Ok, the wedding is over and done with and we’ve got our new princess.
Watching the wedding made me feel quite happy really – I love the royals and I’m sure William and Kate will turn more than a few borderline republicans into monarchists. The run-up to the wedding has been absolutely horrendous though – days of inane chatter, clueless hypothesising and utter bollocks from people trying to imply they have some inside knowledge of the wedding because they know the Middleton’s gardener’s milkman’s postman’s next door neighbour.
The big downside of the royal wedding, though, is the proliferation of the union flag and people declaring their pride in being “British”.
The resurgence of the English flag over the last few years has been great. Passing rows of houses with English flags in their gardens and hanging out of their windows is a gratifying sight but the last few days has seen English flags taken down and replaced with the flag of our imperial masters. Even St George’s Day has been largely ignored by shops who decked out their stores with red, white and blue bunting weeks ago. There is a very real danger that people will fly the BNP flag now that they have bought them instead of the Cross of St George, putting back the cause of progressive English nationalism by years.
And as for this ridiculous pride in being “British” – how does that work? How can English people – the citizens of the last colony of the British empire – feel any pride in a non-country that has failed to build an inclusive national identity in over 300 years of existence?
The so-called “United” Kingdom is anything but. The union between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been superficial from day one and we are no more united now than we were in 1707. This union of four nations has five governments, five flags, four languages, four constitutions, three legal systems, two judiciaries and two royal families – Prince William will be King William V of England and William III of Scotland. “British” is a three century old failed experiment in social engineering that is as irrelevant now as it was before the Act of Union.
I used to describe myself as English first and British second. Now I’m just English. And isn’t it time we had a Prince of England? A much better title for Prince William that Duke of Cambridge!