There has once more been an increase in the number of British people frothingly referring to themselves as ‘patriots’. And if you’re one of those people, you’re very possibly already screaming at the screen:
AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH LOVING YOUR COUNTRY, YOU F*CKING PLUM!? I LOVE MY COUNTRY! I MEAN, I DON’T LOVE IT NOW, OBVIOUSLY, BECAUSE IT’S FULL OF LEFTARDS, SCROUNGERS, AND IMMIGRANTS! BUT I DID LOVE IT WHEN I WAS A LAD! WELL – SAYING THAT – IT WAS ALREADY GOING TO THE F*CKING DOGS THEN, BUT I DID LOVE IT BEFORE THAT! I WASN’T ALIVE, AND WE WERE AT WAR WITH CHARLIE CHAPLIN, RUBELLA, AND WOLVES, BUT DESPITE ALL OF THAT, I’M LED TO BELIEVE IT WAS TERRIFIC!
If you’ve managed to wipe the spit off your screen, I will now explain to you the three main areas in which patriotism presents a problem:
- There are degrees of patriotism in the same way that there are degrees of football fandom. Some people support their local team because it’s there and why not? Some people pour their heart and soul into a club and feel its trials and tribulations even more viscerally than their own. Others, however, use their fandom as an excuse to become raging, meat-headed hooligans. Hooligans who don’t realise that hitting people with lead pipes does not make them the best ambassadors for their team’s supposed greatness.
- Loving your country and its achievements does not mean being blind to its failings. It is possible to be proud that we beat the Nazis whilst simultaneously being uncomfortable with your country engaging in the sort of fervent, teeth-gnashing xenophobia that led to the Third Reich in the first place.
- Identifying yourself as a patriot does not mean that your opinion is right by default. It also isn’t a justification to automatically shut down other people’s. If you think that the ultimate goal of Great Britain should be to replicate and maintain a vision of old Blighty that never existed outside of Mary Poppins, then that’s your business. And although you’re free to try and sell this vision to the rest of us, be aware that if you want us to take it seriously, you’re going to need a stronger rationale than “BECAUSE I LOVE MY F*CKING COUNTRY!”
The worst thing about this toxic patriotism, however, is all of the instances when people should be taking a passionate interest in their country, and yet completely fail to do so. The three main examples of this are:
1) Taxes don’t have to be taxing (especially when you don’t pay them)
If you “LOVE YOUR F*CKING COUNTRY” you should also love taxes, because taxes pay for the things that make this country so great – things like:
- Queen Betty and the other royals.
- The wars that we keep dipping in and out of whenever we need to baste ourselves in the oil of our own jingoistic oration.
- Vans which tell foreigners to go home, and buses that lie to natives about how much money the NHS will be given if they do.
- Big fences that will inconvenience refugees and migrants for the best part of an afternoon.
So if you love all of these things (and we know that you do), how can you stand by while the suit-wearing sushi-eaters get away with not paying their fair share for them?
We know now that facts and statistics don’t sway people, so I will attempt to put this as simply and emotively as possible, and I will make no attempt to back up my calculations whatsoever:
If we got back all of the money lost to people abusing the benefits system, we could afford to employ some more doctors. But if we got back all of the money lost to people avoiding taxes, WE COULD AFFORD TO BUILD SOME MORE ENTIRE F*CKING HOSPITALS!
2) This green and pleasant land
That’s what we’re famous for, isn’t it? Being green. And pleasant. And yet the maintenance of this pastoral quintessence is being left to the people who we’re told hate this country the most – i.e. the leftards, the enviro-mentalists, and badger-botherers.
Really, if you care about this country, you should have strong feelings about a company like Cuadrilla wanting to frack it – a process which will be about as kind to the environment as a tumble dryer would be to a shrub. You should also be concerned about billionaire vomit-bags like Donald Trump blocking Scottish wind farms because they might interfere with the ambience of his luxury golf course. And of course, you should be worried about climate change – a process which may ultimately see the UK going from ‘green and pleasant’ to ‘varyingly underwater and on fire’.
Another thing you should care about is the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant – an energy ‘solution’ which will generate radioactive waste we have to bury somewhere – an energy solution which is being paid for and profited from by PEOPLE WHO AREN’T EVEN BRITISH!
And you should ask yourself why the potential of a refugee hiding a shoe-bomb is so paralysing that we should roll back decades of progress, but the reality of the Chinese government building a nuclear reactor on the South-West coast is so chill that we shouldn’t even give it a second thought?
3) The Murdoch Empire
Where to begin, really?
We’re talking about a foreign-born billionaire whose media empire has hacked the phones of dead women and soldiers. We’re talking about a foreign-born billionaire whose media empire blamed the Hillsborough tragedy on the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. We’re talking about a foreign-born billionaire whose octopoidal influence is regarded as having pulled the strings behind every general election of the past several decades.
And although you’re probably not bothered about any of that, if any of the above sentences had veered slightly differently, you’d be up in arms. So if I’d said:
We’re talking about a foreign-born refugee who was seen with one of those £3 mobile phones you can get now.
We’re talking about a foreign-born worker who claimed some sort of minor benefit that they were entitled to.
You would be furiously rolling up your copy of The Sun and using it to bash the nearest wall until the rage had subsided.
So what exactly is wrong with these people?
The reason why people ignore anti-British intent on this scale is simply that – the scale. It’s the same sort of weasely mindset that sees certain school children bullying anyone smaller than themselves, whilst simultaneously kidding themselves into thinking that the bigger kids who bully them are actually their best mates.
So what it comes down to is cowardice. Because it takes courage to admit that you’re being abused, and it takes courage to stand up to your abusers. It doesn’t take courage to pass the abuse on to the next people in line, and it certainly doesn’t take courage to kid yourself into thinking that your victims actually deserve the second-hand hatred you’re pushing on them.
It also doesn’t take that famous British spirit. Because let’s not forget that we won the Second World War by fighting the Nazis and defending their victims. We didn’t beat them by adopting all of their policies and shooting down refugee boats. And if we allow ourselves to become what they were or worse, then ultimately it will be they who have defeated us.
– Get involved with grassroots anti-fascist organisation in your area.
– Join Unite Against Fascism
– Express your concern over the rise hate crimes by contacting your MP
– Report hate crimes to the police if you are able, or anonymously via True Vision
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?