While at work the other day, I stumbled upon a Facebook application called simply "I am British". Emblazoned with a Union Jack, the app's homepage shows that it has over 90,000 'fans'. So I had to install it and see what all the fuss is about.
The "I am British" app was produced by i2we, a San Francisco based app developer that has come up with dozens of similarly named apps like "I am soccer / futbol", "I am lesbian" and "I am childbirth professional". What these apps seem to allow you to do is (a) define yourself by your nation, sport or profession; (b) earn points by saying you're doing stuff connected with your chosen app (like "I am toast and marmite" or "I am binge drinking"; and (c) socialise with like-minded people. So far, so stultifyingly dull.
But what really interested me about this app is what users of "I am British" say about the app and themselves. The app reviews are enlightening. They range from slightly confused but determined calls to preserve Britishness:
Must keep up our heritage remember the little things fish n chips on a friday,bacon butties fof breakfast.Support the local harvest festival.Donate to your local church.Most of all dont tarmac or blockpave over you gardens,people who do this are killing our green pastures our HERITAGE.
…to barely literate threats:
Born n bred british
i die 4 this fuckin country
so if u dont like it here fuck off i aint dying 4 u
…and there are even some opposing views:
You should be proud of what you achieve, not what you are. Saying you're proud of your heritage is as stupid as being proud of your eye colour.
When one young guy says that he was "Givin shit to pakis " – he receives a high five. Someone else comments that he's "Sick to death of the vile infection of freeloading scum washing up on our shores for a free handout!!!!:(" – which leads to a "Hear hear" and a further clarification from the original poster that:
At Present I find myself unemployed,All I
need to help fix this problem is a Gun and
an ammunition supplier that can keep up
with the demand for bullet's.
I like how a vague threat of terrible violence is rendered fluffy by the inclusion of a smiley.
The problem with "I am British" is that racist opinions aren't in the minority. Most reviews and many wall posts seem to espouse pure BNP ideology, though not couched in that party's flowery language.
see if u look above there no black in the flag so is our country overrun with blacks
i work for livin an pay ma taxis unlike these fukin imagrantes thats what makes u british.this country is gettin raped
I no that many people class them selves British even the ones who was born in this country but i kida disagree because if you was born in England then you are English. Government wants us to call our self's British even when we are totally the opposite. If the foreigners get to choose if they are Asian or any other race but we cant call our selves English. Personally i think it is terrible the why the foreigners get everything and we get nothing when we are the true citizens. I think there is going to be a big riot if the government dont do nothing because we are getting sick of all of it. Soon the white race will be gone if we dont do nothing. We aint racist we are realists. Bring back England
ME COME TO ENGLAND POOR AND BROKE. GO DOWN DOLE SEE SOCIAL BLOKE, FILL IN FORM STAND AROUND KIND MY GIVE ME PLENTY POUND,ALL IS NICLEY SETTLED DOWN NICE BIG HOUSE IN ROTHERHAM TOWN ,ME THINK ENGLAND DAMN FINE PLACE MUCH TO NICE FOR WHITE MAN RACE AND IF YOU DONT LIKE COLOURED MAN THERS PLENTY ROOM IN PAKISTAN! [This post comes from a chap who appears to be a British soldier]
I know I shouldn't be surprised by this sort of thing. But with Modbury suddenly flying multiple England flags and Union Jacks, I'm concerned that Britain is seeing an increase in a type of patriotism that seems to be predominantly based on race hate. Maybe I should "leave the country" (that won't be difficult)? Or maybe I'm just over reacting and nothing has really changed.