Sunday, January 31, 2010

How British Are You?

I've been thinking, dangerous I know, about the whole British/English thing. Mainly bought about by Andy Murray, the British Scot who nearly won a grand slam.

Now t'husband was firmly in Murray's camp from the off, because he's British. Me? Well I wasn't in Murray's corner until it turned out to be Federer he'd be facing, which is more a reflection on my opinion of the big Swiss cheese with his monogrammed blazers than any patriotism. Why, because to me Andy Murray is Scottish not British. He might be slightly more British if he spent less time complaining and slagging off the English and maybe if his shorts were a bit whiter, he always looks a bit grey and dindgy to me, he'll never get a washing powder commercial like Tiger Tim.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Murray, if anything I love it when he plays as he swears a lot and I imagine that there a lot of BBC bods crapping themselves that 'Disgusted from Milton Keynes' will be penning a letter to Points of View. I certainly have nothing against the Scottish or the Welsh or the Irish come to that but I don't consider myself British, I'm English and therefore am unable to support any sports team or individual who isn't English. What I hate is the absolute hypocrisy that a successful sportsman or woman is always British unless of course they happen to be English.

Bizarrely this is considered shallow from some people, but why? I've never met a Welshman who wanted Tim Henman to win Wimbledon. Sales of tinned Corned Beef went through the roof in Scotland when Argentina knocked us out of the Football World Cup in 1998. I don't have a problem with this, I like that the Welsh, Scottish and Irish are proud of who they are, I don't even care that they hate the English when it comes to sport. I get it, it's honest! I like that they can fly their flags with pride, whereas an Englishman who dares to fly the St George's Cross will practically be considered a fully signed up member of the BNP. What's that all about?



  1. I'd much rather support an English sports person but I'm not very sporty so I probably wouldn't know if he\she were English or British. Interesting post and very thought-provoking.

    CJ xx

  2. Despite living in England for many years now, my Scottish husband is very passionate about his home country and, I'm afraid, takes a terrible delight in other countries beating the English at sport. We've had many a discussion (argument!) about this and he says it annoys him when TV presenters refer to Andy Murray as British rather than Scottish whereas Tim Henman was always referred to as English. He feels they latch on to successful Scots as British when it suits them!

  3. Ooh - this is opening a can of worms! I too have a Scottish husband, but personally I do think of myself as British rather than English - partly because I have quite a large quantity of Welsh and Scottish blood in me, and partly because I just prefer it that way. It doesn't bother me that my husband doesn't support England (to be honest when you look at Scottish/English history you can fully understand why)and in general it just amuses me. But I will support Scotland and Wales in sporting events because they are part of Britain. It's true though about English patriotism having something of the BNP about it - I'm not sure why!

  4. It's just not possible for me to say I'm English, really. Yes I was born in London, my father was English (all the way back to the 16th century!) but my maternal grandparents were from Ireland, I'm entitled to an Irish passport, and my mother was born in Wales. And Man of the House is a Kiwi born and bred, which means No 1 Son is half Kiwi and half British, I guess. It's a shame about the Union Jack but I won't display it on my blog for those very reasons. Come the World Cup (rugby or footy) we've always supported England, Ireland and New Zealand. There you go!

  5. Crystal - as Trish's husband rightly says if they are British then chances are they aren't English!

    Trish - the media are very bad for making everyone British when it suits.

    Jude - I guess the term 'British' is useful if you have mixed parentage.

    Liz - that's an interesting mix, but who do you shout for when England are playing Ireland? ;-)

  6. Well my husband is Scottish and I'm German. Imagine a football match between England and Germany in Scotland. I have the choice to feel honoured by everyone supporting my team, or disgusted by the reasons for it (you see, I want people to actually support the German team not hope the English team gets thrashed!)

    I don't get it. I do support Andy Murray, and I love the way Federer plays so I'm biting myself for missing the big match. Other than that I support individual sportspeople more than countries. Maybe something to do with coming from a country where patriotism is more than frowned upon (wouldn't even think of having anything resemble the German flag in my home).

  7. I am, as far as I know, a 'purebred' english(wo)man. I'm passionately English first, British second and would love a flagpole to fly a St Georges Cross (I'm not joking and I'm not a paid up member of the BNP - grrr). That is all:D

  8. I'm English with Irish heritage, so always say 'British'. I would always cheer on Wales or Scotland in any sporting event (unless they were actually against England) - and even though it is not reciprocated. And Murray just makes tennis tournaments even more brilliant. Flying the flag!

  9. Who is Andy Murray?

    xx from an Austrian non-sporty person who doesn't watch TV

  10. The British media seem to love Murray when he might win, but hastily refer to him as Scottish when he loses, like today. They never really took to Greg Rusedski - I wonder if they would have done if he had ever won Wimbledon for us. I'm not sure what I think of myself as - British probably but don't like the Union Jack because it's been misappropriated by the wrong people.

