A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Brown's Britishness?

One of the things being discussed is Gordon Brown's call for a British Day. In an address (yesterday - Saturday) to the Fabian Society in London, he said it is important the flag is recaptured from the far right. Too true, but New Labour shows an odd attitude to patriotism. Mr Brown said it is time for the modern Labour party and its supporters to be unashamedly patriotic as, for too long, such feelings have been caricatured as being tied up with right-wing beliefs, when in fact they encompass "progressive" ideas of liberty, fairness and responsibility. And with New Labour they also encompass republican sentiments, constitutional desecration and a penchant for peeping in on others' business! With Old Labour we always wondered if they were hankering after tea and biscuits with foreign comrades. Blair might have ditched Clause 4, but they will need a better basis than this for expressing patriotism.

This has all come about because of the London bombs and New Labour's botched attempts to round-up suspect Islamic clerics. This is more likely to result in flag burning than flag waving. I'm all in favour of "liberty, fairness and responsibility" but I'm a tad suspicious about all this from Brown's point of view.

He talks about holding a British Day so that "all the United Kingdom should honour it, not ignore it. We should assert that the Union flag by definition is a flag for tolerance and inclusion." But this is glossing over the major problem that his lot have caused. Devolution!!!

Scotland, his homeland, was given its own parliament. Scotland proudly promotes Scottishness as do the Welsh and Irish accordingly. The English were not mentioned yesterday. Why? Because New Labour doesn't want to let us think we are English. They have placemen, like Michael Wills, MP for Swindon, who has been working on the idea with Mr Brown, who said the chancellor wanted a special day to "focus on the things that bring us together... whatever our backgrounds". So the English are welcome?

However, Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond said Britishness "went bust long ago" north of the border. He said Labour's opposition to a Scottish holiday on St Andrew's Day was a "fatal weakness" in the argument. And for St.David and St.George?


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