Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Patriotism is for Wankers*

One of my few pleasures in life at the moment is to ostentatiously whistle La Marseillaise whenever I pass some bonehead in an England shirt in the street. I would whistle The Red Flag or The Internationale, but the chances are that boneheads don't know what they are so, instead, I choose the French national anthem. Well, you have to make your own fun, don't you? Anyway, as someone with an extreme aversion to tribalism/patriotism I was glad to see Monbiot's article in The Grauniad today,

Meaders has already drawn attention to Monbiot's article, but it's such a good piece that I'm going to quote from it too.

Monbiot points, contemptuously, to the recent rash of media prattle about 'Britishness' and 'national identity' - and in particular to the Daily Telegraph's list of the 'ten core values of the British identity'. These are, the Telegraph informs us, "non-negotiable components of our identity" - oh really? Among them are "the sovereignty of the crown in parliament", "private property", and "the family"- Well hip, hip, HURRAH! It is impossible to read through the list without imagining that you are hearing the words enunciated in the accent of blustering, ruddy-cheeked, handlebar-moustached and slightly whiskey sozzled, retired old Colonel. Try it.

As Monbiot cheekily points out 'If there is one thing that could make me hate this country, it is the Telegraph and its "non-negotiable components"'. Hur, hur. He then goes on to say:

'I don't hate Britain, and I am not ashamed of my nationality, but I have no idea why I should love this country more than any other. There are some things I like about it and some things I don't, and the same goes for everywhere else I've visited. To become a patriot is to lie to yourself, to tell yourself that whatever good you might perceive abroad, your own country is, on balance, better than the others. It is impossible to reconcile this with either the evidence of your own eyes or a belief in the equality of humankind. '

I feel some Eugene Debs coming on.

*(as Samuel Johnson famously said)

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