Posted By: June 21, 2014

” Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, but not of Britain, although Sinn Féin and the SDLP tell us that all Protestants here are now British.”

Patrick Murphy. Irish News( Belfast). Saturday, June 21,  2014
DEAR British Muslims, How are you all doing? David Cameron says you need to become more British. His predecessors have been telling us something similar over here for about 800 years, so we thought we would write and share our insight into Britishness. (Yes, we come from the same area as Pastor McConnell and Peter Robinson. Sorry about that.)As we see it, the concept of Britain is an historical remnant of a cultural con-trick aimed at justifying the political union of four nations. Three of them were largely Celtic (Scotland, Wales and Cornwall) and one (England) was an amalgam of several historical influences from Roman to Viking. (Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, but not of Britain, although Sinn Féin and the SDLP tell us that all Protestants here are now British. So David Cameron presumably wants you to become more like Messrs McConnell and Robinson. Oh dear.)So what does Mr Cameron want you to do? three things: promote British values, lead a more British way of life and read the Magna Carta (Great Charter).


British values, he says, should be taught in schools, by using his favourite children’s book from 1905, Henrietta Marshall’s Our Island Story (well, that excludes Ireland). New Zealand Maoris, it says, were wild and warlike savages, but they “were not nearly such a low kind of savage as the [native] Australian.” (Now, that’s what I call education.) It explains why, nine years later, Patrick Pearse wrote that whereas education should foster, English education is meant to repress. (Marshall’s view of Irish history was simple: “there was a good deal of fighting, but in the end Ireland was added to England” – an accurate summary, particularly of the past 50 years.) So it appears that the core British value of tolerance is best found in the British Empire. (Be more British: invade other countries, steal their wealth and kill their people.) That is possibly why Mr Cameron is wary of Muslim schools – they might not appreciate the British concept of imperial tolerance. (While undertaking educational research in Britain in recent years, I have encountered Muslim children attending Catholic schools because, as some parents told one head teacher, “Better your faith than no faith.” These people have nothing to learn from David Cameron about religious tolerance.) Mr Cameron says that you must adopt the (not ‘a’) British way of life.

He advocates a more “muscular” approach in promoting British values. (Some Belfast citizens have been adopting a very muscular approach against “non-locals” for some time.)

You must also obey British law – not Sharia law (some in Newtownabbey call it “Sharara” law, but never mind) which advocates banning alcohol and gambling. (Be more British: start drinking.) Obeying the law, says Mr Cameron, is as British as fish and chips, even though Britain’s favourite dish these days is Chinese stir-fry. (Be more British: don’t eat foreign food.)

Finally he says you should speak English and read the Magna Carta, which is written in Latin. It was later translated – into French, so that the Anglo-Normans who ruled England could read it. (You could learn to speak English at Mr Cameron’s old school, Eton (annual fees £35,000 plus) where “slack bobs” are boys who neither row nor play cricket, the timetable is called Abracadabra (honestly) and a “stick up” is a wing collar with a white bow tie. Yes, a Belfast stick-up is something different.) The document was exclusively English and has nothing to do with Britishness. In it the King gave certain freedoms to Lords (the same ones who had recently invaded Ireland). It has little legal relevance today and it does not prevent parliament from legislating against the rights of citizens. the agreement lasted all of nine weeks (the Pope released the King from what he said were shameful obligations) and by 1297 a revised version was in place.

Lord Denning said it was the foundation of individual freedom against the arbitrary authority of the despot. (This is the same Lord Denning who denied an appeal by the Birmingham Six because if they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury and violence. They were. So much for the Magna Carta.)

Mr Cameron recently held a soiree (he should speak English) for the DUP at Downing Street, where the two sides presumably advised each other on how Muslims might become more British. Their combined wisdom and tolerance allows us to sleep easier in our beds, safe in the knowledge that if “Sharara” law ever reaches Newtownabbey, the Magna Carta will protect loyalists’ rights to have stick-ups. Now that’s Britishness.