Saturday, 11 March 2017

What's so great about Britain?


Sometime in prehistory a group of people arrived on our island from Europe. They were Celts. We know next to nothing about them or the people who lived here before they arrived. All that is left of them are the monuments they left behind, places like Stonehenge and Scara Brae.  The Celtic speaking people of Britain, as far as we know, spoke more or less the same language up and down the country and if we’d been left alone, no doubt we would still be speaking the language of the Picts and the Iceni. But that wasn’t how history played out.  Our island has always been attractive to immigrants and they have made us what we are. We are all immigrants and we are all mongrels.




The successive waves of Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans were not always absorbed without a struggle. There was conflict. But the mix proved beneficial. We are all equally the children of all of these ancestors. We all have the same heritage no matter which part of the UK we come from. There is no fundamental difference between someone from Scotland, from Wales from England or from Northern Ireland, just a variant on a theme, a slight difference in the mixture.



Someone whose parents arrived on our island more recently is equally a part of our island story and an equally welcome addition to the mixture of our melting pot. We are all part of the same story of Britain, where people have arrived with hope because life here is good and always getting better. We’re good mixers the British and the mix that makes up the British people has been most fortunate for it has meant we have been at the forefront of much that is good in the world.

We gave up feudalism centuries before many parts of Europe. We developed nascent forms of democracy and human rights earlier than anyone else; we gave up absolute monarchy while most of Europe still believed in the divine right of kings.  We developed free markets and free forms of trade, while most of Europe still had serfs. We were at the forefront of nearly every development that made Europe prosper from the agricultural revolution of the 18th century to the industrial revolution of the 19th century. But all these revolutions occurred here more or less peacefully.

While Europe was rocked with revolutions in the 18th and 19th century, while they were torn apart by nationalism, we concentrated on slow, rather dull progress. Change came to Britain. We became gradually a fairer and more democratic country. We became wealthier and everyone shared in this wealth more and more. But we never revolted, we never overthrew. That was never the British way. We took our time and acted with due care gradually on our inexorable path to progress.

It is not accidental that French philosophers of the 18th century, like Voltaire admired Britain and the liberty that was to be found here.  There was something in the British character that avoided extremes. Something in the mixture means the British have always liked moderation and so we looked on when the French chopped off the heads of their nobility, we looked on in 1830 and 1848 when Europeans took to the barricades. Instead here we had dull reform bills that gradually extended the franchise. Here we developed worldwide trade that more and more brought wealth to the nation and gave us the leisure to invent the sports played by the whole world. From British prosperity and adaptability came the ability to imagine that there could be such a thing as a computer and a television. All these things happened because of our fundamental stability and the gradualness of our change.

Because we have always loved freedom and because we have always been a tolerant people, we don’t like bullies and tyrants. For this reason Britain has made some of the greatest of contributions to defeating tyranny. We did this three times in the 20th century. Our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought not only for Britain, but for others who were victims of aggression.

Without the British Army, France would have lost the First World War. In 1918 it was the British army that made the decisive contribution to preventing defeat in March and enabling victory in November. It had been a terrible conflict but our great grandfathers were proud of the contribution they had made and for the fact that they fought for Britain. Really they did all fight for Britain. They were not mercenaries.

Two miracles occurred in 1940 when this island was more in danger of invasion and defeat that at any other time since 1066. The British army should have been defeated in the fields around Dunkirk, but somehow by a miracle escaped intact. Our fighter planes later saved us again. We remained calm, though outnumbered, and the whole of Britain united to fight the common enemy. We should have been defeated in 1940, but our grandfathers stuck together. Every one of them who fought did so for Britain and of course they had no hatred for the country they were fighting for, but rather kept their hatred for the enemy. Britain’s contribution in the year 1940 made a decisive difference to the history of the world. If we had been defeated, if we had not remained united, the world would be a very different place today. It is as if this island were specifically constructed with its location and with the mix of its people for this role, as if all history was so that we could be there in that year, because the world would need us.

We stuck together too during the Cold War and made our contribution to defeating the tyranny of communism.  There were long fearful years that many of us remember with a fence dividing Europe.  We played our part by being one of the few significant military forces that underpinned NATO.  Without that unity, there is little doubt that conflict would have broken out some time between 1945 and 1991.

