"Britain is an invented nation".
Peter Scott, Knowledge and Nation, 1990.
Today I was going to write something soft and easy to digest for the weekend, but then I read a news and changed my mind.
In Portugal we really have it easy as far as our national identity is concerned. We have a certain North/South rivalry and we have the discrepancies between a richer urban country and a poorer rural one. But in terms of nationality we all know we are Portuguese. We have a national football team that makes us all suffer or explode of happiness, we have a common History, a common and uniform language (even if we recognise two official languages), we have a homogeneous religious tradition and we have the oldest established borders in the Old World.
Just across our borders there's a state in which, to this very day, several national identities have been forced to coexist in not always a peaceful situation. And in Great Britain things are not better. There's the infamous and endless Irish Question, there's the pride of the Scotts holding firm to their traditions and to the Church of Scotland (a presbyterian Protestant faith), there's Wales and its celtic language that no one understands and there's England the nation that managed to forge, create and rule a country called Great Britain.
This incident happened just now. In Wales, an Irish truck driver was involved in a car accident with a Welsh woman. As usual in these circumstances people say a lot of crazy things in the heat of the moment. As such the truck driver called the lady in question: "You English bitch!". Most offended, the lady prosecuted the lorry driver.
Last Tuesday, the sentence was announced. The truck driver was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay the 200 pounds of judicial costs for racist behaviour! The lady was not offended she was called a "bitch", but for having been called "English" when she's in fact Welsh. In a country very uncomfortable about a forced nationality, political correctness comes at a high price.
Just imagine if all alentejanos were offended on account of all the jokes about them! Or if people in Beiras were to prosecute those who make fun of their pronunciation! Or if people called us "saloios"! In fact, we are very lucky that D. Afonso Henriques kicked out the Moors and the Spaniards and made us a country.