Identity crisis

Identity crisis

What kind of country do we think we are?

What kind of country do we want to be?

What divides us and what binds us together?

Some Thoughts on the Identity, Insecurity and Well-being of Our Nation. 

The coming together of over 500 heads of state for the late queen’s funeral itself can be viewed in a variety of ways. Some people will be immensely proud. Others will have an entirely different reaction, borne out of personal experience of discrimination and the history of their forebears at the hands of the imperialist British Empire. The history of our country is peppered with episodes of behaviour to be applauded and behaviour of which many of us are ashamed. We grow up with the stories of our past history and they shape our attitudes and behaviours. Increasingly, many of us are learning about our own attitudes and how to see the experience of others from another point of view, that difference is something to learn from and to celebrate. We can begin to see how our nation is enriched by difference and that, shared experiences can help is to see that more binds us together in common interests, than divides us. 

Issues have always divided or united us. The, often bitter divisions caused by the Brexit Referendum in 2016 have not gone away. 

 The Pandemic came along to unite us in fear, in grief and the will to protect ourselves and each other. People rallied round to help each other. Remember “we are all in this together”. But then we found we weren’t as we learned of dodgy contracts for PPE and how some businesses raked off huge profits in this time.

 The war in Ukraine began and there was an upsurge in goodwill to the people of Ukraine and huge humanitarian efforts were made as groups of people sprang into action to offer all kinds of help and support.

Yet all the while, we have sections of our population who are without the basic essentials to live. Insecurity of income, housing , employment and health, are badly damaging so many young or older lives. This poses a massive problem for the security of our nation and it’s prosperity.

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II may be the Last Hurrah. Commentators were describing us as a “nation united in grief”. It may appear so during these days of mourning, but underneath that we are a nation divided by inequality of wealth, of opportunity, the rich and the poor, the privately and the state school educated, the old against the young, the North/South divide, the unions and the bosses, the powerful against the weak, the healthy against the unhealthy. We are a nation of supporters of the monarchy and would-be republicans; those who couldn’t care less because these questions are irrelevant. 

History shows us that in times of crisis we can be at our best as our minds turn from the particular to the common good.

We need government both at national and local level which has as it’s main priority, the common good. Instead of looking to further line the pockets of the rich and allowing power to reside with the Tory donors who can buy a peerage for an easily affordable sum, we should be working to have a government which puts the needs of the people at the heart of its policy. It’s up to us to work for the change we need!

Tuesday, 20th September, 2022

Jane Darling

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