A little over a week ago I scribbled a letter to the PM (they haven’t got back to me yet, neither have McVities) and lots of you got stuck into the debate. This was unprecedented for my blog, primarily because I mostly write about wool and hooking (and I get that)
What made me super happy was the fact that for or against, most folk engaged with the issues, rather than the usual online tirade against the author. Volvos got mentioned which is always a promising sign. So nice job all around, folk of the interweb.
Trouble is, once you’ve done that once you have to sort of do it again. It was fun, why wouldn’t I?
I was having a chat today with a Dad at the school gate about the whole EU debate blog thing, and he raised a point about St. George’s Day. The issue of nationalism and what actually counts as appropriate patriotism came up and it’s another *awkward* British moment, one of many.
How can I go all out and celebrate the Queen’s birthday yesterday, fly the flag and tackle the odd vigilante knight (by which I mean occasional, not just the strange ones, I don’t discriminate) without people automatically thinking I vote UKIP?
Can I be truly patriotic, a nationalist but also vote to stay in the EU?
I’d say yes.
I love my country, and love being an unquantifiable, often irrational thing can find its place in all manner of hearts for all manner of reasons. I love our awkward sensibilities, our sense that things need to be done properly (often without being able to complete this task in reality I should add) and our sense of justice. And I think I’m pretty lucky to be born British when you compare the quirk of genetic fate and parental leave of senses that meant I was born here and not in a war-torn, famine ridden country where life would be much, much harder.
Do I believe that our country should have the independence to make its own decisions, define its rule of law and system of justice? Absolutely. But this is where it all gets a bit trickier.
See, I’ve mentioned ‘justice’ twice now. That sense of right and wrong. The common set of rules and responsibilities with which a society must agree upon in order to live harmoniously, and correct, dissuade and in some cases punish those who offend against others. My understanding of British justice, as the law states it, and as our judges assert it is pretty reasonable in my opinion. There are issues that should always be debated, cases that must be brought forward and nothing, nothing is ever perfect. But we do a fair job.
Other countries’ sense of justice is not the same as ours. They kill dragons for far less than we do. We live with our dragons, maybe with a very British hope that we might be able to live with them and sit down and drink tea politely together one day. I like that sensibility, however idealistic that is.
And if we want to stand proud of our nation, and its attitudes to dragons then maybe we need to work with other nations too. Pulling up the castle drawbridge doesn’t make the rest of the world go away, and with rights come responsibilities that extend further than our shores. So the vigilante knights may need to cross swords with fair maidens (who we all know are more kick-ass anyway). But please keep your hands off the dragons. They need help.