The fact is Britain is one of the great countries. People want to visit us.  Our history and literature are known the world over. People want to come and live here too. Thank goodness that they do. They add to our mixture and the mix just gets better and more beneficial. It’s not accidental that people want to come here. We speak everyone’s second language. The whole world learns the language we speak every day.  We are the English speaking people of this island. That is what makes us British.

Because we are British and such a mixture of peoples, we are also more welcoming and tolerant than most other countries. After all we’ve been doing it for so long. Owing to the fact that we’ve had a market economy for so long we tend not to be as restrictive in our practices as most other countries. It’s easier for someone from Poland or Pakistan to get a job here, because we don’t put up petty barriers to their finding a job. This is one reason why we prosper while other European countries flounder.  We absorb those who come here. It’s not always easy, there are challenges, but because we are welcoming and tolerant we have more harmony here than elsewhere. The British identity is inclusive available to anyone who comes here to live simply because we have been including for centuries. Brexit hasn’t changed this. We will still welcome people from other parts of Europe and the world. We will need them so that we can become the global free trade hub of Europe. We are simply returning to the time when the British people were in control and when Parliament set the rules.

We have always weathered storms together and defeated every challenge, every enemy. We stuck together in 2008 when it looked for a moment as if the world economy was in meltdown. Our economy only recovered and reached its present levels of growth because we had unity and because we are united. We were willing to share and we used the power of our Treasury to rescue those who had lost everything, including all their savings when an Icelandic bank failed. We did this even when strictly speaking we didn’t have to. There is safety in numbers and the reputation of the British economy means we can overcome any challenge together, because in our unity we have deep pockets.

Britain is a great country. The British are a great people.  Don’t expect any of this to continue if Scotland voted for independence. Even the name of our country would be something of a parody. It would be better then for us to be called the “Divided Kingdom.” Great Britain could no longer sensibly be so described if we had our head chopped off. Rather it would be better if we were to be called something like “Diminished Britain” a headless chicken that had done so much but was now left broken. What a final victory for all those who have hated Britain through the ages.   

Remember the thousands of years of history that have brought us to this point and cease attempting to divide our country because you lost an election or you were disappointed that we are leaving the EU. These things are transient and short term. If you dislike Theresa May, she will be gone soon enough. If you want a more left-wing UK Government, develop policies that win over the electorate and fight to win an election. Above all else the idea of Britain is about all our citizens being equal and with the same rights and responsibilities. It doesn’t matter where you live in the UK you are my fellow countryman and I have an obligation towards you. It is this most of all that Scottish nationalism would destroy. It would say to the poor person in Liverpool or Belfast, what have I to do with you? You are not Scottish. Why should I share what I have with you? Scottish nationalism has nothing to do with the Left and everything to do with narrow-minded selfishness.  

The story of our island home is how a Celtic speaking people became an English speaking people. That is our story, the story of each and every one of us whose ancestors have arrived here from overseas. All of us are immigrants; we are that mix of peoples, that happy mix that has formed the British people. We are the opposite of nationalists, because in us can be found all nations, the whole world. That is our birth right. It is what we would lose if Scotland chose separation as opposed to unity. Scottish nationalism would leave us all homeless. Don’t sell your birthright for a mess of nationalism. 




28 comments:

  1. The ludicrous aspect of the so-called 'British Test' is of course that the idea of defining Britishness or its component parts is actually a bit, well, un-British, as W S Gilbert delightfully observed.

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  2. A lucid summary again Effie. Indeed we are all mongrels especially Viking, Danish in the south and Norwegian in the north. It has to be through Churchill that we see the great British people at their best. Reading his memoirs at tne moment I am filled with pride as I reach Dunkirk and will soon see us at Their Finest Hour. It is unbelievable that the Nats should wish to devolve themselves from such great history. We are one nation and highly successful

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    1. yeah I especially like his massacre of millions of people in India

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    2. Aye...he's well thought of in the Bengal...

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    3. What pish! Churchill was a turn coat warmongering nut job who sent the troops in against the miners and was prepared to get warships to attack the people on the Clyde.

