So with Gove banging on about WW1, and me stumbling across an old UKIP document from 2010 that says things like (fucking love the first sentence):|
13.2 UKIP will make high quality teaching of British history in schools mandatory. UKIP believes all UK citizens must learn a common history and draw from a unified heritage. The patchy and biased teaching of history in schools, often very anti-British, is a major problem for a cohesive society.
I was thinking: what, to you, is 'patriotic' history? To Gove and UKIP, it seems to be consist of a mix of being broadly positive towards Britain, concerned more with justifying very particular historical events and trends than explaining anything in a wider context, damning towards alternative readings that diverge from a strict narrative, being useful as a tool in society for political-cultural ends, and so on.
Essentially, it's just one reading of history that demands pre-eminence over all others because it's perceived to be more loving of the nation. That's it, as far as I can tell - even when others within the nation think differently. Gove might be somewhere near a point, just about, when he points out that German expansionism was dangerous - it was, speaking in Anglo-centric terms, and it's important not to dismiss the war as a giant accident, devoid of concrete historical intentions and desires. But to pretend he means one must be more aware of context, to keep the details in mind even in the face of overwhelming national grief, is wrong: he means Britain woz 'right', deal with it. Patriotism, apparently.
The annoying thing is, is that I consider myself somewhat patriotic, and most certainly do not agree with this kind of analysis. If patriotism means love, love must not be blind. I don't 'love' Britain, but I am very grateful for it in many ways, and I am deeply attached to places and people here. Being critical of something about Britain, perhaps from its past, is not hatred - it's critical affection, to me, because you criticise the things you want to be better.
To me, patriotic British history, if such a thing can/should exist, is looking honestly at the intentions, thoughts, ideas, actions and responses of British people to events within and without Britain, and to try and understand them as much as possible. Basically: common garden historical inquiry, with the recognition that all historians are subjective, flawed. If a judgement is made, by the historian or otherwise, so be it: if it's damning, it's damning because our current standards, as Brits, are different now. If it's positive, then that's all to the good. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more - the shrouding of a very particular historical narrative in the cloak of 'loving objectivity'.
What do you guys think?
Edited by RedSparrows at 16:45:08 14-01-2014
Edited by RedSparrows at 16:47:02 14-01-2014