Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

25 August 2008

Pressure for a football Team GB could help the nationalist cause

Thinking further about this issue, which erupted at the weekend with reports that GB [Gordon Brown] not only favours a football Team UK / GB for the 2012 Olympics but has talked to FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter about it, it seems to me that if GB and Seb Coe push this issue, they could be scoring a monumental own goal.

The idea of a Team UK for the Olympics, let alone the permanent replacement of our national sides by a Team UK – which could be one of the consequences – is hugely unpopular with football fans up and down the lands of Britain. Let’s not forget that supporting the England football team is the most popular socially acceptable manifestation of English nationalism, since patriotic English sentiment is stripped of any possibility of expression in civic society, public life and national institutions, which are all ‘British’. If you try to undermine this, you could get a massive popular backlash against the Britishness agenda. This is just if GB pushes the point but fails. But if the doomsday scenario of a Team UK actually materialised, think what a publicity nightmare it would be for the 2012 Olympics: mass protests before and during the Games; attempts to grab and extinguish the Olympic flame as it passed through British streets; crowds staying away from the Team UK matches, or turning up to protest and unfurl their Flags of St. George and Saltires! Come to think of it, this could be the one cause that would reunite Scots and English people, ironically in opposition to the UK!

Then imagine the horror of a Team UK being permanently inflicted on us, replacing the four national teams of the UK’s four nations! Hardly any real football fan would support it or turn up to the matches, for a start. I don’t think it’s exaggerating too much to say this could actually provide the spark that would ignite the final conflagration of the UK and its break up into its constituent parts: ‘if we can only have one team per nation, then let’s have four nations instead of the UK’ would become a popular saying.

Think this is overstating it? Well, as I said in my last post, football is about more than mere football – it’s also highly political. Seb Coe certainly seems to think so, according to the report linked above: “The chairman of London 2012 insists the Olympic spirit is more powerful than Scottish or English nationalism”. So it’s not just about football or sport – it’s about defeating Scottish or English nationalism. QED.

All I can say, GB and Seb, is bring it on! We’ll provide more than a match for your Team GB!



  1. “…crowds staying away from the Team UK matches, or turning up to protest and unfurl their Flags of St. George and Saltires!”

    As far as the Olympics go, I think the government will have learned from the Chinese and almost certainly ban the display of any national flag not competing in the games.

    Whether they’ll be bold enough to tear those flags out of their hands, arrest, or eject them from the stadium, remains to be seen.

    Comment by CuppaTea — 25 August 2008 @ 11.35 am | Reply

  2. The worse case scenario for me is if England is bounced in to representing the uk/GB.I’m appalled the the English FA seems to think that this would be ok.Have they no shame?

    Comment by tally — 25 August 2008 @ 11.43 am | Reply

  3. I’m British, NOT English and I support the abolition of the farcical ‘teams’. The multi-millionaire spoilt brats in them don’t give a toss about winning anyway so it isn’t as if they would be missed. Infact, as far as the ‘England’ ‘team’ is concerned they probably agree with the government on this. What else could explain their increasingly lame performances. Why, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Gordon Brown has had a few chats with the England ‘team’ and told them to their faces to play badly! It’s a ridiculous historical anomonly as well. All you separatists can piss off and die as far as I am concerned. My preference would be for traitors to be deported however.

    Comment by Barry — 26 August 2008 @ 2.39 pm | Reply

  4. “I’m British, NOT English”. That’s interesting, Barry; are you Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Cornish or of some minority-ethnic background, then? I didn’t know there was such a thing as British-only national identity: sounds like a new-fangled Brownite invention to me – but even he doesn’t disavow his Scottishness (others in Scotland might disagree).

    Not afraid to be told to piss off – we must be touching a soft spot then. I agree, though, that a lot of the present bunch of England footballers are a bunch of t***ers.

