Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Being English

Hi, My name’s Lucy, and for the last 44 years I have been an Englishwoman.
The truth is, and on St George's Day of all days, being English doesn't really matter much to me, just a quirk of fate that this country was the place that i happened to be born in.
Could have been France, Mexico or Pakistan, i had no choice in it after all so i have never really bought into the jingoism and xenophobia that makes me tell everyone that England is the best country in the World, because it isn't. 
England ruled the world for a while but that’s nothing to be proud of, we hacked, murdered and stole our way to create an Empire that the sun never set on and engineered a huge part of the abhorrent slave trade and that’s something we should feel eternal shame about.
Looking back through the history of the English, there doesn't appear to be anything much to be particularly proud about but that isn't just an English thing, almost every nation could go through their history books, the Spanish, Italians, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, American, Australians, Russians and Japanese could all find a few shameful episodes to be brushed quickly over.
Not to say that us English have been all bad, plenty of English people have done great and inspirational things in areas such as art, literature, invention, exploration and music but they weren't great and inspirational because they were English, they just happened to be English and did great things.
I'm never going to be waving a little Union Flag while holding my hand over my heart and booming out the national anthem because being 'English' doesn't really matter to me, it seems to matter more to people like the BNP and the Little Englander's who bemoan the influence of multiculturalism on Britain's culture.
April 23rd is a day to celebrate being English and i will raise a cup of tea to my country but as for being proud of being English? Nah, i did nothing to deserve my nationality and there are plenty of other things to feel proud about which i did earn so wave your flag and sing patriotic songs about how great England is if you want but it's not for me, much better to be celebrate a special bond with the 7 billion in the human race than the 60m i just happen to share a strip of land with.

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