The English Lobby is not happy


3:49 pm - March 12th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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We received this email the other day. How should we respond?

Dear Mr Semple
Re: Distorting St George’s day

I observe that you lack the candour to disclose YOUR interest in this subject of St George’s Day.

In short, do you regard yourself first and foremost as anything other than English?

You say: “That England celebrates St. George’s Day as its national day has always struck me as somewhat absurd, bearing in mind the number of eminent Saints who graced these shores: the healing St. Cuthbert, the humble St. Thomas Becket who stood up to autocracy, or the learned humanist, Thomas More.” when this disparaging remark could be applied also to Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

However, you have presumed to single out England and the English for this and other insulting and humiliating public remarks and, in doing so, you breach the Race Relations Act 1976 which includes nationality, national origins and ethnic origins in its definition of “racial grounds”.

Anti-English institutional racism seems to be rampant throughout the Labour Party.

Please send me a postal address where the issue of anti-English racism can be pursued and settled in court if necessary.

Yours sincerely

Alan England
Director

English Lobby

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Dear Mr England,

In response to your remarks we would suggest that you contemplate the response provided to the plaintiff in Arkell vs Pressdram.

Regards,

LibCon

There’s an “English Lobby”?? Hang on, these are the kinds of people that say it’s racist to have a ‘black police officers’ association’.

I don’t have words to describe how absurd that letter looks. But I am not a lawyer, and I don’t support any aspects of the race relations act that have implications for free speech.

Am I missing something here? What’s disparaging about that remark?

Can’t this ‘lobby’ tell the difference between sensible and rational comment on our national identity and ‘racism’?

I’m English – am I being told by this self-appointed ‘lobby’ that if I would prefer some other patron saint, or no saint at all, that I’m less English than them? Who’s being offensive?

(did that guy change his name to England?!?)

My response would be:

“We learn to be ashamed before we walk,
Of the way we look and the way we talk,
Without our stories, and our songs,
How will we know where we come from?
We’ve lost St. George and the Union Jack,
It’s my flag too and I want it back!

People like the English Lobby are, for me, among those to whom we’ve lost those symbols. St. George is like St. Christopher; they are valuable for the symbolic meaning they acquired during the middle ages and the Enlightenment, not for the lives of the original religious me. Should they in fact have existed, which is not always certain.

One can have a national pride without its symbols being used for xenophobia.

If it helps, my local hardware store sells tin hats

I think tinfoil hats are more in order, SL.

If it’s an attempt at satire, I applaud his efforts!

Personally, I’d encourage him to waste his time in court.

I’m reminded of the much-missed Chris Lightfoot and his dealings with the English Democrat party

“In short, do you regard yourself first and foremost as anything other than English?”

Dear Mr England

do you regard yourself first and foremost as anything other than a supercilious tosser?

Yours Sally

What is the chance that the England Lobby is run by someone called Mr England ? Wind up.

… But wait, I thought that the Welsh and the Irish DO have native patron saints, and therefore the point is redundant?

Not that it would matter to these peoples …

(I honestly don’t know much about Saint Andrew. Sorry.)

According to tradition, St David was Welsh by birth – but so was St Patrick (although he did most of his religion-spreading in Ireland).

St Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother, so not very Scottish…

I’m not going to link to it, but their website is a very strange place & suggests this is not a wind-up. They say they will consider legal action on behalf of people who have been criticised for celebrating an aspect of English culture. Given that it’s kind of odd that the only aspect of English culture they identify anywhere on their site is the English language.

“They say they will consider legal action on behalf of people who have been criticised for celebrating an aspect of English culture.”

How about Football Hooliganism, the English invented that.

No reference to it on their website. Until there is, I think you’re free to criticise football hooliganism without fear of being sued.

I assumed simple Semple’s Young Ones homage “ You know …St. George wasn`t even English … …yeah …. “ was satire on adolescent self importance in the first place . Did he intend this as an “insight ” then?

As long as they’re not going to use the address for nefarious deeds then give it to them (or maybe just give them your solicitors address, I dunno what the protocol is for these).

I reckon it’s far more likely that we’ll see flying pigs before the legal action turns up (and I’m not schooled in legal matters, but it’s not going to take Rumpole of the Bailey to work out that this one’s a non-starter).

I would describe myself as being willing to be converted to the idea of an English parliament, or a kind of UK federalism or home rule all round, but i guess it’s a rather dry constitutional issue and would have effects which no-one could arguably predict.

However, when the main proponents for English home rule are nutters like this, then it’s hard to see how it would ever come about. The Tories wouldn’t want the extra administration, Labour currently would not get a majority in any english parliament, and the Liberals seem not to be too excited by constitutional reform these days, other than the holy chalice of proportional representation.

I’m really rather saddened, not angered or amused by attitudes displayed by people such as “Alan England”. I love England, but the parts of England I love (calmness, pragmatism, a willingness to accept other opinions, an acceptance of difference, respect for gradual change, a distaste for ‘official’ celebrations) I don’t recognise in parties such as ED. These people seem to really like the thought that they’re the oppressed majority, but the sad truth is that they’re not worth anyone’s while to oppress. The upshot will be that symbols like the St George Cross will be unusable by anyone who doesn’t wish to be associated with prats like the “English Lobby”, and our (often radical/progressive) past will become hollowed out to nothing other than a brittle shell of xenophobia.

As a resident of England, I am a probable mix of scandinavian, ancient Roman, anglo-saxon, and indigenous celtic, probably with a lot more thrown in. I want my right to appreciate the history of England and my nationality without it being hijacked by a mawkish sense of being hard-done by at the expense of some mythical class of alleged ‘spongers’.

What ever happened to the stiff upper lip, Alan ‘English’? Put your toys back in the box and come back when you’re grown up into a proper Englishman.

“What is the chance that the England Lobby is run by someone called Mr England ?”

He probably changed it to that. As any decent Englishman would.

These people also opposed regional assemblies as an attempt to fragment the English. If we are going to have an extra layer of bureaucracy, as a Yorkshireman I’d much rather have a regional assembly for Yorkshire & the Humber than an English Parliament. The irony is that in downplaying regional identities they’re appealing to a specifically South-East idea of Englishness.

M. England,

Attendez votre arrestation, anglais porc-chien.

Amour,

Conspiration libérale

So Mr England believes that pointing out that English history is brimful of inspiring holy men is insulting to the English? Man, that’s an advanced persecution complex. Didn’t St Edmund use to be England’s patron saint, anyway?

Speaking as a Scot, I’d prefer Columba to Andrew if given the choice. Partly because his mission mostly took place in Scotland as opposed to the Eastern Med, but mostly because his feast day is 9th June. Scotland has three big national knees-ups and they’re all in the winter, not a good thing in a cold country.

Unity – Roflmao, as one noted intellectual put it.

23. Rob Atkins

Forget the inflated language and consider this.

Scots, Welsh and Irish people can be proud of their country and not be patronised.

Anybody who seeks to claim pride in their English hritage may well be patronised or ridiculed, as in this case, or treated as a ‘little Englander’.

Tell me the difference between an Irish, Scottish or Welsh patriot and a little Englander ?

One would think the chap would have actually read the article where I discuss in two separate places my experience growing up in Northern Ireland. Hint hint. Twit.

I’ve had similar from someone claiming to be the Chair of the English Democrats in the past, it was from an AOL address and had no corroborating contact details, so I filed it under ignore, especially given they’ve demonstrated complete lack of understanding of the law.

There are two parts that could be relevent to the RRA, the first is the requirement of a public body in receipt of public funds to not discriminate on racial grounds (it was this part that got the Leeds Royal Armouries into trouble when they refused a room booking from the EDs). But neither David nor myself (or indeed others I know who’ve received similar) are subject to this provision as we’re private individuals stating an opinion.

The other part is the racially motivated bit that is used on other crimes to increase sentences and similar.

David has committed no crime.

Inform the individual that there is no case to answer, they’ve got no reason to contact you further, and to forward any further correspondence through a lawyer—between us we could probably rustle up more than a few practising lawyers who’d give a work postal address for such correspondence I suspect.

