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Martin McCallion
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Those of you who, like me thought of 'Blink': we're too late, its eyes are open... <*FX*: the whole internet disappears into the past>
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2008 on i take pictures at WWdN: In Exile
1 reply
molasses: It may be artificially limiting what England means to people, but I was going by the "Big England" brief. If I can quote from the email that Dave sent me: "The subject is What I Like About England (or not, as the case may be)" Of course there's more to identity than that, but my point is that almost all the contributors so far (not just Roldy, it's just his post that I happen to have commented on) have been referring to good things that aren't exclusively English. And that's fine, and maybe there's nothing that is exclusively English within Britain (except cricket, obviously). But I just get annoyed by the apparent inability to tell the difference -- or at least, to make the distinction. Roldy, you said you "disagree when it comes to national identity - firstly because culture is never homogenous/simple enough to warrant this type of care" Can't agree with you there. Firstly because we're not talking about culture (or not solely about it): we're talking about nationality (which includes culture). Or at least, we are now, as I see it. We weren't at first, but I seem to have introduced it. Secondly because I think it's always worth taking care with language to ensure you say precisely what you mean (not that I'm claiming I always achieve that, and this tiny comment box is certainly a barrier to doing so). If the UK is 83% English that means that it's 17% not-English. And does that "people who describe themselves as from an ethnic minority in the UK" include people who describe themselve as from an ethnic minority in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? Or is it just England?
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2006 on Big England No.5: by Roldy at Temperama
It wasn't too strong. But I wasn't trying to "own" culture. And yes, it is a mistake. My point is that it's depressingly common for English people to refer to "England" when they mean "Britain" or "The UK". That tends to annoy people from the other nations of the United Kingdom, because it gives the impression of belittling them by careless language. Compare it, if you will, with the old "man embraces woman" cliche, that was used (and still is) to support casual sexism in language. You said, "There is no need for a rule that says what you like about England has to be exclusive to England." That's perfectly true, of course. But my interpretation of Dave's intent with the "Big England" series (and I may completely misunderstand his intent, of course) is that he wants people to discuss the good and bad about England. Strongly implying (to me, at least) _exclusively_ England.
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2006 on Big England No.5: by Roldy at Temperama
Nice piece Roldy. However, you are making the same mistake that almost every Big Englander so far has made (and which I intend to address in my piece): you are confusing England with Britain (or even with the UK). Because there's nothing in there that you don't also get in Scotland, in Wales, or (I'm sure) in Northern Ireland. Ok, except cricket. :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2006 on Big England No.5: by Roldy at Temperama
I wish I'd known about that place the time that Andrew W was down and we were trying to get a drink in Soho after 11. We ended up paying to get into some terrible place. Andrew was not impressed, as I'm sure you can imagine. Not that knowing about it would have helped much, without being a member, though.
I take your point that removing choice once it is offered is problematic. Then again, though, we have little control -- or choice -- over what schools are set up in our area anyway. For example, I am mistrustful of the new academies scheme, not least because they tend to have a degree of specialisation built in. Yet they are for kids who are mostly far too young to know in what areas they might wish to specialise. But they get built, and limit our choices, when a new school should increase them. Your consumerism argument on uniforms is stronger, to my mind, than the usual one, that they mask differences in affluence of kids. Of course, even when everyone is dressed the same, the kids can tell whose parents can and can't afford new clothes, and so on. But I just hate them. I hate seeing kids all dressed up the same, just like I hated being all dressed up the same. Are any of your kids still young enough to be reading Lauren Childs' 'Charlie and Lola' books? If so, I can strongly recommend _I'm Too Absolutely Small for School_, for Lola's opinion on wearing a 'schooliform'.
Toggle Commented Jun 27, 2006 on Segregated Schools at Temperama
Choice is overrated. It just confuses people. What we really want is for every school to be of the same high standard, and then we can just send our kids to the nearest one. Sadly, I think things are moving in the opposite direction. Oh, and as well as getting rid of single-sex schools, we should get rid of uniforms. In my humble opinion, of course :-)
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2006 on Segregated Schools at Temperama