A long time ago in a previous life, indeed so long ago that I think it may even have been in the last century, I was working as the Admin Manger in an East End Rag Yard. Maybe not the most salubrious of environments but it was a thriving medium sized business just about to transition to the second generation of ownership. At that point the founder was still very much a hands on day to day manager, he was not only quite proprietorial about his business, he was also quite paternal about his staff. He asked a lot of them but was happy to return that with with loyalty and consideration. Of course as the business grew this became harder, one person can only personally know so any and by the nature of the business there was quite a high turnover of staff. All this is very much by the by, but it sets the scene. the management team would often have lunch together sitting in the Bosses office and we would talk around the day's issues. On one of the many occasions when I found my views on current affairs in the minority I was "Aren't you proud to be British?" I had to think about this before I could honestly answer "No".
At that time my rational was very much that I had no right to be proud to be British because I had done nothing to achieve my Britishness. For me being British is simply a matter of luck as to where I was born. My friends who have acquired British citizenship have a right to be proud to be British, they have worked for it (sometimes very much against the odds) and have genuinely achieved it. This does not mean that I couldn't be proud of my Country's achievements, of the things we do well, and indeed to certain extent our place in the world order, which I suspect was what was really behind the original question.
If asked the same question now I would not have to think so long before answering, these days I am actually ashamed to be British. When I next go on holiday in Europe ~ hopefully next year ~ I will not be able to go as a proud citizen of an EU member, my Nation has chosen to spurn communal cooperation. More than that we appear to have chosen an adversarial approach to negotiations, an approach that treats others as adversaries to be beaten, creating a negotiation where there are winners and losers.
The owner of that East End rag yard taught me many things, but I think the most important thing was that in a good deal there are no losers, every one needs to leave the negotiation knowing that they have won, that they have a good deal. As I type this it looks as though we will fail to reach any sort of a trade agreement with the EU ~ rather than both sides feeling that they will be better off this will mean that both sides will know they will be worse off. I have to say that I'm not surprised, this Government have failed at every opportunity to negotiate a deal, not just with the EU, but with our own Local Authorities with suppliers of PPE, with the devolved assemblies, indeed even within their own party they seem to be unable to negotiate.
Then there is the way vulnerable young trans people are being treated. It's bad enough the waiting time before getting to see any clinicians, now the Courts have decided to intervene making it harder than ever for these desperate young people to get the treatment and validation they so richly deserve. As a community trans people have become used to being the butt of last socially acceptable form of prejudice. Over the last year or so our press several of our politicians and some very local transphobes ( a devils coalition of US extreme right wing activists, anti trans hate groups, and so called conservative Christian groups) have conspired to make our lives miserable. I hope they don't realise the very real impact their words have on equally real vulnerable people. I like many others have found myself just feeling ground down by all the attacks. I like to think I'm pretty robust by I don't know how much of this I can take.
I then see our own Home Secretary being allowed to bully her staff, senior civil servants resigning because they can't serve a Government that acts against the law, and our second largest Police Force falsifying crime figures, all this is enough to make me ashamed to be British!
Sorry this is so dense, no photos, no jokes, no wry observations, I'm just tiered of all this! ~ Normal service will be resumed shortly!