They’re resorting to the law as they can’t actually debate effectively (the post got linked to by the Crossers a few days back), yet they don’t actually understand how the law works and are clutching at straws.

G Smith, comment 4.

I make a sensible and rational comment, he is a rabid nationalist, you are a racist.

(With thanks to YPM).

I think the point Mr England is trying to get across is that slights against English nationalists are expected and even condowned in a way that they would never be for other nations, (hope thats it anyway).

27. Shatterface

Forget the Saints, isn’t it unfair that the English get a beautiful, cultivated red rose as our national flower while the Welsh, Scottish and Irish get what can best be described as weeds?

An end to horticultural fascism now!

I’m quintessentially English, and sometimes I just hate myself, quite reasonably in my view. Will that land me in court?

Does he pronounce his surname Eng-ger-land?

Does he love England so much that he changed his surname to make himself sound even more patriotic (and obsessive)?!

31. Shatterface

Maybe a an example of nominalistic determinism and if he’d been named ‘Alain French’ he’d be smoking Gitaines and banging on about Satre.

as a Yorkshireman I’d much rather have a regional assembly for Yorkshire & the Humber than an English Parliament. The irony is that in downplaying regional identities they’re appealing to a specifically South-East idea of Englishness.

1,000,000% agree with that!

As an Irish woman, living here for 18 or so years, who found herself feeling a bit British after listening to Philip Pulman and that fab old Indian chap with 2 birthdays at the convention on modern liberty I say nationalism is fabulous and dangerous, just ignore this guy. Enjoy the fun in nationalism ignore it when it gets grotty.

34. Mike Killingworth

Well, you might offer something along the lines of saying why you think George isn’t a good patron saint for England and that another would be better – which is all you said in the first place. The argument might run along the line that George was imposed by the ruling class, because he didn’t have any regional connection (unlike Cuthbert) and couldn’t be seen as a symbol of resistance to the Crown (unlike Thomas Becket). Oh, and ask them if they regard Arthur as English or Welsh…

Typically, someone ended up with a surname based on a place when they had gone from there to live somewhere else. So, the chances are, Mr. England’s male-line ancestor was once an immigrant somewhere else, and then either he, or one of his descendants, eventually came back to England. Possibly having married into one or more non-English families in the intervening time.

The chances are, he’s as much of a mixed bag as the rest of us.

If I told him to pull his head out of his arse I could point out that in doing so I would be celebrating the traditional English culture of dissent.

I would then invite Mr English to join the Labour party, as he is clearly in complete accordance with the legislative programme they offer. I might also invite him to pursue selection for a constituency as a Labour candidate – I hear they are in need of some additional talent.

I think Unity has it about right.

Adlai Stevenson had an interesting line:

I am a free man, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order.

I wonder if Mr England would consider me unpatriotic if I said that I could identify with ‘Britain’ in a way that I could not with ‘England’. If I said London or Europe, he’d probably have an apoplexy.

I’m not sure what this means from Mr England:

I observe that you lack the candour to disclose YOUR interest in this subject of St George’s Day.

Is David S part of some evil cult to overthrow England? I mean other than the Labour Party.

Anyway, it would appear that Mr England could be hoist by his own petard. The basis (giggle) of his claim (chortle) is that David S has

presumed to single out England and the English for this and other insulting and humiliating public remarks and, in doing so, you breach the Race Relations Act 1976 which includes nationality, national origins and ethnic origins in its definition of “racial grounds”.

.

Unfortunately, in the preceding sentence, Mr England says that

this disparaging remark could be applied also to Ireland, Scotland and Wales

which quite apart from its inanity is discriminatory against the people of Cornwall. And, er, every other nation in the world.

xD.

@ 35…If you’re talking to me, I could give a stuff who patron saints are. I was merely commenting upon the irony of all these anti-immigrant nationalists choosing a foreigner as an avatar of Englishness.

@ 38…Adlai Stevenson had the first and third thing in the wrong order: I’m a socialist first, British a very distant second – and even for those people who are advocating ‘Britishness’ or ‘Englishness’ or any form of nationalism, the very concept of the nation they subscribe to is subjective, not to mention probably completely unhistorical.

Being a Scot who lived in York for about 4 years, comments #19 and #33 bring back a lot of fond memories…

DIdn’t “Calendar News” used to introduce itself as being from “Yorkshire – England’s biggest – and best – county”..?? Sure it did…

There was also a bonus in having a scottish accent, because there was a strong attitude of “ah well, you aren’t quite Yorkshire, but at least you’re not a poncey southern get” 🙂

Oh, and Mr. Semple, how dare you not disparage everyone equally! And to think you missed-out the isle of Man, the channel Islands, the Falklands, Gibralter, Rockall… 😉

I don’t see a conflict between elected regional assemblies and an English parliament. England is of a size that it requires regional devolution to bridge the gap between local and central government. I’d imagine that the role of elected regional assemblies would be to administer regional utility companies (gas, water, electricity, etc.) and to coordinate economic development.

As for national devolution… at present MPs from constituencies outside of England can vote on legislation that only concerns constituencies in England and/or Wales – that’s how we’ve got tuition fees and foundation hospitals.

As part of the coalition deal in 2007, the Welsh Labour party agreed with Plaid Cymru that a referendum on the Welsh assembly becoming a Welsh parliament would be held before 2011. The SNP had hoped to hold a referendum on independence at around the same time, but this looks unlikely unless one of the other parties has a change of heart (if there’s an election next year and a hung parliament necessitates a coalition deal between Labour and the nationalists, I predict this will be what the SNP will demand).

I can only hope for a referendum in England on the question of regional and national devolution in the coming years (and that promised referendum on a fairer voting system for Westminster!) Whilst these issues might seem arcane considering the economic crisis we face, they could form part of an advance in democratic control…

Just had a quick look at the English Lobby’s website.

Any site which uses Comic Sans as its main font cannot be taken seriously.

Are you sure this email isn’t a spoof?

Steve, although I’ve not heard of the lobby nor of Mr England before, the English nats have a history of sending such emails, so if this specific one is a spoof I’d be surprised, but it’s almost identical to emails sent to other bloggers on similar lines.

More “me too” victimhood then.

You’d think they’d have better things to do.

Alan England was National Secretary of the English Democrats Party until some time in 2007, when he has a serious falling out with the rest of their leadership. They can now be found on various parts of the web, claiming the other party is unreasonable and argumentative. There’s every reason to believe this is a real email.

Yes Indeed

Mr Alan England represents a “sister” organisation to the English Democrats

“The English Lobby”

I, know it is tough to believe for you Liberal Self Haters

But, yes the 1976 Race Relations Act, applies to “English” as well as every other Nationality and Ethnicity.

– Watch this space !

Why do they have this obsession with connecting liberalism and self-hatred? I’m sure that there are bulimics and DSHers hiding within the conservative ranks.

I can’t remember where I saw it, but somebody did come up with an explanation for the “self hatred” meme.

The far right cannot conceive of a life not defined by hatred. Therefore, they assume that those who fail to hate others must hate themselves.

Mr Uncles, we all get that the RRA protects the English, and, believe it or not, we do believe it’s wrong to discriminate against or whip up hatred of the English. The point is that Sunny’s article did nothing of the kind and only a delusional paranoiac could think it did.

49. douglas clark

Dear Mr Uncles,

Please do not call me a Liberal Self Hater. It is really offensive.

The English Democrats (see here).

Just ignore them.

@ John Q. Publican: I think you’ll find that the lyrics are: “We’ve lost St. George in the Union Jack”

You’re quoting the BNP version – Steve Knightley is horrified that his song has been used in that context.

52. john Lilburn

Dear English Football Association

As a representative of the Scottish Football Association, I would like to inform you that we wish to change the way the English Football team is managed to bring it more in line with the way our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is running Britain.

This will involve the following:

1. The Manager of the Scottish team is allowed to be involved with the running of the English team. However, the manager of the English team should have no say whatsoever in the running of the Scottish team. This shall be known as the West Lothian Question.

