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When will organisations start dropping “British” from their names, and how will they replace the Zombie adjective?

February 4, 2017


The adjective “British” is something will become increasingly difficult to use in the coming years.  Even before the inevitable formal dissolution of Britain as an internationally recognised jurisdiction,  Britain no longer functions as a commonwealth or as any a community of common purpose. Having failed to register any concern for the future of Northern Ireland, offering Scotland nothing other than utter indifference and casual coercion, the South Westminster government has publicly abandoned Britain as a meaningful concept.  Right now Britain, and the flag that’s waved with it, functions as a zombie nation.  It moves, it makes incoherent grunting noises, and it occasionally demonstrates violent appetites, but no blood runs through it.  No heart beats.

Furthermore, the combination of the disgusting Brexit campaign, and the rush to become a fascist ally of the Trump regime will soon (if it hasn’t already) render the word “British” a discreditable adjective – a prefix that contaminates and discredits whatever it’s introducing.  Globally, I expect “British” to become internationally synonymous with “Stupid and Hateful”.   Who would want to be treated by a Doctor who’s a fully paid up member of the “Stupid and Hateful Medical Association”?  What self respecting member of the performing arts community would want to receive a Stupid and Hateful Academy of Film and Television Award?   In short, Brits owe it to themselves, to their own core sense of self respect, to forge identities they can live with for the foreseeable future.

Unlike Scotland and Wales, England has yet to develop a civic adjective that’s free and clear of ethno-nationalist taint.  Replacing every “British” with “English” will sound downright sinister, at least in the short to medium term.

My solution is to go far more local.  What organisations currently encumbered with an acronym beginning with “B” should do, is look to the town or neighbourhood most associated with their respective HQs and name themselves after those.

The name of a town cannot be politically discredited.  Many states fail and many polities collapse in shame and confusion but there are other names which are far more resilient. There is, of course, the problem of metropolitan chauvinism as a consequence of so many organisations being based in London.  The solution to this issue is to pick a borough or district within London for titular purposes.

There seems no reason why the Marylebone Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) should not continue to be a world recognised brand leader.   And why should not Hillingdon Airways fly its fleet of passenger jets around the world with renewed pride and purpose?

Meanwhile, one of my favourite societies on this earth would become known as OSECS – which is an acronym I can really get behind.

(Although technically, we generally meet in North Oxford – which would result in NOSECS please – we’re British.)


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