I’m British, or English to be more precise, and even though I can’t always explain it I feel proud to be who I am and proud to be what I am. In fact I probably can’t rationalise or vocalise my sense of patriotic pride for most of the time.
I struggle with seeing how we can sometimes be amongst the worse kind of fans at sporting events, especially football. I find it hard to swallow the selfish attitudes of some areas of our society from the rich and their duck-castles to the benefits hogs who don’t get off their backsides and get jobs but instead take, take, take all the time – and both always want more and are reluctant to risk what they see as theirs by right and/or privilege.
But there are also times when I know just why I love this country, why I love being an Englishman, why I am so proud of being British.
The other week was a complete example of who we are, at our core.
It was the biennial TV fundraiser, Comic Relief, and BBC was devoted to a mix of hilarious sketches, parodies and routines – along with a challenging and heart-breaking array of stories from the UK and Africa as to where money and support is needed.
It was a night where the tears flowed almost constantly with some being from laughter and some being from the pain and suffering that is out there, and even just next door.
The organisers must have felt quite pessimistic when it came to their expectations – the global economy is still in a slump, households are feeling a huge pinch in finances and there are more unemployed than there have been for a while.
Yet somehow the message about the recession was lost that night. The Brits proved just who we really are and gave me a cause to feel huge pride – they broke every historical record for Comic relief and this small group of countries raised over £74 million so far, with more money coming in.
At our core, when the need is there, we are a people who are willing to stand tall for those in need and to do what we can to help.
When the figure was announced on the next mornings news, I cried. This time tears that came from restored faith in humanity. To anybody who reads this, from any nation – if you offer a hand to help those in need, if you stand for those who are too weak to stand, if you shout for those who have no voice… Thank You. You make me proud to be part of this nation, and part of the human race.