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    4. Churchill was a warmonger and Zionist puppet who like Roosevelt sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths with a country that offered us and many others a hand of peace. He did all this for personal financial gain, nothing else, and certainly not to defend Britain from fascism. His "victory?" enabled the Zionist Elite a foothold in Europe which has gone one to domination in government, media, banking and just about having a hand in every conflict and miscegenation of a peoples across the globe. An utterly contemptible man. You've really let yourself and your reader down on this occasion. Very poor blog.
      http://www.renegadetribune.com/churchills-kosher-connections/

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    5. Churchill was a tough, ruthless, uncompromising man - and, luckily enough, in the right place at the right time to prevent this country falling under the shadow of the worst evil ever to blight mankind. He wasn't friendly. He wasn't nice. He wasn't big on domestic reform (although he did commission a report that would eventually go on to recommend the NHS and most of the other goodies we enjoy today). But he knew to fight fire with fire, that nothing of value was ever achieved without suffering, and that treachery was to be punished - not encouraged.

      No one like him exists today and we are poorer for it.

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    6. Hang em High Aldo, its the only language they understand....

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    7. The great victory of Dunkirk.....Just ask the 51st

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    8. If you don't make the absolute penalty available for murder, terrorism and treason then you end up with a lawless and fragmenting society - which is what we have.

      Yes, my views are a bit old fashioned. I accept that. But they are also correct :0)

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  3. I love how she generalises that our grandfathers fought for BRITAIN! My grandfather fought in world war II to defeat the Nazis. He hated Britain, and spoke out for independence his whole life. But I guess Effie must have spoken to each and every one of those soldiers in order to be able to make such sweeping claims about their loyalties. I also love how she goes on about the history of "Britain" and how wonderful it is (highly debateable in itself), but deliberately ignores the fact that Britain has only been one country for 309 years, far less time than the independent countries of England and Scotland existed.

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    1. Aye; and 310 years ago Scotland's national sport was burning witches, encouraged by James VI himself. Hardly times to look upon fondly. Similarly with Churchill: Scots were masterful colonialists, with many a Scottish estate built on slavery and opium. The point is we moved on, collectively.

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    2. Why did your Grandfather hate Britain? What a strange man, I'm fighting the Nazis but I hate Britain, not evenecessarily I love Scotland. Sounds a bit messed up

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    3. "but deliberately ignores the fact that Britain has only been one country for 309 years"

      So by your logic the USA, at only 238 years old, has a less wonderful history than Brtain because it isn't as old.

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  4. Its almost as if the grandfather story is made up to suit the nats purpose.

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  5. My father retired from the British army as a Captain, he joined the Royal Scots Grey's as a trooper, (private),they were the desert rats during the North Africa campaign, during his career he was General Montgomery's personal bodygaurd for a time, he also had some time with members of the Queens family. He believed that Scotland should be an independent self governing country, he became a local independent councilor, and after a time was a founder member of the East Kilbride SNP. If he was with us today he would piss himself laughing at this.

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  6. RHF, Scotland as a recogniseable polity came into existence in the mid 1100s under David I when the English speaking Lothians, those parts of the Highlands that could be controlled from Edinburgh and the semi independent Cumbric peoples of the south-west were finally welded together. So between that and the Union of the Crowns in 1603 which brought Great Britain into existence was around 450 years. The time distance between the Union of the Crowns and now today is 414 years. So, longer yes, 'far longer'....nah. Also always somewhat intrigued as to the linkage between a mediaeval feudal with fluid borders based upon keeping a noble class onside and who can put into the field the most peasants armed with sharp sticks, and the potential creation of a (presumably) modern social democratic nation-state armed with biometric passports and national insurance numbers....just sayin' like. Oh, and the Royal Scots Greys were with the Desert Rats, but then so were an awful lot of other units.

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    1. I'm not really sure how important it is, but the Union of the Crowns in 1603 did not bring Great Britain into existence. Scotland and England remained separate sovereign states. This only changed 104 years later with the treaty of Union.

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    2. I'm not sure how 'sovereign' Scotland was under an absolute monarch based in London until 1649 and then the equally absolutist 'republic' under the Cromwells until 1660. Charles II may have been a bit more open to the idea of parliamentary sovereignty - but he still had his fathers enemies butchered at Tyburn in his first act as king. I'm guessing the Scots weren't particularly 'sovereign' under him either. In fact, didn't he wipe out the Covenanters?

      I think discussions on 'sovereignty' are a bit daft anyway when referring to an age when most people were essentially slaves and you could get hanged for stealing a mouldy biscuit or burned at the stake for having a wart in the wrong place. We moved on from all that pish - and we did so as Great Britain.

