Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

20 June 2009

The Dark Nationalist Heart of New Labour’s Devolution Project

I was struck last night by how the panellists of BBC1’s Any Questions displayed a rare unity in condemning the ‘nationalism’ to which they imputed the recent assaults on Romanian migrants in Northern Ireland. ‘There can be no place for nationalism in modern Britain’, they intoned to the audience’s acclaim.

Apart from the fact that statements such as this articulate a quasi-nationalistic, or inverted-nationalist, pride in Britain (‘what makes us “great as a nation” is our tolerance and integration of multiple nationalities’), this involved an unchallenged equation of hostility towards immigration / racism with ‘nationalism’. This was especially inappropriate in the Northern Ireland context where ‘nationalism’ is associated with Irish republicanism, and hence with Irish nationalism and not – what, actually? British nationalism à la BNP; the British ‘nationalism’ of Northern Irish loyalists (no one bothered to try and unpick whether the people behind the violence had been from the Catholic or Protestant community, or both); or even ‘English’ nationalism?

Certainly, it’s a stock response on the part of the political and media establishment to associate ‘English nationalism’ per se with xenophobia, opposition to immigration and racism. But this sort of knee-jerk reaction itself involves an unself-critical, phobic negativity towards (the concept of) the English – and certainly, the idea of the ‘white English’ – that crosses over into inverted racism, and which ‘colours’ (or, shall we say, emotionally infuses) people’s response to the concept of ‘English nationalism’. In other words, ‘English nationalism’, for the liberal political and media classes, evokes frightening images of racial politics and violence because, in part, the very concept of ‘the English nation’ is laden with associations of ‘white Anglo-Saxon’ ethnic aggressiveness and brutality. English nationalism is therefore discredited in the eyes of the liberal establishment because it is unable to dissociate it from its images of the historic assertion of English (racial) ‘superiority’ (for instance, typically, in the Empire). But the fact that the establishment is unable to re-envision what a modern and different English nationalism, and nation, could mean is itself the product of its ‘anti-English’ prejudice and generalisations bordering on racism: involving an assumption that the ‘white English’ (particularly of the ‘lower classes’) are in some sense intrinsically brutish and racist – in an a-historic way that reveals their ‘true nature’, rather than as a function of an imperial and industrial history that both brutalised and empowered the English on a massive scale.

This sort of anti-English preconception was built into the design of New Labour’s asymmetric devolution settlement: it was seen as legitimate to give political expression to Scottish and Welsh nationalism, just not English nationalism. Evidently, there is a place for some forms of nationalism in modern Britain – the ‘Celtic’ ones – but not the English variety. While this is not an exhaustive explanation, the anomalies and inequities of devolution do appear to have enacted a revenge against the English for centuries of perceived domination and aggression. First, there is the West Lothian Question: the well known fact that Scottish and Welsh MPs can make decisions and pass laws that relate to England only, whereas English MPs can no longer make decisions in the same policy areas in Scotland and Wales. This could be seen as a reversal of the historical situation, as viewed and resented through the prism of Scottish and Welsh nationalism: instead of England ruling Scotland and Wales through the political structures of the Union, now Scotland and Wales govern England through their elected representatives in Westminster, who ensure that England’s sovereignty and aspirations for self-government are frustrated.

It might seem a somewhat extreme characterisation of the present state of affairs to say that Scotland and Wales ‘govern England’; but it certainly is true that a system that involves the participation of Scottish and Welsh MPs is involved in the active suppression not only of the idea of an English parliament to govern English matters (which would restore parity with Scotland and Wales) but of English-national identity altogether: the cultural war New Labour has waged against the affirmation and celebration of Englishness in any form – the surest way to extinguish demands for English self-rule being to obliterate the English identity from the consciousness of the silent British majority. In this respect, New Labour’s attempts to replace Englishness with an a-national Britishness – in England only – are indeed reminiscent of the efforts made by an England-dominated United Kingdom in previous centuries to suppress the national identity, political aspirations and traditions of Scotland and Wales.

