Sunday, 17 June 2012
Patriotism and National Identity in England
ED Miliband’s recent speech in which he tried to rehabilitate Englishness in the minds of his supporters illustrates the Left’s perennial difficulties with patriotism and national identity, particularly when they are English.
The Left doesn’t like them because they weaken the class antagonism upon which their own potential power depends.
But there is no doubt that there is a problem with Englishness in a way that there is none with Welshness or Scottishness.
Part of the problem is that the English national flag has until recently been so rarely displayed, unlike the Scottish
or the Welsh flags.
Unfortunately, English national identity became associated with beer-gutted, T-shirt-wearing, foreigner-hating, shaven-headed football hooligans who chanted Ingerland, Ingerland! while the national football team was playing and generally losing.
And the fact is that most English people did not want such an identity; it is not something to be proud of.
Therefore, when asked their nationality they would rarely say that they were English; they would say they were British, even though for most foreigners – for example, the French – the word “English” covers all the nationalities of
And, of course, there is a British identity. When I am abroad in a remote place and meet a Welshman or a Scotsman I feel an immediate identification with them that I do not feel with, say, a Greek or a Swede; and this is reciprocated.
THE very idea of Englishness has been attacked, particularly on the Left, because national identity, if it is English, is believed to be inherently intolerant, xenophobic and bigoted.
However, this is not so; when Rupert Brooke famously referred in his War Sonnet to the “corner of a foreign field
that is for ever England” he was not actually decrying foreign fields.
It is possible, after all, to love one’s country without hating other countries and to revere its traditions without
despising other people’s traditions.
Affection is not a zero sum game, so that if you love one place you must hate another.
The other way of attacking Englishness has been to say that the English are divided between north and south, rich
and poor, educated and uneducated, and so forth. But this is not true only of the English: it is true of every human group.
I am, for example, a member of the medical profession, members of which have never been entirely like-minded.
Some doctors are politically conservative, others politically radical; some have wide interests, others are narrowly focused on a small aspect of their profession.
But despite the variation the profession has an identity.
Indeed, if this argument against Englishness were valid – that the English vary greatly among themselves and therefore there is nothing distinctive about them or their culture – then no human group whatsoever could have an identity because the same could be said about all groups and we would all then be left as isolated human molecules floating in a social, psychological and cultural vacuum.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Englishness has traditionally been so disliked by the Labour Party is that, without
Welsh and Scottish votes, there would never be a Labour government.
That explains Gordon Brown’s sudden conversion to Britishness; between the Conservatives in England and the Nationalists in Scotland the Labour Party might be condemned to perpetual opposition if the Union broke up.
I write this in a Shropshire town where there are buildings of several centuries, each one of which could be nothing but English.
They form a graceful assembly and are something to be proud of; likewise the surrounding countryside (a human
achievement by the way, not a free gift of nature) is characteristically and uniquely English.
To say this is not to decry, much less to despise, anything else; but I feel especially attached to it because it is my
This is an almost universal human phenomenon which is why, when the Left tries to discount or discourage patriotism and national feeling, it always in the end has to make concessions to them.
There is no reason why the English should be any different in this regard. The fact that our identity is mixed – English and British – is not unique, or even unusual.
Bavarians, Saxons and Prussians are very different but they are all Germans.
(The East Prussian Bismarck once famously defined a Bavarian as a cross between an Austrian and a human being, a witticism that no one would dare make nowadays.)
ATTEMPTS to define a phenomenon such as “Englishness” often founder, though foreigners have less difficulty than the English themselves.
The foreign-born art historian and critic Nikolaus Pevsner, who ended up being knighted in the land of his adoption, had no difficulty in writing a book The Englishness Of English Art. Indeed, it is not easy to define art itself but like Englishness it is easy enough to recognise.
All national traditions have their strengths and their weaknesses.
No one, I suppose, would claim very much for English cooking. (I do not remember in all my travels ever having
seen an English restaurant abroad: that way bankruptcy would lie. Indeed, few restaurants in England itself advertise themselves as English.)
But man does not live by restaurants or cookery alone.
The English national identity has existed for a long time and never really disappeared, even if it was rarely paraded in public.
No Welshman or Scotsman ever had any difficulty identifying the English; perhaps the time has come for the English
to stop pretending they have such difficulty in identifying themselves.
First published in the Daily Express.
Posted on 06/17/2012 6:39 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
17 Jun 2012
Baby Got Barack
Or: Baby Got Bismarck
"(The East Prussian Bismarck once famously defined a Bavarian as a cross between an Austrian and a human being, a witticism that no one would dare make nowadays.)"
