Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’


What is Britology? This is my term for the current efforts being made by British politicians and cultural institutions to define and affirm so-called ‘British values’ as the basis for greater social cohesion, and for the integration of different races and religions. This blog is intended as a forum for constructive (indeed, deconstructive) criticism of this politico-cultural project: a place to report on and discuss speeches, TV and radio programmes, and comments and events of any kind illustrating this drive to reaffirm ‘Britishness’. I’ll be nailing my views to the mast, and I hope there’ll be lively comment.

I’m not totally, negatively opposed to any attempt to affirm and rally round the things that are positive in the British tradition, history and character. On the contrary, I’m proud to be English and, by that token, British. It’s just that Britology is – to quote a phrase – ‘not fit for purpose’: it’s too abstract and theoretical; too remote from the preoccupations, tastes and experience of most people actually living in the UK; too driven by various insidious and disingenuous political agendas to provide anything meaningful around which all the people(s) of the UK can unite. So as well as criticising Britology, I aim, as I go along, to provide some constructive suggestions of more meaningful alternatives.



  1. Hi David,
    Thanks for your helpful comment on terrorism. Good luck with the exploration of Britology! We are also exploring its potential on OurKingdom. The more the merrier.
    Anthony Barnett

    Comment by ourkingdom — 4 August 2007 @ 9.15 am | Reply

  2. What is Anglology? This is my term for the current (and long existent) efforts being made by the English and later British state and cultural institutions to define and affirm so-called ‘Englishness’ in Cornwall at the expense of the identity of the Cornish national minority.

    For a full investigation of this phenomena visit Tyr Gwyr Gweryn:

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 9 December 2007 @ 11.09 am | Reply

  3. Philip, thanks for the comment. ‘Anglology’ does sound quite a suitable parallel term to Britology in your context. Clearly, the English have not always been as tolerant towards other nations’ identities at the expense of their own as they are today; Cornish nationalists clearly think they still aren’t with respect to Cornwall.

    Comment by David — 10 December 2007 @ 6.33 am | Reply

  4. Hi David,

    Unfortunately the problems faced by English, Welsh, and Scottish identities with regards Britishness are similar to those faced by the Cornish in relation to Englishness.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 10 December 2007 @ 9.47 pm | Reply

  5. For a crash course in the Cornish question:

    The Cornish are a Celtic ethnic identity and historic nation of the southwest of Great Britain. We have our own lesser used Celtic language, sports, festivals, cuisine, music, dance, history all rapped up in a perception of ourselves as being other than English.

    The PLASC ethnic data from the 2007 Cornish schools survey showed that 27% of children consider themselves to be Cornish rather than British or English. The results from the 2001 UK population census show over 37,000 people hold a Cornish identity instead of English or British. On this census, to claim to be Cornish, you had to deny being British, by crossing out the British option and then write ‘Cornish’ in the “other” box. This does not represent a mere clerical error or poorly thought through wording. This represents a denial of the right of the Cornish to describe themselves in terms of their identity. It might seem trite to complain about something that happened six years ago, but the 2001 census will remain relevant until the next one (in 2011). How many more people would have described themselves as Cornish if they did not have to deny being British or if there had been a Cornish tick box? How many people knew that writing ‘Cornish’ in the “other” box was an option? (This was extremely poorly publicised). How many ticked British but feel themselves to be Cornish British?

    Over the last few years various Cornish groups and individuals have been campaigning for the Cornish to be recognised for protection under the Council of Europe’s framework convention for the protection of national minorities. Such recognition would be a powerful tool to ensure correct treatment and protection of the Cornish national minority and its culture. The Commission for Racial Equality in its shadow report on the FCPNM produced on the 30th of March this year advised the government that the treaty could be extended to protect Cornish culture and also raised concerns about the lack of legal equality for minorities in the UK. Recently the Council of Europe has also suggested that the FCPNM could be extended to include the Cornish.

    Over the last 3 centuries Cornwall has gone from being on the leading edge of the industrial revolution to being one of the poorest regions of Europe receiving objective one funding from the EU as a result. In the October 2001 Business Age Magazine Kevin Cahill, an author and investigative journalist for the Sunday Times, wrote about the economy of Cornwall. In the Killing of Cornwall, he notes that the London Treasury extracts £1.95 billion in taxes out of Cornwall’s GDP of £3.6 billion. The Treasury returns less than £1.65 billion, so there is a net loss to Cornwall of 300 million pounds, where the total earnings figure is 24% below the national average, is this some form of negative Barnet Formula? Low wages, unskilled Mac Jobs, poverty, social problems, and rocketing housing prices are the often hidden face of the optimistically named “English” Rivera. Coupled with this we have seen the centralisation of services, institutions and government (followed by the skilled jobs they entail) out of the Duchy much to the benefit of various undemocratic and faceless ‘South West of England’ quangos.

