British? Moi?

According to (emphasis mine),

In a speech at a school in Birmingham, the prime minister said Britain was a successful, diverse society but had to “confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country … who don’t really identify with Britain – and feel little or no attachment to other people here."

I was born in this country, Nottingham to be exact. I was raised in Nottingham, Lancashire and Cheshire. I grew up further at university in York and currently live in Cheshire. And yeah, I don't really identify with Britain. I feel no more attachment for British people than I do any others.

Sure, I live within these national boundaries and have to obey the laws and have (limited) influence on those laws. Yeah, I rely on my British pseudo-identity to mock Americans for massacring the English language and incorrect ideas about the correct time. I get embarrassed whenever Britain does something stupid on the global stage because, while I may not identify with Britain, my location, my accent and other geographical influences means other people will.

But... I claim more allegiance to Europe than I do "Britain" (and am deeply shamed that it is governed by capitalist bureaucrats and appointees rather then the Parliament we actually elect). I identify more as a Northerner than I do a European. I claim far more allegiance to a "Globalised Western Digital Community" than I do The North.

Britain is just the identity that global forces choose to recognise.

Over the past couple of years, Hal Duncan ("THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!"), a Scottish SF author has been exploring "New Sodom". And how wish 14 year old me had access to these essays. The First essay is available online - In his latest essay (A Citizen of New Sodom in Issue 1 of ) he takes Delany's epigraph to Driftglass as a starting point to ask what happened to the people of Sodom who escaped destruction - traders away from Sodom, those who had moved, those who escaped with Lot as his servants. He then grows these people into a full Sodomite Diaspora.

Growing up, my identity as a queer teen was not just "accidentally" overlooked or sidelined. It was officially and actively ignored and denigrated. Section 28 barred discussion of "pretended family relationships" in schools (ish). I never reached the mystical Age of Consent alongside my friends as it changed around me from 18 to 16 when I was 17 (and that, to me, shows the artificial bullshit of the Age of Consent). I was barred from serving in the Army (oh, woe is me). I couldn't marry.

What is Britain to that me?

Yes, things have changed, are changing. But that change is important. We have had a massive rise in far right, nationalist bigots on the political scene. Both Labour and Tories are trying to outdo each other in placating UKIP voters by succumbing to their fears rather than confronting and challenging. Things have changed in my favour.

They can easily change back.

No matter how accepting Britain appears to me, a white, British born person, with British parents, grandparents, great grandparents... I will always be an outsider. I will always be Other.

The internet though - the "Globalised Western Digital Community" - did accept and embrace me. It taught me, it let me talk, it let me grow into the penwing writing this now. This anti-diaspora feels like home. And I take threats to it - ACTA/SOPA, TTIP, Anti-Net Neutrality Rules - very seriously and I worry that I cannot do anything about them because the people threatening them live on the other side of an imaginary line (or actual, physical ocean... damn you island nation!) or, worse, are negotiating treaties without any democratic accountability whatsoever. In that environment the lie of the nation state becomes clear.

What is Britain to me? It's a lie based on greed and selfishness masked by appeals to a unique culture and outright fear of others. Is it any wonder I don't identify with it?

Alex
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