This matter of being “British” OR “English” has never concerned me. I live in England and my parentage is predominantly English, hence I am “English”. England is part of the United Kingdom, hence I am also “British”. I see no contradiction in this, writes Michael Faul.
But then, I come to this from an unusual situation. Although I was born in England, my family emigrated to (as it was then) Rhodesia, when I was aged 7. I grew up there, had all my education there and began my working life there. The first change came when I announced my intention to marry. My intended bride was a widow, with thee daughters from her first marriage. More to the point as far as my family were concerned, she was “Coloured” (“mixed-race” if you wish). We came to England to marry, later returned to Rhodesia and then came back to England in 1984. We had two more daughters, both of whom, with one of the first three, live in Britain and are completely assimilated. The other two live in South Africa, but are quite at home when visiting Britain. Our grandchildren are “vari-coloured” and they all accept each other without hesitation. Despite distances, we remain a close family.
From this you will see that my entire life is “non-racial”. Such considerations simply do not matter to us. Hence, we can also approach the “English v British” argument from an entirely neutral standpoint.
Since devolution, both the Scottish and Welsh flags have been adopted officially by the several authorities. Perhaps England could officially adopt the St George Cross as the National Flag of England. This will achieve two things. First it will end any argument about whether the flag is “racist”, as it will be the flag of all the people of England, regardless of ethnicity or origin. Second it will stop any nonsense from the EDL or other such groups. If they shout: “This is our flag!”, people of multiple ethnicities could reply: “It is? Ours too! Come and join us, brothers!” The result for the EDL should be interesting.
Then, to reinforce the adoption of the Scottish, Welsh and English flags for the individual nations, the Union Flag could be adopted officially, by Parliament, as the national flag on land of the United Kingdom. Agreed, it is generally accepted as such, but it is not official. It is a royal flag, used by the citizens with royal permission. No, that permission is unlikely to be withdrawn but, were the flag to be adopted formally by Parliament, once again it would be a unifying factor, not only between ethnicities, but between the three nations.