    Cornwall Council’s Feb 2003 MORI Poll showed 55% in favour of a democratically-elected, fully-devolved regional assembly for Cornwall, (this was an increase from 46% in favour in a 2002 poll). In 2000 The Cornish Constitutional Convention launched a campaign that resulted in a petition signed by 50,000 people calling for a fully devolved Cornish assembly. The campaign generated support from across the political spectrum in Cornwall and to date has been the largest expression of popular support for devolution in the whole of the United Kingdom.

    This officially sanctioned silence on the existence of a Cornish identity must stop. Why will the government not ask the Office of National Statistics to include a Cornish tick box on the 2011 census? The ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ handbook, required reading for all who wish to immigrate to the UK, quotes the census heavily when describing the regions and ethnic diversity of the UK. Why are the Cornish not mentioned once? Why has UK government so far blocked all attempts at ensuring the Cornish are recognised under the FCPNM and ignored the advice of the CRE and COE?

    Why has the government failed to give the people of Cornwall the democratic referendum on greater autonomy and a devolved assembly that they have shown a demand for?

    In fact whenever Cornish campaigners have asked about the above decisions, even using the Freedom of information act, the government has dragged its feet, ignored requests and even refused to release information, why?!

    Is it me or are they really being less than open and transparent in their dealings with Cornwall and its aspirations. What is their problem? Perhaps the answer lies in out constitutional subsoil.

    Even if the government, current Duchy authority and history curriculum in our Cornish schools are loathed to touch the subject, Cornwall has a distinct constitutional history as a Duchy with an autonomous parliamentary and legal system known as the Stannaries. If you ask about the constitutional nature of the Duchy, if you aren’t ignored, then they will tell you that the Duchy is “a well-managed private estate which funds the public, charitable and private activities of The Prince of Wales and his family. The Duchy consists of around 54,648 hectares of land in 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England”. However this seems to fly in the face of the 19th century the legal arguments of Duchy officials, which defeated the UK Crown’s aspirations of sovereignty over the Cornish foreshore. The Duchy of Cornwall argued that the Duke has sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown. The Duchy authority argued that the Duke has sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown. On behalf of the Duchy in its successful action against the Crown, which resulted in the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act of 1858, Sir George Harrison (Attorney General for Cornwall) made this submission:

    That Cornwall, like Wales, was at the time of the Conquest, and was subsequently treated in many respects as distinct from England.

    That it was held by the Earls of Cornwall with the rights and prerogative of a County Palatine, as far as regarded the Seignory or territorial dominion.

    That the Dukes of Cornwall have from the creation of the Duchy enjoyed the rights and prerogatives of a County Palatine, as far as regarded seignory or territorial dominion, and that to a great extent by Earls.

    That when the Earldom was augmented into a Duchy, the circumstances attending to it’s creation, as well as the language of the Duchy Charter, not only support and confirm natural presumption, that the new and higher title was to be accompanied with at least as great dignity, power, and prerogative as the Earls enjoyed, but also afforded evidence that the Duchy was to be invested with still more extensive rights and privileges.

    The Duchy Charters have always been construed and treated, not merely by the Courts of Judicature, but also by the Legislature of the Country, as having vested in the Dukes of Cornwall the whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entire County of Cornwall.

    It seems no coherent description of the Duchy is available. In the book “The Cornish Question” by Mark Sandford that was published by the Constitutional Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London in 2002 it states that – “The existence of the Duchy of Cornwall was once of constitutional significance, but is now essentially a commercial organisation”. Considering that this commercial organisation is the largest landowner in Cornwall and claims to be nothing but a private estate and company, you would think it reasonable to expect there to be an official date of change-over from an official body of constitutional significance into a purely private commercial organisation.

