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Old 05.11.2016, 12:51
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British national identity

Does it exist?

(gazillion articles on the topic)

"The [British] values I’m talking about – a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law – are the things we should try to live by every day. To me they’re as British as the Union Flag, as football, as fish and chips." Cameron 2014
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:01
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Re: British national identity

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Does it exist?
Yes but it's changed, as all things do.

Anyone can still tell you where the best chippy is, but they'll also tell you where the best Indian takeaway, pizza place and kebab shop can be found too. Football is more swings and roundabouts, but can still lift the spirits of an entire town or city, e.g. Leicester winning the Premiership and my little home town team winning the F.A.Cup in 2013.

But we also have to factor in that for the last 30yrs or so, one of the UK's favourite dishes is Chicken Tikka Masala. For the last 10yrs, the favourite drink of many women is Prosecco, etc...

About 5yrs ago, I was on the train to work with my OH, some friends and colleagues. My OH asked the immortal question... "What's X Factor?" Most of the people in the packed train carriage burst out laughing. His next question was "Who's Simon Cowell?" That promted a guy to come over and say.. "I wish I lived in your World!"

It's Bommy night here today and fireworks have been going off at intervals since 10am. I know tonight, there will be millions of people in my area setting off fireworks, and eating black peas, treacle toffee, parkin and a pan of lobbies or hotpot with red cabbage. Some things have changed, but a lot has stayed just the same.
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:05
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Re: British national identity

At the risk of being shot down in flames, I would suggest that it is English national identity - and of course Scottish, Welsh and Irish. Before devolution, we couldn't utter these thoughts - but now...
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:10
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Re: British national identity

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Yes but it's changed, as all things do.

Anyone can still tell you where the best chippy is, but they'll also tell you where the best Indian takeaway, pizza place and kebab shop can be found too. Football is more swings and roundabouts, but can still lift the spirits of an entire town or city, e.g. Leicester winning the Premiership and my little home town team winning the F.A.Cup in 2013.

But we also have to factor in that for the last 30yrs or so, one of the UK's favourite dishes is Chicken Tikka Masala. For the last 10yrs, the favourite drink of many women is Prosecco, etc...

About 5yrs ago, I was on the train to work with my OH, some friends and colleagues. My OH asked the immortal question... "What's X Factor?" Most of the people in the packed train carriage burst out laughing. His next question was "Who's Simon Cowell?" That promted a guy to come over and say.. "I wish I lived in your World!"

It's Bommy night here today and fireworks have been going off at intervals since 10am. I know tonight, there will be millions of people in my area setting off fireworks, and eating black peas, treacle toffee, parkin and a pan of lobbies or hotpot with red cabbage. Some things have changed, but a lot has stayed just the same.
I was trying to think of how to respond.

I was going to say that the stereotypes are less stereotypical than 30 years ago.
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:16
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Re: British national identity

Well if these British values do still exist they certainly aren't visible at the moment. Dixon of Dock Green would turn in his grave.


In the late 1950s and then in the 1960s when I worked in London's city I was an avid reader and supporter of the Daily Telegraph - today I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Like the Daily Mail it is a disgusting piece of crap.


My impression is that money and the urge for cheap fame have insinuated themselves into British life. Those values which we learned in school (admittedly in the aftermath of the war - which gave us other things to worry about as well as a different standpoint); family life, democracy, fairness, compassion and public spiritedness have gone out of the window, replaced only by avarice, big mouths and loss of the common good.


I know that not all is lost but if one thing is badly needed it's a leader - a proper one I mean.
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:34
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Re: British national identity

– a belief in freedom
Freedom to do what I want and screw everyone else

- tolerance of others
so long as they believe like I do

- accepting personal and social responsibility
as long as it's understood that it's all the fault of x, y and z

- respecting and upholding the rule of law
except when judges decide things we don't like



I like fish and chips though.
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:38
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Re: British national identity

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In the late 1950s and then in the 1960s when I worked in London's city I was an avid reader and supporter of the Daily Telegraph - today I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Like the Daily Mail it is a disgusting piece of crap.

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My impression is that money and the urge for cheap fame have insinuated themselves into British life. Those values which we learned in school (admittedly in the aftermath of the war - which gave us other things to worry about as well as a different standpoint); family life, democracy, fairness, compassion and public spiritedness have gone out of the window, replaced only by avarice, big mouths and loss of the common good. .
I think if you look at these two paragraphs you can see a link. The mainstream media (and social media for that matter) has become so obsessed with publicising the ugliness of society, which quickly spreads via the internet, we have lost sight of the good bits.

You only read about the hate crimes, the vapid, vacuous youth, the Kardashians, the way the government is cutting spending on xyz again, the useless MPs, the list goes on.

People then share and comment and at first it was cool and edgy to be outraged but now it is almost a duty of social media to share and join in petitions, share videos made by protesters and "like" every good cause going. Pages and pages of apparent moralistic "support our troops or you clearly hate the military and support Islam" is the overtone.

