Death of the Nation, birth of the World.

As I sit down to watch 30 blokes try to tear each other to bits all for the sake of the Six Nations Rugby tournament, I am minded of something from my past which has now become my present.

When I was young and ugly I worked in central London for many years during the seventies and eighties. At that time you would have to have been blinder than my booze-ridden eyes not to have noticed the changes that were beginning to take place. London, as with most capital cities, has always been the epitome of Cosmopolitan, but the change I first observed in 1978 wasn’t the number of different skins colours, dress codes or languages; it was something far more sinister, it was the shop signage.

I didn’t care much then, and I care even less now, what shops are called, or what they sell, but I did wonder why a particular section of those shops on the Edgware Road had no English text anywhere in or about them. It was as if they were saying ‘we only sell to our own’, and if you don’t understand our language, you’re not one of us. I noticed the same practice when living in Spain; Brits would never post their tatty bar menus in any language other than English, which actively dissuaded locals from even entering the premises.

What this tells us is that we (that is the Worldwide we) are currently living in what in the future will become known as the beginning of the main transitional period during which Nationality became a thing of the past.

Why are we still so obsessed with Nation? The change has been upon us for decades, so isn’t it about time we just let it go and got on with being people rather than current or previous occupants of Nations? Once we do that, perhaps all, or at least some, of the other undesirable behaviours nested within National identity will begin to dissolve.

Let’s take a leaf out of the sporting book, where South African cricketers have been playing for England for many years and footballers have the option to choose which National team they will play for. Even the holy game of English Rugby Union now has players whose National origins are about as far away from Surrey and Stockport as you could possible get. Let’s bring about, sooner, rather than later, the death of the Nation and the birth of the World.

One hundred years from now when history tutors are conveying information to millions of students Worldwide via their Google Direct Brain Delivery Systems, they will be discussing how difficult it must have been for us, ‘the people of that time’, to finally accept the loss of our National identities, and no doubt the students will be wondering what all the bloody fuss was about.

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