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"Lets celebrate Britishness"


Jimbo
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Brown speech promotes Britishness

 

Britain should have a day to celebrate its national identity, Gordon Brown has proposed in a speech portraying Labour as a modern patriotic party.

 

The chancellor used his first major speech of 2006 to urge Labour supporters to "embrace the Union flag".

 

In an address to the Fabian Society in London, he said it is important the flag is recaptured from the far right.

 

Mr Brown said promoting integration had become even more important since the London bombings.

 

"We have to face uncomfortable facts that while the British response to July 7th was remarkable, they were British citizens, British born apparently integrated into our communities, who were prepared to maim and kill fellow British citizens irrespective of their religion.

 

"We have to be clearer now about how diverse cultures which inevitably contain differences can find the essential common purpose also without which no society can flourish."

 

He said society should not apply a narrow "cricket test" to ethnic minorities but needed a "united shared sense of purpose".

 

'Modern expression'

 

In the wide-ranging speech, Mr Brown said it is time for the modern Labour party and its supporters to be unashamedly patriotic as, for too long, such feelings have been caricatured as being tied up with right-wing beliefs, when in fact they encompass "progressive" ideas of liberty, fairness and responsibility.

 

"Instead of the BNP using it as a symbol of racial division, the flag should be a symbol of unity and part of a modern expression of patriotism too," Mr Brown said.

 

 

"All the United Kingdom should honour it, not ignore it. We should assert that the Union flag by definition is a flag for tolerance and inclusion."

 

The speech to the left-of-centre think-tank included references to the July 4th celebrations in the US and the common practice of many citizens having a flag in their gardens.

 

"What is our equivalent for a national celebration of who we are and what we stand for?" Mr Brown said.

 

"And what is our equivalent of the national symbolism of a flag in the United States in every garden?"

 

Labour MP Michael Wills, who has been working on the idea with Mr Brown, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the chancellor wanted there to be a day to "focus on the things that bring us together... whatever our backgrounds".

 

"The French have it with Bastille Day, the Americans have it, most countries actually have a national day and I think it's probably time that we do too," he said.

 

'Absolutely right'

 

The Commission for Racial Equality welcomed Mr Brown's comments.

 

"It is important to talk about and identify our shared common values and discuss ideas and find ways to celebrate being British," a spokesman said.

 

Singer Billy Bragg told the BBC it was right to have a national debate about what it means to be British.

 

"I do think we need to talk about the issue of identity, about who we are," he said.

 

 

"We live in a very multi-cultural society, perhaps the most multi-cultural society in Europe. What actually binds us together? Well, interestingly the thing that binds us together is our civic identity which is Britishness".

 

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major told the Today programme the chancellor was "absolutely right" to promote the concept of Britishness.

 

But he added: "He seems not to mention that many of the actions of the present Government have ruptured Britishness by their own legislation."

 

American example

 

Mr Brown also described his drive to encourage volunteering.

 

The government has already allocated £50m for volunteering, but Mr Brown wants businesses to match this as part of a plan is modelled on the US's successful GI Bill from the 1940s.

 

The chancellor unveiled his National Community Service scheme a year ago to encourage one million young people into volunteering.

 

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said the volunteering scheme was a "pale imitation of [Tory leader] David Cameron's National School Leaver Programme announced in August.

 

"David Cameron is meeting 15 leading youth and community organisations to discuss taking this idea forward on January 24, and perhaps Gordon Brown would like to attend to learn more," he added.

 

I agree with the sentiments, but as far as I'm concerned you can stuff Britain up your arse, Scots should celebrate being Scots and English celebrate being English, and the Welsh celebrate being sheep shaggers.

 

Fuck the Union Jack.

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Another fucking opportunity to see the televised 'Multi-Cultural/Multi-Faith Celebrations' it will spawn.....

 

Hold hands with Muslims to make a ring round London for Hope and Peace....

 

Overkill police presence the length and bredth in a bid to prevent 'Young White Male' from getting overly excited whilst he celebrates his National Day in his Own Country...

 

why fucking bother??

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As a socialist I've always thought of patriotism as I see it as a sense of togetherness working for everyone's good - completely removed from the usual royalty/union jack/empire/St George bollocks which I despise.

 

If the former is what Brown is alluding to and I'd like to think so then I salute him.

 

Unfortunately the general response will be the same as Jimbo's (nowt personal).

 

Sorry Jimbo I've just re-read your "agree with the sentiments" bit - I meant the sticking it up the arse and celebrating individual countries.

Edited by NJS
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[tongue in cheek] You lot think highly enough of yourselves already.[/tongue in cheek]

79248[/snapback]

 

[tongue absolutely not in cheek]You lot think highly enough of yourselves already.[/tongue absolutely not in cheek]

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[tongue in cheek] You lot think highly enough of yourselves already.[/tongue in cheek]

79248[/snapback]

 

[tongue absolutely not in cheek]You lot think highly enough of yourselves already.[/tongue absolutely not in cheek]

79298[/snapback]

 

Coming from someone who lives in the self-styled "Greatest nation on earth". :yes

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I thought as the English we were above this nonsense..............

 

Its quite clear - "when Britain , at heavens command, aroze from out the azure wave"

 

Don't need no fat Scotsman to lecture us on our place in the world

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I've heard USA's Independence Day and France's Bastille Day quoted as examples of what 'British Day' could be like. Which is well and good but these celebrations are of particular events (namely the country rising up as one to eject their nasty oppressors), which have subsequently become occasions to celebrate national pride.

 

As we have no such event, creating the holiday for the sake of it falls a little flat IMO. I suppose the fact we haven't had to rise up against oppressing rulers is something we could celebrate, but it's not as half as satisfying.

 

If Guy Fawkes & co had actually suceeded we could have used bonfire night, but we'll have to wait for a proper revolution if we want a proper national holiday.

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I've heard USA's Independence Day and France's Bastille Day quoted as examples of what 'British Day' could be like. Which is well and good but these celebrations are of particular events (namely the country rising up as one to eject their nasty oppressors), which have subsequently become occasions to celebrate national pride.

 

As we have no such event, creating the holiday for the sake of it falls a little flat IMO. I suppose the fact we haven't had to rise up against oppressing rulers is something we could celebrate, but it's not as half as satisfying.

 

If Guy Fawkes & co had actually suceeded we could have used bonfire night, but we'll have to wait for a proper revolution if we want a proper national holiday.

79424[/snapback]

 

If you eject Blair from office you'll have something to celebrate, or maybe that's what Mr. Brown is already thinking...

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I've always been quite fond of our Bank Holidays - no-one else has "The-Last -Monday-in-May-that-is-close-to-Whit-but-isn't-really-Whit-Day"

 

 

As long as its in late October/early November I'll take the holiday mind

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