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July 26, 2006

Comments

littlejo

I totally agree Matt - and it's really hard to not sound overly partiotic and BNP when focusing on your homeland's good points. I absolutely agree that you cant spot its good ponits until you go away too. Isnt that peculiar. Does that mean we like it more than those who dont want to, or cant afford to leave ?

Matt M

I think travel is essential to developing a kind of "inclusive" patriotism (as opposed to the exclusive patriotism of the likes of the BNP). The more countries you pass through, the more you recognise similarities with your home - Granada, in Southern Spain, has an atmosphere incredibly similar to Brighton (IMHO). The backstreets of Barcelona reminded me of the Laines here (though obviously on a far grander scale). The Netherlands has a similar split between a conservative countryside and more liberal cities... and so on. All this sharpens your perceptions of your surroundings and allows you to see things anew. It also shows you just how universal values and feelings can be.

I'm still struggling to get my thoughts in order - as it's a complex subject. By asking me to write the piece above Dave has really helped me start to make sense of it all.

Perhaps inclusive patriotism would be better thought of as like a relationship: your partner is at the centre of your life, but you still spend time with friends and other people.

Ali McNab

Difficult trying to describe Englishness, it's not something you usually think about, and that is how it should be, I suppose.

This article captures the Englishman's dilemma - balancing the dichotomy of the English mistrust of nationalism and our optimistic patriotism perfectly.

YellowDuck

I'm not English, but I lived in England for about six years. I love returning to the place, I love the language, the general demeanour of the people, it's difficult to put my finger on what it is that I love so much, perhaps, it's sense of locality.

But then again, when I return to Germany or Holland where I've also lived for longer periods of my life, I get a similar feeling. Perhaps we, as humans, inherently bond with what surrounds our dwelling places, grow fond of that which is familiar?

For a poetic take on nativeness and "strangerness" I can also recommend John Burnside's "The Asylum Dance", especially the first poem. Otherwise Matt, fantastic piece, it really made my day!

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