Spectator.co.uk: On Britishness

by Tim Worstall (21 August 2008)

Sounds like things are all well and good in Britannia's realm:

Britons lack "national purpose" according to a study which found that most people prefer to spend their Bank Holiday watching television or surfing the internet rather than celebrating the country's heritage.

Excellent, there's nothing more repellent than a "national purpose". We hire the State to do for us the things that must be done both collectively and with coercion. To solve free rider problems more than anything else.

This doesn't mean that said State is then invested with all our hopes and dreams, nor that there is any destination in mind: certainly not that we should all agree on said destination or purpose.

Get on with defending the place, providing a criminal justice system and leave us all alone seems to be the populace's opinion and there's really not a lot more British than that.

But only 55 per cent of those quizzed by Mintel thought there should be another Bank Holiday between the end of August and Christmas, and only 50 per cent said it should celebrate Britishness.

Sadly, we still seem to have 55% of the population entirely deluded. As my colleagues over at the Adam Smith Institute have been arguing for years, we don't want more Bank Holidays, we want to abolish the very concept. Simply add the days to annual leave allowances and let people take them as, if and when they will.

This however is entirely bizarre:

The survey of 2,000 adults found that only half think there should be a special day each year in honour of Britishness, and fewer than a third want street parties and festivals such as those enjoyed across Europe.

There are street parties and festivals across Europe celebrating Britishness? Entirely apt of course, something very much worth Johnny Foreigner aspiring to but are we sure that these aren't laments for not having won the lottery of life by being born British?

Published on Spectator.co.uk here.

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