#London2012: Blake, Jerusalem and the re-imagination of a new looser Britishness?

This is a short except from a longer conversation I did with Pat Kane on Saturday morning on the Opening Ceremony (ie, before it fades from memory).

Pat’s view is generally positive (“a triumph for creative London”) we started off with a short conversation on Danny Boyle’s successful tableaux for the opening ceremony, not least where it leaves independence seeking ‘celts’ like himself…

If you are puzzled by where all this generosity towards Britishness from an advocate of Scottish independence is going, I recommend you pick up the longer version here (with all the impromptu happens along the way bared to the digital universe):

You can get Pat’s book The Play Ethic here… Follow him on Twitter… Or on Google plus here.

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  • Alias

    I can’t see how the opening extravaganza for the games would underpin a sense of Britishness among viewers, but I can see how it would undermine it.

    As Gary Lineker OBE put it, it was “Brilliant, British, and bonkers.” As a greater Englishman might have put it, “It was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    And so it goes for Britishness itself.

    The on-going struggle to define a meaning and purpose for Britishness in the modern world is a good enough clue for most viewers that there isn’t actually a meaning and purpose for Britishness in the modern world.

    In the sense that being bonkers is being British, save it for the proms, pointless pageantry, and multi-million extravaganzas that signify nothing.

    Incidentally, Pat Kane and Alex Salmond aren’t really nationalists – they’re federated Britons and federated Europeans.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    All nations are imagined communities, only question is whether it’s one people want to imagine it into existence or not.

    That it seems meaningless and purposeless to many misses the point – those things don’t matter, as long as people want it to exist. A nation doesn’t have to be a crystal clear, uncontradictable concept, it just needs to be clear enough to get acquiescence from the people in it.

    Countries do have meanings, but they do not depend upon those meanings for their existence.

  • DoppiaVu

    I think this post at Flip Chart Fairy Tales absolutely hits the nail on the head.

    http://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/can-we-stop-trying-to-define-britishness-now/

    Although one thing that Danny Boyle didn’t make enough out of was how we love to carpet our toilets. I used to know this Danish bloke who never managed to get his head around that one.

  • Mick Fealty

    Oh, no. Include me out! That. Does. Not. Happen. In. Any. House. I. Live. In. Nasty.

    MU,

    That’s a very good counterpoint. Though I suspect it is something that Pat has no problem understanding. The construction of the modern Scots Independence movement understands only too will the appeal of imagined communities and has no wish to completely rewired the ‘false consciousness’ of those who cannot sufficiently imagine that future…

    To that possibly limited extent, it is a shared future they have in mind…

  • Alias

    MU, nations can only live in La-La-Land if their states don’t. We can indulge in this ‘I can self-nominate as this, that or the other’ of post-GFA NI only because the rock solid British state is micro-managing the fantasy and financing and doing so because it serves its constitutional purpose to do so. Elsewhere, nations must operate within the parameters of sovereign states – and that means rock solid loyalty to that state and it means competition with other states and their nations. In NI, for example, the issue of investment and taxes being diverted from the Irish state to the British state or vice versa is very real and has very real repercussions for either of the two nations. It’s a level of reality that is only managed by ignoring it, pretending that such conflict doesn’t exist because to admit that it does is to undermine the viability of the bi-national lab rats that are micro-managed in their fantasy La-La-Land by the British state.