As Covid-19 strikes our shores, looking to attack and kill many of us Brits we must question; What is Britishness? Britishness can be glorious, but equally, sometimes less appealing aspects. The extent of the British Empire at its prime to the realities of Post-Colonialism in modern society. The cultural heritage of our nation to the modern ethnic diversities in which we thrive.
What symbol could we select to represent ‘Britishness’. This could be the actual size of an item replicated on a smaller scale. A teacup and saucer jump into vision, possibly a post box or the now virtually redundant phone boxes once of British Telecom. Also in red: traditional buses which are still in service or modernised to a degree. Umbrella’s to represent the ever-present rain showers which engulf our shores, the nostalgic notion of vicars on bicycles. Equally, the symbolism potential of animals could be exploited, the frequently used lion to show strength from the Empire days. Alternatively, a bulldog, famed through Churchill and our victories during World War II. Would we look to incorporate the National Flag: Union Jack and the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement?
If you were asked to collate a statement around the theme of ‘Britishness,’ how would it read?
The concept of ‘Home’, the area in which you live and building, people and places of importance. Identifying with feeling around gender, ethnicity, class and regional background. Do women feel differently to men, do those from ethnic minorities feel as strongly ‘British’ as their white neighbours? Do white working-class opinions vary from those of the nobility? Will Scottish feelings about Anglo-centricity contrast to those of the English?
Whatever your feelings about Britishness, in this state of emergency we must fight off this virus, in isolation but equally in unison.