What does Britain and Britishness, of which Gordon Brown was banging on incessantly at the Labour Conference, actually mean?
Certainly not much to multi-cultural Britain: a Sikh in Bradford, a Gael in Stornoway or a South Londoner in Streatham. And if they did have a sense of Britishness, what were the key elements that held them together?
The collective experiences of British identity, that might just have fused a sense of togetherness in a post-modern world are undoubtedly the pain of war and the pride in institutions like the BBC and the NHS.
The irony is that these three towers of Albion all lie with their reputation in tatters, as a direct result of policies pursued by GB.
The problem for Gordon is this – the increasing stress on Gordonâ€™s British credentials, whilst pleasing to a Middle England voter – are a turn-off North of of the Border.
The obsession for Brown, aimed to dispel any notions of his Scottishness being an electoral hazard presents – presents real problems for his standard-bearer at Holyrood, Wendy Alexander, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Gordon and Wendy are close. Her brother Douglas, the Secretary of State for International Development is a Labour Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South. Both are steeped in the Labour Party, and on the right of the party.
Both were chosen to take part in the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (now known as the British-American Project) which was described by the journalist John Pilger writing in New Statesman back in 2003 as “a masonry of chosen politicians and journalists conceived by the far-right oil baron J. Howard Pew and launched by Ronald Reagan and Rupert Murdoch”.
Brown is now effectively leader of the National British Party, whoâ€™s twin aim is to halt independence in Scotland and growing English nationalism. The NBP now cal for “British jobs for British workers”, a slogan that would be gleefully embraced by any of the far-right, from Cameronâ€™s oak tree Tories, to the green-ink brigade of UKIP to the original British National Party.
Yet Labour is in coalition with Plaid Cymru in Wales and Wendy Alexander has entered talks in a pan Unionist talks to â€˜save Britainâ€™ with the Tories and the Lib Dems in Edinburgh?
Confused? Yes, they are.
This is a guest post.
Mike Small blogs for comment is free
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: British Identity