Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

Dominic Behan

Turning away from politics and the recession for a while, let us consider other matters no less relevant to our lives, yet to a large degree ignored particularly by those concerned with purely materialistic issues.

It appears that many people in England, for example, do not exhibit the same love of country as the Celtic peoples, those of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There is a word in Welsh - "hiraeth" which expresses this feeling succinctly and it is loosely translated as "longing", yet it is more than that. It could be described as a deep, inexpressible yearning of the spirit, especially for those who are separated from the land which they call their own and regard as "home".

In such people it is often revealed as a desire to free their country from a foreign yoke, yet it has more than political connotations. It is a love of the land and its customs, its landscapes and its vistas. It seems that Britain does not evoke such feelings to the extent that "England" does - the England of William Blake. Similarly Britain does not evoke the hiraeth of the Welsh (and Cornish), expressed in the national anthems of Wales and Brittany - Land of My Fathers. Try to make a comparison with the British anthem which many regard as a dirge rather than a song of inspiration.

The difference is the Britain is a state - Cymru, Alba, Eire..... are nations, and it is nations which bring out the feelings of group consciousness and shared identity. It is these feelings which inspire nationalism, and this -ism is more than a political movement. It is a cause, a cause which leads to freedom and self-expression in national institutions and the revival of traditions and community life. It is something worth fighting for, and many have fallen in bringing its achievement to fruition. Those who scorn and ridicule the aspirations of nationalists and freedom fighters and imply that they are somewhat soft in the head do not have the spirit or the vision, or the love of country, which can galvanise a nation and a people to greatness.


Politics is never far away: extract from a letter to Mr Brown

Yesterday in a speech titled ‘Transforming Politics’, you said that you would ‘do all that is necessary to restore trust’ in politics and the conduct of MPs. If you wish to restore trust in politics, you should stop treating people like fools by claiming that you were unaware of this fund when all the evidence points to the contrary. I therefore urge you to admit to this fund’s existence, apologise for misleading the House and co-operate with any inquiries that John Lyon may wish to make.
Yours sincerely,
Eric Pickles
Chairman, The Conservative Party

Read the full text of the letter HERE

SNP health Minister Shona Robison said:
"We're committed to scrapping prescription charges and removing this tax on ill-health, which hits those on low incomes hardest. We want our national health service to be restored to its founding principles - free at the point of delivery and based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

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