2. A sizable proportion of any money the English Football Association raises from, say sponsorship or crowd takings, shall be given to the Scottish Football Association, regardless as to whether you need it or not. This does not apply the other way round. This is known as the Barnett Formula.

3. You are not to call yourself England any longer. You will now be known as the British Regions. We, on the other hand, are still to be known as Scotland, “a proud and noble nation”.

4. Medical treatment to your players will be limited to a few treatments because of cost. No such stringent limitation applies to Scotland.

5. If your playing surfaces are flooded, then do not expect much assistance. However, Scottish pitches will be adequately provided for in the event of flooding.

6. From this moment on, the English Football Association will cease to exist. However, the Scottish Football Association will be allowed to continue to work independently.

A failure to follow these rules will see you branded as arrogant, selfish and unfair.

I’m sure you will find this to your satisfaction. After all, you seem to be happy with this state of affairs with your political system, so why not your Football team?

Yours sincerely

Mr G Brown.

PS You English are so naïve, you are being abolished and don’t even realise it.

1. The Manager of the Scottish team is allowed to be involved with the running of the English team. However, the manager of the English team should have no say whatsoever in the running of the Scottish team. This shall be known as the West Lothian Question.

The West Lothian Question is entirely legitimate; it has been around since 1977 and the sky has yet to fall on our heads. The British constitution is a strange beast and only slowly adapts to changing realities; some hereditary peers are still with us, for instance, while the issue of asymmetric devolution has only been with us in the UK since 1998. I would add that Spain more or less manages with its brand of asymmetric devolution.

That is not to say that I would not like to see a resolution to it; it does not mean, though, that the only possible resolution is an English parliament.

2. A sizable proportion of any money the English Football Association raises from, say sponsorship or crowd takings, shall be given to the Scottish Football Association, regardless as to whether you need it or not. This does not apply the other way round. This is known as the Barnett Formula.

This is idiotic. The precise nature of the Barnett Formula aside, the principle that money should be redistributed from wealthy areas to poor areas is not all that controversial. It can apply just as well within Europe, or England, or London.

3. You are not to call yourself England any longer. You will now be known as the British Regions. We, on the other hand, are still to be known as Scotland, “a proud and noble nation”.

Wtf? Scotland was no less Scotland because it did not have a Parliament; Wales was no less Wales because it did not have the Senedd. ‘Englishness’ is not so frail that it requires the life-support system of a political entity to keep it going.

4. Medical treatment to your players will be limited to a few treatments because of cost. No such stringent limitation applies to Scotland.

5. If your playing surfaces are flooded, then do not expect much assistance. However, Scottish pitches will be adequately provided for in the event of flooding.

Those are both results of devolution. Devolving power to England, or the regions, would do nothing to change that.

6. From this moment on, the English Football Association will cease to exist. However, the Scottish Football Association will be allowed to continue to work independently.

Again, wtf? The FA could just as well be the English Football Association. Every other FA is named after its country; the English one isn’t because it was the first one and there was no need to distinguish it.

xD.

I would add that Spain more or less manages with its brand of asymmetric devolution.

Good for Spain. In your opinion what’s the relevance to England, exactly?

In Spain Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Galicia were designated “historic nationalities” and given a degree of political autonomy to stave off separatism – much as happened with Scotland in the UK.

English is an ‘historic nationality’ too, and England an historic nation, so taking your Spanish example, England too should be permitted political autonomy within a unitary state (which is what devolution is designed to try and preserve).

Toque @ 56,

I don’t think England is about to leave the UK…

You also don’t understand the Spanish example. Castilian Spain (that is to say, Castilla y Leon, Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Extremadura, Aragon, La Rioja, Andalusia and Murcia) arguably ‘share’ a nationality but do not have a single sub-federal governmental unit.

The fact that something is an ‘historic nationality’ is irrelevant. We’re looking at the question of efficient regional organisation. Not every region has to be a region, and not every region has to be a nation. Indeed, it would be a lot easier if the discussion wasn’t always reduced to nationalism.

xD.

Devolution was ‘reduced’ to nationalism when devolution was offered to national units (Scotland and Wales) rather than regions. It is for this reason that it was referred to as a ‘sop to nationalists’ or the ‘highway to independence with no exits’.

However you like to term it I don’t think the Scots and Welsh would regard it as a reduction.

I don’t think England is going to leave the UK either – is that the only qualifier for devolution or does democracy, equity and identity come into the equation?

Why do regional units have to be based on a nation?

xD.

Don’t ask me, I didn’t come up with the devolution legislation.

If it was purely about devolution then it would have made more sense to devolve to county level. Or for Scotland to have two assemblies: Highlands & Islands and Lowlands. Wales would probably be better served with a North Wales Assembly.

However, it wasn’t purely about devolution, it was about national identity. John Smith, Robin Cook, Gordon Brown…they all knew this. So did Canon Kenyon Wright. It was explicitly about Scottish national identity and Scottishness – read The Politics of Nationalism and Devolution (1980) by H.M.Drucker and Gordon Brown.

Gareth, this is because the Devolution settlement in Britain was, as in Spain, a fudge. Given the history and identiy of the island, as with the peninsula, a one-size-fits-all approach simply wasn’t viable.

I’d have no problem with devolution to the counties in areas where that’s what people want, but for the most part the counties would be too small to make a real difference, most Spanish provinces are three to four counties in size.

Dave’s point overall is sound; I’ve moved to Yorkshire, and there is no unit of organisation that is just “Yorkshire”, but there is no way I could not know, at any point, that that’s where I am, even down to seeing the Yorkshire Rose in many gardens and windows. Yorkshire is big enough to run itself effectively, and that’s what I’d like to see.

Devon, where we both used to live, is not, neither (sorry Mebyon) is Cornwall—I’d favour a Westcountry assembly there. But if the people of Devon or Cornwall want something different, that’s up to them, I don’t think it’s the best way to do it, but I’m also a democrat.

The biggest issue is that, once they came into power in 1997, Blair gave the tassk of sorting out the English question to John “useless” Prescott, who proved himself singularily inept at solving any of the issues he took responsibilty for once in Govt.

The White Elephant he proposed in the NE was a complete waste of time, and had less power even than London does. London did get devolution, and it’s working well there. Yorkshire and the Westcountry would like similar please (because my farming relatives would rather next time there’s a F&M outbreak, that Whitehall didn’t get to make the decisions).

As I’ve said many times before, Devolution makes no sense if you devolve from 60 million to 50 million. Wales and Scotland were “lucky” in that they had agreed historical boundaries, and London a generally accepted boundary. The rest of England doesn’t really have that, which clouds the issues. But most of us would like to take a lot of power from Westminster and Whitehall. We just don’t know the best way of doing it.

And, seriously, the English Democrats threatened to sue you for libel? FFS, I get that they want to have a go at opponents and regionalists like me, but you?

I really hope we can get the local ED Cllr out at the next elections around here, he was elected as a Tory anyway, complete waste of space.

Two different issues being discussed here: Devolution and nationalism.

As an English nationalist I want an English parliament, as someone who is in favour of devolution I want devolution to a local level. I oppose regionalism because Labour’s regional assemblies were not devolution, they were an unwanted tier of government which were more about centralisation and drawing power away from local government.

Labour’s mistake was to use devolution to try and dissipate nationalism. Britain was successful as a multinational state because it didn’t rest upon everyone having to feel British – other identities were OK too. Neither was Britain about ‘common purpose’ as Brown now tries to make out. The success of Britain as a multinational state rested on common allegiance; so you could be Scottish and have political allegiance to the British state, or English and have allegiance to the British state.

In creating a political focus for national identity (which is what the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly have done) you introduce a rival focus for political allegiance. This is the argument that the Conservatives used against devolution in the 90s, and it’s now the argument that Labour use against an English parliament. It’s too late to use that argument in my opinion because the precedent has been set.

They actually threatened to sue me for ‘slander’ – but they meant ‘libel’.

They’re not the sharpest tools in the box.

