"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Thursday, 23 July 2009

D'You Know What?#1

Put the kettle on, make a nice cup of tea and then sit down and put your feet up because this might be long. Or, you could just skip it - I'm used to talking to the tv, the cats, the radio, the ether and I won't be offended (even though, under the HRA, I would be entirely within my rights to be so).

First of all, for the benefit of any incomers, I declare myself Yorkshire-born and Yorkshire-bred (Lancastrians: don't even think of finishing that rhyme!); no matter where I land in the world Yorkshire is always my home. I'm telling you this because I hope you will catch some glimmer of the despair I feel now.

When I was young, England came after Yorkshire - in fact it even came after Yorkshire CCC; then it was Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (or Ulster as the six counties were called in 'the bad old days' of the 60's) and then Great Britain. After Great Britain we had the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland which has now morphed into the catch-all of 'the UK'.

I suspect many of you will be familiar with all the terminology which has contributed to the dire straits we now find ourselves in - not least our Welsh, Scottish and N.Irish cousins who have fought so hard and so successfully for some degree of self- determination.

However, and this is where the first of many custard pies might be thrown at me, I have to ask, "Why?" Why break up a strong Union? Did minority parties whisper in your ear and tell you weren't getting a fair deal so you looked around and said, yes, you're right? You made your stand years ago and now it's bearing fruit. I truly hope you get what you wished for but I fear the fruit will be bitter.

Was it really all about taking offence at London being the Capital city when Cardiff or Edinburgh appealed so much more? Was it really all about 'pansy southerners pinching our oil' and 'pansy southerners can't speak Welsh'? I've left Northern Ireland out because of all the problems they've had just to stay British and because they're the strongest proponents of the Union I've come across.

Perhaps it all came about by playing on the ignorance of others - after all, calling Great Britain 'England' isn't going to endear anyone to a Scots, Welsh or Ulsterman. In any event, whatever our regional accents, I have the feeling that our country/ies will soon come to be known collectively as 'The Great Schmuck'.
to be cont'd

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