The following speech was presented by Alistair McConnachie to the London Swinton Circle (Chairman, Allan Robertson) on Tuesday 5 June 2018 at 7.00pm at the Counting House, 50 Cornhill, London. All photographs are copyright AFFG.
In Memoriam Christopher Luke
Ladies and Gentleman, thank you for coming along tonight.
Before I begin, I'd just like to say a word about an absent friend who's not with us tonight.
As many of you know, Christopher Luke passed away at the end of last year.
I first encountered Christopher when I was publishing my monthly anti-EU newsletter Sovereignty. I began that in June 1999. Christopher must have been given a copy because towards the end of that year I was delighted to find in my post, a copy of his 4-page newsletter
Unionist, number 16.
So from then on, we did a swop – he'd send me Unionist from "The Royal Borough of Tunbridge Wells" as he liked to call it, and I'd send him Sovereignty each month and we did that for the next 10 years.
I was very interested to read his ideas about the Union and he definitely contributed towards my understanding of it, especially in relation to Northern Ireland.
During those 10 years, we corresponded via email and occasionally by phone, but it wasn't until I spoke here in 2009 that I actually met him for the first time.
Since then, he would come to my annual talk here, and I was always very grateful for that, and it was good to catch up.
I didn't know Christopher beyond our shared political interests, but in that sense, we knew each other very well!
Unionism lost a good thinker, advocate and a staunch British Patriot, when he passed away at the end of last year.
So, what I'd like to do is dedicate this talk to Christopher and his memory. I know he would approve of what I have to say.
I'm going to speak for 45 mins and I'm going to divide my talk into 2 parts. The first part gives some background Philosophy on the idea of pride in one's Country and Identity, and the second part gives 15 things related specifically to Britain and Britishness, that I take pride in, and perhaps you might too.
As always, I use the word Britain as shorthand for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
So let's begin with some background philosophy…
SHAME and GUILT as POLITICAL WEAPONS
The opposite of pride is shame, and it is shame which certain people will use as a political weapon if they don't like what you're about.
"Why feel pride in your country when you should feel shame about the bad things which have been done in its name", they say.
That puts us on the back foot. It makes us defensive. It makes us unsure about our beliefs. It enables the opponent to dominate the debate.
Such people want to pour vitriol over our history, or where they don't do that, they want to pour 100s of gallons of Tippex over it so we never knew it existed.
Why do they do this?
If you can pour vitriol over, for example, the significant people of the past then you can also destroy a nation's sense of itself because if you say that the historical people we are meant to respect and who helped bring us to where we are today, are in fact bad, then you destroy the moral legitimacy of the present.
They are using the weapon of Shame and the weapon of Guilt about things in the past in an effort to dominate you politically today; to make you keep your head down and shut you up, basically.
So, Shame and Guilt are weapons intended to dominate you politically and are used for that person's political ends.
HIRSCH – 'The BATTLE for BRITAIN'S HEROES'
There was a programme on last week on Channel 4 called "The Battle for Britain's Heroes" (29-5-18) where the left-wing commentator Afua Hirsch was looking at our national heroes and their monuments and applying her politically-correct tests to them – and of course finding that they fall considerably short, in her opinion!
"The Battle" for Britain's Heroes? "The Battle", strange phrase?
In this regard, Peter Whittle, a UKIP Member of the London Assembly, tweeted on 29 May that: "There is no 'battle'. No 'debate' outside the tiny world of left wing self-described pseudo academics. This is a concocted controversy imposed on the public, who are left feeling demoralized, confused and self-doubting. Which is the point of the exercise."
Very well put. He nailed it there.
The point of the exercise is to leave us "feeling demoralized, confused and self-doubting."
The aim is to make us feel uncomfortable and consequently reluctant to defend these national characters, or the national stories, of which they are part.