To be British
Within the heart of all of us
There beats a spirit
A dash of adventure,
A rash of compassion,
And a desire for discovery.
That spirit is real –
To fight for fair play –
The willingness to stand
And the rights of man.
To be British
I am not a patriot. I despise nationalism. I do not wish to fight or die for my country.
I am a man. I love my freedom and the philosophy by which I live – the right of all men and women to be free and live in a spirit of harmony, love and equality.
That is a cause worth fighting for.
I am a pacifist and a citizen of the world.
I believe in the rights of all living creatures and their right to live undisturbed by man.
I love nature.
I am never short of a cause.
But last night I was mining a vein of emotion as to what it was to be British and whether I had any pride in that label.
I felt a sense of affinity with the spirit that has typified my countrymen in the past. I believe it is there in my culture. It is not be chance that we have created so many adventurers, explorers and dissenters. We have had our men and women willing to stand in the face of torture and death and proclaim their truth. We have had our citizens who have opposed evil in all its forms, stood against religious tyranny, unjust wars, social injustice, misogyny, racism, intolerance and the rule of the strong and mighty.
They have reached out to those that were different and shown the hand of empathy and compassion. That is Britishness for me.