If you take even a passing interest British matters, you’re probably as dizzy as I am from all that has happened in the last 3 weeks.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, and the subsequent reports of horrendous behaviour towards people from other countries currently living in the UK, I found that almost overnight my love for my homeland was tarnished. The Union Jack flag, which appeared in such a cheery context across the nation in 2012 for the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, not to mention adorning the cover of my debut novel, already had a complex, emotional past. But its wide usage by those who voted to leave the EU inevitably linked it, in my mind, with beliefs I don’t share and prejudices I find sickening.
As the referendum dust settled, I wondered if my author tagline of Anglophile Women’s Fiction was even something I wanted to retain. With 52% of British voters (and far more than that, in parts of England), holding values that don’t match mine, could I still be a lover of Anglo culture? I hope I can. But here, for the record, are a few things that Anglophile means to me.
Anglophile does not mean Europe-hater. I voted to remain in the EU, along with most of my generation. Underlying my feelings about England is an even stronger belief that economically, socially, and ethically, as a planet, we’re all in this together.
Anglophile does not mean I think other parts of the United Kingdom should go their own way …although, frankly, I wouldn’t blame them now, if they do. It’s just a less clumsy, better-known word than Britophile.
Anglophile means I appreciate those things which are quintessentially English, without believing that they are necessarily better or the only way something should be done. Yes, I love afternoon tea. But an American-style brunch is pretty awesome, too. And I wouldn’t say no to croissants for breakfast or lasagne for dinner.
Anglophile does not mean I think England should freeze in a rose-scented time-warp. The world is changing: Cool Britannia can – and should – evolve too. The belief that things were “better” in the “old days” is deluded.
Anglophile means I love England in the same way as one loves a close family member: flaws and all. It doesn’t mean I approve of each and every choice.
As always, your comments are welcome.
Art shown in this post is available to purchase from Etsy. Inclusion here does not imply the artists share my views or intended a political message in its creation.
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