The United Kingdom comprises four nations. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In the eyes of the world it comes all to often under the name 'England.' The sad thing is, it comes under that name also in the minds of far too many Englishmen! The Irish troubles are well known, and the separation of the six Ulster counties in the nineteen twenties was supposed to end the conflict there. It failed, only political means will do so. Wales was absorbed almost unnoticed a thousand years ago by the aggressive land grabbing English King Edward I. He tried this on Scotland also and was not just rebuffed but defeated by William Wallace. Robert the Bruce later confirmed Scotland as a free nation by defeating Edwards feeble descendant at Bannockburn. (At this point it is permissible to shout 'Hooray!')
Since then England wormed away at the neighbour to the north, with every intention of being the dominant partner. King James VI became the sovereign head of both nations in the 1600s, while the union of the parliaments was forced by economic and diplomatic strangulation in 1707.
The first prevented needless wars, the second was intended to destroy Scotland altogether. It failed! Scotland ignored the attempt to refer to her as 'North Britain' and remained proudly Scots, the people working with Calvinistic effort to build a new world. Scotland led the way in the 'Enlightenment' with Edinburgh becoming the 'Athens of the North' with her abundance of thinking men. The Scots worked throughout the now 'United Kingdom,' teaching in the churches and building what was to become the 'Empire.' They, along with the Welsh and Irish were found in every sphere, arts, business, sport, music and religion. Without them England would never have become the 'workshop of the world.'
Yet to listen to the TV or radio it appears we are all 'English!' 'We' they tell us, have suffered defeat in Russia at the football, against South Africa (where 'we' were cheated), and in the F1 race where Hamilton (a Scots name) failed. 'We?' Scotland lost to Argentine and it was hardly mentioned in the news of the UK media, Wales disappeared without trace or mention and the Irish were ignored. Why is this? Why do TV stations go 'live' at the airport to see the returning rugby losers? What is this self belief the English have? But wait a minute, is this self belief or emptiness? The English are seen as arrogant, over hyped, self worshipping folk, and not without reason. They really do believe their football team is one of the best in the world, and that they deserve to always be at the top table. They have a litany of complaints concerning the times they were 'cheated' these 'world cup winners' who were given goals when the ball never crossed the line. What is it that makes them so?
Since 1996 England has realised she is a nation, up till then she thought she was Britain, and regarded the little bits at the edges as parts of her. She is still stunned by the rejection she feels after the cry for freedom and equality that erupted there some years ago. How to respond? Why by feeling betrayed, resentful and by ignoring the wrongs the English as individuals and as a nation have done to the other members of the UK. She also emphasises even more her self importance in sport as a means of being a nation. But the English still do not really know what that is. Scots know what they are, as do the Welsh and Irish, but will the English ever understand? This is not to say there a re no good English, on the contrary. They share the 'Britishness' that close cooperation has brought, and many have never understood the true depth of feeling engendered by their racist attitude. An attitude most clearly seen in the impression given of Gordon brown the prime minister as 'another Scot!' Blair is seen as a Scot, a term he never used for himself, and one he obviously rejected, but to the Tories in particular, who are seen as the 'middle England party, that is what he is classed as. There are a great many shared 'British' attitudes, most are good, but until the four nations are recognised as such, and treated equally, there will always be discontent. A discontent that will result in great glee at the fall of the English supermen, whatever sport they play!
By the by, in the kingdom of Gods terms, is nationhood important? A collection of people under a geographic sphere, that is a nation, nothing more. Being proud of being a certain nation is neither right nor wrong. We ought to be proud we have a nation that does the right thing, and humbled by the many failings, and all nations have these. Stereotypes do exist, and always shall, but these are cultural and not part of the basic man. That never changes whatever the nation! Some nations have been badly led by poor leadership, and individuals have a responsibility before God to promote a decent society wherever they are, within their capabilities. So ensure you vote, complain, contact MPs or councillors or whatever is required to ensure a better nation. Respect for nations, like respect for individuals, and a true comprehension of where they are at appears to me to be a Godly approach.
I hope I am right?