This notion of devolution enabling undue Scottish and Welsh domination of English affairs becomes less far-fetched when you bear in mind the disproportionate presence of Scottish-elected MPs that have filled senior cabinet positions throughout New Labour’s tenure, including, of course, Gordon Brown: chancellor for the first ten years and prime minister for the last two. And considering that Brown is the principal protagonist in the drive to assert and formalise a Britishness that displaces Englishness as the central cultural and national identity of the UK, this can only lend weight to suspicions that New Labour has got it in for England, which it views in the inherently negative way I described above.

However, the main grounds for believing that devolution enshrines nationalistic bias and vindictiveness towards England is the way New Labour has continued to operate the Barnett Formula: the funding mechanism that ensures that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland benefit from a consistently higher per-capita level of public expenditure than England. One thing to be observed to begin with is that Barnett is used to legitimise the continuing participation of non-English MPs in legislating for England, as spending decisions that relate directly to England only trigger incremental expenditure for the other nations.

But New Labour has used Barnett not only to justify the West Lothian Question but has attempted to justify it in itself as a supposedly ‘fair’ system for allocating public expenditure. It seems that it is construed as fair primarily because it does penalise England in favour of the devolved nations, not despite this fact. This sort of thinking was evidenced this week during a House of Lords inquiry into the Barnett Formula. Liam Byrne, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, described the mechanism as “fair enough”, only to be rounded on by the Welsh Labour chair Lord Richard of Ammanford: “It doesn’t actually mean anything. Look at the difference between Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – is that fair?” So it’s OK for England to receive 14% less spending per head of population than Wales, 21% less than Scotland and 31% less than Northern Ireland; the only ‘unfairness’ in the system is the differentials between the devolved nations!

The view that this system is somehow ‘fair to England’ – except it’s not articulated as such, as this would be blatantly ridiculous and it ascribes to England some sort of legal personality, which the government denies: ‘fair for the UK as a whole’ would be the kind of phrase used – exemplifies the sort of nationalistic, anti-English bias that has characterised New Labour. It’s as if the view is that England ‘owes’ it to the other nations: that because it has historically been, and still is, more wealthy overall and more economically powerful than the other nations, it is ‘fair’ that it should both pay more taxes and receive less back on a sort of redistribution of wealth principle. But this involves a re-definition of redistribution of wealth on purely national lines, as if England as a whole were imagined as a nation of greedy capitalists and arrogant free marketeers that need to pay their dues to the exploited and neglected working class people of Scotland and Wales: the bedrock of the Labour movement.

In short, it’s ‘pay-back time’: overlaying the centuries-long resentment towards England’s wealth and power, England is being penalised for having supported Margaret Thatcher and her programme of privatisation, disinvestment in public services and ruthless market economics. ‘OK, if that’s how you want it, England, you can continue your programme of market reforms of public services; and if you want a public sector that is financially cost-efficient and run on market principles, then you can jolly well pay yourselves for the services that you don’t want the public purse to fund – after all, you can afford to, can’t you? But meanwhile, your taxes can fund those same services for us, because we can’t afford to pay for them ourselves but can choose to get them anyway through our higher public-spending allocation and devolved government’.

Such appears at least to be the ugly nationalistic, anti-English backdrop to the two-track Britain New Labour has ushered in with asymmetric devolution. This has allowed Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to pursue a classic social-democratic path of high levels of funding for public services based on a redistributive tax system; that is, with wealth being redistributed from England, as the tax revenues from the devolved nations are not sufficient to fund the programme. Meanwhile, in England, New Labour has taken forward the Thatcherite agenda of reforming the public sector on market principles. In a market economy, individuals are required to pay for many things that are financed by the state in more social-democratic and socialist societies. Hence, the market economics can be used to justify the unwillingness of the state to subsidise certain things like university tuition fees (an ‘investment’ by individuals in their own economic future); various ‘luxuries’ around the edges of the standard level of medical treatment offered by the state health-care system (e.g. free parking and prescriptions, or highly advanced and expensive new drugs that it is not ‘cost-efficient’ for the public sector to provide free of charge); or personal care for the elderly, for which individuals in a market economy are expected to make their own provisions.

