Thursday, 30 June 2011

Jingoism and Xenophobia go hand in gauntlet

Is it more acceptable now to be jingoistic?  I find it difficult to be patriotic, many would call me English – I would accept this if it was seen as a synonym for British but it is increasingly seen as the partisan group with some romantic notion of English as distinct from the other geographies that make up the British Isles.  So I am British.  If this is shorthand for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  I say Northern Ireland but as recently as 1801-1922 this would have been shorthand for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 1801 Act of Union.  In 1922, after the Irish War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the larger part of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom and British was redefined again.  Am I a patriot? I cherish what previous generations have achieved in the name of being British, I am embarrassed and apologetic for the atrocities that have been metered out in the name of being British, so I believe in that sense I am patriotic.  I have empathy with the need to belong to a society, I also realise that resources need to be protected and managed largely since humanity seems destined to ignore the benefits of enlightened self interest; but does this need to naturally progress to the extreme?  We seem to have a preponderance of patriots throughout our Union rattling their sabres in honour of disunity, of devolution.  Can they not see that jingoism will inevitably lead to xenophobia, whipped into a frenzy by the rightwing press, to the degradation of society for all. 

Its all in a name:  I suspect my desire to be seen as British, as a descendent of the occupants of the British Isles, stems from my name.

James  (in homage to James I of England and Ireland,  VI of Scotland)
Richard  (in homage to Richard I,  Cœur de Lion, King of all England [oh, and a bit of France])
McDermott (in homage to Dermot mac Tadhg Mor, King of Magh Luirg (Moylurg), progenitor of the surname McDermott in Connacht, Ireland.)

1 comment:

  1. You mean "meted".

    I'd love to see an app that would let you see the movements of peoples/races/cultures across the globe over time - one you could run forwards and back as you liked. I think that would let people see just how irrelevant their personal identification with their nationality is.