Monday, 3 March 2014

Elgar and renaming the UK

We are already splitting up
Whatever the conservatives may say (that is, conservatives with a small C, which means all people who dislike change, right across the political spectrum), the breakup of the United Kingdom as we presently know it is coming. It may happen soon, or it may still take years, but the trend is for the historically distinctive parts of the British Isles to find their own voice and assert their own independence from England, the top dog.

Even if a series of small and independent political entities is not actually formed, and we all adopt a federal set-up, the notion that Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland are historically distinct countries with a particular outlook of their own - very different places from England - is a notion now firmly implanted. It's bound to grow more intense. It certainly won't go away. The days of being overshadowed by England are over. It's not a 'one island nation' any more. Really, it hasn't been 'one island' since the first stirrings of modern nationalism created the Republic of Ireland. And think of how that flowering of nationhood came to be, and what stirred it into life in the first place.

At the very least, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland will be looking for a huge increase in autonomy, well beyond what they have now, even if matters - such as defence - are best dealt with at a higher level, in the hands perhaps of a joint overarching Council - the British Isles Strategic Authority, to coin a name and a concept. I dare say the Republic of Ireland would take a view on that, being geographically part of the British Isles, although precisely what view I cannot say. Logically of course the Republic ought to have representation on such a council.

So far as England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are concerned, all this means that the 'United Kingdom' will be no more.

So what name for England now?
We can afford to be jocular. Its the British way. I saw a TV programme about the composer Elgar the other day. And it struck me that once England is minus Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland, and cannot be the 'United Kingdom' any longer, why not call it the Land of Hope and Glory? The particular piece that was made into a song of this name (with lyrics by A.C. Benson) comes from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No 1, and it seems to conjure up everything that is traditionally and nostalgically English. It is a gentle, reflective piece, and not bombast like Rule Britannia. Although if ever there were two songs set to music that will stir English people to flag-waving and tears of pride, it is those two songs - as any Last Night at the Proms performance will demonstrate. Either would be a great choice as the English National Anthem. I would for preference go for Land of Hope and Glory, except at sea, or when having a bath or shower, when Rule Britannia would seem better. I don't care that both songs might to some smack of empire and imperialism. Those days are long over. The British Empire has gone. The United Kingdom is going. But we still have the freedom of the seas, and we still have the magic of clearing skies over Shropshire, or that sweeping view from ancient Cotswold heights across the Severn Valley, with the stalwart Malverns on the far horizon. The views that epitomise the Heart of England.

And the flag?
Scotland and Wales already have their own well-known national flags, and Northern Ireland has emblems that could be the basis of a really good national flag. England has the red cross of St George. But I don't see why England shouldn't keep the Union Jack - the Union Flag to pedants - which has evolved over the centuries, and records the country's history. Why change it?


Many countries and states and provinces around the world retain historical elements in their flags, to show their heritage. The Hawaiian flag has a Union Jack in it. So do the flags of British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario in Canada. But the flag of Quebec features French fleurs-de-lis. The Maryland flag is an heraldic design based on the coat of arms of the Calvert family when the state was first colonised. And so on. Why shouldn't the flag of England itself show that it was once joined to three other great nations, none of whom will want to use the same flag?

Well, that's sorted. Carry on.

7 comments:

  1. Not any one of the things you mention Lucy will make a ha'peth of difference when the New World order and single global government arrives. Not heard of such things? When that happens it will mark the beginning of the end............

    Shirley Anne x

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  2. Shirley Anne, isn't "world order" an oxymoron? I shudder to imagine.

    Lucy, being from Canada, a most unlikely union of provinces that share only one thing, we aren't America (yet), I suggest that when push comes to shove and people have to vote in some sort of referendum, as la belle province did some years ago, cooler heads will prevail. The union will be saved and confessions will be exacted to seal the deal.
    Just my guess.

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    1. Probably Halle but it isn't rhetoric it is one of the prophecies in the Bible that is yet to happen. Some politicians have already advocated it should happen and others have indicated an interest.

      Shirley Anne x

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  3. This is the year of absurd farce here in Scotland.

    There is to be a referendum, no doubt cost a fortune, and we are being asked to vote to stay attached to that lump called London where all the countries wealth and jobs seem to be concentrated or have independence.

    There was a third option suggested which was to have some more control over Scottish affairs but neither Salmond who wants to be boss up here or Cameron who wants to keep the Queen's northern holiday home within his domain and keep control over us rowdy Scots. Nearly everyone wanted the third way, the Welsh today seem to have demanded more control over local affairs.

    Even now NOBODY has any definite idea what exactly we are being asked to vote for and the politicians who have set up this farce have no idea either.

    It is one big sick joke with people saying that they will vote for independence to send a message of dissatisfaction to the south at the same time saying that they do not expect people to vote for independence, what if too many play this game and add their votes to the rabid English haters?

    The poker game is already having consequences, big business is threatening to move out as a scare tactic even though they don't know if they will be better off under a Scottish rule or not, a large country estate locally has been for sale for a couple of years but nobody will commit until they know the outcome of this referendum...

    There is a lingering resentment that London siphoned away all the wealth from the north sea oil reserves with nothing to show for it whilst Norway has a fund equivalent to £100,000 for every citizen built up from a tiny rake off from their oil we have a chapel of remembrance for those who died on Piper Alpha...

    Poor Elgar was embarrassed by the tub thumping to his lovely tune...

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    1. Maybe Scotland will move away from the union, if it does good luck to them but I wonder what the reaction might be if things don't work out and the Scots want in again? What happens when the oil runs out? Personally I don't think separation is a good idea. By the way the oil does not belong to Scotland but to the whole union. it is simply that it is brought ashore and processed there.

      Shirley Anne x

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  4. We are stuck with the mess from the oil but forty years has seen little benefit from it. Many of the jobs are taken by workers who just pass through between periods off shore. Many see that if we had been independent we would still have control of our own fishing instead of watching european boats scoop up small fish for fertiliser and would have had some say over the wasted oil. The question is not one of oil but of feeling poorly treated by powers in London...

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  5. This is an interesting discussion. Serving regional needs is what the provincial system does well in Canada. Perhaps, to save the union, adopting that sort of federation will satisfy separatists. Oil rich provinces like Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador do not share, apart from transfer payments that have always been used to help have-not provinces over the years.

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