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By Jason Michael

Britain’s shows of strength and dominance are becoming more pathetic with every passing day. Brexit – a series of talks going nowhere fast for London – has finally closed the net around this island nation. Britain is dying.

Fourteen pokey overseas territories still remain under formal British rule – one of which is the British Antarctic Territory, but the 1997 return of Hong Kong back to the People’s Republic of China marked the final end of the British Empire. England’s murderous empire went into terminal decline after the Second World War when Clement Atlee, the then Prime Minister, was forced to grant India its independence. But now, after three hundred – bloody – years of imperialism and brutal domination, the very nationalistic construct of Britishness has been indelibly tainted with empire.

At the heart of Britain’s identity crisis is the problem of empire; that guilt the manslayer carries to his dying day. It hangs like a pall over everything touched by the butcher’s apron. Be it on a souvenir biscuit tin or a designer handbag, the union flag imbues everything it touches with the stench of carrion. One cannot be British and not absorb with that identity the odour of its crimes.

In every generation in which it is reproduced it transmits the genes of superiority, entitlement, and ownership. Britishness has no meaning without the arrogance of the presumption to possess which is everywhere Britain’s hallmark and calling card. It is for this reason people of colour – no matter how long their families have been established on these islands – find it impossible to construct a sense of their own British identities, thus compounding the crisis. By its degrees and categories of imperial domination Britain has become both the mother and the father of modern racism, and because at the top of that putrid imperialist-racist hierarchy sits the Anglo-Saxon British white man it can only ever be the case that “there ain’t no black in the union jack.”

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Only yesterday did we see this unconscious Britishness in action again on the BBC. This time it was in the assumed ownership of Ireland on a map depicting post-Brexit Europe. It was a change from the BBC’s now habitual “satellite” map – intended to diminish Scotland with perspective. Such a map of Europe would only do the same to little England. So as to preserve Britain’s standing in Europe the BBC opted for a Robinson’s projection – a change from its usual billing, and of course Ireland was shaded grey to indicate its non-EU membership along with Britain.

Was this a mistake? Hah, if we have learned anything of the BBC it is that it frequently gets things wrong, but it seldom makes mistakes. Including the island of Ireland in its vision of Brexit the BBC was making no mistake. It did get it wrong, but in doing so it only gave away the British imagination’s default understanding of its realm; these – or the “British” – isles.

Naturally, that this has been pointed out, unionists will sneer as they usually do. We are paranoid. We are grievance monkeys. We are looking for reasons to attack Britain. Yet one needn’t ever look far for a reason to attack Britain. This error is far from an honest mistake. It is routine – part of a pattern of manipulative behaviour for which we have come to know and despise the British Broadcasting Corporation. From the insults of Melanie Phillips in The Times to their constant claims on culture, literature, the arts, and entertainment Britain and Britishness lay claim on Ireland. It asserts this claim too over Scotland and Wales. On the Celtic fringe of Britishness our achievements are British and our failings are forever the result of our emotional and irrational Gaelic natures.

Leanne Wood was perfectly correct when she voiced her fears over Scottish independence, that Wales would be subsumed into an English super-state. Every dominator becomes more overtly aggressive the closer it comes to its demise. Britain – London and its English hinterland – is no exception. Faced with the prospect of losing its last foothold in Ireland, Britain fought a dirty war against its own citizens unparalleled outside of Latin American military juntas. The ferocity with which it colluded with paramilitaries and murder squads was nothing but a betrayal of its own weakness.

Britain has no future. Only a simpleton can now look at the state of the dis-United Kingdom and fail to see the signs of imminent death. It is coming apart at the seams. But as the darkness draws in around it Britishness has no other support left to stave off the inevitable other than its own nature – bitterness, arrogance, possessiveness, and spite. As an all but unassailable power in the days of Victoria this package of bile could be hidden under velvet gloves. Unchallengeable strength need never show its hand. Things have changed.

Now Britain and Britishness are being challenged on all sides. It no longer has the power on which it once relied to keep those it had dominated in line. Everywhere about it there is open revolt – even from the Labour Party in Wales, a sure sign that unionism isn’t what it used to be. All of this is why we are seeing Britain with its gloves off, but the problem for decrepit states when they remove their gloves is that sooner or later they have to prove they can use their fists. Happily for us Britain, being anything but strong and stable, couldn’t punch its way out of a paper bag.

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Is Ireland Part of the British Isles?


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