Wednesday, July 12, 2006

British Nationalists Fight Back

I quite like Jonathan Freedland. I thought his book, Bring Back the Revolution was an interesting read and raised some good points. His article in the Guardian last week is also worth a read, if only to see how left wing British Nationalists (are there any right wing ones left?) are starting to arrange their troops.

For a start - it really is a bit rich for a Labour supporter to accuse the Tories of raising the English deficit in a blatant way to win votes. What, and Labour don't? Labour don't use the chinless cannon fodder of the Celtic constituencies to shore up their vote? Brown and Blair aren't deliberately promoting British nationalism to save their own Labour skin? Come on Jon!

Normal Mouth asks on a previous posting what's wrong with someone believing in Britain? Freedland also tries to make a case for the imagined community as well. There's nothing wrong in that. The whole point of this blog is to say to Freedland - be honest. You're British Nationalists - come clean about it.

Making the case for an independent sovereign Wales or Scotland is a Welsh or Scottish nationalist statement. Doing the same for Britain is a British Nationalist point of view. Once Freedland and the other Brit Nat Left come honest with themselves and the public about that position then the mud-raking, insults and racism nonsense we in Wales have put up with for decades will cease and we can get on to the facts.

To answer Freedland's article though - what's the point of being a 'middling size' state? The UK Labour government can't influence labour laws, ties itself into US nuclear defence policy, its health system is creaking. I'm at a loss to think of an answer to what is the point of Britain? What can the UK do (apart from having a nuclear capability) which its constituent nations couldn't do? Why bother being a 'middling state' at all - why bother being a 'middling' anything? May as well be Welsh and proud of it. There are numerous smaller nations that prove how wrong the Brit Nats have been.

Normal Mouth is right - nothing is inevitable. But looking around Europe it just seems to me that Britain is losing its will to live.

Read Alex Salmond’s views on the article in the Guardian today!


Normal Mouth said...

An interesting post. My point was that if we are going to descend into national identity politics then a British identification is just as valid as a Welsh/English/Scottish/Cornish one.

It's not written anywhere that Wales/Scotland/England/Cornwall have a stronger right to be considered a nation than Britain. Do you agree with that?

Than there's the other argument - that Britain as a multi-national state is a peaceful bulwark against nationalism...

Tarhun said...

Normal Mouth: What a load of nonsense. The difference between a "British identification" and constituent nation identification is clear: Unlike the cultural identity of the home nations, Britain's is an artificial construct. The concept's existence is purely the result of enforced nationalism by imperialism. The word itself isn't even British, it's Roman (a relic of another imperialistic idea that faded away long ago). The fact is there is no unifying identity for the Germanic culture of the English and the Celtic cultures of the natives older than a few hundred years or so. It is a political piece of rhetoric that means nothing in the true scale of this island's history. "British identification" is an oxymoron. The concept was created in order to destroy identity.

Normal Mouth said...

So tell me Tarhun - if British is artificial, what is 'natural' about Welshness etc?

All national identities are ultimately artificial, the product of deliberate social decisions and retrospective classification. A few thousand years ago a bunch of disparate tribes existed that today are collectively grouped together as 'celts' for convenient classification, because they shared some common characteristics. But these people did not identify themselves as a common group (much less as a nation) until another alien people arrived - if then. Indeed, until this point these celts that you seem to think are natural fought each other!

The fact is that some people DO itentify themselves as British, just as other identify themselves as Welsh. You have no right at all to tell someone they should not feel that way simply because you do not regard that identification as valid (as if you have a right to pronounce on such things). To do so is to be guilty of the imperialism that you appear to deplore.

Tarhun said...

I'm not suggesting the Celtic peoples where ever unified under a state, or that they should be now; I'm saying that their related cultures gives them a common heritage that distinguishes them from the English. They where not nearly as "disparate" as you say in ancient times - the Celtic languages of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, as well as those of ancient Gaul, Celtiberia, and as far off as Galatia in what is now Turkey, are clearly closely related, forming a common family and deriving from a common ancestor. Celtic culture is not an alien classification for a group of disparate tribes, it's a real thing that was once found all over Europe, but which is now sadly confined to it's fringes. And what about these tribes fighting each other wouldn't make their cultural identity natural? war is a perfectly normal part of human behaviour.

The fact is: I have every right to protest against the classification of "British". If someone else wants to delude themselves and be "British", fine. But I am not and never will be a part of that group.