Friday 13 June 2014

Politicians and 'What makes us British?'

So we all go about our business day to day 
not thinking about 'what makes us British?' 
and then someone comes along 
and sticks a microphone in front of you 
or is writing an article in a paper and says,
 'What makes you British?' 
and then, some people on the receiving end of that, 
try to think up stuff, 
and they say things like, 
'democracy', 'humour', 'oak trees', 'fish and chips' - 
and it turns out that these things aren't 'British' - 
either because other people have got them too, 
or because it's not really something 'British' they're talking about but it belongs to only part of 'Britain' 
or because it turns out that it's a mash-up 
with something that was picked up in times of the British Empire or was brought in by migrants… 
But on we go, on the jolly old John Bull merry-go-round 
of politicians trying to puff themselves up, 
hanging on to their jobs, 
dripping with expenses dished out for their tea-cups or bathroom taps, 
lecturing us on how we're supposed to behave, 
persecuting or moaning about people on benefits, 
singling out migrants or Muslims or foreign leaders they helped get into power….