An interesting debate was sparked on ConservativeHome after editor Tim Montgomerie published an open letter entitled “A Patriotic Plea to David Cameron“. The Conservative leader responded on the ConservativeHome website in which he sought to reassure a doubting audience of his ‘patriotic’ credentials. But one question sticks in my mind when faced with the issue of patriotism: how can we truly and categorically define it? It is generally accepted that patriotism is a love of ones country and an emotional attatchment to our homeland, but after that agreement tends to dissolve. Indeed there are varied ways in which one can love ones country, just as there are varied ways one can love ones friends and family. The devil of defining patriotism is, as always, in the detail.
For me patriotism is the ability to stand up at a Rugby or a football match and not be ashamed to belt out the National Anthem. Its the desire to want to wave the flag on state occassions such as the Queen’s jubilee or another significant national event. Its the need to speak out and fight in any way we can for our boys and girls in uniform who fight and lay down their lives for us and our values in foreign lands daily. In short, for me, patriotism is more than mere words. Its standing up for and celebrating Britain and the British way of life against any critic or detractor. Sadly I feel that this overt display of pride for Britain and all things British has all but collapsed in recent years.
I look at our American counterparts and dare I say it… the French with envy. Both routinely stand up and salute their nation without fear or embarassment and rightly so. Just a few weeks ago Sarkozy courageously stood up and laid out his desire to ban the veil in France labelling it an oppressive culture completely at odds with French ideals of liberty and equality. Imagine if a British politician stood up and said such things? Instead of genuine patriots in Parliament fighting for us and our way of life (although admittedly there are a few), we have to rely on the likes of Gorbals Brown and the Brady Bunch (the cabinet) to come up with half arsed ways of enforcing patriotism on us. But the truth is you can’t force patriotism. It should be given freely and the only way in which it can and will be given freely is if we give our people something to be proud of.
There are many reasons as to why Britain has found itself in the situation it is today and, dare I say it, immigration from Asia, Europe and beyond must accept a large portion of responsibility. Right now I can imagine the more centerist/leftist amongst you spitting hairballs at that comment and dismissing such a view as ‘typical Thatcherite/old school conservative’ but it seems even the ‘compassionate conservatives’ come to a similar conclusion. In that light I was eltated to read David Camerons commitment (in the above article) to ending the sharade of ‘multiculturasim’ and what he reffered to as the ‘community of communities’ that has blighted Britain and blurred our identity. This is aside from the fact that the ‘Tory tree’ seems to be being muscled out, by the Union Jack themed logo ‘Now for Change’ which is reminiscent of the Thatcher years where Conservative conferences were dominated by the Union Jack.
Cameron stated in the article above: “We need to bring our country together, and that means moving away from the wrong-headed doctrine of multiculturalism by, for example, making sure all new arrivals to our country can speak, or will learn to speak, our common language.” Before going on to advocate greater education in schools of Britain and British values. This gives us patriots cause for hope. We are a welcoming and proud people at heart but successive governments have lost control of the borders and as a direct result our identity, an identity of which we were once so proud, has been all but irreversibly compromised. This begs the question how can you celebrate Britain and being British if you aren’t sure of what it is?
By making everyone play an active part in and show respect for the British way of life, you are not oppressing them or their culture as the loony left and politically correct minority would claim, you are simply trying to make this country a better place to live with more of a community spirit. It is not wrong to expect foreign nationals to speak our native tongue. It is not wrong to expect different cultures and communities to embrace and respect our own. It is not wrong to wave the flag and celebrate the country in which we live. It is not wrong to salute and celebrate the homecoming of our troops even if the war in which they were asked to fight is controversial. The fact is they fought for us and they deserve our respect. We are at heart a proud race and Im sure at the most basic level we can all agree that patriotism and love of and pride in our country is something we all would love to have but as always the devil of how to achieve this is in the detail…