One gets the impression sometimes that if Alex Salmond and Gerry Adams were spotted dancing down The Mall draped in Union flags, wearing Bulldog tshirts and singing “Rule Britannia” nationalist commentators would nevertheless still interpet it as somehow heralding the inevitable “break-up of Britain”.
Normally the Our Kingdom crew are the worst culprits in this regard but others play their over-excited parts well- Labour loses the General Election 2010, end of the Union is nigh; Labour wins Welsh Assembly Election, end of the Union is nigh; Labour loses Scottish elections, end of the Union is nigh; Gerry Adams starts his 26th “Unite Ireland Now “ World Tour, end of the Union is nigh; Rangers go belly up, end of the Union is nigh (seriously, it has been claimed).
But here we are July 2012, Plaid Cymru an irrelevance, the pro-Union majority in Northern Ireland is well over the 70% mark according to the most recent poll and… the SNP are heading for a thumping at a Referendum Salmond had the arrogance to believe he would walk, eyes closed.
So… I did enjoy this from Andrew Smith.
It rains during the Queen’s Jubilee flotilla and it suddenly becomes the metaphor for the British state previously “flapping its flags and flaunting its colours like a proud peacock, being reduced to a damp rain-soaked squib”. Indeed, and you just thought it was a typical British case of “Rain stopped Play”; if only we’d had better weather over the years, then we would still have an Empire and quite possibly the other 26 lost Irish counties.
But there were very few street parties in Scotland which may, unawares to the increasing royalist and usually savvy Mr Salmond, symbolise a “lack of symbolism for British triumphalism”. Or it could be a “one-off”. Or it could be the Scottish express their Britishness in their own way.
The Olympics will also not reverse Britain’s break-up according to Andrew. I’m very much pro-Union and I will be looking for somewhere very faraway with the most primitive of communication connections with the outside world for the next two weeks. If the survival of my nation depended on me expressing an interest in who won the Ladies 40 Kilo Backstroke Dressage (or whatever), then perhaps I would make more of an effort. But it doesn’t, so I won’t.
Where he does approach a meaningful point (but subsequently and predictably loses it) is when he suggests the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom and the attitudes of its citizens towards their national identity are changing. They are, this fact was touched on in the previous post by Deirdre Nelson on this blog. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the Union. It means a different, quite probably more robust and improved one; bit like languages, nations must be aware of and adaptable to changing circumstances in order to survive.
It’s up to those of us, the pro-Union majority in each of the four parts of the United Kingdom, to make sure that we analyse and take advantage of those changes and leave the daydreaming and tea-leaf reading to our nationalist friends.Share on Facebook