These sorts of market principle, which have continued and extended the measures to ‘roll back the frontiers of the state’ initiated under the Thatcher and Major governments, have been used to justify the government in England not paying for things that are funded by the devolved governments: public-sector savings made in England effectively cross-subsidise the higher levels of public spending in the other nations. Beneath an ideological agenda (reform of the public services in England), a nationalist agenda has been advanced that runs utterly counter to the principles of equality and social solidarity across the whole of the United Kingdom that Labour has traditionally stood for. Labour has created and endorsed a system of unequal levels of public-service provision based on a ‘national postcode lottery’, i.e. depending purely on which country you happen to live in. Four different NHS’s with care provided more
free at the point of use in some countries than others, and least of all in England; a vastly expanded university system that is free everywhere except England; and social care offered with varying levels of public funding, but virtually none in England. So much for Labour as the party of the working class and of the Union: not in England any more.

There’s an argument for saying that English people should pay for more of their medical, educational and personal-care needs, as they are better off on average. But that’s really not the point. Many English people struggle to pay for these things or simply can’t do so altogether, and so miss out on life-prolonging drug treatments or educational opportunities that their ‘fellow citizens’ elsewhere in the UK are able to benefit from. A true social-democratic- and socialist-style public sector should offer an equal level of service provision to anyone throughout the state that wishes to access it, whether or not they could afford to pay for private health care or education but choose not to. The wealthy end up paying proportionately more for public services anyway through higher taxes. Under the New Labour multi-track Britain, by contrast, those English people who are better off not only have to pay higher taxes but also have to pay for services that other UK citizens can obtain free of charge, as do poorer English people. One might even say that this extra degree of taxation (higher income tax + charges for public services) is a tax for being English.

But of course, it’s not just the middle and upper classes that pay the England tax; it’s Labour’s traditional core supporters: the English working class. On one level, it’s all very well taking the view that ‘middle England’ supports privatisation and a market economy, so they can jolly well pay for stuff rather than expecting the state to fund it. But it’s altogether another matter treating the less well-off people of England with the same disregard. It is disregarding working people in England to simply view it as acceptable that they should have to pay for hospital parking fees, prescription charges, their kids’ higher education and care for their elderly relatives, while non-English people can get all or most of that for free. What, are the English working class worth less than their Celtic cousins?

How much of this New Labour neglect of the common people of England can truly be put down to a combination of Celtic nationalism, anti-English nationalism, and indeed inverted-racist prejudice towards the white English working class? Well, an attribution to the English of an inherent preference for market economics – coming as it does from a movement that despised that ideology during the 1980s and early 1990s – could well imply a certain contempt for the English, suffused with Scottish and Welsh bitterness towards the ‘English’ Thatcher government.

But an even more fundamental and disturbing turning of the tables against the English is New Labour’s laissez-faire attitude to job creation, training and skills development for the English working class. The Labour government abandoned the core principle that it has a duty to assist working people in acquiring the skills they need to compete in an increasingly aggressive global market place, and to foster ‘full employment’ in England; and it just let the market take over. It’s as if the people of England weren’t worth the investment and didn’t matter, only the economy. And it’s because of Labour’s comprehensive sell out to market economics that it has encouraged the unprecedented levels of immigration we have experienced, deliberately to foster a low-wage economy; and, accordingly, a staggering nine-tenths of the new jobs created under the Labour government have gone to workers from overseas. Is it any wonder, then, that there is such widespread concern – whether well founded or not in individual cases – among traditional Labour voters in England about immigration, and about newcomers taking the jobs and housing that they might have thought a Labour government would have striven to provide for them?

How much of the liberal establishment’s contempt and fear of English white working-class racism and anti-immigration violence is an adequate response to a genuine threat? On the contrary, to what extent has that threat and that hostility towards migrants actually been brought about and magnified by New Labour’s pre-existing contempt and inverted racism towards the white working-class people of England, and the policies (or lack of them) that flowed from those attitudes?

Has New Labour, in its darker under-belly, espoused the contempt towards the ‘lazy’, ‘loutish’, disenfranchised English working class that Margaret Thatcher made her hallmark – and mixed it up in a heady cocktail together with Celtic nationalism, and politically-correct positive economic and cultural discrimination in favour of migrants and ethnic minorities?

