Alex Niven wrote a piece in The Guardian recently on the controversy over English independence. It was titled Why it’s time to stop talking about English identity. Not a very promising title for an honest or open discussion of the subject.
The ‘entertainer’ Billy Bragg has written a book called The Progressive Patriot. That is an oxymoron in our era; precious few if any of the ‘progressives’ (read: leftists or communists) are patriotic in the traditional sense of the term ‘patriot’.
Bragg’s contribution to the discussion was the idea that a “new vision” of England had to be developed, and the vision would have to be rescued, as it were, from the clutches of the conservatives of England, who still had memories of the days of Empire, or of a monocultural England; such could not be tolerated in an ‘England’ or more accurately, a UK comprising many many disparate ethnicities, races, and religions. The ”diversity” must be preserved and increased at any cost, it seems. This seems to be the priority in all of former Christendom.
But the issue of English identity is a confused one, as the government of the UK/Britain has adopted policies that have deliberately weakened English identity, all but erasing it from the country which was (and is) the core of what is now the UK.
The Campaign for an English Parliament website has a response to this piece by Niven, and to the assertions made about England. As to English identity — I wonder how many people, especially young people, remember when the name of the nation under discussion was usually ‘England’, and the people labeled as ‘English’, while today it’s always ‘The UK’ or ‘Britain’ maybe, and the people are ‘British.’ However a recent poll, according to the article, says, surprisingly that
“…61% of the population in England considered themselves English, and 9.9% considered themselves English first and British second. That is 70% of the population of England considered themselves English.”The Campaign for an English Parliament
There is a problem in that the media in the United Kingdom seem to avoid or stifle any real discussion about English patriotism or identity. It seems to be a conscious policy. The CEP says that most of its press releases are ignored by the British media:
“Between 2013 and 2018 the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) sent out over 3000 Press releases. Very few were published, 10/15-minute radio interviews were reduced to three second soundbites.”The Campaign for an English Parliament, Sep 4, 2020
The idea seems to be that by ignoring any talk or discussion of English identity or independence, the sentiment in favor of Englishness will be stifled and forgotten. Niven, in his Guardian piece, seems to deny that England, being a confusing entity (is it Britain? England? both? neither? What are the people — English, British, or their various ethnicities?) is really a nation and its people distinct.
But it is mostly the governmental class who have created this confusion in trying to remake the UK, in part by ‘demoting’ the dominant English people to a second-class status. If there is anything the ‘progressives’ hate it is dominance, strength, or hierarchy. With all their cant about ‘equality’ the progressives usually only reverse the places of the ‘dominated’ (”victims”) and the dominant.
The effort to submerge the native English identity, people, and culture under the burgeoning ‘diversity’ population recently implanted in the UK seems to be more of the usual leftist social engineering and troublemaking. But it has become a complicated issue.
England itself does not count as a ‘region’ in the European Union. England lacks a Parliament exclusive to the English; people from Scotland and Wales, though they do have their own parliaments, are not excluded from the Parliament in England.
It’s not surprising that there is a weakening of the English identity when there is an ongoing effort to efface it.
It also appears as though the Powers-That-Be are afraid of allowing any room for dreaded Nationalism or national identity to re-develop in England. English nationalism has in recent decades been described in unpleasant terms, as ”ugly” and other such pejoratives. Apparently there is fear that the English are still a ‘threat’ somehow to those sitting in power or those who dominate the media. I think that sentiment is at work here in the U.S. whenever Anglo-Saxons are mentioned; there is a fear that those WASPs or Anglos will ‘take control’ .
The CEP article is very thorough and well worth reading.