Celebrating Britishness

While we’re waiting for not-the-Executive to meet or whatever, I feel it’s my duty to bring you up to date with the latest in the Britishness debate from immigration minister Liam Byrne – now hold on, this isn’t about neo-imperialism or DUP triumphalism. It would have been helpful if Gordon Brown the convenor of the debate had firmly ruled out any idea of “British Ulster” from the Stormont podium, but from what he has written he hasn’t given the first thought to the NI implications. An opportunity missed. Brown’s focus is now on raising the bar for citizenship. Irish citizens from NI are automatically included but so far he has said nothing about Lord Goldsmith’s foolish and unworkable proposal to exclude new Irish migrants to GB from the Republic . So, here’s a Slugger competition. Can you think of 27 better ways to celebrate British National Day? (details below the fold, for your enjoyment)Twenty-seven ways to celebrate a national day.
1 as a national event, celebrated in local areas 2 with a good cross-section of society on the organising committee;lots of small community events; have a particular theme –different theme each year, set by organising committee.
3 by using TV to inform about British history; a speech by the Queen; TV link-ups around country. 4 in the form of a remembrance day celebrating the bravery of veterans. 5 by encouraging young people to visit or help older people; celebrate voluntary work. 6 through school involvement – teach history, choirs singing. 7 through daytime activities to involve whole community, and evening for partying. 8 by holding street parties and neighbourhood get-together; would work as a street party – exchanging food and culture. 9 as a carnival similar to the Notting Hill Carnival; big procession
similar to St Paul’s Carnival; fireworks. 10 through music – British or world music; concerts like Live Aid;British music; play local music; local dress.
11 through dance – British dancers; Morris dancing; folk dancing. 12 through food – British and other cultures; regional food; different cultures’ foods

13 through drinking!!

14 through art; involve theatre; free film viewings on history of Britain. 15 by having a sports theme – all nationalities can take part; football
16 by celebrating different cultural dress 17 by holding community discussions; meetings in town halls 18 by promoting posters of iconic figures, eg fallen heroes, Winston Churchill. 19 by holding a ceremony to remember the good things over the past year 20 by appreciating the country; weather; enjoyment
21 cheaply so people get involved. 22 by holding free events around the city. 23 by incorporating countries that used to be part of the Empire
24 by making it about integration. 25 by using publicity to ensure people get involved – like Children in Need 26 by emphasising the theme of British life, immigration, remembrance; cost should be met locally as shows that putting into the local community helps to get something good back.
27 in an understated but firm way, without fuss; show good and bad aspects of living in Britain (and how bad aspects are being addressed) – give honest picture.”

“Members of the public felt that the following people should be involved:· the whole community · the Queen and the Royal family · politicians, the Prime Minister, politicians, MPs.”

“The UK would be tragically diminished if Scotland sued
for divorce. And within a torn UK, our sense of England – our
past and our future – would shrink. And the implication of this
must surely be that more English, Welsh and Irish politicians
and civic leaders need to find space and time to make the
argument for the Union.”

Do we feel that covers it?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London