Eddie Izzard: All I saw while running my marathons told me Britain isn’t a racist country


by Eddie Izzard

Last year I ran 43 marathons through the United Kingdom – through England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – and I had a good chance to take a look at our country.

Normally, doing comedy gigs around the UK, I don’t get a lot of opportunity to see our towns and cities in great detail, but running, you see things differently. You get a chance to see things up close.

The run, which was for Sport Relief, made me think about a lot about Britain.

What I found was that wherever I ran, whether through rural Yorkshire, remote Wales, or the busy streets of Edinburgh or Leeds, there was a definitely a British character. But it was also the character of human beings you might meet running or travelling anywhere in the world.

Britishness, it seemed to me, wasn’t some fixed, static thing. It wasn’t about doing things the way they’d always been done.

I saw some communities that had barely changed since my grandparents’ day, and others they wouldn’t have recognised. But all of them were British in their own way.

Immigrants have changed the landscape of Britain, but they have also become a crucial part of our country. Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham may be multi-racial cities but they are all still distinctly British.

The roads I ran on might look British, but miles and miles of them are

actually Roman and many others are tracks built by the Celts.

Our country, after all, has been massively diverse for most of its history – a blend of Angles, Saxons, Romans, Vikings, Celts.

While I was running, I met people of all different colours and backgrounds, with all different regional accents, in all different shapes and sizes, but wherever I ran, I always knew I was here in Britain.

I was born in Yemen, in the Middle East, and grew up in Bangor in

Northern Ireland, and Skewen in South Wales. I went to school in East Sussex and university in Sheffield, so I suppose that makes me a typical example of our diverse nation.

We never have been a purebred nation – no nation is. The strength and vitality of our country is in the strength of the blend of our genes. The purebred race that Hitler and the BNP desire is doomed to failure by in-breeding – basic biology tells us that.

I am proud to campaign for Hope not Hate. This year, even more is at stake. The BNP could win their first seats as MPs – or control of their first council.

All I saw while running my marathons told me that Britain isn’t a racist country, and that people don’t want to be represented by racists in our country.

It confirmed my faith in Britain. It showed me that it’s in the nature of the British people to be hopeful. It showed me that Britain is brilliant.

I hope you’ll join me and vote for Hope in the general and local elections.

Surely no-one really wants Hate over Hope?

Written by Momo in: Politics & Causes |

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