As regular readers will know, I fight a losing battle against the synecdochal use of ‘British’ to mean ‘English’. This is a complex debate, but one that more often than not evinces the reluctance of establishment institutions to delineate the two – or even to acknowledge England, English people or Englishness.
There is practically no acknowledgement of what bloggers like myself, or more coherent organisations such as the Campaign for an English Parliament, perceive as the key to England’s fundamental nationhood – namely a national day, political representation, a fair deal in terms of Britain’s nationwide institutions such as the NHS and a national anthem.
And thus, as immigration-related discussion, fretting, psycho-analysis and wittering is presently all the rage amongst the chattering classes, England as a notion – rather than a nation – is a key, and highly emotive aspect of the discussion.
This evening an article by Charles Moore of the Telegraph has appeared entitled ‘Will there always be an England whatever the origin of its people?’ Some might be inclined – particularly in light of my earlier assertions – to pre-emptively answer the writer’s question with a resounding ‘no’. Or bemoan the new absence of the nation of England either as a cohesive, monocultural nation or in the national consciousness as anything other than overpaid, cosseted sports ‘stars’.
But Mr Moore has drawn contrasts in his article concisely and cleverly. The thrust of the argument is extremely revealing, articulating a devastating ignorance of our own history and diminished understanding of what constitutes historical and future Englishness.
A fascinating aside is the conflict between his ideas of England and that of his Anglo-Bangladeshi taxi driver
“Would names like the Duke of Wellington, Tennyson, or William Blake have rung even the faintest bell? “And did those feet…?,” we sang. “What feet?,” my driver might have wondered. Anyway, what is “England’s green and pleasant land” to a man who lives 50 miles from Sussex but has never heard of it?”
By extension, though, is this idea of English military successes, this knowledge of the Christian faith and its significant historical devotees, this pride in our natural environment, the notion of England that we as English people have? Is it the England of the youth, most of whom – of ‘indigenous’ English descent or not – have never even heard of the Duke of Wellington, heard the achievements of Lord Nelson or understood the importance of Henry VIII to the nation? Recent polls confirm their sad ignorance. Moore continues:
“I don’t think that the driver felt excluded from an England which he wished to possess; rather that he simply had very little idea of it. He had an idea of London as a place (and of Tottenham Hotspur as a football club), and Britain as an entity that issues passports, but England?”
A revealing stanza indeed. It is one that echoes my previous blogs; on English institutions and English nationhood and Britain as a non-entity in particular, but furthermore, reveals how unsophisticated the popular constitution of a nation is. Many Chelsea fans fly Crosses of St George with their club’s badge awkwardly superimposed on top without irony, despite the fact that the club is owned by a Russian, managed by an Italian and largely staffed by highly-paid foreign mercenaries.
Of course, this perception of ourselves is highly dangerous. It implies that our popular understanding of what constitutes the nation of England is incredibly materialist. Here, England is little more than a collection of ‘institutions’ – or ‘assets’, to foreign investors – to which we have an increasingly tenuous connection. Globalisation and egalitarianism have much to answer for here- what value is a group of people inhabiting their own country when they are profoundly unfamiliar with its history? What value are a group of people who believe that their existence at this point in history is mere good fortune? What value is a nation of people ignorant of where their turns of phrase came from, or indeed, entirely ignorant of the vast and rich lexicon of their own language?
Well, it allows itself to be hoodwinked for a start. As Moore states, the enormous exodus from these shores of the ‘silent majority’, who seem to have abandoned their responsibility to the nation that raised them (or were just being entirely ignored) and the enormous migration patterns of the last fifteen years has led to:
“… a society which, in large areas, would have been unrecognisable only 20 years ago. When Mr Blair declared, with apparent absurdity, in 1997, that Britain was a “young country”, perhaps he meant that he intended it to be something it had never been before. If so, he succeeded.”
Much has already been said about Mr Blair’s reshaping/mis-shaping of Britain: a ‘country’ that he actively helped to prevent existing through devolution, unfettered and obscenely enormous immigration and capitulation to the EU & American social and political ideologies grossly inappropriate to this country. But his demolition of England was wholesale and vengeful.
So can an ‘England’ continue to exist? Moore, seemingly resigned to England’s imminent extinction, reaches a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion:
“Demographic projections now show Britain overtaking Germany as the largest EU country in 30 years or so. None of that growth will come from the indigenous white population.
All this need not be a total disaster. It is possible, though hard, to forge a United Kingdom made up of many ethnicities. Leaders like Mr Cameron are right to try to insist on common standards and better rules, rather than to despair. But whatever it is, and however well it turns out, it cannot be England. Perhaps when I am very old, my grandchildren will ask me what England was. It will be a hard question to answer, but I think I shall tell them that it seemed like a good idea while it lasted, and that it lasted for about 1,000 years.”
Here, then, the writer – seemingly taking an ethnic nationalist perspective – suggests that we are about to witness the emergence of a ‘United Kingdom’ of vastly different peoples and that England is doomed to disappear through a combination of ignorance, political failure and decades of intellectual deceit.
The farcical nature of this statement is almost too profound to analyse. Quite how the logical conclusion of an inherently ignorant, ideologically unintelligable and profoundly damaging ‘multiculturalism’ policy is a coherent, united society of people of vastly different cultural, religious and ideological perspectives under the long-dated political banner of a ‘United Kingdom’ is beyond me. I had toyed with the idea that perhaps the writer longs for a Socialist Republic, but a monarch would be obsolete under such a system.
One thing is clear: England will cease to exist unless we act. And quickly.
With insincere apologies to the bigots, England will not die through mass immigration alone. Mass immigration will render its identity more obscure over time, but it is not the sole reason why England may yet cease to exist.
England is blighted by an horrendous ignorance of the value of Christianity to its system of governance, law, culture, history, built environment and ideological grounding. England and its people suffer from a poor understanding of history more generally – a symptom of an inadequate education system. England has few – if any – defenders in Parliament. English people – impeded, slandered, shouted down or ignored by the left and its agents of evil – have lost their faith in themselves and developed a perceived inability to stand up for their beliefs. There is no meaningful and true defender of the white working-class. Equally, there is no meaningful and true defender of the historic upper class, the value of whose position in our society is historically beyond doubt and reproach.
In addition to all these things, we must defend the extant manifestations of our civic nationalism and extend and expand this civic nationalism into the public consciousness. America has a celebrated Day or Society for just about everything – why can’t we have a recognised Victoria Day to celebrate the immense achievements of our Victorian predecessors? Or perhaps a Shakespeare Day? Or even an English Scientist Day? We are fortunate enough to have a rich and invaluable scientific legacy that continues to this day – engaging young people in this process, and Science more generally – can do no harm whatsoever.
That the famous exhortation of Ross Parker & Hugh Charles that ‘There’ll Always Be an England’ would prove untrue would be a true, absolute and unthinkable betrayal of our ancestors, of our war dead, our proud history and most importantly our people.
If we do not act now, it will become a reality.