Grieving for a Wales in Europe

Just a short English post to try an explain why many Welsh Christians were disappointed by the vote from an identity/cultural perspective. (There are other reasons also, but I’ll stick here to the identity/cultural reasons).

I have a deep heart, not out of grief for the EU (as an institution I never felt much love for it), but mainly because of the resurgence of British Nationalism. That cultural-politico phenomenon that colonized much of the world starting with the “first and last colony”, Wales. I hold no grudge, but I did when I was younger, I must confess. Now I just feel a longing to know, as Nina Simone sang, “how it would feel to be free”.

Many of us liked the idea of ‘Wales in Europe’ because there we found nations who shared a similar story to ours, small nations, colonized nations, post-colonial nations, nations with minority languages, nations where it was normal to speak two or more languages (England really are the exception here). Back in the UK the relationship was, as Facebook would say, “complicated”!

One possible positive outcome out of all this from a nationhood perspective is that a healthy English nationalism would now flourish. This being very different to the imperialistic British Nationalism of old. My only fear on that front is what R. Tudur Jones said after the passing of Churchill: “For him England wasn’t England without her Empire. He delighted in her empire, her kingdom, her dominion. He took enjoyment in mispronouncing foreign names. English was the only language worth taking notice of.” Unfortunately the British/English nationalism represented by UKIP, and to a lesser extent Gove and Boris Johnson, harks back somewhat to that delusion of grandeur. I hope those who are trying to forge a new non-colonial, non-imperialistic and multicultural English nationalism will gain ground.

The Bible speaks of there being ‘neither Jew nor Gentile’ in the Kingdom of God. True, but the whole point there is that the Gentile didn’t have to become a Jew to be a child of God. Our cultural identities still exist, and no nation should assume or aspire for dominion over another. We didn’t see the EU as having dominion over us, we saw it as a’n extended family we were part of. Now we’re back home having only big brother to play with, with ties with our cousins (we actually had a lot in common with) just been made complicated.

I hope this helps.

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