Boris Johnson has a thoughtful article in today's Telegraph about the need to re-evaluate our interpretation of what it means to be British and our need to reassess suitable ways of displaying our pride in our nation, all this in the wake of the shocking events of last Thursday (yes, it's a week ago today) in London. I suggest you read his article in full.
It so happens that I posted on the day following the terrorist outrages in London (and whatever the BBC says, however much I may admire that organisation most of the time, they were terrorist outrages), a post entitled I feel like flying the flag! and indeed since that day a Union Flag has appeared, fluttering proudly in the breeze, in my blog. It will very probably continue to fly here indefinitely - or at least for as long as this blog exists.
We do not have 'communities' in this country, we have one national 'community' and it is time we took on board the full implications of that singular word. All British citizens, whatever their racial origin, their religious beliefs (if any) or their sexual orientation, are and must be treated exactly the same as any other British citizen. The one aspect of the rule of law in this country where, from what I have read and tried to understand, I differ strongly from the view apparently held in the United States of America, is the level of rights which non-citizens have before our laws. All persons in this country, with a few exceptions in the case of diplomats, should be subject to exactly the same laws in whichever part of the United Kingdom they happen to be (i.e. under either English or Scots Law) and all must be treated strictly in accordance with these same laws. There should be no place in this country for any person being treated differently before the law because of his/her nationality, as evidently is the case in the US itself and in areas where it excercies effective control (e.g Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). We have a lot to celebrate in this country - we need to start emphasising this, specially in the case of young people during their time in full-time education; naturalised British citizens or those from non-indigenous ethnicities wherever they happen to have been born, are simply British citizens - no more and no less. It is a great good fortune to be British - let us learn to celebrate this fact again, not with any degree of beligerence, but with simple pride.