One thing is for sure, though: English nationalism properly understood – as a movement that strives to redress the democratic and social inequalities of the devolution settlement out of a concern for all of the people residing and trying to earn a living in England – is far less likely to foster violence against innocent Romanian families than is the ‘British nationalism’ of the BNP or the various nationalisms of the other UK nations that have seen far lower levels of immigration than England.

But is there a place not just for English nationalism but for England itself in a British state and establishment that are so prejudiced against it?



  1. What a superb article. At last we are starting to recognise the anti English racism at the heart of the enemy (British Government). All major parties have signed up to this agenda so every vote for a nationalist party (preferably an English nationalist party) is a small cut that will eventually bleed them to death. This needs to be presented in a form that will get through to the majority, people who consider themselves too busy to read lengthy articles. The more we shout the sooner we can get justice for England.

    Comment by Fred Bishop — 20 June 2009 @ 8.19 am | Reply

  2. I for one Scot has no problem with an English Parliament and an emergence of an English nationalism that reflects all that is good and fair in the English people I know and love.

    The root cause is that for far too long British has been confused, deliberately by some, to be English. Now that canard is being constructed the question of what is English is at last being addressed.

    The Barnett Formula is a fix, but not as you describe in your article. UK Government expenditure per country or region id a fiddle. The true recipient of the central government is the SW region of England. The vast majority of civil service jobs are there and this is where a disproportionate percentage of capital expenditure is disbursed, from the M25, the Crossrail link, the Dome, The Olympics and so on.

    The revenue side is also fudged, as the GERS report (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) have been loudly (in Scotland that is, but not to The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Express) shown to be a Barnett Formula exercise( a back of the fag packet calculation based on inspired guesswork and the fixing of conjured figures to support the conclusion).

    The entire UK naval nuclear deterrent was designated as a Scottish expenditure and all VAT revenues, and Excise Duty revenues from The Scotch Whisky industry belongs to the SW of England, as most of the companies involved have their headquarters in London.

    Cabinet minutes and civil service memos, released under FOI have shown that succeeding Prime Ministers, Cabinets and senior Civil Servants, conspired and lied to the public about the financial importance and quantitative significance of the North Sea Oil which even they concluded would have to be designated as a Scottish, not a British asset. As one final act of treachery, to the British people, they changed the sea boundary of Scottish waters, just before the re-enactment of the Scottish Parliament to designate a large swathe of waters off Scotland, up to directly East of Dundee to be “English”.

    One report, The McCrone Report was suppressed because it stated in cold terms that the true extent and significance of North Sea Oil, if it were known, would incite Scotish Nationalism and an independent Scotland would have the strongest currency in Europe. The effect of this on the residual UK would have been profound at many different levels.

    Lies, damn lies, statistics and Westminster disengenuity. A disservice to all the peoples of this disunited Kingdom.

    The UK establishment has learned nothing from the Irish secession, using all the same arguments and repeating all the same mistakes.

    Despite the current problems the Irish, Icelandic, Lituanian, Estonian, Latvian and Norwegian economies, I see not one wanting to sign up and rejoin their former colonial masters.

    As I said at the beginning, I have no hate of England or the English but the Union is well passed its sell-by date.

    I leave you one question,

    If Scotland is such a financial drag on England why are all the major political parties not screaming from the house tops to cut her loose?

    Follow the money, Honey.

    We can still be friends?

    Comment by Billy Goat Gruff — 20 June 2009 @ 10.15 am | Reply

  3. Excellent and accurate analyis. I too noted how the po-faced panel on QT blamed some uncategorised ‘nationalists’ for the attacks on Romanian immigrants. It would be better to describe such attackers as ‘localists’.

    Comment by Ian Campbell — 20 June 2009 @ 10.24 am | Reply

    • Also, the ‘Romanian Migrant Workers’ were actually gipsies.

