Saturday, 3 December 2011

Britain to be proud of?

An interesting piece of research has just been published looking at what British people are proud of.

Respondents were more likely to take pride in the things that were closest to them – for instance their family and home – than in the ‘nation’ more generally:

87% said ‘I am proud of my family’.
77% said ‘I am proud of my friends’.
62% said ‘I am proud of my work’.
80% were ‘proud of my attitude to others’.
90% said ‘I am proud of my values’.
Gosh we are beginiing to sound like a smug lot now how about this
79% said ‘I am proud of my knowledge/intelligence’.

"Overwhelmingly, British people believe that we are – collectively – less proud of Britain than our forefathers: 53 per cent believe that Britain is less patriotic than it was 25 years ago and 61 per cent argue that patriotism has declined over the last 50 years – over half of British people believe that we are ‘a lot less proud’ than we once were of Britain.
However, four in five British people are still happy to declare themselves ‘proud to be a British citizen’ and levels of patriotism in the UK are – when compared with those in other European nations – relatively healthy."

81% said ‘I am proud of how Britain looks (eg landscape, architecture and style)’.
74% were ‘proud of British culture’.

"British citizens had a strong disengagement from ‘patriotism’ People felt that ‘patriotism’ meant the last night of the Proms, the Union Jack and singing ‘Jerusalem’.... while they are proud of Britain and of being British, assume that the term ‘patriotic’ just doesn’t, really, describe them:

"Patriotic means flying the flag and standing up for the national anthem and things like that. I think it’s fine that people do that but it’s not really me, if you know what I mean? I suppose I’m not really ‘patriotic’ but I do think I’m proud of British things."

"It’s a bit weird to be really, really patriotic. I don’t think it’s racist or anything, like people say, I think it’s harmless really but it’s more that it’s old-fashioned. It’s sort of more for posh people, isn’t it?"

"When you ask about what’s best about being British I think of all the people that give up their time to help other people, or to do good things in the community. That’s what makes me proud of this country."

"At the same time, shame and embarrassment in Britain are strongly felt. More than half of British people have been ‘embarrassed to be British’ "

"The British are among the most likely people in the world to give up our time to volunteer. We have significantly higher levels of social action – and a greater and more established independent charitable sector – than most peer European countries."

"I think of being British as being about littler things, more boring I suppose. Like doing your bit and manners and helping out. The thing about British people is that we do things for each other, you know? Being British is more about the way we are than things like Buckingham Palace or Parliament."

"We find that pride in Britain is strong but that people are alienated by the way in which politicians talk about patriotism. British people are highly dubious of efforts to politicise their everyday, felt patriotic sentiments and they deeply distrust efforts to intellectualise their pride in their country. British politicians are at risk – through their wide-of-the-mark ventures into the discourse of patriotism – of turning British people off their sense of themselves."

"I’m always a bit dubious when the politicians see something good and then say ‘that’s what I believe in’ because usually they take that thing and they ruin it."

"Sometimes when they [politicians] talk about volunteering and all that, it sounds like they think they invented it or something. I don’t volunteer because the Government tells me to, I volunteer because I want to – I enjoy it and I think it’s important,"

"our research undermined many of the traditional narratives about patriotism and British-identity. Participants identified a mis- match between history presented as a ‘great island story’ and what they felt was important, and inspiring, about modern Britain."

and here is one last statistic which shows that folk answering quesions from research companies maybe say what they would like to think they do in an idealised vision rather than what they actually do in the real world.

"74% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘it’s important to buy British’.

Full report can be downloaded here

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