Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Still Proud

I had a feeling that as soon as I wrote the phrase “…I was incredibly proud
to be British” on this blog , the other day, that within a short space of time I would have reason to question my views. And yes, I already have these reasons.

I read that a 16 year old student from Qatar is beaten and left for dead by a drunken mob, which police have confirmed was a racist attack. Mohammed Al-Majed, died from his injuries two days later. He was on a visit to Britain to learn about it’s culture and traditions. There’s little that can be said about this appalling tragedy which wouldn’t sound patronising to the family.
An 18 month old baby boy is critically ill in hospital after his five year old sister accidentally shot him in the head with their father’s air rifle. Do we need to discuss why the air rifle was even in the home?
A schizophrenic who was locked up indefinitely 10 years ago, for killing Police Constable Nina Mackay, is back on the streets in preparation for his permanent release. Elgizouli , who has a “deluded hatred of police” had stabbed his daughter and PC Mackay went to arrest him. But mental health officials believe that his psychiatric condition has “improved significantly”. Not very consoling for PC Mackay’s family I am sure.
A computer sold on eBay has personal details of more than a million bank customers on it. The massive data loss is one of the worst ever in Britain Coming just days after the Home Office admitted losing the details of 127,000 criminals. Makes the Data Protection Act seem rather useless.
British prisons are so full that a scheme was brought in a couple of months ago to allow prisoners to be freed 18 days early. Since then, around 35,000 criminals, including 6,000 violent offenders, have benefited. Criminals freed 18 days early have gone on to commit hundreds more crimes, including a murder and a rape. Now, plans are being made to increase the 18 days to 20 or more, freeing a few hundred more cell places.
Lost for words yet ? Wondering if my “proud to be British” still stands?

Well it does.
I am disgusted and very angry about the violence that continues to occur under the ridiculous title of “anti-social” behaviour. I am shocked at the stupidity and irresponsibility of some adults in potentially dangerous situations. I am disillusioned at many “officials” attitudes to issues that they appear to understand in theory but do not realise that they do not work in practice. I am deeply concerned at many government policies that the majority of ordinary people can see will not work or are not right.
But this is how my pride in being British can continue to grow. The belief that the majority of people in Britain are good, kind and moral and want the best for the country and mankind, is the reason for this. I am sure that it is a minority that wish otherwise, though sometimes it is difficult to keep with that view – especially for those who are affected personally by awful happenings.
I do not wish to moralise, or appear saintly – these are only my personal views. But I am still proud of being British and of the notion of the importance of nationality.
“I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe the laws faithfully and fulfill my duties and obligations as a British citizen.” (British Citizenship Affirmation of Allegiance)

This does not mean that I will agree with every law that is passed or every policy that is implemented. I will continue to voice my opinion on what I believe to be wrong – and also on what I believe to be right! And I will look for opportunities to celebrate British culture – however diverse that may be.

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