      Comment by nativebriton — 25 September 2009 @ 5.29 am | Reply

  4. An excellent analysis. One must also remember that Gordon Brown among others signed the Scottish Claim of Right for self governance-an aspiration that clearly he held and holds for Scotland and not England. also 7 out of 24 UK Cabinet Members in 1997 signed that claim. Other signatories are Michael Martin erstwhile speaker in the UK Parliament and George Galloway now MP of an English constituencies. In addition signatories were Alistair Darling now chancellor of the UK and his deputy John McFall, and former Ministers of wholly English Health departments, John Reid and Transport Alistair Darling. Current member of the wholly English Department select committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Gavin Strang. Let us also not forget the signatories Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy.

    Comment by Scilla Cullen — 20 June 2009 @ 10.39 am | Reply

  5. Excellent and insightful article.

    Comment by David B. Wildgoose — 20 June 2009 @ 10.50 am | Reply

  6. I echo the two previous posts,although I didn’t hear the programme that you base your article on David I know which one you are referring to.

    Anti-nationalism comments have been spouted thick and fast, especially by the Lib/Lab/Con,s since the two BNP candidates were elected, this in my humble opinion is due to the major party’s crying foul…”how dare the electorate vote for right wing parties, “we wont allow it””………I didn’t vote for them myself and probably never would, but they were elected by almost a million voters!.. guess what? it’s called democracy !!, something ZanuLabour particularly know sod all about! it shows the mentality of those that are making an issue about this, OK with good reason admittedly, but they are confusing the two unrelated issues here, racism and the love of your country of birth,

    the upshot of all this is, as you so eloquently say, English nationalists (not Scottish or Welsh of course (sic)) must be racists and aligned with the people that behaved so badly against the immigrants in N Ireland, but you know what, how is it any more surprising than the fact that they were hounded out of there own country by their own people, this is where all the venom should be directed, but there is no mileage for them to go down that route is there!

    Thank god it didn’t happen here in England!!!!

    Comment by BobShaw — 20 June 2009 @ 3.10 pm | Reply

  7. I think that there is a problem with English identity in England but there are several factors at work and not all are due to an inherent hatred of Englishness in New Labour based on Thatcherism.

    One reason that New Labour dislike Englishness as an identity is that they believe it does not include the large immigrant population in England and that’s why Britishness is being pushed. It doesn’t actually involve identity politics in Scotland and Wales and to an extent Northern Ireland, it’s all about trying to create a single identity in a multi-ethnic England.

    The Devolution settlement is something else again. England was never considered because Englishness was the default identity. However Scotland, Wales and NI needed to have their identity recognised and defined but not England which was thought of as the devolving power.

    The failure to address the West Lothian Question is simply a function of how devolution is structured. Devolution is a provincial settlement where the central state and government is not changed by devolving some powers to the provincial level. To address the WLQ question would have needed a change in the central structure of Government which is against the philosophy of devolution. The WLQ is a result of going down the devolution road not the federal road in the UK which can also be laid at the door of the Britain is England is Britain outlook.

    One side of the cultural war that New Labour has waged against Englishness is an attempt to create a British identity for the immigrant populations in England but it is also an attempt to stop nationalism in Scotland and Wales. The Britain that Brown dreams of is simply a re-labelled England where English History has been appropriated as British History and Scottish and Welsh History is ignored. His Britain is England under a different name and an attempt to neuter all national identities within Britain. It is not specifically aimed at England.

    Now the Barnett formula may give Scotland more money per head than England but it is based on English expenditure. All the freebies that are so hotly resented are paid for out of the single block grant that the Scottish Parliament gets. It gets no extras to pay for this stuff beyond the Barnett formula cash. The difference in the NHS services is devolution in action where each devolved administration has different health priorities. If you want a single NHS service which is exactly the same across the UK then the NHS will have to be removed from the control of the devolved parliaments and assemblies.

    I’m also interested in why the phrase, “your taxes”, is used in a reference to tax from England funding Scotland. Scots are all taxpayers too and with our oil, gas and whisky taxes going to the Westminster Treasury I think Scotland is funding the rest of the UK. As Billy Goat Gruff said, if we’re so poor, why are Labour, The Conservatives and the Lib-Dems so desperate to hold onto Scotland and so afraid to change the Barnett Formula in case that very thing happens.

    “But is there a place not just for English nationalism but for England itself in a British state and establishment that are so prejudiced against it?”

