Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Patriotism is the last refuge of the chancellor.

Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer) has been pushing for a yearly celebration of Britishness - a British Day - since the UK has no annual day of self-glorification the way other countries do. Not everybody agrees with him, and I go with not everybody.
First off, the main reason for such national days is to celebrate some kind of shift in the country's status - the French have Bastille Day in the wake of the Revolution; the Americans have Independence Day to commemorate being the first of the former British colonies to strike out on their own; but Britain has neither had a massive commoners-routing-those-born-to-the-purple thing nor broken free from some overseas overlord, hence they've never felt the need to celebrate being free. Employers don't throw a party to celebrate being away from someone under them (unless you know better).
(This may also explain why the French have the world's most rousing National Anthem, and the Americans also have a ditty that's fun to sing, whereas we're stuck with a fucking dirge.)
Secondly, one of my least fond memories of living in Barbados is Independence Day every year. All the stores shut, emphatically local music on radio, only locally produced shows on TV (although they did eventually put a stop to that - Zeta once claimed that Canadian TV is the worst in the world. She obviously repressed memories of CBC Channel 8), and rampant flagwaving. Two of my least favourite things in the world are overt displays of UK patriotism and parades (I have to say UK patriotism because when you get people complaining about the US variety and gleefully participating in the UK brand...). We're likely to get both of these in spades if this thing goes through, which'll be great for Middle Englanders. But I live in the South.

Oh yeah, and I hate the Barbadian National Anthem as well. Makes "God Save The Queen" seem like Jerry Goldsmith at his most rousing.

2 comments:

The Archivist said...

I think you forget Australia Day. As far as I know, it just marks the day Captain Arthur Phillip stuck the damn flag in the soil.

Big fucking deal.

And talking of oversea overlords...

Tom said...

You notice how most countries that started out as French, British, Dutch, or Spanish colonies have their own Independence Day? And some how the French have a holiday marking the French Revolution (Funny, I thought they'd celebrate the day they surrendered to Germany. *Chief Wiggim*We're French, we have no word for victory*Chief Wiggim*)? Honestly, you guys need something. VE Day? The day your first king was crowned, should you be able to track that? Major war victories over Scotland or France?