  11. I am English, sad really that some see it as a rascist thing!

  12. We're all thoroughly English in my family, I can't think of anyone in either mine or my husband's family who is non-English. That's almost in-breeding isn't it? I agree with you, I can't excited by Andy Murray but then I don't get very excited by tennis in general. In cricket the England team is actually England and Wales which is a bit confusing. And I think there are three New Zealanders in the England rugby team for the forthcoming six nations. I think it's a shame the St George's flag has fascist connotations I'd love to celebrate St George's Day.

  13. Meh, Andy Murray? He's Scottish and he was never going to win (obviously I write this after he lost!).

    I am British, he is Scottish. When we play rugby or football internationally there's no confusion about who's who so why with tennis?

  14. The whole British / Scottish or Welsh or Irish sportsperson bothers me too. It seemed to happen a lot during the last Olympics.

    Being proud to be English just seems to have the wrong connotations. I wish St George's day could be as big a thing as St Patrick's day.

  15. I'm Welsh,I am. And it annoys me when they go on about the English cricket team when they are actually the England and Wales Cricket board.
    My husband was born in Jamaica, lived in Birmingham but now considers himself Welsh as he has lived here for many years. His brother teases him when they watch England v Wales rugby as they both wear different colour shirts.
    But apart from that I think we are all British but our own nationality (Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh) first

  16. Great Post and so true, I never realised until I came to live in Wales just how hated the English were. It is quite shocking to me.
    Andy Murray I think is brilliant but I wish someone would take him in hand and give him some decent styling !

  17. I completely agree with you, especially about the St George's Flag thing. I'm from Oldham, home of the Race Riots 2000. Although it's deemed completely acceptable to have Irish flags on St Patrick's Day, Welsh flags on St David's Day, Scottish flags on St Andrew's Day it always causes a furore with ethnic minorities when the English flag is raised on St George's Day as it had become (wrongly) a symbol of the BNP.

    Pubs/businesses have had windows put through for flying the English flag because they are regarded as racist.

    I'm proud to be English. I'm also proud to live in a multi cultural society. They aren't mutually exclusive.

    Excuse me, this unexpectedly turned into a rant! Maybe I should write post about it instead of wittering here. Sorry! I do agree with you though :)

  18. I wasn't aware of all this until I had to work with a guy from Belfast. I assumed everyone didn't mind being called English and its England. Until, I received a lecture on the difference bet England and UK and the "others" that also make up the population. It was interesting!

  19. It's wierd this England hating thing. I married an Aussie and was astounded to learn that despite his having lived for 10 years in the UK and having married an English girl, England was the last team in the world he'd ever support (unless they are playing South Africa at rugby). Not very sporting!

  20. Completly agree with you, I'm English not British, never have been, never will be.

  21. I'm British , I suppose , technically . But descended as I am from people who went through the Clearances and the Potato Famine , I don't and won't claim to be English , even though my grandmother was born in London .
    It's an emotional thing , rather that geographic , maybe .

  22. Cartside - You'll no doubt have to endure another England V Germany match again this summer, at least it brings an entire nation together.

    A Modern Mother - They do seem rather fashionable these Scottish husbands don't they, I nearly got one myself. ;-)

    Geriatric Mother - We should fight to get the flag back! Grr indeed!

    Hearth-Mother - I used to want the other teams to win as well, but it's not reciprocated so I don't anymore.

    Metropolitan Mum - I didn't realise you were Austrian, you learn something new everyday.

  23. Deer Baby - You're so right about Rusedski, a combination of a Canadian accent and an unpronounceable surname.

    Lax Parenting - Sad indeed, but sadder still is that is probably isn't going to change anytime soon.

    Emily O - We should celebrate St George's Day, it's a travesty that we don't.

    Barbara - I think it's because it's solo sport, that and they all defect to American as soon as they are teenagers.

    Eoforhild - That's really sad, please be proud to be English, it's not a bad thing.

  24. BNM - Nationality first, British second. Yeah I could go with that.

    Wilderness Chic - Murray really does need some styling doesn't he? It's not like he can't afford a decent haircut!

    Notsuchayummymummy - You are so right, we can be English and fully respectful of other nationalities, only a few morons let us down.

    Kestrel - Yep I can imagine the conversation you had with your colleague.

  25. Kate - We can't be too bad us English girls if the Aussies are prepared to marry us eh?

    GoonerJamie - I take it you were not too bothered about Murray winning either?

    SmitonusAndSonata - It is an emotional thing and obviously family ties determine what we consider ourselves rather than where we actually live.

    Very Bored in Catalunya - Probably time to look into a new commenting system!

  26. Its hard to love Andy Murray - but I did warm up to him a little when I saw him cry...