National Identity – What is It?

There is a very real risk that this is going to come across as racist. My apologies in advance for that but I am hopeful that my need for understanding will be accepted which means I do have to question certain issues which trouble me.

At 46 maybe I am old enough to say I have lived enough to have formed an opinion on the world around me, how it may have changed or merely, how I have perceived a change.

In my youth I had an understanding of the UK which I considered historical. That the way things were was how they had been for centuries allowing for natural change, advancement in technology etc. In general the population was majority fair skinned, spoke with one of the many English regional accents and could trace their roots back at least a few generations to some part of the United Kingdom. Yes, I recall some contradiction to that. I was raised in Dagenham just 10 miles east of London, closer to London still was East Ham, Upton Park, West Ham etc as the district line underground travelled west. I remember how the smell changed on that journey and how it was not uncommon for someone smelling of curry to get on that train. If I got off at say, East Ham, I would be confronted by many people with dark complexions, probably from India or Pakistan and that was OK, the majority were still recognisable to me as ‘traditional British’. As the years passed I revisited that area and discovered many of the street names had been replaced by text I simply did not understand. Yes, the English was still there but as prominent alongside was something else, something ‘foreign’. Religion too had changed that area. The historical skyline would be of church spires, the Norman Church, the Saxon church, the great cathedrals, all architectural gems in their own right, but not now. Alongside them and, in all too many cases, dominating the skyline are the temples and mosques. But it isn’t just East London; it’s across this country it is happening. The word ‘multicultural’ seems to be one we must accept. Any challenge to the concept labels us a racist. Alongside the obvious difference of skin colour is the vast difference in accent. It is not uncommon now to recognise several different worldwide accents across the UK which many of us 30 years ago had not heard. Many more Americans live here now or work here, as do those from Australia and New Zealand. In my home town we have many from Vietnam living here as well.

I am all in favour of migration; borders should be fluid to an extent. What is a shame is the loss of identity we have in the UK. We are still perceived around the world as this quaint little country with our traditional villages, thatched cottages, historical landmarks and such like. Our English Tourist Board does not appear to promote us as the place to go to seek out the Muslim way or life, visit the temple, try our wonderful Indian or Chinese cuisine and rightly so because those things are not what being British is about. Yet, the reality of 2009 seems to be precisely that. Religion in particular is pulling this country apart at the seams. We are allowing our own designated faith to follow a natural decline, about which I am more than content, yet, we are making one concession after another to the whims of other faiths. We have Jewish, Catholic & Muslim schools, I am sure many others too. We have people refusing to do the jobs they are employed to do because it insults their faith and getting away with it. We allow people to go around our streets shrouded in cloth so we have no idea who they are, the walking letter boxes as I know them. Laws are made giving concessions to those with a faith to dictate over those who are what they are through birth, not choice. No one through choice of faith should dictate to those who do not share their views.

Then, on a much wider scale we have others telling this country what we must do, what is expected of us and we are treated as inferior, a younger sibling who must obey. Surprisingly, I am not talking about Europe. On the whole I think we’ve gained more than we have lost through our connection with our European neighbours, no, not them. I am referring to the US. Not the individual natives of that country but the entity, the government, the attitude. Yes, an older brother should take care of the younger ones but, the problem is, the US feels it is superior to everyone. There seems little consideration to the possibility they may just not be welcome, not needed, not invited. Merely because a country becomes the most powerful should not allow them the luxury of dictating the natural law of the planet. We do not all want to be carbon copies of the United States of America. Hell, having been there a few times I can most certainly say that the USA can barely manage their own affairs let alone be in a position where they may dictate to the world the moral high ground.

I greatly admire their national pride. Indeed, much of this post is in recognition of that and our lack of it. Were we to have pride in this country we may cause a fuss when we see our identity eroded. No thank you, I don’t want my bank and post office translating everything into Polish for me. I manage when I visit other countries to work out enough to get by using their communication. I was born Church of England, though I hold no religious affiliations now and consider myself ‘agnostic’. But, when in another country I firmly believe it is wrong to expect them to respect and adjust to my own viewpoint. Yes, I was totally pissed off by the Vatican when they were offended by my shorts and they stopped me from entering the place … but, they are Catholics and they think their God is offended by such things as legs and I have to respect it not stand up for my human rights and demand to see the works of Michelangelo. If women visit which ever country it is who think the letterbox look is in vogue then they must expect to wear the letterbox. In short, we all, and that so DOES include the British, should respect the customs and beliefs of other countries and, accordingly, have the right to expect others to respect those of this country so it can remain recognisably British. If Multicultural means losing our identity and no longer making our own decisions then I am totally against it.

Certainly we have an obligation of sorts to seek our persecution around the globe and end it, we don’t have the right to act as missionaries and expect other nations to follow all which we class as the moral high ground. So, preserve traditions which do not persecute, put an end to those which impose a religious viewpoint on others, stop allowing the erosion of this country in the name of multiculturalism and a special relationship and hold onto and get back what makes us what we are.

We can embrace anyone from anywhere, we don’t need to become the state they left behind.

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