I don't think the basic values of the UK, or the rest of the world have radically changed, it's just this constant bombardment of information we are exposed to and our public online reaction is scrutinised and judged.
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Old 05.11.2016, 15:52
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Re: British national identity

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Well if these British values do still exist they certainly aren't visible at the moment. Dixon of Dock Green would turn in his grave.


In the late 1950s and then in the 1960s when I worked in London's city I was an avid reader and supporter of the Daily Telegraph - today I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Like the Daily Mail it is a disgusting piece of crap.


My impression is that money and the urge for cheap fame have insinuated themselves into British life. Those values which we learned in school (admittedly in the aftermath of the war - which gave us other things to worry about as well as a different standpoint); family life, democracy, fairness, compassion and public spiritedness have gone out of the window, replaced only by avarice, big mouths and loss of the common good.


I know that not all is lost but if one thing is badly needed it's a leader - a proper one I mean.

I also read the DT every day, but gave it up years ago when it became a shadow of its former self.


Indeed, school did instil in us a sense of national and religious identity, Morning Assembly, when the whole school came together, sowed the seed that we were part of a community. We respected our parents, from whom we learned how to behave and eventually become (for the most part) responsible citizens. We also spoke English correctly, at least most of us did.


There is, however, one thing that has never changed - whatever the problem or emergency - a nice cup of tea is the order of the day - note the beverage is never referred to as a cup of tea, but a NICE cup of tea.
Can't stand the stuff myself!
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Old 05.11.2016, 16:58
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Re: British national identity

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Well if these British values do still exist they certainly aren't visible at the moment. Dixon of Dock Green would turn in his grave.

In the late 1950s and then in the 1960s when I worked in London's city I was an avid reader and supporter of the Daily Telegraph - today I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Like the Daily Mail it is a disgusting piece of crap.

My impression is that money and the urge for cheap fame have insinuated themselves into British life. Those values which we learned in school (admittedly in the aftermath of the war - which gave us other things to worry about as well as a different standpoint); family life, democracy, fairness, compassion and public spiritedness have gone out of the window, replaced only by avarice, big mouths and loss of the common good.

I know that not all is lost but if one thing is badly needed it's a leader - a proper one I mean.
I strongly disagree with this statement: "family life, democracy, fairness, compassion and public spiritedness have gone out of the window, replaced only by avarice, big mouths and loss of the common good."

Those values largely remain, though they manifest in different ways. What used to be done over the garden fence, or by public meeting in the village hall, or through the letters column in the local paper, are now largely done (and probably more effectively) via social media, YouTube videos, crowdfunding, e-petitions, and so on. I'm not saying these are all improvements, indeed I despise much of the negative stuff I see on social media.

"Avarice and big mouths" were very much part of the pre-tech age. They just weren't as well publicised. We rightly still grumble about work conditions, for instance, but compare modern worker protection with how things used to be. Social media encourages big mouths, but it also enables us to more effectively complain about big mouths that are used to express bad ideas. This lack of communication in the old days made things like child abuse and gender discrimination much easier.

As for Dixon of Dock Green, he would also (according to my dad) be happy to let you off with a caution if he stopped you for driving erratically and smelling of alcohol -- as long as you tucked a fiver into your driving licence before handing it over to him.

Again, swings and roundabouts. You can't be blindly nostalgic.
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Old 05.11.2016, 17:02
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Re: British national identity

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I was going to say that the stereotypes are less stereotypical than 30 years ago.
But nostalgia's just not what it used to be, eh?
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Old 05.11.2016, 17:19
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Re: British national identity

It seems booze went up. Self-importance.
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Old 05.11.2016, 17:29
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Re: British national identity

Depends where you live/d Merrylegs - about tea. I've lived in places where it was called 'cupocha' or a 'brew' or 'builders'

I do wonder if British Identity will disappear forever after this whole Brexit mess
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Old 05.11.2016, 17:35
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Re: British national identity

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But nostalgia's just not what it used to be, eh?
In my case I don't think nostalgia would be the right word. I grew up surrounded largely by people who had left the UK in the 50's, from what you might call humble backgrounds. They all left for a brighter future which they felt they wouldn't have had if they had stayed. Most of them found that brighter future, so although they didn't hate the place they had left, it also wasn't a rose tinted glasses nostaliga.

If I have a nostalgia then it is kind of a second hand one.

Things changed a lot between the '70s and the '90s.
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Old 05.11.2016, 17:39
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Re: British national identity

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Those values largely remain, though they manifest in different ways. What used to be done over the garden fence, or by public meeting in the village hall, or through the letters column in the local paper, are now largely done (and probably more effectively) via social media, YouTube videos, crowdfunding, e-petitions, and so on. I'm not saying these are all improvements, indeed I despise much of the negative stuff I see on social media.
Precisely!
My granddad banned my nan from speaking to the neighbours over the garden wall, because he didn't want his wife to be known as a gossip. Back then, you talked to family, close friends, the cat (who never listened) or the dog (who hung on your every word). Everything else was the World happening outside of your little fish pond. It rarely touched you and you had little influence on it.


