One Britain, One Nation song strikes wrong chord – but receives government backing

The Government has supported a campaign by a former police officer which aims to instil pride in Britain through a celebratory day this week.

One Britain One Nation (OBON) Day is due to be celebrated in schools on Friday through the singing of a patriotic song, after the campaign was founded by retired police inspector Kash Singh.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it was encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate OBON Day on Friday, so that "children can learn about our shared values of kindness, pride and respect".

But the song has struck the wrong chord with many, with some comparing it to state-led propaganda. 

Whilst it may be well-meaning, many schools in Scotland will be closed because the summer holidays start on Monday, June 27. 

And in Northern Ireland the British branding is unlikely to go down well because Britain encompasses England, Scotland and Wales, whilst Great Britain and Northern Ireland constitutes the United Kingdom.

Inspiring a generation. Urging all schools to join us on 25th June for #OBONDAY2021 campaign supported by @educationgovuk to spread the message of #Pride #Unity #Love #Respect for all through a song composed by @StJohnsCE.
Please see link for full details https://t.co/7CtBQIPBos pic.twitter.com/7ngqoLmhiU

— One Britain One Nation (OBON) (@1Britain1Nation) June 3, 2021

The idea has also been derided by one of the Conservative Party’s own MPs, Caroline Nokes.

The MP for Romsey and Southampton North retweeted a preview of the OBON song saying: "I can’t unhear this (however fervently I wish I could)".

And the Welsh Government has already rejected the idea that the movement will be endorsed by its members. 

A spokesman told Welsh news outlet Nation.Cymru: "Education is a devolved matter and the Welsh Government has not been engaged in this project."

Meanwhile, actress Joanna Lumley has expressed strong support for the organisation, according to the OBON website.

In a statement on the site, she said: "The aims and aspirations of OBON are extremely impressive and timely.

"I wish the project all the success it so richly deserves and I support its vision of one nation with all my heart."

The OBON website describes its vision as to "create a strong, fair, harmonious and a proud British Nation, celebrating patriotism and respect for all our people".

On Tuesday, the Department for Education tweeted: "We’re encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect."

But a Department for Education spokesman added on Wednesday: "Our schools should promote fundamental British values including tolerance and respect. 

"As such, we support One Britain One Nation’s broad aims to help children learn about equality, kindness and pride, and it is for schools to decide how they teach these important values.

"The department has not asked people to sing songs or endorsed any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day."

The song lyrics, in full
Chorus

We are Britain
And we have one dream
To unite all people
In one great team
We are Britain
And we have one dream
To unite all people
In one great team

Verse 1

Our nation survived through many storms and many wars
We’ve opened our doors, and widened our island’s shores
We celebrate our differences with love in our hearts
United forеver, never apart

(Chorus)
Verse 2

So many different races, standing in the same place
So many different faces, moving at the same pace
We all stand together with pride in our hearts
United forever, never apart

(Chorus)
Outro

Strong Britain, Great Nation
Strong Britain, Great Nation
Strong Britain, Great Nation
Strong Britain, Great Na-a-tion

(Written and performed by: St John’s CE Primary School pupils, Bierley, Bradford)

Founder: ‘It’s about everybody having this strong shared sense of belonging’

Kash Singh, founder of One Britain One Nation (OBON), has said coming to the UK as a boy who "couldn’t speak a word of English" followed by 30 years’ service as a police officer inspired him to set up an organisation for people in the UK to celebrate their "passion, pride and love" for the nation.

The Government has supported Mr Singh’s campaign calling on school children to celebrate OBON Day on Friday, which involves singing a patriotic song.

Mr Singh, who founded OBON in 2013, told Times Radio: "We started the concept in Bradford and West Yorkshire, and it’s been very, very successful indeed, so what we want to look at is taking it across the nation.

"It was something that was born from my dream as a police officer, in terms of what I’d see, in terms of my passion, pride and frustration, and something that I feel needed to be done in this country.

"This country is a brilliant country, I came to this country as a six-year-old kid who couldn’t speak a word of English, my parents were labourers, they worked in a factory and foundry, and there are fantastic people in this country.

"One of the things that was missing for me was what we need to do, is we need an organisation that the people of this country can align themselves to to showcase their passion, pride and love for this great nation."

Former policeman and founder of One Britain One Nation (OBON) Kash Singh said the organisation aims to help "eliminate hate and discrimination", and encourage pride in the nation, adding that "millions of people who’ve settled in this country" are proud to live here.

He told Times Radio: "It’s about everybody having this strong shared sense of belonging. It’s about everybody feeling part of this great country.

"We’ve got to eliminate hate and discrimination any time, and that was at the forefront of my mind when I set this organisation up.

"I thought, ‘let’s bring out the best in our people, let our people showcase their passion, pride and love for this great nation, because it’s out there’.

"Some people may have this perception that not everybody is proud of this country – let me tell you, people like me, and the millions of people who’ve settled in this country from other parts of the world, are so proud of this country.

"I think we need to celebrate that and create this spirit of oneness and togetherness, and showcase that we’re all one people of this country regardless of where you’re from."

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