Saturday, June 24, 2006

When Saturday comes

One more week before my brother arrives. I'm meeting him at the airport and pretty much abandoning him in favour of the last week of my course, which starts this week.

Finally got to speak to other brother - his phone battery was playing up and he was being "reflective" on his birthday, so switched it off. I said that was all fine and good, but it was now 24 hours after the fact; if he had not called or sent a text the police would have turned up/broken down his door. I don't think he realized how serious I was - I was really worried about him!

I've still got lots of packing/putting away to do; I'm going to have to try and move some of my stuff before the end of July. Despite having packed lots already (at least 12 boxes of household stuff, clothing, books, CDs and DVDs/videos, the place still looks full. So I'm going to have to try and live off of the minimum.

Too many things to do, so little time...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I don't wanna

I do not support the England football team, the England cricket fact, I would probably fail Lord Tebbit's "test". Apart from the fact that I have never felt an allegiance with any particular country, the English flag and "Englishness" just doesn't appeal to me.

The World Cup football is moving into the second stage, and lots of England flags are flying. If that flag was not used by right wing "nationalists" in any way, maybe my perception might be different. Growing up in the UK in the 70s is a very different experience to that of those who came here as adults in the 80s and 90s knowing little of England's history, especially when it comes to ethnic minorities. It's very much the same for the younger folk who have grown up here knowing little about the land where their parents and grandparents came from.

Not long ago I noticed the bunting around the flat of an English couple I know. I could only guess that her husband put it up, and if I were to see her and comment on it I know what she would say: "We're always ashamed of our flag, I don't mind flying the flag and supporting our team. We shouldn't be ashamed of being English". She's a really lovely lady, and she means what she says. Reading between the lines I would hear something else, because I know her quite well.

Any blame for the shame associated with the English flag lays squarely on the shoulders of the English. When the BNP and National Front were waving the flag, where were these "right thinking" people? If anyone has made them ashamed of their flag, they can't blame multiculturalism or immigration for that - those immigrant communities still retain pride in their origins. Why do the English seem to be so shy/embarrassed of theirs and allow the "lunatic fringe" to represent them? Is the England flag only worth flying during the World Cup?

To be honest, every time I see it I remember the Ulster flags I saw in Belfast. The connotations there were no different to me, but then as a child in the 70s the NF were very real and active in my neighbourhood. The question is, will they continue to fly their England flags long after the World Cup football is over?