2007 - 2021

Grieving Britain, a Therapeutic Guide

social-work-tech-seven-stages-of-griefBritain is dead. It was killed by neoliberalism not nationalism. They gutted it of its connective tissue, spleen and gizzard too. Now they remoan about ‘separatists’. Trying to comprehend this is a psychological process not just a political one. The institutions that were familiar and durable to allow ‘Britain’ to survive were sold-off, debased, privatised or undermined through their own venality.

Royal Mail, the Royal Bank of Scotland, British Rail were privatised and before that: British Petroleum (1979), British Aerospace February (1981), Cable & Wireless (1981), Amersham International (1982), National Freight Corporation (1982), Britoil (1982), Associated British Ports (1983), Enterprise Oil (1984), Jaguar (1984), British Telecommunications (1984), British Shipbuilders (1985) onwards, British Gas (1986), British Airways (1987), Rolls-Royce (1987) , BAA (1987), British Steel (1988) – Tata!), Water (1989), Electricity (1990) and on and on.

In the second phase of privatisation Labour stepped-up with its disastrous asset-stripping cost-cutting PFI ventures, undermining the future of much of the public infrastructure of this country.

So water, steel, communications, transport and then schools, and we have to all pretend that the NHS hasn’t been quietly privatised over years.

Institutions like the House of Lords or the House of Windsor have may just have been undermined by their own ridiculousness, feudal relics still hanging about somehow in the 21st C.

So Britain’s dead not because of nasty movements from ‘England’s fringe nations’ (™Adam Boulton) but by hollowing-out the very things that held the notional nation together. The British Army, a key totem for British National identity, has been undermined by a combination of its own behaviour at war (for which its now treasonous to even discuss), it being driven down in numbers and cutbacks and its association with wars and foreign adventures for which its very difficult to have anything but a sense of shame.

There’s a curious element to this that the more the norms and values get debased and the social contract eroded through ever more brutal privatisation (G4), the more people will cleave to an empty form of nationalism.

As Richard Seymour wrote back in 2012: “The London fire brigade is outsourcing 999 calls to a firm called Capita, at the behest of the oleaginous chair of the capital’s fire authority, Brian Coleman. Multinationals are circling hungrily around NHS hospitalsSchools are already beginning to turn a profit. In the technocratic nomenclature of the IMF, this would be called a “structural adjustment programme”, but that doesn’t really capture the sweeping scale of the transformation.”

The more this is stated the less it can be said. As the political field ‘narrows’ the sense of the ridiculousness grows.



There have been attempts at revival: Cool Britannia; the Jubilee; Mary Berry; digging up the King; Mo Farah; James Bond ad nauseam. Endless Royalism till it’s coming out of your red white and blue socks. But the gap between fantasy and reality can’t be contained with a telephoto lens and the red-tops. Remember the frightened look on Camilla’s face as students protested in 2010? Charles clutched at her hand with the same grip May would use with the Horny POTUS seven years later.  Queen Elizabeth today turns 91 years old. In her lifetime, 128 countries have gained independence. These PR efforts can’t work. The brand’s broken, Britain’s Dead and we need to help British Nationalists mourn.

Here’s a quick guide to the seven stages of grief and where key players might be in the process. Your suggest to complete the picture …

1. Shock and Denial. Stephen Daisley. Iain Martin. The Economist. Brian Wilson.
2. Pain and Guilt. Murdo Fraser. The Telegraph. John McTernan.
3. Anger and Bargaining. Chris Deerin. Leicester FC fans. Effie Deans.
4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness.  Gordon Brown. David Torrance.
5. The Upward Turn. Alasdair McKillop.
6. Acceptance and Hope. Mike Dailly. Ireland.
7. Reconstruction Working Through. The Herald group.


Comments (5)

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  1. James says:

    These are fascinating times for Britain. Next thing you know the Queen is going to deliver her greatest gift to Scotland, her death. The last Empress of Empires passing will sever for many Scots the continuity and acceptance of royalty and the British state, all neatly wrapped up in a Union Jack. Fortunately most of these Scots are also of her vintage and we will be fare welling them soon, their finest contribution to the wellbeing of Scotland. A generation that through their lack of courage and selfish outlook denied a younger generation their rightful appointment as administrators of a Sovereign Scotland. I hardly think the adulterer King Charles and his ugly consort will receive quite the same acceptance as his mother has in Scotland where Queen Nicola rules.

    1. scrandoonyeah says:

      ‘Next thing you know the Queen will deliver her greatest gift to Scotland, her death’

      that certainly did tickle my fancy………

    2. J Galt says:

      oh I think Charlie’s going to be by-passed in favour of Wills n’ Kate.

  2. MBC says:

    After Britain lost her empire (the whole reason for a United Kingdom) she lost her purpose but briefly found a new unifying direction and new life in the form of joining the European Economic Community (EU) in 1973. This not only brought prosperity but also acted as a social glue across the nations. Now that this will be gone the last bit of glue holding us together in a common purpose around which we can unite will leave the United Kingdom exposed as merely English imperialism over the other members.

    Scotland agreed to lay down her sovereignty in 1707 for the opportunity of the freedom of foreign trade in the colonies that were being established in the name of the British crown in the 17th century but to which her access was precarious because of the English Navigation Acts. She will leave for exactly the same reason, because England now threatens our access to the largest trading block in the world.

    England’s grip on Scotland can now only be maintained by force and guile.

    Let’s hope Harrison’s army of Uncle Toms don’t win the day and Scots don’t bottle it in the face of a renewed Project Fear and the mendacity of the media.

  3. MBC says:

    Comment didn’t appear?

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