Re the comparison with devolution in Spain (see comments 56 and 57 above), if this analogy is applied consistently, then Scottish and Welsh devolution would have to be viewed as devolution from ENGLAND not from Britain. And that really is the problem: what is / are the identity / -ies of the pre-devolution and post-devolution UK; and what role, if any, is left for England? If you accept that there is such a thing as a nation of England that is distinct from Britain, then you are left with the question of how should that nation govern itself. If, on the other hand, you do not accept that there is any distinction between the UK and England (the UK being essentially Greater England or England+, in which case the analogy with Spain works), then you still have a question about how the functions of government assumed by the devolved nations should be apportioned for the rest of the (non-devolved) UK.

Why not just ask the people of England, or if you prefer, the people of UK- (minus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that is)? But one thing I do feel confident about is that the majority would not vote to consign the nation of England to the history books or to the realms merely of fanciful town parades, as many liberals such as Dave Semple would have it. And maybe, if the UK is (only) England+, perhaps an English parliament would inevitably usher in the end of the UK as we know it, with an English nation self-confident enough to call itself by its own name (and not ‘the UK’).

So the question perhaps is not so much what we do with the tiers of governance below the national-English level – because that’s a decision for the English people; but what, if anything, would be left of governance above the national-English level if England was allowed to govern itself.

Hmmm. Interesting letter, can we claim that all you meant was that the English are as absurd as the Portuguese who also have St George as their national saint? Wasn’t St George from Albania in any case?

David,

The problem for many on the ‘progressive left’ is that, ironically, they have a rather imperialistic notion of the United Kingdom. For them it is England writ large, or England expanded. Whilst they can accept the notion of Scottish, or Welsh, or Irish distinctiveness from Britain, they find it difficult to imagine England in anything other than Anglo-British terms. This is the ‘Whig Imperialism’ that David Marquand identifies: Britain as the continuation of England.

Ironically, again, it’s this notion of England/Britain that so annoys many Scots and Welsh, who find it arrogant of the English to use what is the British anthem as the English anthem, the British Parliament as the English parliament, British identity indivisible from English identity. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party are infested with the Anglo-Brits (and I include anglo-centric Scots like Gordon Brown in that category). They are people who, to borrow from Bryant, “do not notice when an institution or person associated with England performs a British function. For example, it goes unremarked that the Bank of England is the central bank for all Britain, or that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of the Church of England, crowns the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Nor do countless references to ‘England’ which should have been to ‘Britain’ grate on the English ear. Walter Bagehot’s famous The English Constitution (1964 [1867]), for example, does not strike the Anglo-British as mistitled. Similarly, it is the 900-year continuity of the parliament at Westminster – originally English, later British – that enables Rebecca Langlands (1999) to speak of the English core of the British state.”

Unfortunately, for them, the English question is one that is increasingly going to vex them as the growing ‘Little Englander’ demographic finds itself in the ascendancy and England seeks to articulate its national identity. Parades like Sandwell may be part of that process, and whilst they might be unappealing (especially if they are latched onto by the BNP), it’s going to be increasingly difficult to keep dismissing them in the absence of any legitimate political expression of English identity.

At some point the reality will dawn. Britain is not greater England.

By ‘Little Englanders’ I mean those who favour a contration of “England” to England, as opposed to the traditionally expansionist ‘greater Englanders’ (Whig Imperialists).

Little Englanders would, for example, find this quote from Tony Blair a ridiculous one:

“>i>Britain is a great nation. A country where we can watch the most exciting sport – Wimbledon, the FA Cup, Test Cricket. Where you can listen to the best pop music – the Beatles, Blur, Oasis and Simply Red”. – Tony Blair, Daily Express, 3rd January 1996.

In using the word “Britain” to describe “England” TB pisses off Little Englanders, who know the difference between England and Britain; Scottish nationalists, who also know the difference, and also; true Unionists who understand that Britain is a multi-national entity

The only people who see nothing strange in the above statement are the “Anglo-British”.

Similarly, Little Englanders will find the utterances of Gordon Brown equally absurd:

there is indeed is a golden thread which runs through British history of the individual standing firm for freedom and liberty against tyranny and the arbitrary use of power. It runs from that long ago day in Runnymede in 1215 to the Bill of Rights in 1689 to not just one but four Great Reform Acts within less than a hundred years. And the great tradition of British liberty has, first and foremost, been rooted in the protection of the individual against the arbitrary power of first the monarch and then the state.” – British Council annual lecture, July 7 2004.

I agree with you, Toque; with the caveat that the Old Anglo-Brits say England when they mean Britain; and the New Anglo-Brits (of New Labour and the progressive left) say Britain when they mean England. The former corresponds to an imperialistic extension of England to the whole of the UK; the latter is a denial of a distinct England in order to preserve the idea of an imperialistic Britain that extends in an undivided manner to the whole of the UK. The irony is that it’s the New Anglo-Brits that feel qualified to reproach England for the whole imperialistic ideal of Britain of which they believe themselves to be the heirs; whereas their de-anglified Britain is predicated on the denial of a distinct England that is in fact the only way England can reaffirm itself as something other than its imperialistic past: as a modern nation seeking a collaborative and equal relationship with its island and European neighbours, and not seeking to dominate and subsume the other British nations as in the past – and still in the present.

Paul – that’s hilarious! This thread is turning out to be much more amusing than I expected.

Sunny,

What will compound the hilarity for you is the realisation that J Stanley Phillips is the woman featured on Channel Four’s 100% English http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlTks9toOmQ (according to Andrew Graham-Dixon she threatened to sue the programme makers).

Oh yes, and Steve Uncles (above) who puts his faith in the Race Relation Act is a real comedian.

Crumbs, you do sound bitchy, Sunny!

If this blog is truly representative of “liberal-left ideas and values” I am glad not to identify with them, and the aim of “an intelligent conversation” seems far too ambitious for many here. The first couple of dozen comments fail to address any of the points in the English Lobby email and are irrelevant. Indeed, many comments are childish and silly. Do they meet the blog’s stated aim of “Intelligent conversation about liberal-left ideas and values” or are they mainly unintelligent, self indulgent and unnecessarily rude remarks? On present evidence I will have caused offence merely by raising these points.

Characteristic of so called “liberal-left ideas and values” seems to be the assumption that it is acceptable to disparage England and the English, but not so any other nation or nationality ( NOT that I advocate that for its own sake). Just try substituting Scotland or Scottish, Wales or Welsh, Pakistan or Pakistani etc or their respective national symbols [Christian or otherwise] where England or English have been singled out to be sneered at. It is not merely sneering criticism; it is sneering criticism SOLELY of England and the English. According to “liberal-left” attitudes manifest here, it is unacceptable to not be ashamed of English identity, even worse to be proud of it. Somehow that’s irretrievably ‘extremely right wing’, fascist. However, Scots nats and Communist Russians and all others are exempted from such condemnation, but then, they’re not English!

Who are indulging in this bile-fest where it appears to be an offence merely to enquire about the national identities of participants? It seems that to conform with “liberal-left ideas and values” the English are forbidden to ask who it is criticising them. To my mind, there is a world of difference between members of a family criticising each other, and others outside that group doing so. Do we not expect those in public office or dealing with public issues to declare their interests, or have standards under the Labour Party [which back in Attlee and Gaitskell’s time were so high] sunk so low under the non-English cabal which now controls it? [No doubt there will be those here who will rush to their own prejudiced interpretation of “non-English cabal” – all in the interests of “an intelligent conversation about liberal-left ideas and values”, of course. Please forgive my cynicism.]

The fact is that many who do not see themselves as English or do not acknowledge having any English identity sneak into discussions about England’s affairs but lack the candour, the integrity to declare that when opposing. Indeed, the broadcast opposition to support for an English Parliament is so massive that, despite England’s huge numerical superiority (84% of the UK’s population), English opinion is suppressed, even excluded, and there are numerous examples I [and others] can cite to support that fact. Suffice it for now to challenge anyone to give full details of any broadcast TV or radio discussion about a separate parliament for England in which there has been even parity of English representation. I have heard BBC radio discussions of an “English Parliament” in which ALL the participants including the Presenter were Scots. It is too much of an established pattern to be other than deliberate.