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"Avarice and big mouths" were very much part of the pre-tech age. They just weren't as well publicised. We rightly still grumble about work conditions, for instance, but compare modern worker protection with how things used to be. Social media encourages big mouths, but it also enables us to more effectively complain about big mouths that are used to express bad ideas. This lack of communication in the old days made things like child abuse and gender discrimination much easier.
I remember when 'Big Brother' first aired and was marketed as a big social experiment. For many years it was, and I was thrilled to see that the British public were choosing people from all backgrounds as their 'winners'. But there's been a sea change lately. When a moron like Stephen Bear can win a show because he's 'entertaining', there's something going wrong.

I'm dumbing down with that as a reference, but there's a sense of entitlement at play that disturbs me. We have politicians pretending to be something more than public servants, probably because they weren't good enough to be a professional sportsman or rock star, so they went into shooting their gobs off for a living.

But we also have many media shows where the public vote means someone is here today, gone tomorrow based upon the public opinion. It's an extension of instant gratification.


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As for Dixon of Dock Green, he would also (according to my dad) be happy to let you off with a caution if he stopped you for driving erratically and smelling of alcohol -- as long as you tucked a fiver into your driving licence before handing it over to him.
I'm cursed with having a filthy laugh and you made me roar laughing with this part.

Remember a Christmas episode of 'The Likely Lads' where they drove home drunk? Probably around 1971-72. One of my dad's drinking buddies was CID and always used to get my dad to drive him home, because he'd probably drunk most of a bottle of whiskey, whereas my dad would have 'only' had several pints of bitter. A number of years after my dad died, we were clearing out the shed and found an old driving licence of his with a £5 note in the back of it.
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Old 05.11.2016, 18:22
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Re: British national identity

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I do wonder if British Identity will disappear forever after this whole Brexit mess
Nope. Can't see any logic in that statement at all.

Surely Brexit is all about trying to maintain national identity??
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Old 05.11.2016, 18:29
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Re: British national identity

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Nope. Can't see any logic in that statement at all.

Surely Brexit is all about trying to maintain national identity??
It makes sense to me.

Brexit is going to be crushed. There is no way that the European and British elites will tolerate the end of their comfortable little arrangement.

When the United Kingdom is dragged back into the club, it will be punished for its impudence. If we thought the EU was overbearing and illiberal before the referendum, we ain't seen nothing yet. Expect an end to the pound, an end to the special status of the UK with regards Schengen, and - ultimately - expect the absorption of the nation into a federated pan-European state.

Sure, they'll let us keep Morris dancing, cheddar cheese and shortbread biscuits, but any kind of identity that has any meaning will be crushed without mercy. The love of freedom, the spirit of independence, the sheer bloody mindedness that made our country so special - that will be blown away like dust in the wind.

Look what the bastards did to the Greeks.

I'm more depressed about the future of both the United Kingdom and Europe than I've ever been. The idea of ditching the whole bloody mess and emigrating to the United States has never appealed more.

British identity? Welcome to Airstrip 1!
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Old 05.11.2016, 18:29
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Re: British national identity

In theory, yes- in practice it has divided the country very badly - 48% against 52 invote terms- but in real terms the Brexiters are a small minority.

The rise of racist attacks and intolerance in the run up to, and post ... has been appalling too. And like in a civil war, it has didvided many families and communities in a way that will be hard to get over, kiss and make-up.

Brtiish Laws, by British Judges, according to the British Constitution in British Parliamentary Democracy - and looked what happened! Yes, we want to follow our own Laws- but NOT in this instance thanks.

Wow DB - the Trump United States - yu can keep it
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Old 05.11.2016, 18:32
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Re: British national identity

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A number of years after my dad died, we were clearing out the shed and found an old driving licence of his with a £5 note in the back of it.
Priceless. I love that. My dad grumbled like hell when the old, paper, folded-in-half licences were replaced with the credit-card style for that very reason. He said he permanently kept a fiver tucked into his folded licence in case he was stopped. When I've mentioned this to other older folk, I've heard the same, though most say that it was 'someone they knew' who used to do it, rather than themselves of course!
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Old 05.11.2016, 19:22
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Re: British national identity

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At the risk of being shot down in flames, I would suggest that it is English national identity - and of course Scottish, Welsh and Irish. Before devolution, we couldn't utter these thoughts - but now...
This is what I was trying to get at. Is there such thing as an umbrella British national identity? English in this case would mean pertaining to England.
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Old 05.11.2016, 19:44
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Re: British national identity

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In theory, yes- in practice it has divided the country very badly - 48% against 52 invote terms- but in real terms the Brexiters are a small minority.
Did you really write that? This time you really lost me. 52% is a minority? And a "small" one??
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