Britishness, Englishness too

Via Early Modern Notes comes the news that Gordon Brown wants to turn Remembrance Sunday into British Day. Aside from Sharon's remarks to the effect that this would obscure what is supposed to be remembered on that day - the human costs of war - to me, it seems like a pretty negative choice for a day to celebrate what it means to be British (or whatever they would be supposed to do on such a day). Admittedly, in Australia we come close to something similar with Anzac Day, which is a day of national pride as well as mourning and remembrance. But although Anzac day carries more emotional weight, we have a "proper" national day in Australia Day, 26 January, when it's usually nice and hot and there are fireworks and one-day cricket matches to watch. (That's not to say that the anniversary of white settlement is unproblematic ...) So at the least, I would suggest choosing a day in the summer, as opposed to late autumn, so you could get a decent celebration going outdoors. And let's face it, there probably isn't any one crucial anniversary that all could agree was unambiguously positive, and any compromise date would just seem insipid, so just why not just arbitrarily pick a day and say, right, this is when you all have permission to let your hair down and feel good about being British?

Well ... I'll get off my soapbox now, it's not my country! Instead, let's talk about something completely different: Englishness. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has set up a website for the public to choose the icons which best represent England (those other bits of the UK may get their chance one day). Of interest to me is that one of the initial twelve icons selected for people to vote on is the Spitfire. I think that's a cool choice, and if I were British ... er, English, I might vote for that - though really, I don't think you can go past a good cup of tea.

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