The Endless Assault on English Culture, Part One: ‘England’s Green and Prejudiced Land’

I have not posted an entry here for quite some time. This is because – aside from being busy in the real world- I have taken some time to make a concerted effort to read various written sources. This has varied from those who analyse the decline in our culture and the forces that have allowed it or desired it to happen, to those who are still unsatisfied with the 60-year onslaught of destruction of Englishness (and indeed, Britishness).

However, several articles and recent events have motivated me to investigate a plethora of new attacks in the ongoing assault on English culture. Most of these are logical progressions of the irresponsibility, amorality and disrespect inherent in the New Labour regime, and are testament to the lasting effects of this poisonous legacy on England, its people and its history and culture.

An article published in the Sunday Times with the deliberately provocative title of ‘England’s Green and Prejudiced Land needs little introduction. The article is behind the paywall, but available here. As a display of unbelievable and supreme arrogance, it has few rivals. Telling the story of David James Smith and his family’s move from Fulham to Lewes, East Sussex, the article is riddled with the flagrant pretentiousness of the left-liberal London élite, and acts as further testament to a London that is so distanced from the realities of England as to be a sprawling irrelevance.

His arrogance is startling in its immediacy. He begins the article thus:

“Lewes is a genteel town for liberals and libertarians…”

The startling irony (not the last in this article) of a statement that appears to either prescribe the kind of people he imagines there, nor more tellingly, would like to live there. What position is he in, as someone who has only lived in the town for a short while, to make a judgement on the political leanings of the entire town? The political bias aside: is this a presumptuous notion? The town has only returned a Liberal Democrat MP fairly recently, having had a Conservative MP from 1874 until 1997, and presently has a resurgent Tory support.

Such notions aside, the author sets the scene for his move neatly, seemingly oblivious to the irony of his dissatisfaction with the multi-culti utopia of London:

“We decided to move here because multiracial London had not been the perfect place to bring up our family either. We were crowded out by lack of domestic space, a vague unease at the potential for urban crime and a poor selection of local schools.”

Well, his leftist-utopian sort had surely made that bed for themselves. In the most supreme irony, he therefore counts as among the numbers that constitute the new waves of Black and White Flight from London. He goes on:

“We had three daughters heading for secondary education and a son not far behind them. Mackenzie, my son, now aged eight, was younger and so less well-primed in his own racial origins. It’s easy for mixed-race children to get, well, mixed up and unsure of who they are. We wondered how his identity would be shaped in Lewes and worried about his future, in the depressing statistical context that black boys fare worse at secondary school than their white counterparts.”

I would move immediately to question the performance of black boys at secondary school, with a plethora of stats demonstrating that poor white boys perform worse. That aside, one wonders precisely what notion of themselves White English pupils leave school with, with low literacy rates and thanks to a Curriculum devoid of any of their mythology, featuring precious little of the wider history of their nation and no knowledge of the historic religions of the country.

This lack of knowledge of the workings of England is something that the author himself suffers from… and predictably, he spends the majority of the time trashing everything that is English about Lewes.

He openly derides the proud Lewes traditions, including their famous Bonfire Night celebrations:

Lewes, if it is famous for anything, is famous for its bonfire societies, loosely based on a tradition of anti-Catholic bigotry. Once a year around November 5, members of the societies dress up in costumes — pirates and all manner of soldiers and warriors — and parade around the streets throwing bangers and chanting “Burn him”. Burn Guy Fawkes, the Pope or any other national or local hate figure who happens to have been produced as an effigy that year.

It is plain to see that popularity is not high on the list of priorities when one reads this sneering analysis. What Smith fails to see, for all his faux ‘community’ concerns, is that such celebrations are an integral part of the strength of the English character and our real communities: a strength and unity against common enemies. This unique unity is what- among so many other things- helped to win us World Wars.

A retort from a commenter, named ‘Bibes’ on the Lewes Forum that he takes special time in his article to childishly trash notes how the writer appears to be ignorant of the local history of his new home:

“He says that the bonfire Societies are “loosely based on anti-Catholic bigotry” obviously being completely ignorant of the burning of 17 Protestants Lewes by Queen Mary.

He is probably ignorant of the Battle of Lewes in 1264 and of Simon de Montfort where it was part of the beginning of the historical development of a Parliamentary democracy in England and which is now copied by many societies in the World. The Provisions of Oxford probably mean nothing to him.”

Desperate to cry racism wherever appropriate, the writer sees no irony in his chastising of a ‘dance teacher at the local secondary
school who used the word “coloured”’, belittling her as ‘a young woman who really ought to know better’, and his use of the outdated ‘black-and-minority-ethnic community’ as a collective term for the superficial category that he has used to effectively label the rest of his family. One wonders if the way to social cohesion is to continue to use such separative terminology. He goes on to bemoan the fact that

“… the school makes little or no attempt to celebrate diversity or embrace black history and culture.”

