Gordon Brown claims that national spirit is one of his big interests at the moment. See his first major announcement http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm71/7170/7170.pdf and the decree that flags should be flown over official buildings http://www.culture.gov.uk/flagflying/] every day.
For as long as I can remember, public displays of patriotism have been mocked. In part because a proud and successful nation seemed to have no need to flaunt its nationhood. But also because some suffer from a curious case of self-loathing which despises any form of patriotism as, at best, childish and, at worst, racist.
Now that the worm has turned, we have to wonder if it’s wise to trust the new-found analysis of those who have spent so long deriding it. They accept the need to extol Britishness (if only to protect the liberal values which have flourished in Britain) but don’t fundamentally understand it.
Gordon Brown talks of values which define us: liberty, tolerance and fairness. These are fine values – but they are values to which every civilised nation aspires. They do not mark us out as British.
What does define us is our relationship with British institutions and their history. The monarchy and the monarch; Parliament and the Armed Forces; the Church – and the family. These institutions, which have weathered, for better or worse, the storms of hundreds of years, are things which bind us together, and have been proved to do so. Yet they have been repeatedly undermined by New Labour – the next Conservative Government must rebuild them.
Today IDS is laying out the first steps necessary to rebuilding society, starting with that smallest institution: the family. And David Cameron has made it clear that this will be the centrepiece of the programme for the next Conservative government.
Julian Brazier MP