The English Lobby email refers to Semple’s assertion: “That England celebrates St. George’s Day as its national day has always struck me as somewhat absurd, bearing in mind the number of eminent Saints who graced these shores: the healing St. Cuthbert, the humble St. Thomas Becket who stood up to autocracy, or the learned humanist, Thomas More.” and makes the point “when this disparaging remark could be applied also to Ireland, Scotland and Wales”, but it appears that this objection is too valid, too powerful for all the pseudo-intellects here to address, whether to agree [Oh no! that would never do!] or to directly counter.

There IS an English nation and the courts HAVE recognised English nationality and English national origin for the purposes of the Race Relations Act 1976, Section 3 of which [Meaning of “racial grounds”, “racial group” etc] of the Race Relations Act 1976 states:

“(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires –

“racial grounds” means any of the following grounds, namely colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins;

“racial group” means a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person’s racial group refer to any racial group into which he falls.”

Mr Semple and many others here need to realise that it is indirect discrimination to single out a group to disparage or to humiliate. These are not my regulations, but flow from powers delegated first to the CRE and now with the EHRC both headed by Trevor Phillips. This explains why Carol Thatcher was sacked [wrongly in my opinion] for allegedly making a racist comment involving the word golliwogs and a court finding use of the word ‘paki’ racist. Had Mr Semple been more balanced in his diatribe and included other nations in his criticisms about patron saints, he would not be in breach of the Race Relations Act, but his prejudice against England and St George [not St Patrick you note] is such that he has made discriminatory remarks. If he is so confident of his position, perhaps he would care to test it in court? Otherwise, a proper public apology will probably suffice if he has the wisdom and grace to admit having erred.
_________________________________

Generally intelligent debate is reserved for questions deserving of it.

You deserve to be mocked.

Your identification of Gaitskell is interesting – a man in favour of open borders and who if he had ever been PM would probably have relaxed immigration controls to an extent not witnessed since the 19th century.

Director. You’re talking crap. There’s nothing discriminatory about an Englishman saying that if we’ve got to have a patron saint, he’d rather it was a decent one.

I’d rather St Boniface, David would rather Cuthbert or Becket.

What, exactly, is discriminatory about that?

Nothing. Not one thing. There’s no case to answer, and most certainly no need for an apology.

If you do want to respond, if you could concentrate on this matter at hand, no other, and attempt to explain why wanting a different patron saint is anti-English, we’re all ears. If you want to go off on another tangent about a different issue entirely, then don’t bother.

tim f says:

“Generally intelligent debate is reserved for questions deserving of it.

You deserve to be mocked.

Your identification of Gaitskell is interesting – a man in favour of open borders and who if he had ever been PM would probably have relaxed immigration controls to an extent not witnessed since the 19th century.”
________________________

Lest you have not noticed, I did not initiate this thread. I trust that Sunny Hundal notes your comment about his choice of subject.

——-

pssst – see those tags at the bottom of his post? One of them says “Humour”.

I’d be genuinely interested in hearing your response to #77 – particularly why you don’t think the English deserve a better patron saint than the inadequate one we’ve got.

MatG says:

“Director.

1. You’re talking crap.

2. There’s nothing discriminatory about an Englishman saying that if we’ve got to have a patron saint, he’d rather it was a decent one.

3. I’d rather St Boniface, David would rather Cuthbert or Becket.

4. What, exactly, is discriminatory about that?

Nothing. Not one thing. There’s no case to answer, and most certainly no need for an apology.

5. If you do want to respond, if you could concentrate on this matter at hand, no other, and attempt to explain why wanting a different patron saint is anti-English, we’re all ears. If you want to go off on another tangent about a different issue entirely, then don’t bother.”
___________________________________

To which, I reply:

1. Do you have to be so crass?

2. Who said there is? Are you utterly incapable of addressing the true subject of the thread?

3. Fair enough, but that is not the subject of THIS thread! There’s nothing to prevent you starting a new thread.

4. Ask an irrelevant question, then answer it yourself! Easy peasy!

5. Ah, the matter in hand! Methinks you’re the one who has veered off on another tangent. Do try to concentrate.

_________________________________

This might be of interest to readers of the thread.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2006/09/21/st_edmund_2006_feature.shtml

As a Northumbrian, I’d vote for Cuthbert to be patron saint, but I must admit I wasn’t aware that St George wasn’t always the patron saint, and apparently we had St Edmund before then.

Mr Director – if you believe that Englishness is a racial identity (as implied by your threats under the Race Relations Act), shouldn’t the true patriotic (and by your reasoning non-racist) attitude be to support an attempt to restore an ethnically English patron saint (St Edmund) rather than the obviously ‘multicultural’ St George, who is also the patron saint of Palestine, Ethiopia, Georgia, and seems to have slain his dragon in Libya?

Can we look forward to seeing the English Lobby agitating against these anti-English St George’s Day parades?

I do hope so.

Humour? I suppose you have to cling to any old bit of flotsam when you’re sinking.

Humour, like ugliness, is in the eye of the beholder . . . or are you going to dictate that also?

I’d be interested to learn why you hold the opinion that I think that England [note the inclusive noun here] does not merit a different patron saint ?

In short, why do you ask, why is St George inadequate and what qualities should an adequate patron saint have?

Frankly, I have no strong views, but St George is the established and recognised patron saint of England and I am not a contrarian.

.

[url=http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/home/scotland/standrew.html]St Andrew[/url]
“Very little is really known about St. Andrew himself. He was thought to have been a fisherman in Galilee (now part of Israel), along with his elder brother Simon Peter (Saint Peter). Both became followers (apostles) of Jesus Christ, founder of the Christian religion.

St. Andrew is said to have been responsible for spreading the tenets of the Christian religion though Asia Minor and Greece. Tradition suggests that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras, Southern Greece by being pinned to a cross (crucified). The diagonal shape of this cross is said to be the basis for the Cross of St. Andrew which appears on the Scottish Flag. ”

Is St Andrew ‘ethnically Scottish’ or ‘multicultural’? Did he ever visit the British Isles, let alone Scotland?
_____________________________

[url=http://www.saint-patrick.com/history.htm]St Patrick[/url]

“St Patrick was born a Briton under Roman rule – the exact location of his birthplace isn’t known but it was either the north of England or southern Scotland.”

Well, fancy that! Worse that being from the middle east, poor old patrick might have been English by birth, by nationality. Taking account of the Antonine Wall, he may weel have been. Either that or Scottish, he wasn’t Irish. True the Irish invaded Scotland earlier, but that was in the north!
_________________________________

Funny how you anti-English pseudo socialists single out St George and England to carp about.

.

*head* —- *desk*

“Director”, the whole point of the original discussion that has been complained about is the idea that George isn’t the right choice. It is that assertion that the English Lobby is objecting to, that and, it appears, nothing else.

What, exactly, is racist about a statement that St George is a poor choice? It was always a poor choice, remains a poor choice, and will always be a poor choice. Boniface is a much better example of a decent Englishman.

Regarding the ‘choice’ of England’s patron saint, my understanding was that you don’t get to choose your patron saint, your patron saint has already chosen you – that’s patronage. Which is why I’m for St Gregory the Great. Any of the others might be accurately described as popular saints, but not patrons.

On the point about English identity, isn’t it counterproductive to defend your rights from an unjustly dominant and overbearing position? If foreigners had to get a permit to speak our language a lot less would make any attempt, thus creating an immediate incentive for miscommunication.

Any proud Englishman therefore would be advised to oppose the ED’s attempts to reduce the country to the status of a Scotland. The English Democrats just want a scrap – they’d return us to an age of civil war and infighting.

The simple point is that the UK competes in a higher league because it is unified, and the more unified it is so the higher our performance level is raised.

Director: just how is a discussion BETWEEN ENGLISH PEOPLE about whether their official patron saint is necessarily the most appropriate one in any way disparaging?

You’ve missed an important point here: one reason why nobody here has been dissing Portugal for choosing St George, or talking (much) about the Celtic nations, is that the majority of the posters here are English and probably reckon it would be rather rude to pick on other nations’ choices. Similarly, I’ve stayed out of the St George debate because I’m NOT English and it’s not my business – all I’ve done is defended the right of the English to have the debate. You, however, apparently think that the debate itself is anti-English. You’ve still not offered any argument to back up that absurd position.