I can certainly identify with Otto above, who unified Germany, given my role as a unifier and post-racial president who personified the civil Chicago way in urging my followers to get in others' faces and punish their enemies; not that the continued exercise of power as a spy behind enemy lines doesn't come with the need for occasional compromise, camouflage or kismet. Whereas at one time I was able to get away with speaking truth to power by denigrating (I can use that d-word because I'm black) my opponents as clinging to their guns and religion (not that there is anything wrong with clinging to communists, the Koran, Liberation Theology, Molotov cocktails or AK-47's), political exigencies now require me to go through the motions of appearing tough on the fast Jihad (so far don't have to go so far as to diss the slow Jihad) and drone on and on about how tough I've been on so-called terrorists, though, thank Allah and Alinsky, I haven't yet had to speak the truth that the use of drones is not personal, just business; the business of soulcraft (and no, George Will ain't got no soul) and crafty statecraft.
Unlike me, who is most assuredly not the product of being raised at times among Muslims, communists, and white privileged lefties, Bismarck was a product of his times and could therefore be forgiven for regarding Austrians as - I believe the German word is - Hintermenschen. (And yes, I know more about Germany and Judaism than any other President, and, for that matter, more about Russia than the White House N-word Condoleeza "Like White On" Rice, who seems woefully ignorant of the cruel policy of the conservative Kremlin of forcible assimilation of Muslim minorities which is known to the us in the cognoscenti as Rustication.) Otto also had to contend with the Austrian language which is as incomprehensible as the words of the so-called US constitution which was written by white slave holders; not Eric Holders. It is my solemn duty as Commander of the Constitution to say, as was written by Lewis Gun Carroll in Alsace in Wunderland, what said words mean and what is the living and mutating document and what is the dead letter of the law which I and my regulatory agencies will make up along the way or decide what not to enforce (also see President Jesse Jackson's reply to Justice Thurgood "No Peace" Marshall, "Congress has made its decision, now let it enforce it!) at all.
And just as a German general during the First World War (also known as the war to make the world safe for democracy*) complained of having to allow for the needs and deficiencies of Germany's Austria-Hungary ally, I have to allow for the Realpolitik of re-election by sucking up to servicemen and women (most of whom, apart from say, members of the Bloods, Crips and MS-13 getting all-expense-paid higher education in the military, would not vote for me), I have to make my lips move in moving tribute to so-called "heroes" no matter how much it makes me feel chained (especially hard for someone descended from those whose country was enslaved by the British) to a corps**.
Western Civ Has Go To Go,
One, two many BHO's,
* democracy - Given that "sho do"is offensive and not even proper Ebonics, I, BHO, a former editor of a Law Review, observe that here truth is not an absolute defense.
** also see "corpse man" and ht to HF for Paris and her Hilton and Gomer and his Pyle:
Like Otto von Bismarck, who was one of the "big guns" in German unification, I intend to bring my ample ass-ets to the fore and behind (though tomorrow is not Tuesday and the Devil in the deep blue states, you sexy you, take the hindmost) in my husband's all butt military campaign to keep the White House. I will, however, not be the Ho of BHO, nor, allah Flander's Fields (as one might Wrightly say, "God damn America, god damn Churchill and god damn those poppies.") and Schvanz, will I schtup to conquer with Thongs of Patriotic Prejudice - the English, the English, the English speaking peoples are the worst.
One Of Your 'Umble & Ample Butt Sisters***,
Michelle "Big Bertha" Obama
*** Here's one for you troglodyte white right wingers:
Tags: PJO says God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat, A Christmas Carol, Inge Marler's ghost pulls the chain of the Tea Party, WWI, English soldiers led, War on Terror, corpsmen: lions led by Democrat donkeys, Big Bertha, Paris Gun, Is Paris Hilton burning? baby got back
18 Jun 2012
Guten (or not so good) Tags Continued: dept. of if you have to explain it, it ain't funny, WWI, Germany allied with Austrian Empire, "chained to a corpse," up or post dated oldie, German-Chinese restaurant in old Vienna - the food was good but an hour later you were Hungary for power, Maxim gun and trenches, hungry for corpses, trench mouth and foot-in-mouth disease, a pox virus on all your Cocksackie A-Frame houses
19 Jun 2012
Genocide begins when you become a thrall
And throughout the world "English" is but "White" writ small
Given Muslim inroads in Europe and the fact that whites now make up a minority of births in the US, I wouldn't bet a Quatloo on the survival of the West.
Tags: lions led by donkeys, the British Lion led by Triskelion's multiculti overlords, the Amerinds and Cap'n Kirk at least fought back against their enemies unlike what Eric Holder justly called a "nation of cowards," Billions for defense, not one Quatloo for fifth column quangos! the Hubble-high bubble bursts after ACORN and its ilk force banks to submit to the Sub-Prime Directive, Quangos ate my baby! (by supporting immigration which bids down the price of labor and bids up the price of housing and capital, thus depressing native fertility), I guess that means you're a better alpha dog or man than I am, Gunga Dingo