    Comment by David — 26 August 2008 @ 2.56 pm | Reply

  5. Ahhh, poor Barry the Brit. Two weeks in the sun and an orgy of British nationalist propeganda from the uber Brit media only for the cheif Brit himself, Billy Britishness Brown to make one ill judged comment and the whole house of cards comes crashing down. By the way Bazza, did you see your fellow “country” men and women’s homecoming to Cardiff, what a show of British patriotism, can’t wait to see similar in Edinburgh! As for being called a traitor, well words fail me having to hear that coming from a Brit when it is you lot who have sold this country down the river. If and when the time comes when we wrench our nation from the yolk of Brit imperialism then I wouldn’t wish death or deportation upon you, after all why make you suffer any more when you are mourning the demise of your precious “country”.

    Comment by Little Englander — 26 August 2008 @ 6.16 pm | Reply

  6. Little Englander (how apt!) my country is the United Kingdom NOT ‘England’ so traitors like you who wish to split it apart should indeed be deported. Apart from a few neaderhals like you who live several hundred years in the past, most Britons don’t wish to see this great country of ours torn asunder. The only good thing you can say about the likes of the SNP is that these Sinn Fein/IRA wannabees are at least honest about their true intentions which is more than can be said for the likes of the CEP ect who say they are only for ‘devolution’ (ie playing into the hands of Brussels) but in reality are separatist maniacs.

    Comment by Steven — 27 August 2008 @ 12.25 pm | Reply

  7. Little Englander, Chris Hoy told El Presedente Alex Salmond (whose only claim to fame with regards to ‘sport’ is to claim the prize for pie eating!) to effectively shove off. He called Salmond’s plans “ridiculous”.

    David, I have always considered myself to be a Briton and proud of it.

    Comment by Steven — 27 August 2008 @ 12.31 pm | Reply

  8. By the way, if the separate football ‘teams’ do disappear due to Britain hosting the Olympic Games it will be blatant separatists to blame for it because I am sure one of the main reasons (perhaps even the SOLE reason) for our olympic bid being pushed so hard by the British government of Tony Bliar and Gordon Brown was to have our bid accepted and thus have FIFA announce that Britain must have a single team for all future tournaments. That objective was surely to the forefront of Tony Bliar and Gordon Brown’s minds! If FIFA doesn’t require Britain to field a single team then the Olympics will have failed as far as Gordon Brown is concened. I am convinced David Cameron is in on this as well and that is why the Conservative Party gave the bid its strong backing.

    Comment by Steven — 27 August 2008 @ 12.38 pm | Reply

  9. As far as sport alone is concerned, I think they pushed for the Olympics because they wanted the Olympics not to get something else. However, if our separate national football teams disappeared as a consequence, I’m sure that would be a bonus as far as Gordon Brown is concerned.

    I still think to be a ‘Briton’ and not to take pride in being one or more of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish, too, is a bit odd, Steven. I thought the last time there were ‘Britons’ like that was in pre-Roman and Roman times.

    And another thing: where would you have us deported to? If you haven’t noticed, we no longer have an Empire! Besides, to deport half the population of Britain might be a bit difficult logistically. At least if we were all deported like that, you’d be able to share Britain with all its newer arrivals who’ve been taught to think of themselves as British and not anything else. But perhaps you wouldn’t think of them as ‘true Britons’, either?

    Comment by David — 27 August 2008 @ 1.51 pm | Reply

  10. “…48% of the English and 51% of those in Scotland approved of Scotland becoming independent.

    In England, 39% disapproved, while the figure was 36% in Scotland.”

    That’s hardly “most Britons”.

    Comment by Ogham — 28 August 2008 @ 10.30 am | Reply

  11. Steven,

    Nice to see that you can put express yourself so eloquently in the language of MY country as I assume your first language to be that little known lingo called “British” or is it “Yookayish”? Anyway, glad you like the name, much better than “British Imperialist” don’t you think? Now then, where exactly would you have me deported to, back to my own country? Sorry but I already live there, just as I have done for all of my life. Are you seriously advocating the deportation of everyone in the UK who don’t consider British as their primary identity? Well, it would solve the problems caused by overcrowding I suppose! As for being a “neaderhal” (sic) living hundreds of years in the past, have you ever met your fellow “country” men in the north of Ireland (or should that be the detatched part of west Yookay?) when they celebrate their British culture every July?