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    3. James VI and I brought into being his Imperial polity of Great Britain with the Union of the Crowns. The fact that both sides tried to resist at various points up until the formal treaty of Union in 1707 is arguable I suppose, but my point still stands, the difference in time is not huge between the existence of an independent Scotland and that of an established Great Britain. The Nationalists hazy idea of an ancient Gaelic Scotland that everyone north of Carlisle clung to and which was ripped from them by the dastardly English is quite frankly bollocks. Remember Bruce killed more fellow Scots in maintaining his throne in the face of various rebellions across his realm than the English crown ever did and various factions were quite happy to ally with the English crown if it gave them an advantage at the time. There is no parallel between the mediaeval kingdom and a modern nation-state is what I guess I was trying to say and a hundred years here or there makes no difference whatsoever.

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    4. It must be emphasised that David I was himself of English descent, his mother (St Margaret) was an English princess who married Malcolm III, King of Scots.

      Also, the Lothians (where I live) were only granted to the King of Scots on condition that the Kings of Scotland became loyal vassals of the English crown, a condition they broke repeatedly in subsequent years.

      England (and I consider myself English not Scottish) should be given Lothian back. Perhaps if the proposed 2nd Indyref yields a "Yes" vote Lothian and the Borders should seek reunification with our kin south of the border.

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    5. David also styled himself Prince of Cumbria prior to ascending the Scottish throne. This shows that the Cumbria south-west still considered itself a separate polity as well. Perhaps we should reunite with the Cumbria in England and reinstate Strathclyde/Rheged, after all that had around 1000 years as an independent Kingdom before the Scots so rudely interrupted proceedings. Let us declare independence and impose the ancient Brythonic tongue on the road signs....Hen Ogledd!

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  7. Sunday Post poll out today, over 60s;

    No 70%
    Yes 30%

    That's a swing of a good few % points towards no in a very large and significant age group (they vote most often) in the last year.

    Yes are facing an uphill struggle yet again. All the demographics that vote against them also vote more often (the elderly, the wealthy, the educated). This gives no a head start against an opponent that basically can't be arsed getting out of bed.

    Also consider that the noes have a bigger core vote, with 38% committed to the union come what may as opposed to 28% committed to independence, come what may. Another head start, of sorts.

    No wonder wee nippy is bottling it!

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    1. Well, the nipper didn't bottle out after all. But it looks as though the independence referendum will be kicked into the long grass anyway - perhaps 2020 or later. There is even a story circulating that the PM will tell her she must win a clear mandate in the Holyrood election of 2021 (using Green votes to achieve a majority is all fine and well but they crucially made no mention of brexit as an indyref 'trigger' in their manifesto).

      Both scenarios reduce Sturgeon's chances of success - unless she is banking on Scots reacting badly to the delay. Somehow, I don't see it. Her supporters might become more annoyed - but they will still have only one vote each. As for the rest of us, we will welcome the peace and stability and be thankful to Mrs May for doing her best to honour the result of the now largely airbrushed from history referendum of 2014.

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    2. Your predictions are not going well Aldo.....not well at all.... 'Kicked into long grass in 2020' ....

      Thats quite a journey from 'too frightened to call it'...

      My prediction is EU will assist Scotland to lever out of UK....The rhetoric has already started with statemenst like 'recognising Scotland voted to remain in EU'.

      Right now May has no levers over Scotland....The referendum will be lined up to Brexit and if Scotland votes YES, they will not be forced out of the EU.

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    3. "May has no levers over Scotland"

      Except for being Prime Minister of the country, of course....

      "The referendum will be lined up to brexit".

      Nope, wrong again. That's already been ruled out. There will be no referendum until after brexit and a sufficient "bedding in" period for people to get used to the new arrangement. That's the only fair and proper way to do things and would seem to be the direction of travel of the UK government. You will notice they now talk about 'after the brexit process'. They are clearly going to play the long game on this one.

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    4. "The EU will help Scotland to lever out of UK".

      Nonsense. We still have to coexist in this same region of this little blue planet forever. The EU isn't going to do anything to break up the UK. One or two MEPS mouthing off is irrelevant. They carry the same weight as Farage.

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  8. The Scottish 'Indy' threat:

    5/5/11 - 17/3/17

    Normally I would say 'rest in peace', but at least a few of the actors involved in this one deserve a spell in the fiery place.

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