Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Britain Day - NI not included

It was with great amusement that I learned of the latest bright idea from Tony Blair's New Labour - 'Britain Day'.

What will this day involve you ask? Well here's what Ruth Kelly, one of the ministers involved in the suggestion of the idea, had to say on the matter:

"The point of it would be to celebrate the contribution that we all make to society."

She added a Britain day would recognise the "local focus" of people's contribution to society in particular. The plan also suggests immigrants could earn British citizenship under a points based system.

Another one of the ministers involved in the proposal, amusingly named Liam Byrne (could you make up a more Irish name?) said the following:

"One of the ways that we can do that is just taking a bit of time out each year to actually celebrate what we're proudest of in this country."

Now, personally speaking, I regard this idea as a desperate ploy on the part of New Labour to try and alter the sense of disillusionment many English and Scottish people feel about Britishness and the Union. Despite that though, one thing about this idea I find wonderful - the total ignorance shown towards the NI entity! This day is not going to be called the 'UK Day'. It would be called 'Britain Day'. Note how Ms Kelly talks about her society solely in relation to the island of Britain. Note how Mr Byrne talks about this country, solely in relation to the island of Britain! What must unionists feel? Furthermore, doesn't this back up what Irish people like me have been saying for years and years? That the British people don't regard NI as their country? I think so.

British regard Ireland as different

Even Tory leader David Cameron, who has backed plans for a greater promotion of Britishness, weighed in on the act forgetting to mention the north of Ireland and commenting on a "deliberate weakening of our collective identity in Britain". He added:

"The challenge now is to create a positive vision of a British society that really stands for something and makes people want to be a part of it."

Clearly this British society does not include the north of Ireland - nor should it! It's quite revealing too reading the comments on the BBC's forum on this matter. Most people seem to hate the idea of a Britain Day and seem more intent on having their own national identities respected. Here's some examples:

"I am glad I am English. I am glad I live here instead of anywhere else. Less than I used to be, but still glad.

"But Devolution means that, I a 57 year old woman, does not FEEL British. I feel English. Sadly I have had my pride in being English chipped away for many years on the trot by our spinning-top politicians.

"To suggest we all get together again as British after giving Wales and Scotland their virtual independence from Britain is contradictory. Essentially it's all spin."

~ Josephine Bennington, Gravesend.

"I am not British, I am ENGLISH and always will be. Do not let "them" change our identity. PS Wouldn't it be good if we were allowed to celebrate St George's Day without the non-PC fraternity trying to make us feel guilty!!"

~ Dean Gallagher, Hove

"I thought a 'British Day' was a good idea until I read the comments already submitted on this topic. So many people are anti-Scottish, or anti-English, or anti-anything except themselves that I fear Britishness is now a lost cause. Perhaps the United Kingdom should split up into our respective countries to see if we can find national pride again and bring our children up to believe in something other than football, money and booze."

~ James Price, United Kingdom

"More Government spin to say how they are supporting the British identity. Well there is no British identity and never was its English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. How about we English are actually allow to celebrate St Georges Day or Battle of Trafalgar day without the accusations of racism or xenophobia. I have nothing against immigration but it would be nice if there was more respect for the local British or English customs and traditions without the fear of being non-PC."

~ KH, Surrey, United Kingdom

Here's my favourite email as it's bang on the money...

"A day to celebrate Britishness?, lets see; More Scottish don't want to be known as British, neither do the Welsh. And the English are waking up to how unfair they're treated politically as a result of devolution, and only the Unionists in Northern Irish want to cling on to the British tag."

~ Paul, Shrewsbury

Another good one:

"It would be great if we had a Britain first. The Irish are going. The Scots want out. The English want a homeland. How about Home Rule for Yorkshire? Perhaps a Tower of Babel Day might be more relevant."

~ Rob Brownell, Colchester


"'Britain' Day?Why not 'United Kingdom' Day, or are we in Northern Ireland not worthy of inclusion?"

~ Paul, Belfast

I'll answer that one. Because you don't matter, Paul. You don't fit in. You have been duped for decades by people like the Tories who sought to USE YOU as a way of consolidating their own power in Britain. Now those days are over. It's time unionists realised that.

Whatever the people in Britain go with, I wish them good luck. I'm heartened that the people there are now distancing themselves considerably from the the north of Ireland.

It is our country after all and I look forward to the day when we in Ireland can celebrate 'Ireland Day' - the day our country is reunited at long last.


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