    Regarding Chris Foy’s comments, I think you are reading too much into the unionist spin put on this story by The Scotsma….. sorry, North Briton as they were aimed at the poor state of the infrastructure in Scotland that is the direct result of successive unionist governments directing the funding into cycling away from Scotland and that this would need to be addressed before he could hope to compete at the same standard for Scotland. If he is such an advocate of British nationalism anyway, he wasn’t put off from celebraing in a sea of saltire’s yesterday was he?

    There was a time when I would have been open to the idea of a British identity alongside my English one, however those days are long gone now largely as a result of people like you who never give a positive reason why the union is a benefit to the people of these islands and only spout empty rhetoric, fear and downright lies in order to keep your “country” in tact. Incidently, I don’t happen to favour devolution for England as I am in fact what you describe as a “seperatist maniac” in that I would prefer an
    English state and no UK-wide level of government.

    Comment by Little Englander — 28 August 2008 @ 6.30 pm | Reply

  12. I consider myself to be British and proud of it so why should separatists such as yourself deprive me of what I consider to be my national identity? How do you actually plan to construct your separate state when there are many such as myself who would refuse to have any other passport than a British one?

    Orangemen are not ‘neanderthals’. They have every right to celebrate their culture without hindrence and to ignore the bigots on the mainland who delight in calling them silly names without even an attempt at understanding them. Traitorous lefties do this as they hate the United Kingdom. It is a too little known fact that many Orangmen died in WW1 in battles such as that at the Somme to defend the liberties of traitors in the rest of the United Kingdom (this country). God knows why the bothered!

    Comment by Steven — 30 August 2008 @ 8.30 pm | Reply

  13. Steven, I guess it should be the decision of the majority of the English people as to what kind of state they live in: whether an independent England, a more self-governing England within a federal or confederal UK, or some form of continuing UK – although whether you could still call it ‘Britain’ after Scotland leaves, I don’t know. What would you call ‘your country’ and your national identity if Scotland leaves the UK? Are you going to continue calling England, Wales and N.Ireland ‘Britain’ and yourself ‘British’? When England is only England again, and also now (as it’s a nation in the present), some of us think it would be more sane to call it England and to celebrate Englishness as a positive thing in its own right. But are you going to deprive us of our national identity and try to force us to be an imaginary ‘British’, as the present government does ad nauseam?

    Comment by David — 31 August 2008 @ 12.42 am | Reply

  14. Steven,

    You raise an interesting point regarding passports and national identity. Had you caught me on a bad day I would have said tough, you’ll just have to do the reverse of what I have had to do for my 40+ years and defiantly cross out “British” on forms which assume my nationality to be thus, buy a cover for my passport which at least implies my true identity even though the doccument inside says otherwise and forces me to travel abroad under an identity which I am hostile to, but you’ve actually caught me in a good mood so here’s a suggestion for you. The Good Friday Agreement in Ireland included something called “Parity of Esteem” which allows anyone in Northern Ireland to choose their legal nationality as Irish, British or both. Whilst I don’t think this is a big deal for the vast majority of English people who will unquestioningly switch their legal identities from British to English, legislation such as this would protect your right to define yourself as British.

    Unfortunately after making one good point, you let yourself down with the ludicrous statement “Orangemen are not ‘neanderthals'”. Now whether they are collectively neanderthals or not is irrelevent. I don’t know any personally but I would imagine that as in most large groups of people there are many reasonable aswell as objectionable people amongst them. The point is though that you came here spouting words such as neanderthals and people considering themselves English as living in the past yet fail to see such failings in your own ideology. People in glass houses old chap! There are plenty of examples of British nationalism living in the past so I suggest getting your own house in order before you claim the moral high ground on progressiveness.

    Comment by Little Englander — 31 August 2008 @ 11.28 am | Reply

  15. Little Englander, I am not a ‘progressive’. In my expereince, most so-called ‘progressives’ cause nothing but harm. They certainly do in Britain.

