A recent poll for the Searchlight Trust found that there would be considerable popular support for a Nationalist party which was free of association with fascist and racist ideologies and imagery. Many more people were willing to describe themselves as English than as British, which was seen as a cause for concern.
It isn't. There is no British football team and the logic is simple: no football team, no nation. When they are supporting England, its ethnic minority supporters wave the flag of St George just like the Nationalists.
The Union Jack is now the flag of the political class, not of any section of the general population except for Northern Ireland Protestants and Royalists (those deluded souls who will be out in force for the Wedding of the Year). This is hardly a progressive coalition.
The political class, for obscure reasons, is trying very hard to hold together the failing state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Searchlight Trust seems to be on their side.
For several years, I have pinned my hopes on Alex Salmond and the SNP. If they could take Scotland out of the UK, that opens the way for several closed questions to be opened up:
- Why is there no English parliament with powers at least equal to those of Scotland's?
- Why on earth are we in any kind of Union with Northern Ireland? Why has there never been a referendum in Great Britain asking people if they wish to remain united with a bit of Ireland which remains a liability? (Unfortunately, the Republic of Ireland doesn't want it either and has changed its Constitution accordingly)
- Why isn't England looking towards Europe? Why isn't it in the Schengen Area? Why instead is it stalked by the New Labour Frankenstein, the United Kingdom Borders Agency, trying hard to create Fortress Britain?
It was New Labour, and especially Gordon Brown, who tried to persuade us that we were all in it together as "British" and that we should love one another as such. It was an entirely bogus attempt - like Gordon Brown's shifting accent - to disguise the Scottishness of New Labour. People saw through it immediately, which is one reason why they call themselves "English" rather than "British". It is not tainted with hypocrisy.
The Searchlight Trust's survey was not unintelligent, but conservative assumptions seem to underpin it. In my view, a tolerant society cannot be equated with the Union Jack and an intolerant one with St George.