In any case, the claim that such comments could be applied equally to Ireland and Wales is simply false. Scotland, yes. But how is that relevant?

There’s plenty of room for a debate on whether St Andrew is the most appropriate patron for Scotland. I for one would happily invite English people to participate – but if they muscled in uninvited I might be a little bit peeved. (I wouldn’t, however, dream of suing anybody.) It would be absurd, however, to regard the idea of such a debate *initiated and conducted by Scots* as somebow disparaging to Scottishness. So I ask again: just what is “disparaging” about English people discussing the appropriateness of St George, in what were, before the “English Lobby” stuck their oar in, perfectly civil terms?

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Director? Stop digging a hole, it’s making you look even dafter. The subject of this thread is the complaint received from the English Lobby. You’ve quoted it, but I’ll do so again, and highlight the “complaint” bits for you:

That England celebrates St. George’s Day as its national day has always struck me as somewhat absurd, bearing in mind the number of eminent Saints who graced these shores: the healing St. Cuthbert, the humble St. Thomas Becket who stood up to autocracy, or the learned humanist, Thomas More.” when this disparaging remark could be applied also to Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

However, you have presumed to single out England and the English for this and other insulting and humiliating public remarks and, in doing so, you breach the Race Relations Act 197

You see, in case it’s not clear, the complaint is Dave’s assertion that St George is a poor choice.

That’s it.

No other details are given, no other area is highlighted.

Therefore the complaint and Dave’s supposed “racism” is all about whether St George is the appropriate patron saint for England.

Apparantly, according to the English Lobby, saying it should be someone else is ” insulting and humiliating” to the English as a whole.

Dave chose to discuss just the English patron saint because, and do read this line carefully, he himself is English and thus he’s talking about his patron saint and why he’s not happy with it.

That’s enough, apparently, for the EL to assert that he’s broken the RRA.

You seem to agree that such a discussion is not, in fact, racist. So you agree that the EL’s complaint is also spurious.

So, what, exactly, are you defending?

(in case it’s not cleared out, there’s a comment from Director not displaying that might be caught in the spam filter, it got emailed to those subscribed, it’s that that I’m replying to, hopefully it’ll get cleared when an admin gets to it)

Director,

You said above

2. Who said there is? Are you utterly incapable of addressing the true subject of the thread?

What do you think the ‘true subject of the thread’ actually is?

xD.

With apologies to everyone who’s trying to be patient with ‘Director’ I can’t help but point out that by far the LEAST English thing in this entire thread is the sight of ‘Director’ whining like a complete pussy over an imagined insult to his overblown sense of his own self importance.

Where’s your backbone, man?

Faced with an insult, a true Englishman will immediately put the kettle on, make a cuppa, enquire if anyone knows the latest Test Match score and then get on with their life.

Is this idiot for real are we just being spoofed by the new Armstong and Miller-Tron.

“So then they dissed St George an’ shit…”

“That’s like so discrimination. You should ask for compensation an’ shit”

Well, to stick with the general vein of comedy, there’s one reply worth giving to this twat.

FACE. BOVVERED.

And I really wasn’t kidding when I referred you to Arkell vs Pressdram.

87. Shatterface

I’ve just got home from St Paddy’s Night and the Irish don’t give a fuck about whether St Patrick’s the ‘most appropriate Saint’ or not, they just get on with enjoying the craic.

The English have got a rod up there arses.

It’s heee-larious, isn’t it. A guy – who, incidentally, did far more for our democracy than your party could ever hope to – had severe depression. What a hoot!

God, if you stood any chance of winning an election – and, let’s be honest, there’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of me marrying Audrey Hepburn – I’d save that comment.

Incidentally, from your forum…

“One of the Liberal Democrats, was “upset” by being called a “Liberal Self Hater” – well that’s what they are

They HATE, what they are themselves.”

1. I’m not a Liberal Democrat. If you don’t know the difference between Liberal and liberal then what the hell are you doing in politics?
2. I wasn’t “upset“. Insults have to be, well, intelligent and witty, and yours have all the edge of a bowling ball and none of the weight.
3. I could be grinding away at my wrists with a cheese grater and still thank the good Lord God I’m not so sad that I have to invest all my feeling in some national ideal and the hatred of foreign people.

Shalom mo’fo,

x

Over 600,000 people have registered as supporters of making St Georg’e Day a bank holiday!

The misguided, disloyal, opinionated, minute number of twerps here would have us believe that THEY are correct and WE are wrong!

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/181031/34006331?m=cc366e79

.

Who said anything about “hating” foreingers

The best place for Scots is in Scotland

The best place for French people is in France

The best place for Pakistani people is in Pakistan

===============================================================

If we get the Liberal’s way, and have a multi-cultural “soup” everywhere in the world – what fun will it be when we go abroad ?

You self haters, really need to sharpen up you game.

Chris Lightfoot, did not do ANYTHING for English Democracy

The guy was a waster

Is that comment for real, or is someone spoofing him?

It’s for real, as was the other one, it’s completely in character—first time I encountered Mr Uncles was the comments box of Chris’s blog.

Such utter contempt for mental health problem, and a complete inability to recognise the acheivements of his work, which helps us today posthumously, is a sterling example of why, for as long as they allow him in a senior role, the EDs deserve nothing but contempt.

Whoo, 600,000 people have registered their support for an extra day off work – who’d ever believe that people would do something like that.

And the best place or Steven Uncles is in his natural environment – the gutter.

After 87 posts, including a number of his own, Dave Cole asks:

“What do you think the ‘true subject of the thread’ actually is?”

I’ll humour you. The true subject – the theme if you prefer – of a thread is usually to be found in the initiator’s first post. If t’were otherwise, how would one distinguish between one thread and another on many occasions?

In this particular case, the initiator asks for suggestions about how he/she should respond to an email. Therefore, the main thrust of that email is central to this thread.

The fact that many posts of the posts here are merely abusive and others digress to other issues is unfortunate, and one might wonder why there have been such reactions? Oddly enough, many posters seem to be under the delusion that their comments are of any significance and that I might take notice of them. If this is not the case, they would seem to serve some kind of cathartic function.

.

“And the best place or Steven Uncles is in his natural environment – the gutter.”

It will be a long climb to reach the gutter.

Recently I received an email from Steve Uncles threatening to “have me arrested for harassment” unless I stopped writing about his meetings with the far-right.

That manner of threat was a trick he learned from Fathers for Justice I believe.

Director,

MatGB said:

2. There’s nothing discriminatory about an Englishman saying that if we’ve got to have a patron saint, he’d rather it was a decent one.

and then you started wittering on about the ‘true subject’ of this thread. Come on, tell us – what’s the ulterior motive here?

xD.

98. PaganPride

I am confused – just let me get this clear:

St Andrew is not Scottish – but that’s OK for a patron saint of Scotland:

St Patrick is not Irish – but that’s OK for a patron saint of Ireland

St David is very likely not Welsh but that’s OK for a patron saint of Wales

St George is not English – but that’s not OK for a patron saint of England,

If the argument is that we should not have St George as our patron saint because of his naitonality (or lack thereof) then why not expand that argument to all the other nations and principalities of these islands – why home in on just England?

If your argument is valid then it should be applied equally. That you applied this criterium only to the English without commenting on the similarity to the patron saints of the other nations may be cause for some to consider your comments were deliberately meant to be anti-english.

Er, no.

There is absolutely no necessity in discussing one instance to discuss every possible instance, otherwise we’d have to check every single patron saint of every single nation everywhere in the world – Cornwall included – and you would have just fallen foul of your own objection.

If you go back to the original post, you’ll see that the objection to St George was his militarism (or rather, the perception thereof) and the presence of better candidates, not the fact that he wasn’t English.

If the argument is that we should not have St George as our patron saint because of his naitonality [sic]

It’s not.

then why not expand that argument to all the other nations and principalities of these islands – why home in on just England?

