On Being British

I woke early this morning, with Scotland on my mind. Would I now not be able to talk about the UK, with it instead being the DK – a Divided Kingdom? What would the result be?

20130805231825!Flag_of_the_UK_ProvincesI switched on my computer, hurriedly turning to the BBC website, surprised by my tears. I’m grateful the union is staying together, although I know many hearts are broken today, the thought of going it alone quashed.

The flurry of the past weeks has left me thinking about what it means to be British. I hold a British passport, but I’d never introduce myself as a Brit. The Yankee-Doodle blood just runs too deeply. But I love this country with its quirks and hang-ups and treasures. Facing a fractured union made me realize that all the more.

I find the whole question of national identity interesting. If you’re Scottish, Welsh or Irish, you’d introduce yourself according to your country (yes?). But what about the English? If that’s you, do you say you’re English or British? Does a remnant of historical embarrassment over being the ruling people keep the English from owning their identity?

And why don’t we have better holidays in the UK than generic Bank Holidays? Okay, I know each country wouldn’t want to celebrate the other’s saint’s days (fancy St David’s Day, any non-Welsh?). Could we get behind a favorite person from history – Shakespeare? I know that celebrating a monarch simply won’t go down for republicans. (And don’t say you don’t like to celebrate – I saw you at the London Olympics and Silver Jubilee…)

Chime in and tell me what you think, especially if you come from one of the countries of the United Kingdom. Who are you?

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