    The Cornish Stannaries are claimed as the property of the Duke of Cornwall by the Duchy charters. The first of 1337 was published in 1978 as Statutes in Force, Constitutional law. The second and third Duchy of Cornwall charters of 1337 and 1338 give the Duke the powers of: “The King’s Writ and Summons of Exchequer” throughout Cornwall. These powers of the Duke of Cornwall represent the powers of government and they are certainly not what you would expect from a simple private landed estate something the Duchy often claims to be. By the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858, the foreshore of Cornwall was awarded to the Duke as “part of the soil and territorial possessions of the Duchy of Cornwall”. Please note that territorial possessions can not be private possessions as again the Duchy often likes to claim. Research reveals that the public spirited Crown Estate provides cultural support and housing for the public everywhere in the U.K. except Cornwall. The Duchy of Cornwall is the analogous body in Cornwall but, in a departure from its historical role, it now claims to be a private estate with exemption from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, unlike the Crown Estate. A stratagem designed to deter investigation into Duchy history and Cornish history?

    In the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858 it states that the Duchy of Cornwall is a ‘territorial possession’ of Britain. So, sometime between 1858 and the present day, a territory of Britain transformed into a private commercial organisation, when, if at all, did this happen? A court case in 1828, A trial at Bar (Rowe v. Brenton) it was affirmed that everything connected with the Duchy is “of public interest”, and “all the Kingdom should take notice”. Quite rightly so considering the Duchy of Cornwall is a territory of Britain. Yet when Cornish MP Andrew George raised questions on the 16th June 1997 about the affairs of the Duchy he was told that there is an injunction in the House of Commons that prevents such questions being raised, how can this be? In The Annual Accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall 1998, it states that `- “Accounts are prepared in accordance with instructions issued by H.M. Treasury. The Duchy’s primary function is to provide an income for present and future Dukes of Cornwall. The Duke is only entitled to the net income” This means the Treasury deals with the Duchy as if it were a government department. So how can the Duke of Cornwall be the owner of a private estate?

    In my opinion these are questions that should be deemed important enough to be answered by someone in authority, whether that authority is a Government office or the Duchy of Cornwall, after all, claiming a national territory and making it your own private business is no small affair – on a par with opening the newspaper this morning to find out that Richard Branson suddenly owns Gibraltar as a private business concern – and then reading that it was once a UK protectorate but now it belongs to Virgin – as the only official explanation for the change over. An attempt has been made to separate the Duchy of Cornwall, which is not subject to English tax legislation, from the territory of Cornwall, the argument being that the Duchy has a separate existence to the geographical area of Cornwall and holds property outside the area. The argument is spurious and flies in the face of the Duchy case of 1856.

    Well before the West Lothian was the Cornish question. Why has our sovereignty and constitutional status been gerrymandered and our mineral assets used just so that the English tax payer did not have to pay for the upkeep of the heir to the throne? In present day Cornwall it is easier to self-deceive than absorb the fact that the authorities have systematically lied and cheated in order to articulate circumstances which create the impression that the Cornish nation has only ever been an insignificant sub-division of some awe-inspiring, all-powerful, fully homogenous, fixed and eternal England. With the English education system encouraging English nationalism in Cornwall at the expense of the indigenous Cornish identity, the exploitation of Cornwall has been acceptable to the state while the absence from English law of the international right to an enforceable equality before the law has protected the Duchy authority from an effective legal challenge. The result is that the Duke of Cornwall’s fortune from Cornish assets continues to relieve England from paying, through taxation, for having an heir to the throne. Surely it is time the Duke and Duchy of Cornwall be made subject to equality before the law and the UK begin, after over six centuries, to pay for the maintenance of the heir to the throne. When the UK government and Duchy authority finally decide to be honest about the autonomous position of the Duchy of Cornwall within the UK legal system then an open debate about Cornish devolution and our future governance can begin.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 15 December 2007 @ 3.30 pm | Reply

  6. Thanks for the crash course, Philip! It sounds like a very interesting issue, and I can fully understand why you feel so passionate about it. You refer to the 2001 census. Of course, the options for ethnicity did not include a reference to ‘English’, ‘Scottish’ or ‘Welsh’, either; though ‘Irish’, bizarrely, was an option (as in ‘White Irish’). Only variants of ‘British’ were allowed for white or non-white citizens of the UK.