Because it’s up to the Welsh, Scots and Irish to decide who their saint is, if they’re happy with the one they’ve got, that’s their business.

I’m not happy with the one England has got. I’m English. I have no interest in interfering with the decisions of other nations.

That you applied this criterium only to the English …may be cause for some to consider your comments were deliberately meant to be anti-english.

Yes, some might. And others might conclude that these individuals were more than a little bit paranoid and prone to tilting at windmills.

Oh, bugger. Can an editor insert the end blockquote before “it’s up to”, messed that up a bit.

Toque – or Gareth Young as is your proper name.

I used to get wound up by your constant attacks on me.

I now realise that, in terms of politics – it simply comes with the turf.

I’m a politician (Amateur) you are simply a theoretical politician, who “knows what to do” by has not got the guts to do it.

What’s more you are so PC, that you are up your own arse.

You will do everything possible to appear not to be racist, infact, appearing not a racist is more important then defending England.

Well mate – some of us put England First

It’s about time you got our of your own arse and stated to put you balls on the line !

Steve, that I seem politically correct to you is a more a statement about yourself than me.

“some of us put England First” – would that be the “England First Party”?

Just out of interest, which definition of politician do you put yourself under?

1: a person experienced in the art or science of government ; especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government

2 a: a person engaged in party politics as a profession
2 b: a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons

Pagan Pride @ 101:

See my comment @ 86. You’re still repeating the same tired old rubbish after it’s been answered.

Steven Uncles @ 106:
>You will do everything possible to appear not to be racist, infact, appearing not a racist is more important then defending England.

Are you insinuating that Toque IS racist? What are you basing this on?

“What are you basing this on?”

Swivel-eyed lunacy? Tellingly even BNP members are questioning Uncles’ associations.

Follow this link: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/terence-blacker/terence-blacker-a-st-georges-day-festival-is-not-very-british-1664406.html

Semple & Co will like Blacker’s piece but probably find anti-English, undemocratic excuses to discount the comments it provoked!

.

Jeebus, are you still banging on about this…

I think you’ll find that the view of ‘Englishness’ espoused here, and by Toque and the other Witans, is nicely encapsulated by this passage from Orwell’s ‘The Lion and the Unicorn.

The gentleness of the English civilization is perhaps its most marked characteristic. You notice it the instant you set foot on English soil. It is a land where the bus conductors are good-tempered and the policemen carry no revolvers. In no country inhabited by white men is it easier to shove people off the pavement. And with this goes something that is always written off by European observers as ‘decadence’ or hypocrisy, the English hatred of war and militarism. It is rooted deep in history, and it is strong in the lower-middle class as well as the working class. Successive wars have shaken it but not destroyed it. Well within living memory it was common for ‘the redcoats’ to be booed at in the streets and for the landlords of respectable public houses to refuse to allow soldiers on the premises. In peace time, even when there are two million unemployed, it is difficult to fill the ranks of the tiny standing army, which is officered by the country gentry and a specialized stratum of the middle class, and manned by farm labourers and slum proletarians. The mass of the people are without military knowledge or tradition, and their attitude towards war is invariably defensive. No politician could rise to power by promising them conquests or military ‘glory’, no Hymn of Hate has ever made any appeal to them. In the last war the songs which the soldiers made up and sang of their own accord were not vengeful but humorous and mock-defeatist. The only enemy they ever named was the sergeant-major.

In England all the boasting and flag-wagging, the ‘Rule Britannia’ stuff, is done by small minorities. The patriotism of the common people is not vocal or even conscious. They do not retain among their historical memories the name of a single military victory. English literature, like other literatures, is full of battle-poems, but it is worth noticing that the ones that have won for themselves a kind of popularity are always a tale of disasters and retreats. There is no popular poem about Trafalgar or Waterloo, for instance. Sir John Moore’s army at Corunna, fighting a desperate rearguard action before escaping overseas (just like Dunkirk!) has more appeal than a brilliant victory. The most stirring battle-poem in English is about a brigade of cavalry which charged in the wrong direction. And of the last war, the four names which have really engraved themselves on the popular memory are Mons, Ypres, Gallipoli and Passchendaele, every time a disaster. The names of the great battles that finally broke the German armies are simply unknown to the general public.

The reason why the English anti-militarism disgusts foreign observers is that it ignores the existence of the British Empire. It looks like sheer hypocrisy. After all, the English have absorbed a quarter of the earth and held on to it by means of a huge navy. How dare they then turn round and say that war is wicked?

It is quite true that the English are hypocritical about their Empire. In the working class this hypocrisy takes the form of not knowing that the Empire exists. But their dislike of standing armies is a perfectly sound instinct. A navy employs comparatively few people, and it is an external weapon which cannot affect home politics directly. Military dictatorships exist everywhere, but there is no such thing as a naval dictatorship. What English people of nearly all classes loathe from the bottom of their hearts is the swaggering officer type, the jingle of spurs and the crash of boots. Decades before Hitler was ever heard of, the word ‘Prussian’ had much the same significance in England as ‘Nazi’ has today. So deep does this feeling go that for a hundred years past the officers of the British army, in peace time, have always worn civilian clothes when off duty.

One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life. The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face. Its ugliness is part of its essence, for what it is saying is ‘Yes, I am ugly, and you daren’t laugh at me’, like the bully who makes faces at his victim. Why is the goose-step not used in England? There are, heaven knows, plenty of army officers who would be only too glad to introduce some such thing. It is not used because the people in the street would laugh. Beyond a certain point, military display is only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army. The Italians adopted the goose-step at about the time when Italy passed definitely under German control, and, as one would expect, they do it less well than the Germans. The Vichy government, if it survives, is bound to introduce a stiffer parade-ground discipline into what is left of the French army. In the British army the drill is rigid and complicated, full of memories of the eighteenth century, but without definite swagger; the march is merely a formalized walk. It belongs to a society which is ruled by the sword, no doubt, but a sword which must never be taken out of the scabbard.

Inconsistent bugger that he was, Orwell’s account of the ‘English Genius’ has an honesty and truthfulness that your own brand of faux English victimhood utterly lacks.

Those with feeble positions to defend, frequently resort to the past. In Unity’s case it is reference to a Scot who has been dead for more than half a century!

I suppose the opinions of many [most?] English folk TODAY are of no account to pompous dictatorial types!

Clearly, you are neither a liberal nor a socialist!

.

“Those with feeble positions to defend, frequently resort to the past”

You’re a nationalist, you prat. Your position is utterly feeble which, I suppose, is why you base it on a past that never existed to describe a present with no relation to reality and hope for a future that no-one else wants.

xD.

Since we’re quoting Orwell, the problem with England is summed up by this quote of his:

“A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

Brown and Darling are the wrong members, and unelected members at that, as are all Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs.

114- Yes, because that’s exactly what Orwell meant with that quote.

The great thing about quoting the dead and putting our own interpretation on their words is that they are not here to contradict us!

.

Sorry, have I taken that quote out of context,. Who knew?

Here’s another quote that I like.

“I wished I had been born early enough to have been called a Little Englander. It was a term of sneering abuse, but I should be delighted to accept it as a description of myself.” – J.B.Priestley

And another.

“I am an Englishman. My passport was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and it describes me as a British citizen. But English is what I feel and, therefore, English is what I am.” – Roy Hattersley

And again.

“England is being run, at an important level, by people who hate it.” – Hal G.P. Colebatch

Feel free to contextualise, or not. Orwell would have been appalled at the state of democracy and liberty in England. He would have agreed with me about these Scots who govern us without the democratic mandate to do so. Maybe he would be more horrified at the prospect of Eton toffs, but I doubt it.

Forgive me, but I don’t care whether Blair [Orwell] would have been horrified or not, but I do care about those snots who sneer at England and the English whilst professing to hold some loftier position.

Anti-English nit pickers are not only so endlessly literal about totems such as St George [droning on about how he was middle eastern etc – bit like St Andrew really!] but seem unable to comprehend that he is a contemporary symbol representing England and the English . . . NOT us representing him!