    David, you can call yourself whatever you wish but seeing as the United Kingdom has been in existence for 301 years then it seems silly to say after that length of time we aren’t British. This is my essential problem with separatists. They deny the present reality of a United Kingdom of Great Britain and NI and seek to turn the clock back to a past that is so far in the past tense that there is no one alive who can remember it. That seems to me to be just a little silly to put it mildly.

    P.S If Scotland leaves the United Kingdom then obviously it is going to be very difficult to call oneself British which is why I hope it doesn’t do such a course of action.

    Comment by Steven — 31 August 2008 @ 6.39 pm | Reply

  16. Steven, I didn’t for one minute think that you were a “progressive”, Ihave met very few British nationalists who are to be honest. Also, it is impossible for I or any other English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish/Cornish nationalist to deny the reality of the UK or its 301 year existance as we are confronted every day by a media and government who revel in its existance. However, there is one fundamental flaw in the constant hype for all things British in that as a “nation”, the UK’s many flaws become exposed when they come under the slightest scrutiny. Leaving aside devolution which I think you and I will agree has severely weakened the fibres which bind the UK together, there are many aspects of the British state which imply that it is and always has been a union of nations rather than one single nation, namely:

    Depending on which act of union you consider to be the founding of the nation (1707 or 1801) significant anniversaries were allowed to pass with barely a whimper, compare this with the USA in 1976 or Australia in 1988.

    It has no national day of its own, but the four (or five if you include Cornwall) patron saints days of the individual nations are celebrated to varying degrees instead.

    Most nations have a national anthem which is not booed by a significant number of its own poppulation (see recent events at Hampden Park) and a flag that isn’t considered foreign by its own citizens.

    There has never been any will for the majority of sporting bodies to organise on a UK wide basis. Surely for people to get behind “the country” at sporting events, that country needs a national team to get behind.

    In spite of what you may hear in the media about “British Law”, there is actually no such thing. The UK has always had three legal jurisdictions, England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland (Northern Ireland post 1922).

    Now compare all this with nations that are of far more recent construct than the UK and which have a much more clearly defined national identity across their entire territory. Although England and Scotland ceased to be sovereign nations long before any of us were born and Wales, Cornwall and the whole of Ireland never really were sovereign nations (in the modern sense anyway) it is easy to see why those old alliegances still stir strong feelings in the hearts and minds of the majority on these islands.

    Finally, although I completely disagree with the concept of Britain as a nation, I fail to see why Scottish independence should make any difference to you and your desire to define your nationality as British. As I said previously I have spent a lifetime on what at times has felt like a one man crusade to define my nationality as English and not British (although it may surprise you to learn that I have no problem with the term when used as a geographical rather than a political one) and I would wholly support your right to call yourself British even after the demise of the British state.

    Comment by Little Englander — 1 September 2008 @ 9.54 pm | Reply

  17. The difference, Little Englander, is that when England and Scotland are split asunder, British nationality will be without a state; in contrast to now, when English nationality is without a state. Maybe a federal solution – with sovereignty held by the peoples of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Cornwall; but with certain powers, such as defence and security, delegated to a cross-Britain federal government – would be a solution that could satisfy everyone (or a compromise that pleased no one, alternatively . . .).

    Comment by David — 1 September 2008 @ 10.38 pm | Reply

  18. Little Englander, I am British and my country is the United Kingdom. That is reflected by a flag called the Union Flag. If I have anything to do with it, that most famous of all flags will be flying over me and many other British patriots for many years to come. I am proud to be born under it and I shall be proud to die under it too as have millions before me.

    The reason why significant anniversaries have been allowed to pass by without a whimper is because we have anti-British governments in this country and have had for a very long time now (ie about 70 odd years). Previous governments to that timespan would have celebrated in 2007.

    Comment by Steven — 9 September 2008 @ 8.32 pm | Reply

  19. ‘Anti-British’ governments for the last 70 years or so? How does that compute? ‘Britain’ is all they go on about! And that period includes the War, when so many brave men and women did die for our freedoms. This is the same unreality that could indeed lead the country to still call itself ‘Britain’ even when its geographical extent is limited to England. I guess it will indeed have to call itself one or the other. Long live England, I say!

    Comment by David — 10 September 2008 @ 3.22 am | Reply

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