    You may be interested to read my extended discussions on ‘British ethnicity’ and ‘English ethnicity’ in my posts entitled ‘British Ethnicity’ and ‘Is UK Immigration Policy Designed To Undermine Englishness?’. Both can be found by clicking on the ‘English ethnicity’ category. I have to admit that in the latter post, where I suggest an alternative break down of British nationalities and ethnicities to that of the 2001 census, I omitted to include Cornish as an option. I accept now that this was wrong, and when I get round to it, I’ll correct it.

    My own take on all this is that the establishment are desperate to resist a break up of the UK as currently constituted, and they’re trying to construct something that has never really existed before in order to achieve this: a ‘British nation’. The role of the English in this British project – which I term ‘Britology’ – is ambiguous and ambivalent, depending on whether ‘Britain’ is seen (consciously or not) as an extension of England (necessary to ensure England-Britain is / remains a ‘great’ nation and world power) or as threatening the very existence of England as a distinct nation in itself. In the former instance, Britology is intimately linked with ‘Anglology’ (your term): English denial of Cornwall as a distinct nation. Anything that is perceived as undermining the unity and British island-wide scope of the UK / Britain is, from this perspective, to be resisted and denied – whether Cornish or English nationalism, or, indeed, Scottish and Welsh nationalism if this is seen as pushing beyond the boundaries established by the devolution settlement.

    Comment by David — 15 December 2007 @ 7.56 pm | Reply

  7. What a breath of fresh air you are for an English nationalist and thank you for the advice. I understand for many the idea of Cornish nationalism is strange to say the least, but the lack of education on Cornish history and general lack of publicity surrounding the Cornish question is, you understand, not of our doing.

    I have copied your above message on to a Cornish forum, I hope you don’t mind the publicity.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 17 December 2007 @ 8.38 pm | Reply

  8. Thanks, Philip; don’t mind the publicity at all!

    Comment by David — 17 December 2007 @ 9.05 pm | Reply

  9. If I may could I suggest you have a look at the following website that explores many of the same themes as your Britology watch; Tyr Gwyr Gweryn:

    It is abundantly clear that given the official attitudes to the Cornish people over many years that there will be an almost insurmountable wall to climb over in getting the State and its puppets to have the honesty and integrity to recognise the existence of the Cornish nation. Bit like giving them a gun and encouraging them to shoot themselves in the foot. An official acknowledgement of a Cornish existence would mean a lot of hard and expensive work in the rewriting of ‘British’ history and rethinking where the Cornish Nation figures within their vision of an amorphous Westcountry Region. A region which so many have insidiously strived to achieve over the past forty years – particularly certain ‘key figures’ within the Cornish Administration – and in order to give the vision some semblance of credibility have insidiously hijacked aspects of the Cornish differences to bolster the image of an imposed region which is devoid of humanity, can have no meaningful title and is being achieved by the insidious ploy of dominion, mnemonics and media brainwashing.

    With their power and ability to ignore or dismiss Cornish aspirations, these anonymous people do not even have the courage to confront the Cornish issue head on – and why should they? – relying instead on some innate, and inane, prescriptive arrogance and the knowledge that the Cornish have been deliberately kept ignorant of their history and brainwashed by an English media and, consequently, apathy rules! What these myopic people fail to realise is that the inexorable decolonisation of Cornish history will eventually show them up for what they really are and this great wall will topple over onto them. It is my opinion that any actions that the Cornish take to defend their identity and integrity should now be made a matter of written record and including the names of all who are involved in denying us our rights because there will come a time when ignorance will not – as in law – be considered as a defence against redress and the ultimate political accommodation that the Cornish can, and should, expect from a democratic, so-called, multinational State.

    Our starting point in considering the reality of the Cornish Nation is the simple definition of nation, given as “a self-identifying people based on the unifying factors of history, culture, language and territory.” Reinforcing aspects of this self-identity would be the institutions that, of necessity, would be generated to cultivate and protect whatever aspirations flowed from such factors of identity. Now let us consider the fact that a Cornish identity has been compelled to exist within an aggressive and hostile environment, contrived by forces which have their foundations rooted firmly within the concept of the Island of England, and it becomes obvious that an expression of ‘Cornishness’ must be an exceptional act of courage. The very fact that the Cornish have been politically announcing their existence over the past hundred years, and with increasing vigour in the past, say, twenty years is – like the salmon’s arduous journey up-river to spawn – a measure of the enduring force and undying power of an innate identity which transcends the evils of Imperial political dominion.

