quintessence, 20th February 2017

to be ‘British‘ seems to be to bathe in a bath of incongruity and inconsistency… my perpetual bemusement at being fed yet more contradictory government lines on how we claim back our “sovereignty“……. an imagined identity built upon rose-tinted “good ol’ days” and “when I were a lad”, short memories compressed into four score and ten…… they claim the centrality of maintaining closer ties with our “trading partners” prostrating  ourselves at feet of the US in a scene reminiscent of a cover from a Gor novel while spitting and cursing at Europe, our biggest trading partner in the world….. not to mention current high-level talks with a French company to take over a British car firm…. and why not, most if not all of our large industry and business is wholly-owned, part-owned, share-owned, whatever by foreign companies and investors shifting production away from the UK to countries who’ll make the same thing cheaper from whom we then blindly buy back……… an imagined green and pleasant land of safe histories on which to plant our flags of convenient truths… keeping all that’s quintessentially British (unless it’s the badger and other assorted persecuted or now-extinct indigenous fauna)…. but therein stands the elephant in the room, “what is British?”, the bubble that just keeps popping (excuse my mixed metaphors)…….. the term “British” has wrongly become synonymous with “English“…. Britain and the British Isles is  a conglomeration of countries and cultures, language (which can definitely not claim any etymological purity), food, habits, belief, politics, being constantly fed from the outside through… if anything the British identity is mongrel and should be regarded multifarious and not tarred and feathered with the label “English” to be all-too frequently hijacked by stifling nationalistic misnomers and disturbingly, claustrophobic notions of what is quintessentially English.

© robert greig


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