Monday, 13 February 2012

England Made Me


I now write for the English Standard (www.englishstandard.co), a new online paper designed to advance English views on English subjects, on the subject of England itself, a country that for too long dare not speak its name, though its Celtic neighbours more or less bawled theirs. To date I’ve contributed two articles, one on the poet Rupert Brooke and another on Sir Edward Hawke, the admiral who fought the Battle of Quiberon Bay during the Seven Year’s War, a naval victory over France that led to the ascent of Empire.

Here I am, spreading myself around: Ana the Imp, BrooWaha, My Telegraph (formerly), Boadicea’s Chariot (occasionally) and now the English Standard! It’s all good fun, no hardship at all. I love to write, to express my thoughts, my uniquely individual point of view, over any number of subjects, anything that attracts my eye, the ridiculous, the sublime and all points in between.

Anyway, ES is a fine venture, one that I’m happy to be associated with, flattered that I was invited to contribute. The editorial statement makes it clear that it’s about reclaiming English identity, too long submerged in collective notions of Britishness. It is, I suppose, anti-Union in purpose, in that the Union has served the interests of the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish Loyalists far more than it has served those of the English.

This is a subject I begin to think about more and more, though personally speaking I still retain some Unionist sympathies. I have a slight concern that if the United Kingdom dissolves into its constituent parts that we will be more vulnerable to the monstrous importunities of the European Union, an organisation that I have come to loath. Still the issue of identity politics presses on us ever harder, issues brought more sharply into focus by the last Labour government, conceivably the most treasonable in all of our history.

Three years ago I wrote an essay, again by invitation, to a site dedicated to a single question – what England means to me. In this I made the following points;

Britishness? Ah, yes, now there is a problem. I grew up believing simply that Britishness and Englishness were more or less the same thing though I was very well aware that the Celtic nations had a separate and somewhat prickly identity. It’s been their assertiveness, their determination to be ‘themselves’, to govern themselves, that resulted in our present botched constitutional settlement, one that has really forced me to focus more specifically on simple Englishness. I no longer use British to identify myself other than to say that I have a British passport.

Yes, our present constitutional settlement is botched, badly thought-out and unfinished. It has raised more questions than it has answered, the question over England’s political sovereignty above all, our right to manage our own domestic affairs without outside interference, interference by those who are not English. Where does England fit in the devolved United Kingdom? I simply don’t know. There is, so far as I can tell, no great desire for a separate English parliament, but things cannot go on as they are indefinitely. It’s a house of cards which will fall, I believe, if we ever again have a Labour administration only kept in place by MPs from Scotland and Wales.


Britain is indeed a house of cards, though it gives me no pleasure to say so. People here are increasingly frustrated by the unanswered West Lothian Question, namely how long will we tolerate politicians coming from out-with England being able to interfere with our political affairs when we are unable to interfere with theirs?

This, like the Human Rights Act, mass immigration, the abandonment of ever more sovereignty to the European Union, the after effects of one ruinously expensive foreign war after another, is the legacy of the wholly vile Tony Blair. It’s rather ironic that this man, who seems to have no specific nationality at all, a cosmopolitan free-floater, has been indirectly responsible for a new English assertiveness. England made me; it’s an axiom that I no longer have any interest in denying. God bless the ES and all who sail in her!

14 comments:

  1. God save the Queen? for starters drive the Rothchilds out of England.

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  2. I share your concern that a devolved or disunited kingdom will be at the mercy of the EU. Traditional historical and geographic entities like Britain (and even Scandinavia?) could still play important roles in the future.

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  3. I have wondered if you were aiming towards a media job of some sort, or might be content to be a casual, if prolific, freelance contributor-at-large. The publishing world is in flux, right now, with a very uncertain future. But news and opinion, engagingly expressed, will always find an audience.

    I hear there may be openings at Murdoch's "Sun" :)

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    1. I could be the new Rebekah Brooks. :-)

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  4. In my opinion, if the Union is to be kept —that is if the English voters want to keep it— there will have to be an English parliament just like the Spanish did a tad more than thirty years ago with their "comunidades autónomas" as an answer to Catalan and Basque nationalism.

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    1. Deino, there is certainly a growing unease over the present state of the Union. Things can't go on as they are indefinitely.

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  5. Like you, I regard myself as an Englishman who happens to hold a British passport. I feel this way because the UK government is busy handing out British passports to all and sundry. Anyone, it seems, can have one. The more they do this, the more I feel English. No matter how many British passports Abu Qatada may hold, he cannot be English.

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    1. It's a point I've made repeatedly, Michael: holding a British passport does not make you British.

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  6. Do they make a fuss over Valentines day in England like they do in America?, well I hope you had a nice one.

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    1. Yes, we do. Thank you, dear Anthony, I had a lovely one. I was in Paris. :-)

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  7. Ana, I do not share your enthusiasm. A once great nation is reduced to this? Back to 1700? In 1700, prior to the Union of Scotland & England, England had full control over its sovereignty. As you know this is not the case today. Nor will it ever be unless we have a Prime Minister with the backbone and integrity to offer the people a referendum on the EU. I know all about the influence of Nick Clegg but David Cameron had already nailed his European colours to the mast way before he set sail on his cosy coalition. It is sad end to a British nation I suspect. Still, there is always the Fox's Prophecy.

    see link:

    http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/000149.html

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    1. Nobby, I know of Fox's Prophecy thanks to you. I agree completely: a referendum on the EU is essential.

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