    When England has 529 out of the 646 seats in Parliament and an estimated population of 51.1 Million out of total UK population of 61 Million the,” England as a victim”, cry is not one I can ever believe in.

    Comment by DougtheDug — 20 June 2009 @ 6.52 pm | Reply

  8. “As Billy Goat Gruff said, if we’re so poor, why are Labour, The Conservatives and the Lib-Dems so desperate to hold onto Scotland and so afraid to change the Barnett Formula in case that very thing happens.”

    Labour MPs like Gordon Brown, Lib Dems like Menzies Campbell, Tories like Liam Fox. Why is it that Scots always act like British MPs who support the union don’t include their own countrymen? Oh wait, don’t tell me they’re ‘Brits’ as if that someone negates their Scottishness. As long as their are Scottish MPs at the heart of government the idea that the main parties are soooo desperate to hold on to Scotland therefore it must be fantastically wealthy is a laughable piece of logic. Hard as it is to assign a principle to many of them perhaps they do believe in Britain? And when they think England finances Scotland maybe they actually believe that, they aren’t just saying it and really think the opposite but want to keep people in the dark about it to keep that vast wealth pouring in from north of the border.

    Comment by Sarah — 20 June 2009 @ 8.39 pm | Reply

  9. BobShaw:

    If England actually existed, then it could not be a victim. But here is a country submerged in Britain since 1707. That’s how the territory, loosely termed “England” by some, becomes a “victim” – with so-called “English” MPs refusing to believe in any such notion and the territory being broken up into regions by the UK Government.

    England as a unified country could probably NOT be a victim of Britain. But as things stand…

    As for the Barnett Formula… how can it be fair? It provides higher funding for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its own creator, Lord Joel Barnett, says it is unfair.

    As for Dougthedog… Even leaving out arguments about the maritime border and the Continental Shelf Act, and the volatility of oil prices, Scotland has done extremely well out of the Union and all resources should be shared.

    What we seem to be observing is a Scots’ credo of “What’s England’s is ours, and what’s ours is also ours!”

    Comment by Maria — 20 June 2009 @ 9.45 pm | Reply

  10. Maria.
    I think you should read the posts again, I made no reference to England in the manner or context that you say, or the Barnett Formula either.

    You must be confusing my comments with someone else’s ?
    I have’t got a clue what you are on about anyway, and err..sorry England does exist.

    Comment by BobShaw — 21 June 2009 @ 5.39 pm | Reply

  11. You’re right about Thatcher. It was Thatcherite policies which reignited the debate on devolution in Wales post 1979. Thatcher has since earned herself the sobriquet of ‘mam datganoli’ (the mother of Welsh devolution).

    I’ve said it before but … New Labour had bugger all to do with elective devolution in Wales and Scotland. The foundations of the Scottish settlement were agreed under John Smith’s leadership and the process of reaffirming the policy in Wales was already well underway by the time of Smith’s death. What of Gordon Brown? Well, there’s a big difference between writing about devolution as a policy wonk/signing bits of paper in opposition and the real deal. There was and there remains a serious disconnect between the New Labour project and the devolution project and Gordon Brown has proved temperamentally incapable of bridging it.

    If you read an account of devolution by a Welsh commentator as opposed to the usual London tripe you would probably see such phrases/buzz words as the quango state, quangocracy, bonfire of the quangos, Peter Walker, David Hunt, John Redwood, William Hague, colonial governor generals, old Labour fiefdoms, one-partyism, new politics, democratic accountability, rebranding, inclusivity (Ron’s favourite word – the real ‘I’ word of the Welsh debate), Welsh solutions to Welsh problems … . Usually missing from the London narrative is any reference to the desire to reform a pre-existing devolved settlement. As a result much of the English electorate is under the mistaken impression that we were starting out with a blank piece of paper in 1997 and the English somehow got left off the page.

    Back to Thatcher and the miners for the moment … The miners stood proxy for industrial Britain and its problems. London’s answer? Send in the bully boys – the Met and MI5. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not claiming that Wales and Scotland suffered more than parts of England but Wales and Scotland had the means to take power away from an over-powerful centre. There was a general indifference to the civil rights of miners back in 1980s and now people are puzzled as to why the Met has such a wide definition of the ‘enemy within’.

