This Green and Pleasant Land.
Gordon Brown hasn't got a lot going for him anymore. Once the bright technocrat that made a reasonable Chancellor, he's now been waiting in the wings as the Successor for what feels like an eternity, but the PM seems to have no intentions of quitting whilst he's possibly still ahead.
By the time Our Tone has finished with it, chances are that New Labour will be in serious disarray. And Gordon stands to inherit the mess in Iraq, a fate I wouldn't really wish upon my worst enemy. No, I don't envy his position...
Now he's had the not so bright idea of installing a Britain Day. Is this really such a bad idea? Possibly not actually, although I do have some reservations about it.
Firstly, do we need more flag waving and patriotism? Personally I feel we have rather a lot of this already and Nationalism and patriotism are in themselves rarely conducive to tolerance and dialogue. But in a multicultural society like the UK celebrating Britain should be about the successful diversity and inclusiveness of this country and it does appear this is something Gordon wants to emphasise.
Secondly, celebrating Britain would mean trying to define Britishness, at least to some extent. And we all know how difficult that is, apart from a few blinkered little Englanders to whom their way of life defines the whole concept. You could say beauty and Britishness have this in common: you recognise it when you come across it but it's hard to define. Not bad company to be in...
Here's a few attributes that could be considered British and the problems associated with them, arranged in no particular order, I hasten to add:
1. Roast beef dinners and fish and chips: definitely very British but also rather outdated.
2. The Monarchy: the least said, the better in my opinion.
3. Multiculturalism: hardly exclusively British but definitely one to include.
4. Binge drinking: something Britain Day will contribute to.
5. Sense of humour: rather a human than a British characteristic but we can't deny being at the forefront of the worldwide comedy industry.
6. Nanny-stateism: over-regulation and over-legislation could be useful to highlight in order to combat it.
7. Beautiful country and seaside: could bring back some British tourism to the green and pleasant land?
8. Cricket: not my cup of tea.
9. Cup of tea: not my cup of tea.
10. Scientific heritage: being an engineer by trade I've always been astonished how little the common gardener seems to know about the incredible impact British science has had on worldwide scientific thinking. One to celebrate, I feel.
Others may want to add countless other traits they perceive as rather typically British and make up their own Britishness, pick-and-mix style.
Ah, the power of reflection: Gordon, for now I'll endorse the idea and see how it pans out...
Keywords: Gordon Brown, Blair, Britain