Whose England Is It Anyway?

A small piece from the end of last month that I realised I hadn’t put up.

David Edgar (writer of Destiny, the most lucid plays about race and politics in Britain) has written an interesting provocation for the Guardian this morning.

His assertion about references to Powell making ethnics suspect that, deep down, “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack” I think holds true for the older generations more than the younger. My generation that was born here post-Powell I think likes to tell itself that those views aren’t particularly mainstream, although I think it’s relatively recently that we’ve felt a validation of that tale.

For example, I loved the Olympics so much because it told me a story about Britain that I’ve always wanted to believe. It felt like the first time being a bit ethnic was internalised, embraced on a national scale, not tolerated or exoticised.

It was a bit of a strange feeling because it played against my intellectual belief that the concept of strong national identification is inherently flawed (especially in a country that hasn’t actually written down its ‘values’ anywhere) and will weaken in future anyway (thanks, technology!) but it helped me understand why people want it so much, immigrants actually more than others because it gives them somewhere to lay their hat of belonging that isn’t skin.

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