In which I briefly discuss the difference between National Pride and Nationalism, applaud the England Cricket Team and invite you to be a bit less cynical about England’s abilities in general.
Last night, quite uncharacteristically, I fell asleep on the sofa. I never fall asleep during the day and sleep like the dead at night, although rarely for long enough. Yesterday had been particularly busy and, after putting The Boys to bed, I settled down to watch an episode of Morse. My Sisters bought me the entire series in a boxed set for Christmas – there is something very wonderful about a boxed set of anything. At about 9.10, I selected an early episode that I hadn’t seen before, took a slurp of tea and promptly fell asleep.
I opened my eyes, wondering sleepily how Morse had managed to solve the murder in a matter of minutes, and realised that it was quarter past ten. Right, I thought radically, I’m going to go to bed. I made a large mug of Ovaltine, and snuggled up with the radio playing softly and continued with Bill Bryson’s ‘Thunderbolt Kid’ (which I was also given for Christmas – I really was a very good girl last year).
- The English Cricket Team 2011
At some point during the night, a voice from the radio excitedly announced that England had won The Ashes. I switched off the light and the radio and went back to sleep, feeling very pleased indeed. I like cricket although I don’t follow it closely, but I am always delighted when England wins anything, because the achievements of one’s country should be a source of National Pride, particularly if that success is borne of genuine talent and skill.
Next year, London is going to host the Olympic Games which, in my opinion, is absolutely brilliant. England has a long history of excellence in engineering, construction, organisation and pageantry and I believe it will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase both our talents and our athletes. It will re-generate an area of London which badly needs it and, if managed properly, can be a valuable resource and inspiration for sport for the whole country for a long time to come.
The last time the Olympics were held in England was in 1948, just after WW2, and it was appropriate that it should have been held in the capital city. It would have been nice if one of the other cities had been successful this time, but that’s not how it turned out.
But I am absolutely sick to death of hearing so many people slagging off our involvement in the games and casting aspersions on our ability to host them successfully. There is no earthly reason why we shouldn’t make a success of it and, as we are embarking on a period of necessary austerity, we could take the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the world that events of this kind can be carried off with efficiency and panache without bankrupting the country in the process.
There was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to express pride in Britain and the achievements of its inhabitants. I think that it’s very interesting that the inclination towards national criticism coincides with a rise in unpleasant nationalism as expressed by The British National Party and other right wing organisations whose agenda is nothing to be proud of whatsoever.
I am completely in favour of supporting and promoting British interests and businesses and I put my money where my mouth is at every possible opportunity. I am also both conscious and proud that we have historically proved to be an inclusive country where diversity is celebrated more than almost anywhere else on earth.
That is not to say that we shouldn’t have stringent immigration laws – we are a small island and, as I said before, we have to put our own interests first. But throughout history England’s economy has survived because we have recognised the value of migrant workers and the skills and cultural benefits that they bring.
I constantly remind Boy the Elder that his intermittent streams of negative invective about current affairs, and his own current affairs at school, are extremely unattractive and not remotely cool. I suggest that the constant whinging about how awful everything is in Britain is equally unattractive and un-cool and we should get a grip.
I’m not suggesting that we should all be wandering about in a state of starry-eyed, patriotic ecstasy, but I am definitely suggesting that we should take a long hard look at what we’ve actually got and be glad of it. If there are things that need changing, either personally or in the wider world, then we should see what we can do to change those things.
Let’s not turn into a decadent society in which we are disempowered, de-skilled and useless whilst at the same time demanding that someone else should do something about it. We have to be realistic about how the country can function and thrive and that means being realistic about what we’re good at as well.
Well done to the English Cricket Team and here’s to the success of the London Olympics.
At this point the Wartime Housewife considers falling to her knees, sobbing with emotion and warbling the National Anthem, but mercifully pulls back from the brink.
Here is a picture of Princess Elizabeth and some dogs.
Here are some other articles I’ve written about sport:
If you have a note from your mother…
The only article I am ever likely to write about football