Friday, 26 February 2010

The importance of being English

A few months ago, I wrote a guest blog for my friend Andrew. I have decided to edit the text a little and, with Andrews agreement, republish here. It follows on from yesterday's posting and helps to meet my aim of posting 28 times this month! I warn you, it's long (as the actress said etc).

I would like to discuss the silent majority in Britain… the English.

Andrew is from Scotland and could easily enlighten us why he has national pride without embarrassment or the need for justification. The majority of people living in Britain are English – a varied group of people with many originating from across the globe. Although most are white, a good proportion is of black and Asian origin, but if you look closer and go back just a few generations, the mix is remarkable.

Whatever the original roots, my perception is that the English almost have to apologise before showing any national pride and when they do, they must provide explanation that their views are not racist or against minorities. It’s ludicrous political correctness that benefits nobody and is killing traditions that go back centuries.

National pride can be as simple as celebrating religious and local festivals, supporting the village fete, being part of a local group, getting behind sporting heroes, reveling in our history or flying our nation’s flag. In my opinion, the flag of St George should be flying above every single public building alongside the Union flag, yet has racist connotations due to a small number of evil activists. Let’s take back the flag and connect it with the many many great English achievements that we should be truly proud of.

Having visited Scotland on dozens of occasions (mainly with work), you get a real sense of national pride. It is everywhere, from business names to shop window displays and from local and major events to what people actively say. I am a little jealous that it’s so natural and freely promoted without any PC analysis. It’s not done with a view to put another nation or group down, it’s just ingrained in the national psyche.

If you visit to Wales or Scotland, you can see how national pride can be a positive and inclusive thing – irrespective of race and religion. Take the loony councils who want to ban the word “Christmas” stating that it may offend minority groups… it offends no-one and simply divides communities! Being fully inclusive allows everyone to enjoy English traditions. And for religious festivals, appreciating what they stand for means that over time, other faiths will be naturally included as part of English tradition.

Minority groups, whether based on racial, religious, sexuality or any other type, actively promote and celebrate their individuality and we must not be afraid to campaign for Englishness despite the local councils only looking to support minorities. I would love to keep our ways alive and welcome all kinds of people into this wealth of history and tradition, but is it possible to engineer such a thing?

Scum like the BNP have got it completely wrong. Those that want to maintain traditions and observe Englishness don’t have to be English and anyone can make a contribution to society, so let me make it very clear: this rant is all about inclusion and celebration. It’s great to be British and it’s great to be English.

The English have an outstanding history and number of traditions that are being eroded by local councils, politically correct biased media, schools, racists and even embarrassment.
And to end, consider the words of Ray Davies in the Kinks song Village green preservation society

“Preserving the old ways from being abused,
Protecting the new ways for me and for you”


  1. Maybe it's a generation thing but I've always considered myself as 'British' rather than English, the clinchers being that I wasn't born in England (or the U.K., for that matter) and that my father's side, as far as we know, had no English forbears, at least not in the generations we can trace. But you are quite right. For some decades there has been almost an apology underneath when identifying oneself as English which probably arises from the uses made of both the term and the flag, maybe entirely since WW2, linking it with some of the most objectionable and unsavoury aspects of politics and behaviour of certain 'patriots', the latter especially abroad. It would indeed be great if campaigns to celebrate 'Englishness' could be taken at their positive face value rather than decried by over-P.C. zealots reading into it that "English (for which, read 'white')= superiority", scared that offence might be caused. So yes, "Up with England!" (no disrespect intended).

  2. Is national pride a good thing anyway? Quite why my breast should swell with pride at the mention of some geo-political entity created more or less arbitrarily and/or by some thug or crook.

  3. (Sorry; I posted my comment before it was complete.)

    Is national pride a good thing anyway? Quite why my breast should swell with pride at the mention of some geo-political entity created more or less arbitrarily and/or by some thug or crook is unclear, and I'm not persuaded it is an unequivocally good thing that it should do so. Sure, we need administration, but I don't see that that needs to be accompanied by something like football-team-identification on a bigger scale.

  4. So you are happy that groups within towns and cities dont mix?

    You are happy that this leads to mistrust and tension.

    You are happy that racists abuse our flag?

  5. What I dislike, and find strange, is the idea that one should identify oneself pre-eminently as part of some nation-state and should regard this as having a supreme claim on one's loyalty.

    At different times and places, in various contexts and for various purposes, one may think of one's 'ain folk' as, for instance, Londoners, gays, trainspotters, highlanders, lawyers, Jews, humanists, lovers of classical music, Arsenal supporters, members of such-and-such a family, victims of abuse, etc, etc. It thus seems weird to me that one should be expected to give priority to fellow-Brits or fellow-Scots, as though this grouping of 'ain folk' had a sacredness none of the others had.

    There may be occasions where it is useful for the common good to emphasise one of these groupings over others, and I don't deny there may be contexts where it's worth pulling out the propaganda stops for, say, Britishness, at the expense of some other identification. But this is as a means to an end, as a response to a particular situation at a particular time; I don't see that there's anything worthwhile for its own sake in people's thrilling at the sight of a nation-state flag.

  6. Whatever the views, it's great to read some discussion on this topic.

  7. I like the ideas about being proud of being English etc.

    On the other hand, being proud of being English is not something which we have generally had to do, as English achievements in the past spoke for themselves.

    National pride and fervour often sits better with small countries who are desperate to carve an identity for themselves.