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Tuesday, June 11

Who are we as a nation?

I wonder who we actually are. I consider myself a lifelong citizen of the UK, and something of a citizen of Europe. I don't consider Europe to be a uniform and shared culture, since it's clear that each country is very distinct and the differences in language, history, cuisine and way of life means that you can't just plug the people from one neighbourhood into an equivalent in another country. That's good, though. Diversity is the richness of life.

With diversity, though, comes... well... all sorts of shit.

This is where some right wing EDL types would have a go at muslims, or immigrants or other "threats to the British way of life".

This is where some right wing fundamentalist religious types would have a go at those they euphemistically describe as "having an alternative lifestyle".

This is where some people with some sort of authoritarian closed minded viewpoint have a go at people they think less deserving than they are.

That's not where I'm coming from.

I expect more of this country than I see reflected all around me. I operate in a real-world, blogosphere, facebookasphere and twittersphere (so many spheres) where people are generally liberal, articulate, thoughtful, erudite, rational, creative and ambitious. These qualities are not in equal measure in all people, but they are the qualities I hold dear. They're not all the qualities I hold dear, but I'm genuinely shocked when I start to realise how many people are missing vital quantities of these qualities.

I don't care your ethinicity, traditions or country of origin. I do care if you're bigoted, closed-minded, inane, drab, TV obsessed (Doctor Who excepted), sense-of-entitlement led, celebrity culture driven, trivial and thoughtless.

So when I hear people blethering on about their air-headed views, I start to see how the right-wingers feel. The right-wingers would like the country wiped clean of those people they don't like the look of. I'd like a few people wiped clean of their life-sucking notions. The only difference is that my views don't stretch to actually implementing this policy, though I'd happily enjoy it (though not seek it) to smash a few people from Twitter in the mouth, since they're clearly a danger to all around them.

So who are we as a nation? I think we're a bunch of idiots. I think we're the remnants of a colonial imperialist island who don't educate our children properly and fill their heads with drivel from the TV, a lot of which makes them see the world in dull beige colours.

If two people on Strictly Come Dancing, spinning around slightly, can cause a room to scream with joy, then this is truly a joy-deprived nation. We did it to ourselves. We made the banal more important than the deep. We strived for trinkets rather than meaning.

I say we.

Not everyone is like that. Let those who pride thought, creativity and nurturing keep the flag flying.

So long as it's not the St George flag or Union flag, both of which shout racism now more than they shout patriotism. Or maybe they shout jingoism.

Make your own flag.


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