Wednesday, 5 May 2010

"British People"

This may be a little rambling as I don't seem to be able to get the ideas about this in a coherent form at the moment, needs more thinking about.

Anyway, I was listening to radio 4 this morning and a few things caught my attention, one was the criticism of an idea by the Lib Dems (I think) to have asylum seekers doing work, presumably while they wait for a decision on their case. The interviewee was against this but it made sense to me; why have people hanging around doing nothing when, for their sake and ours, they could be doing something useful with their time.

The other thing I heard was some rambling from UKIP about wanting to take us out of the EU and to limit immigration and concentrate resources on the "British People". So I started to wonder what "British People" meant? Who is "British"? Given our cultural, social, racial, and genetic mix, the only real common thing is geography, though the likes of the BNP would have you believe otherwise.

Which got me thinking some more; there are many people in this country who would vehemently claim to be "British" and yet live off the state, probably don't have much claim to any (spurious) genetic ancestry, and bemoan the fact that we're being 'flooded' with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. On the flipside there are people that want to come to this country and work hard, not live off the state, and generally contribute society in this country.

So I wonder whether we should stop thinking about nationality strictly in terms of location, surely that means you can adopt a quite lazy attitude to being British; "I'm British therefore I deserve ...". If instead being British, or any nationality, it about contributing to the society as a whole then that mind-set leads to a much more positive and inclusive definition of what it means to be and to belong.

That probably didn't make sense at all!

1 comment:

GirlWhoShould (Lucy) said...

It made sense :) DNA tests have shown that nobody can really claim to be 100% British. Feel that some are scapegoating for other issues, like poor social housing.
Lucy x