It is all in the adjectives which in their official use here are innocuous collective words. “United” means that four countries are united together under the Monarchy (and let’s not go into the Monarchy question now, OK) and “Great” means bigger because of the sum of those four different parts.
Maybe we should think British Isles but then the Republic of Ireland would get upset – rightly I guess.
It is difficult to ignore other interpretations of these two words though even whilst understanding the intended meaning.
Our “United” Kingdom seems less and less united as our various communities drift apart. Scotland and Wales grow less and less enthusiastic about the English ingredient in the UK and find whatever ways they can to show their independence from their bigger neighbour. Northern Ireland, of course, or most of its Protestant population loves to be part of the United Kingdom so that it doesn’t have to be in the United Ireland.
So united geo-politically we may be but united in a real sense, I think not. I suspect that Scotland would wish anyone but England will win the Football World Cup this year now that they have been knocked out of the tournament. It is unthinkable to have a United Kingdom Football team just as the Scots get all ruffled when tennis fans try to call Andy Murray British.
Andy Murray comes from Great Britain and, if he reaches his predicted sporting fulfillment then he could be called a great Briton but let’s get serious here, he is a Scot.
The “Great” in Great Britain too can sound hollow at times these days. Once again it is unavoidable to think great as in “of a high degree of magnitude, pre-eminent in genius, outstanding or elevated in power.”
The dustbin men didn’t come this morning. Well it has been snowing hasn’t it! Actually the roads round here are clear, cars are moving again but our rubbish is lying out there on the icy pavements. I am sure there is an intelligent reason why our dustcarts are immovable but somehow, I feel, in a “great” country this problem of snow would cause less disruption. Yesterday the collapse of our infrastructure through wintery weather conditions verged on the plain embarrassing.
The snow spoiled things for our politicians too.
This was the week when Great Britain was promised the unveiling of the unofficial launch of our main political parties’ campaigns for the 2010 General Election and I was all ears to hear the debate.
First we had the Conservative Party’s “launch” with its £400,000 advertising hoardings showing the smiling face of its leader Mr David Cameron. He was straight in there with a new attention seeking announcement about changing taxation to recognise the status of marriage. Sadly, once in the spotlight, he realized that his sums were all wrong and that he couldn’t really promise what he had promised at all but he said, when he had to come back on this, he would try to keep his promise later on if things get better. Thanks David! Is this really the man to lead our “Great” nation? No but it is the man who would have left the banks to their own devices when the World economy nearly went through the floor last year so we shouldn’t be surprized by his problems with numbers.
Then it was the Labour Party’s turn. Their much derided leader, our Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, tore the beleaguered Mr Cameron to shreds in the House of Commons only to get his comeuppance from his own party when two old has-beens, sorry, senior members of the party, circulated a letter calling for a leadership election just weeks before the General Election campaign. Mr. Brown had little support from his own cabinet who all hung around waiting to see what each other was going to say before making weak-worded statements of support for the Prime Minister.
We are back in the same old political debate….do we want an intelligent and capable leader who has no people skills or would we prefer a smarmy-faced incompetent who knows how to turn on the charm?
I don’t want either but I have to have one or the other. Sadly, even if we choose to go with Gordon, who even his opponents recognise as being intelligent and capable, and, miracle of miracles, if he actually wins the election then those blithering idiots in his party will ditch him anyway and elect another smarmy face to get up our collective noses.
Us, the not so united or great people of these islands, are fed up with our politicians who, in their lack of unity or greatness may well be just what we deserve as we all continue to fall about hopelessly incapable of seeing our way through some wintery weather conditions.