It has been almost a year since the Scottish referendum and the narrow rejection of the chance to be an independent country, voting No, but leaving a substantial section of the population (45%) disappointed. I for one was pleased. An independent Scotland would not be any good to anyone. But it has set me thinking though.
So just who are we, the people that live on these islands? Who are the English, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish and, for that matter who are the Cornish?
The British, or Britons, are a people who have lived, worked, loved, played, and died in these Islands, since the end of the last ice age. The population has been strengthened by migrations, some fleeing persecution, seeking and finding refuge here. Some came to seek economic advantage, attracted by our tolerance and economic liberalism, but in their turn contributing ideas and innovation to these shores and, of course invasions. These took away our freedoms and sent our language underground, until it was rescued by Chaucer three hundred years later. Nor should we forget the occasional survivor from the many ship wrecks that have littered our often treacherous coastline.
Some of us are more British than others, some of us prefer narrower nationalist name tags, and some seek to confront their origins in narrower tribal labels. But we all share these small and crowded islands, we all share, either genetically or by virtue that we have chosen to live here, the values of tolerance, understanding, and a belief in fair play.
Being British is not a racial tag. It does not mean that you belong to a religious sect. But it confers a set of privileges, and responsibilities, as well as rights, to maintain and honour the heritage that living in these islands confers on us.
When the English rugby team run out at Twickenham, I want them to win, but just as much, I feel the pain of defeat or the joy of victory, when the British Lions tour New Zealand, South Africa or Australia.
In spite of this heritage though, despite living on an island with its gently favourable climate, we are a sorry people, a divided people, uncertain of who we are, lashing out at those that we don’t understand, and governed by a London elite, that really care little for democracy or the people that they should serve. Instead, supporting a small band of cronies, the establishment, who more often or not went to school together, who more often or not went to university together, and who more often or not sleep together. They cling to privilege and wealth and screw the rest of us, and they believe that the land is theirs to be exploited and abused so they can line their pockets and the rest of us look on helplessly.
Of course they are clever and manipulative, starting wars that cannot be won, or giving the masses circuses such as the Olympics, billed as games for all the people but in reality a money fest for London and the South East.
Now after the No vote in the Scottish referendum, bought by a promise of giving the Scots Devo Max, they are trying to back track from the decision and fudge an English solution to deny us a chance for a constitutional reform, a chance to get some control back over those who we elect.
We are still subjects, expected to be interested when one of the pampered, members of the Royal family announces a pregnancy, expected to forgive them their omissions and to listen politely to their ramblings for no better reason that they are Royal.
We need to remember our roots. We are citizens not subjects. It’s time we reclaimed our country back.