The Unanswerable Questions About Britain

What does it mean to be British?

A friend of the shop and Sneaker Things King Mr Al (we love you big man, this is all in good spirit) was in the store the other day and this was the question I asked and that could not be answered. By someone who defines themselves as 'British'.

It's a deceptively simple question. What makes you British?

I know what makes me Scottish. My cultural appreciation and paradigm are all centered around Scottish culture-good (music, literature, humour, language and so on) and bad (going to the pub and drinking till my legs turn into two cans of McEwan's Export.) But the above video struck me as 99% of the things people thought constituted Britishness were all symbols of England, they were all Anglicised and I can't support or relate to them. Also as a matter of interest, the number of American symbols and foodstuffs.

So that's it? We're all British together because we all like fish and chips? People in Edinburgh prefer salt and sauce-will this cause a constitutional crisis, a breakdown of the wartime, Vera Lynn spirit that's held us together for so long?

Or maybe not. Maybe it's nothing to do with this utter rubbish of 'shared values' or 'similar thinking'.

Let's separate the British-that is to say that there are English people, Scottish people, Welsh people, Northern Irish people and British people. This stands to reason because I think we can all agree that ethnicity is irrelevant now in a world where people have become radically integrated and 'authentic' ethnicity doesn't really exist so much now. But the way we have nationality is through our cultural values. Therefore, following the above pattern, English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and British cultural values are all different. But there are British people in every one of these countries-but their cultural values are the symbols of monarchy, empire, imperialism, unionism and a pride in a history of repression and degradation of other cultures.

Does anybody honestly believe the British have the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish interests at heart? Is it not fairly obvious, at least it is to me, that they are a rich and elitist power group clinging to empire through a base of British footsoldiers who don't know what their celebrating? Rich and elite like Bernard Ingham?

Look, they're actually laughing at you!

Okay, I'm trying to keep this brief regarding my thoughts on the issue. This topic has proven to be very popular on this blog, so I want to hear your thoughts. Are you British? What is it to be British?




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