain and drinking Watney's Red Barrel, and Irish pubs are seen as a natural focus worldwide for anyone from the Emerald Isle, (or anyone who's ever bought some peat for that matter), this natural desire to taste the familiar is seen as a betrayal when people from outside the UK come "here" and want to eat pickled cabbage or roast onions. It is also a crime for them to speak their own language, despite the insistence of UK residents on speaking English anywhere they go.

Thus we are left with the spectacle of a Government (who are seemingly obsessed with telling it's subjects How to Behave) trying to persuade us that something we do not care about, and a concept that bears no relation to reality, is vitally important. As a Canadian Scouser living among Yorkshiremen with a bi-national wife and two Ontario cats, I do'nt really care whether I'm British or not(ALTHOUGH I'M DEFINITELY NOT), as long as I get to work on time, and as long as the flood defenses do'nt leave me homeless and without clean water for a week. Those issues though, are apparently beyond the control, or interest, of our British politicians, who fiddle with irrelevant concepts while Hull drowns.

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