    Britologywatch outlines the argument of socialist cohesion as espoused by the centrist wing of the Labour party. But let’s look at the record: Labour had never held power for more than one term and a bit; Labour could be out of power for large periods of up to 18 years; Labour heartlands suffered all the disadvantages of a one-partyism – cronyism, corruption and atrophy; Britain remained in the grip of a public school-attending Ox-bridge elite. Time to do things differently …

    Comment by Hendre — 22 June 2009 @ 9.53 am | Reply

  12. “”Scottish and Welsh nationalism, just not English nationalism””

    Indeed but Cornish nationalism and the Cornish nation were also of an inconvenient size and did not fit New labours plans. This resulted in the predictable attacks on Cornish aspirations as ‘nationalistic’, ‘isolationist’ and as wanting to ‘cut Cornwall off’.

    Comment by cornubian — 30 June 2009 @ 6.40 pm | Reply

  13. The English are not British though, they are Anglo-Saxons. Alien to Britain.

    Comment by nativebriton — 21 September 2009 @ 9.50 pm | Reply

    • Well, the Anglo-Saxons arrived over 1500 years ago. I think that qualifies as ‘native British’. After all, the Celts weren’t the original people of Britain either, and the Celts and the Germanic peoples both trace their origins to the Indo-Europeans of the Caucasus region of around 5000 years ago. Besides which, the Anglo-Saxons interbred with the Celts (and with the Norse people, Normans, Irish, etc.). Your ideal of Celtic racial purity seems about as futile as some ethnic English nationalists’ ideal of Anglo-Saxon racial purity; indeed, the two views complement each other.

      Comment by David — 22 September 2009 @ 10.47 am | Reply

      • You think wrong on all counts. The Anglo-Saxons are not natives to Britain any more than the Hottentots are.

        The Brythons, Gaels and Picts are the original people of these islands – ‘Celtic’ is a cultural term applied to them since the nineteenth century as a ‘Not English’ catch-all.

        Hardly any Anglo-Saxons ‘interbred’ with Britons, they caused a racial holocaust, like they did to the Danes a few centuries later.

        Comment by nativebriton — 25 September 2009 @ 5.27 am

      • The Brythons and Gaels, as you call them, came to Britain from the continent of Europe, as is well attested from the archeological and linguistic evidence we have about the Celts, who at one time extended across vast tracts of Europe stretching from Bohemia to Britain. The Picts also came to these shores from overseas, one theory being they migrated up from Africa via Spain. It’s even been suggested that ‘Iberia’ – the name for the Iberian peninsula, which preceded Latin ‘Hispania’ – and the Latin ‘Hibernia’ (modern ‘Eire’: Ireland) are related, attesting to the shared ancestry of the pre-Celtic people of Spain and Ireland, the Picts being supposed to share that origin.

        Whatever the whys and wherefores of that latter speculation, people have always migrated to and colonised Britain; and the Brythons and Gaels are no more ‘original’ to Britain than the Anglo-Saxons. Also, many modern historians refute the idea that the Anglo-Saxons committed genocide in the regions they conquered. But even if there was widespread slaughter, which is disputed, it’s also unimaginable that the victors didn’t take their spoil, i.e. that they didn’t take British women to be their wives or concubines, and that rapes didn’t take place. Therefore, interbreeding will have happened.

        Comment by David — 27 September 2009 @ 1.16 am

      • Straight from the book of John Tyndall – away with your English Nationalist racist claptrap.

        Comment by nativebriton — 27 September 2009 @ 6.36 am

      • How about dealing with the facts, as recognised by authoritative, international (not ‘English’) historical, archeological and linguistic investigation, to say nothing of genetics? Besides which, would you consider all those millions of ‘interbred’ British citizens today as racially impure? If so, that includes me: Welsh, Irish and English ancestry at my grandparents’ generation, and who knows going further back? Still makes me English, though, as national identity is a matter of culture more than race.

        Comment by David — 27 September 2009 @ 8.44 am

      • The results of the DNA purity test would determine whether you have a right to remain. Fact.

        Comment by nativebriton — 27 September 2009 @ 9.15 am

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