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Selective Patriotism

OK, so since Friday evening, it’s been the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration weekend here in the UK, and everyone has been joyously celebrating our glorious royal family and just how great it is being British.

Except me, quite frankly. All this weekend has done for me is reveal just how truly unpatriotic I am. What’s more, I’m also incredibly cynical of the mass patriotism that’s sprung up via this weekend. People have been hanging up their giant Union Jacks and holding street parties, gleefully watched a whole bunch of boats travel down the Thames in the rain and have been tweeting that they’re #ProudToBeBritish. But it’s weird, because I’m sure very few of the people involved in all of this are quick to point out how rubbish it is to be British at any other time, so it just feels false.

Truth is, there is little to recommend about modern British culture, and I know using the Jubilee weekend to point this out seems like shockingly bad timing, but I feel it needs to be said. I have been underwhelmed with British society for a while now, and it doesn’t look like it’s about to change any time soon.

We’re the laughing stock of Europe, something we don’t help by acting like we still rule half the world. As a nation, we parade around, wearing the “Great” part of our country’s name as if it were a badge of honour that automatically grants us the best of everything.

But when’s the last time “Great” Britain produced anything of worth? We used to have a strong manufacturing base before it got sold off to China. We used to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. We used to make highly influential and exciting music that was loved around the world. With the likes of Chaucer and Shakespeare, we influenced literature around the world.

Nowadays, we seem more like a binge-drinking, arrogant nation, obsessed with TV talent shows and godawful music from Oasis tribute bands. We whinge about the rain, and then go nuts when the sun appears. We deride Polish and Asian immigrants as leeching off our infrastructure and not integrating properly, while simultaneously retiring to Spain and Italy without bothering to learn a word of Spanish or Italian. Oh, and those Polish and Asian immigrants? Know why they’re taking your jobs? Because as a nation, we are lazy, constantly expecting someone else to solve our problems for us. So much for our entrepreneurial spirit, then. And worst of all, our food is the blandest food on Earth.

So excuse me if I fail to feel unpatriotic for the Jubilee. Present me with legitimate reasons why I should be proud to have born here, and I’ll listen. But I rarely ever hear a compelling argument. Sure, we’re better than North Korea, but that’s hardly a glowing accolade.

I want to like this country, I do. I live here, after all, and I hold a British passport, meaning I am therefore part of this country, but I feel so distant to it all. I have no feelings of loyalty towards the nation or to the Queen. Why should I?

I know it’s a controversial position to take, and I’m sure there are many people who are ready to tear me apart for expressing this view, but it’s genuinely how I feel. We call ourselves Great Britain, perhaps it’s time we worked to live up to that name again.

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