Renewed British Pride

This year, Britons, particularly the English, seem to have regained a sense of national confidence. Usually slightly embarrassed by overt displays of patriotism, the British have woken up to the fact that they live in a damn fine country.

Take this for example. Marking the 200th anniversary of Lord Nelson’s death, one of the largest processions ever seen on the Thames in London is re-enacting the funeral of Lord Nelson. How charming. Yes, it’s completely barmy, but for a generation that was taught to be slightly ashamed of the Empire, it’s gratifying to see Lord Nelson feted in this way. Yes, yes, I know, in many ways the shame was justified, but that seems to miss the point now.

This summer we’ve also had:

  • A massive re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar (although substituting French vs. British with Blue vs. Red was silly, old school, self-deprecating twaddle)
  • London’s victory over Paris for the Olympics
  • Live 8 (British generosity writ large)
  • The Ashes triumph over the Aussies in cricket
  • A television reminder of the beauty of Britain (Coast and A Picture of Britain). Why holiday in Brittany when you’ve got Pembrokeshire?

Even the terrorist bombings seemed to inflate rather than dent national pride, and, thankfully, not in a let’s-bomb-the-buggers kind of way (although allowing the government to lock people up for 3 months without charge must be a cause for concern, I admit). Is Britain the greatest country in the world? Of course not. I could give you a long list of rubbish that still pollutes the land (beginning with Wayne Rooney). But I’ll resist that temptation. The prevailing mood, it seems, is pulling us away from national self-loathing. This is to be welcomed.



  1. I should add that all of this works in Blair’s favour (drat!), and is something that < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Angela Merkel seems to want to replicate<> for Germany.


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