One thing that has always perplexed me about the asinine concept of ‘celebrating diversity’ is what form this ‘celebration’ purports to take. Why is it is appropriate to be embroiled in a constant celebrating of an abstract concept? Will white history and culture feature as an aspect of this ‘diversity’, or is it merely an opportunity to investigate other cultures? If it is the latter, then surely the term diversity is a misnomer.

Also, how does one ’embrace’ black history and culture? By a measured recognition, appropriate to the pupils who will learn about such matters? This seems unlikely in Smith’s eyes. By engagement and rigorous investigation? Presumably not the latter, as I’m sure that no Black History Month apparatchik would welcome an investigation of the tactics that Nelson Mandela used in his righteous anti-apartheid movement. The only feasible solution, therefore, must be one in which black history in some way replaces white history on the curriculum. Smith seems to welcome it:

“Within a week or two [a new headmistress] had called the staff together and told them there was a problem with race in the school that needed to be addressed. Within a month of her start every pupil had drawn a portrait and written a poem about a black icon. Mandela, Beyoncé, footballers, actors… their images were plastered all over the main corridors. A new race-and-diversity policy was drawn up. As far as we were concerned, the school was transformed. We wished the new head could take her ideas to the town’s moribund secondary school, too, where there is also an outgoing head, who seemed to us a remote, aloof figure, and where, again, black history barely features.”

This is patently nothing to do with black history: this is an effort to politicise schools to bring them in line with a specific socio-cultural and political belief. In the irony of ironies, the author uses the example of the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, a school whose model of discipline is purported to have been imported from ‘the South side of Chicago’. A school in the supposedly inferior London he left behind which espouses old-fashioned British values of discipline and respect that he perceives to be superior to those schools he has been presented with in his new home? It is a wonder which irony to highlight first…

So, what better way to round off the article than with left-liberal hand-wringing and an assertion of the perceived superiority of the ideals he believes in, in spite of his flight from the place in which they are being applied:

Still, there is constant talk between Petal and I of alternative approaches to our children’s education— often agonising conversations about what to do for the best, especially about how to save Mackenzie from his statistical destiny.
We can only hope that a bit of Brixton comes to Lewes, and some of that inspirational approach to teaching and overcoming racism in education eventually rubs off round here.

I am fairly certain I have made the sheer volume of internal contradictions, irony and hypocrisy in this article abundantly clear by now, but it still beggars belief that the author seeks to remake the whole of England in his own particular image when he doesn’t believe in its success himself.

Be warned: England is full of such hypocrites. Some of them are in positions of great power.

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About Byrnsweord

I am an Englishman. Constantly striving for the truth and to conserve what is good about England. You can find my on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/byrnsweord/ my blog over at byrnsweord.wordpress.com/ and my Twitter account at twitter.com/byrnsweord Byrnsweord is min nama.
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8 Responses to The Endless Assault on English Culture, Part One: ‘England’s Green and Prejudiced Land’

  1. I Albion says:

    Smith’s latest book (or perhaps only book)”The Young Mandela”say’s it all.
    He could always move to Brixton,or would that be to cruel?

    • Byrnsweord says:

      As far as I can ascertain, The Young Mandela is not his only book, and he has also written books on Jill Dando, Dr Crippen and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Diversity indeed.

      As for any prospective move… Smith was born in South London, so perhaps he is already intimately acquainted with the area.

  2. I Albion says:

    And any complaints he receives about his article he will lap up, it will just reinforce his belief in “racist England” apart from being an absolute bastard,his kind are the the biggest racists of all

  3. You’ve highlighted his ‘sneering’ which I don’t think I managed to. I’m a Londoner and prefer London to the rest of the country for not dissimilar reasons to the ones he cites and alludes to. But that’s why I live here. Of course a small town is going to be more ‘insular’ than a city which has no betters throughout the world and only a couple of equals. I have to say I’m annoyed by those comments and I’m not only not a Lewesian, I’m a Londoner!

  4. You have a strong stomach, B, to read and analyse such appalling stuff. Altho’ it was good to see the man’s hypocrisy rewarded by being put next door to a BNP bigwig. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

    One of the ironies is that the man is so screwed up and sensitive about his mixed race offspring that he will make sure that said offspring are totally screwed up too, and make the local headteacher’s life a misery in the process.

    • Byrnsweord says:

      I see it as my duty, my good man. As I have stressed to others, I cannot remember the last time I saw an article of such staggeringly self-rightous and self-important tosh, especially in a major newspaper.

      On an unrelated note: I very much like the new and more colourful look of your blog!

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks for this interesting critique- the link to the article no longer works- do you have a copy – I’d like to read it.

    • Byrnsweord says:

      I’m afraid not: it seems to have disappeared behind the paywall again. The more I consider it, the more it makes me wonder if the article’s prominence in the Sunday Times, and its extreme views was a cynical move by those at The Times to drum up customers for their paywall that – thanks to the author himself – has backfired somewhat.

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