I will not say it came as a shock, more of a surprise. It was a word which had not been used for a very long time as it was not flavour of this or any other month. You can use Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but, England, too damning, and a throwback to the past.
A magnificent nine hundred and more years ago, however, it was looked on by some as not so wonderful.
There it was in a newscast, England! Nothing exciting, just a reference to the number of people who had gone down with this terrible disease that is currently invading the world
Ah! But perhaps at long last I can now refer to my place of birth as England instead of the bland ‘Britain.’
Great Britain, as a result of this Covid 19 and the spin offs that are being reported on, is being spoken of as four different nations, and of course they are. Nonetheless, current reporting of this illness is as if they are totally separate, each governed by their own Parliaments.
I have no wish for this article to be a history lesson, but it is worth looking briefly at events of the past in that Wales and England were both constantly in conflict, right up until 1283 when this came to an end with the Union with England.
North of the border neither did the Kingdom of Scotland live in harmony with their English cousins, perhaps it was the other way around. In 1706 there was an end to the conflict between the two, however, the ‘Union of Parliaments’ took place and the English, and the Scots came into being as one. It was ratified by both in May 1707.
The situation with Ireland worked between 1802 until 1922 worked, although not happily in some quarters, which was of course when the separation with the North and South came about.
My point is that for a very long time the British community in four countries have all worked in harmony and created a strong economy, a leading nation in the world in the democratic process. But is this virus going to change all that?
The British Isles, as I have already said, are being referred to more and more as separate countries in news reports. Covid 19 is doing the work of the small separatist movements who have each been trying themselves for a very long time.
Let us suppose that as a result of the reporting of this disease the UK is broken up into four individual nations.
How would it work after hundreds of years of co-existence? Working together through good times, wars and other conflicts, building a strong Union.
Then there are families which have developed over time – let us imagine a Welsh man, Mr Jones, with strong family ties in Wales. He marries a little Scottish lass who has a big family North of the border. They get married in the early part of the 19th century and set up home in England. Are they Welsh, Scottish, English or British?
As we have seen with the handling of this virus each group demand they each operate their piece of the realm as they see fit creating all sorts of anomalies at the borders. Would it have been better if they had pulled together as one to fight this onslaught for all our well-being’s?
It was in 1997 that the first wedge appeared, as each group was given its own Parliament resulting in the start of the breakup. There are many different thoughts of the rights and the wrongs of course, my personal view is that it was and is an unnecessary cost, taking millions of pounds out of the economy for no other reason than separation.
Perhaps if that money had not been spent with the ongoing cost on the duplication of authority, there may have been adequate funds to home the veterans as they left the Forces, or cope with the homeless and better fund graduates in their studies at University, without lumbering them with debt before a start in life. How many hospitals could have been built with a better pay and conditions for nursing staff? Enough money to keep the streets clean and the lowering of taxes. The list is endless.
The four nations pulling together worked very successfully for hundreds of years, so why can’t we go back and just be ‘Great Britain’? I really do not mind calling myself British.