Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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One Britain One Nation? Pass me the sickbag


WHEN I was a somewhat overweight 11-year-old, I spent some time in America. The family had imploded and various elements of it sought refuge in the humid environs of South Carolina with me in tow.

I attended a middle school for about half a year there. I had the whole American experience: trundling to and from school on a yellow bus, being asked if I personally knew the Queen and whether we had hamburgers in Ingerlaaan’.

One daily event was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Although I have the kind of memory where I can often barely remember my own name, I can still dredge up the words of the Pledge reliably enough:

‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

Most of the time I didn’t say it. Being the little twerp I was, I would add my own words or mumble the few words of God Save the Queen that I could recall. In hindsight it was pretty disrespectful.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 with the ‘under God’ bit added as late as 1954 by President Eisenhower in an attempt to counteract the godlessness of the Soviet menace.

It feels a bit antiquated now, but there is meat on the bones: it is a clear declaration of the character and mission of the United States – or at least, what it was in the Good Ol’ Days.We’ve got all the ingredients of a great American stew: the flag, the republic, God, unity, liberty and justice. It’s not hard to see why, when a good many Americans hadn’t yet been infected by the mind-warping excreta of Left-liberalism, it was a rousing message.

In the bone-dry ideological present it is unlikely we’d come up with anything as pithy. Certainly not this side of the Atlantic. With only the watered-down stock of ideological inertia to draw upon, the blandest of gruels is inevitable.

And so we come to the song written for ‘One Britain One Nation Day’, whatever that is. Apparently it was on Friday, and was described by the Department for Education (as they amusingly refer to themselves) as being about learning the ‘shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect’.

The inspiring lyrics include:

We are Britain and we have one dream;

To unite all people in one great team.

We are Britain and we have one dream;

To unite all people in one great team.

Our nation survived through many storms and many wars;

We’ve opened our doors, and widened our island’s shores;

We celebrate our differences with love in our hearts;

United forever, never apart.

Stirring stuff, eh? The other lyrics are in the same vein. It was written by schoolchildren so one should not be too damning about the flow or rhymes. I have no doubt that my fat 11-year-old self would have come up with something even worse. Moreover, the intention of the man behind the whole thing, Mr Kash Singh, is undoubtedly a good one. He should be applauded for his positivity.

There are some knuckleheads on the interweb claiming that getting kids to sing anything approaching a ‘patriotic’ song is borderline Hitler Youth. Then again, when don’t they bang on about the moustachioed Austrian? They bandy around words such as ‘disturbing’ and ‘frightening’, seemingly unaware of what massive wet blankets they look like. In fairness, the song does sound a bit North Korean, I suppose.

The problem, for me, lies elsewhere. Call me controversial but I like a bit of the ol’ patriotism; I can’t help but feel a twinge of envy when my grandfather tells me about going to Portsmouth on Empire Day in the 1930s to look at Royal Navy vessels.

They wouldn’t do that now, of course – and not just because the boats aren’t there because they are either getting into senseless scrapes in the Black Sea or acting a glorified taxi service for the rocket scientists and doctors clamouring to get into the country.

Instead, the song falls into the same trap that all modern political guff does. Supposedly the only virtue to be seen in Britain is its ‘diversity’. Being ‘so many different races standing in the same place’ (to borrow from the song) is apparently our greatest strength.

Got that? The best thing about the United Kingdom is that the people within it are all very different from one another. If that is the extent of our ‘British values’, we are in a pretty sorry state.

Hopefully I will be proved wrong, but I doubt that teaching children that the only thing that keeps us together is our difference is not a winning formula, nor one that will stand the test of time. When the proverbial hits the fan, remembering that we are all distinctly not the same hardly offers the most stable foundation. In such a situation, we might do better to highlight our similarities. It might be better – whisper it – to have some kind of ideological homogeneity.

However, after several decades of indoctrinating the youth to believe that society comprises oppressors (white, male, middle-class, heterosexual) and their oppressed (immigrants, women, alphabet-soup people) the seeds of division have been sown. More alarmingly, in strenuously refusing even to contemplate the existence of a British identity beyond the hollow offering of ‘multiculturalism’, belief systems which are fundamentally incompatible with the rights and freedoms formed over centuries in Britain have flourished unchallenged. This presents a problem that even the best song would struggle to overcome.

Athough all those years ago I found the Pledge of Allegiance a bit naff and in some ways I still do, it’s many miles better than One Britain One Nation, as it gives values and ideas that a populace can rally around in spite of their differences as individuals. It was a product of its era, of course: one less riven with identity politics and created amid a less ‘diverse’ society. No doubt if it were updated today, it would exchange ‘justice’ for ‘injustice’; the latter being the Left’s constant watchword.

The more we bang on about our ‘diversity’ – in race, sex, gender or whatever – the less cohesive we become. That is the purpose of the Left as they use such concepts to pick away at the threads that hold the fabric of society together.

That’s what makes the song so strange to me. Purporting to be patriotic, the tune would be much better served by lyrics that reinforce the reasons behind Britain’s success: our institutions, our unique history, and our values.

If we’re going to go down this path of cheesy tunes let’s at least try to do it right. That won’t happen though, of course: a society basing itself upon the flimsiest of foundations will never come up with the goods in song, word or deed.

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Frederick Edward
Frederick Edward
Frederick Edward is from the Midlands. You can see his Substack here.'

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