Such contrarians are entitled to THEIR disloyal opinions, but I do wish they’d not seek to inflict them on me and other English people, singling us out to do so. Such is their prejudice, one never seems to encounter similar petty criticism of other nationalities and their symbols.

.

Yes, the contrarians are entitled to their opinions – so why threaten to sue them?

It doesn’t endear you to anyone, it’s profoundly un-English, and by threatening to sue people under the Race Relations Act you associate St George’s Day with race when it should be a day of national rather than ethnic celebration.

Unfortunately the course of action that you have chosen is not only illiberal but also self-defeating. What’s worse is the fact that it appears to little more than a fund-raising scheme for the English Democrats, if we take the view of goon-in-chief Steve Uncles.

Frankly I find you and Steve Uncles a complete and utter embarrassment. I hope that people don’t take the simplistic view and regard English nationalism as one cohesive movement because it would be a tragedy if they came to see you and Steve Uncles, or the EDP and English Lobby, as the standard bearers of English nationalism. Personally, if I owned a hotel and you goons turned up and put an England flag in the window I’d remove it as well.

The three founding organisations behind the English Lobby were Third Way, The English Democrats and The Freedom Party. That’s all that people really need to know.

In response to 119:

I suppose a faux English nationalist bent on creating mischief would adopt your position.

If you’d bothered to read the background to this thread, you might – just might – have understood, but then, that would have required an open and receptive mind, not one stuffed with its own conceit and sanctimonious pomposity! From your dubious position, it is kosher for anyone to indulge in “. . unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of– (a) violating that other person’s dignity, or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment . . . ” aimed at England and English cultural practices and to single them and no one else out for such treatment.

According to you, the English have no effective rights . . . after all, with your biassed precepts, it is profoundly un-English to assert any. It is this type of arbitrarily silly nonsense which is designed to render the English ineffective! If you weren’t so appallingly ignorant and prejudiced, you might be inclined to zip your mouth and not [in the words of Mark Twain] prove you’re a fool! Why, with “that’s all you need to know” you even suggest that limiting one’s knowledge is desirable.

As I said earlier: “Those with feeble positions to defend, frequently resort to the past.” PLUS (on the evidence of at least one knuckle-dragging reaction) plain abuse! The intellectual credentials of any group [such as The Freedom Party] which professes that: “the freedoms of the people whose ANCIENT roots lie in the United Kingdom” as distinct from England must be in grave doubt, not only by reason of its invalidity but (once again) because of its whimsical resorting to the past instead of the present!

Adopting the psychology of an ethnic minority group on behalf of the ethnic majority is as un-English as preventing free-expression by means of litigation. Pursue your communalistic group rights philosophy/EDP fundraising initiative. I’ll be right here laughing at you.

You bring up George Orwell’s Scottish surname (Blair) and refer to him a “a Scot who has been dead for more than half a century”.

This tells people all they need to know about your peculiar brand of English nationalism.

That your stable mate Steve Uncles maligns the memory of Chris Lightfoot by describing him as ‘a waster’ is equally informative.

I’ve rarely had the displeasure of meeting bigger wasters than you and Steve Uncles.

You seem to be labouring under the conceited delusion that your opinion matters! If Gareth [who seems to have spent too much time on the North American continent] says it’s un-English, then it really can’t be other ~ can it?

You adopt your usual practice of standing off and bombarding us with distorted generalisations and sneering. To apply your formula: “This tells people all they need to know about YOUR bogus brand of English nationalism”. It would be expecting far too much for you to engage with the issues which prompted this thread. Oh no, you’d rather move onto other ground and seek to confuse them. On the evidence, you merely raise other matters which are not relevant in your attempts to vilify me and to divert attention from valid concerns.

For the record: I’ve never met you [as far as I am aware], and I’ve no desire to change that. No doubt you’ll be scavenging around [in the past, of course] for more rubbish to post in lieu of decent, honest and, above all, relevant argument.

.

The English Democrats once threatened to sue you, didn’t they? And now they have you fund-raising for them. How the worm turned. Sorry, here’s me dredging up the past again when it must be embarrassing for you and all concerned.

More embarrassing ‘past’ here.

I’m off to Heathrow this evening to fly to the North American continent – missing you already.

xxx

This truly exemplifies your contribution . . . ad hominem criticisms followed by cutting and running, literally on this occasion. Terribly un-English, doncha think?

As Joe Louis once said: “He can run, but he can’t hide!”

YOUR words are available Gareth to put you in your place at an appropriate time. If I have my way, it will be when you are present and in public before a large number of people where you will not be able to scuttle off like a mean minded crab.

.

You’re not the first person to accuse me of being a faux English nationalist, so you’re in exalted company.

I wait to be ‘put in my place’, wherever that may be, at the appropriate time, whenever that may be. Sorry to cut and run but I really do have to go.

Unable to address issues relevant to this thread, such as “Has St George’s Day been singled out for criticism?” and “Does that criticism amount to disparagement?” and “Is Anti-English institutional racism rampant throughout the Labour Party?”, Gareth Young resorts to denigrating and sneering at me.

His encyclopaedic knowledge is so great that for years he used the pseudonym ‘Toque’ without knowing that, in England, it is generally used to refer to a type of woman’s hat and, to a much lesser extent, a chef’s [cook’s] hat. Shortly after I apprised him of the fact (which he did not acknowledge, pleading it means something else in – yes, you’ve guessed – the USA!), he felt constrained to modify his pretentious blog to add the rider “Hoodie in the Blog Steerage”. I guess this tells you much about Gareth alias Toque!

Consistent with his avoidance of addressing issues – in this case whether he is truly a faux English nationalist – he seeks to associate me with another person who has used the same phrase. Again, this tells you much about Gareth alias Toque!

It seems that – to use a sporting analogy – if you can’t play football, you tackle the players instead of playing the ball. After all, by Gareth’s tactic is to divert attention from his own inadequacies. He says he really does have to go. Life can be so fair and fortunate on occasion! 🙂

.

Fuck St George.

RE: 121

http://whatenglandmeanstome.co.uk/?p=76

“Frenchman turned English poet Hilaire Belloc wrote, When you have lost your inns drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.” Gareth Young from ‘What England means to me.’

To paraphrase you Gareth: You refer to Hilaire Belloc as a Frenchman. Does this tell people all they need to know about your peculiar brand of English nationalism?

.

Um. Belloc was born in France with a Frence father, then moved to England and was naturalised as English.

So he was a Frenchman who turned English. Sounds perfectly fair to me.

*continues munching popcorn*

This does remind me why I stopped posting on this subject 2 years ago, the brick wall just keeps getting in the way…

127. douglas clark

It always struck me as incredible that people that wanted to become naturalised citizens were asked questions about the dates of Saints Days. I am Scottish and I kinda know St Andrew is supposed to be my Patron Saint, but I know little else about him. What he did, or why he did it is not something that has ever, ever exercised me. And I certainly don’t know what day of the year we’re supposed to hallow for him.

Sure, I could google it and pretend to know, but I won’t ’cause I don’t really care. It is all just a constructed mythology.

I can quite see why someone that thought it was important would say I was a Philistine or somesuch, but, honestly, it isn’t important enough to get het up about.

There are injustices in this world, and I am sure that the status of Saint George is one of them, but really it is an abstraction, a thing to get excited about, as a substitute for dealing with things that really do matter.

Like?

Oh I don’t know?

Like, well, anything else really.

How’s the popcorn MatGB?

There’s more from Alan England (aka Cassie) here.

I quote:

The indications are that Dimeeteeooo is of Greek national or ethnic origin, assuming he was born here, who presumes to sneer at all things in England! Instead of tolerating such creeps – as we English people have in the past – we should ostracise them, shun ’em, let ’em know we are not going to put up with their bad manners without protest.

After all, if it is really so despicable here, they can always go the land of their forebears and save valuable space here. With luck, they might even enjoy another military junta, which could be more to their sour taste.

Such pieces as Dimeeteeooo’s serve to encourage right thinking English folk that something needs to be done to rid us of all those foreigners who do not want to fit in but impose their ideas on us, whether they come from north or west of the borders or from further afield!

Charmer!


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