    Our fight is for our right to a Cornish future! It is not simply, as might be the case for the English county of Yorkshire, an expression of county patriotism. The Cornish fight is one that sees its identity on a par with the rest of the Celtic nations and based on a distinctly non-English historical perspective. The earliest tangible symbol of a Cornish identity that a child will come face to face with – yet be unaware of it! – will be, surely, all those fundamental manifestations of a national identity that it is ever possible to have. I refer, of course, to the many facets of our Cornish language which are ingrained in us from the first time we hear the name of a place or a person. Consider how much more potent this aspect of Cornish symbolism could be, and would be, if Cornish(?) schools provided us with that most basic of lessons in Cornish geography and Cornish history. It is a part of our psyche and we express this knowledge in ways that our non-Cornish neighbours find, because of their own upbringing, unnatural. This is the reason why Cornish surnames and Cornish placenames are so distorted and misrepresented when exposed to non-Cornish influences. The power of dominion and ignorance is having a corrosive effect upon this aspect of our cultural identity.

    The inner knowledge that the Cornish people posses with regard to the fact that they are neither English nor ‘of England’, is something that has been passed down from generation to generation. The confounding of this perception, imposed by the universally promoted concept of the Island of England, is only a stage of confusion brought about by an immaculate deception. In much the same way as we are, from the earliest stages of awareness led into, what I shall call, ‘the Santa Zone’. This is a zone of wilful deception with the objective of hiding the truth from us – a process, not dissimilar to the Cornish Paradox. As with any paradox we can all emerge from this state of de facto lies to what is the truth, de jure, but, not before going through an inevitable phase of uncertainty and chosen belief as we are inexorably confronted by more enlightened and objective knowledge.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 1 February 2008 @ 5.40 pm | Reply

  10. Philip, I’m not at all unsympathetic to Cornish nationalism. It would be a bit hypocritical of me if I were, being an English nationalist myself: what is a right in principle for one nation (free self-determination) must be a right for any nation, or vice-versa.

    I would, however, want to pick you up on a couple of points:

    1) Do you see Cornish national identity as based on ethnicity? You use terms such as ‘innate’, ‘inner knowledge’, ‘ingrained’. I realise you do define national identity as based on ‘history, culture, language and territory’; but these other terms imply that Cornishness is more than that to you. If so, what?

    2) I think to talk of the ‘Island of England’ is bit questionable; or, at least, it sounds rather odd. Is that a traditional Cornish expression to convey the fact that the island of Britain (thought of as ‘originally’ Celtic) has been colonised by the English (Britain as Greater England?)?

    Comment by David — 1 February 2008 @ 6.45 pm | Reply

  11. I should have said my above post is a quote from the TGG website (which you really should visit), but to answer-

    1) I define ethnicity as based on ‘history, culture, language and territory’. For me ethnicity is not race, it is not genetic, it is ones perception of ones own identity. So yes I do see national identity as having ethnic origins, there is no England without the English to define it. This does not mean however that the politics of ethnicity should be used to govern a country.

    I believe the author of the TGG website means the ingrained sense of being other than English that many of us aquire from growing up in Cornish families and communities which seems to totally clash with the line feed to us by the British establishment hence the Cornish paradox.

    2) No it’s a quotation of the anglo-british establishment who over the centuries have tried to sell Britain as being England, ie England with extra bits strapped on. This Island this England and all that.

    A final note; I really do think you’d find the TGG site interesting as I am sure the TGG author will find Britology Watch informative.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 2 February 2008 @ 10.07 am | Reply

  12. I will check out the TGG site, Philip. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Comment by David — 2 February 2008 @ 6.00 pm | Reply

  13. Great! The TGG author is going to check out your.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 2 February 2008 @ 6.59 pm | Reply

  14. ..booty? ..groceries?

    Sorry it is of course the first option.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 9 February 2008 @ 12.33 pm | Reply

  15. David, perhaps this thread on the Cornwall 24 website would be a good chance for comment from youself and a plug for Britology Watch:

    It’d be good to see you in Cornish circles from time to time.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 1 March 2008 @ 11.08 am | Reply

  16. Thanks, Philip. I’ve finally got round to checking that discussion thread, where I’ve added my twopenn’orth. As I’m now registered on Cornwall 24, I’ll be checking up on / in to it from time to time. See you there, perhaps. Also just commented your OurKingdom piece, by the way.

    Comment by David — 5 March 2008 @ 10.10 am | Reply

  17. On the C24 thread you wrote:

    “I would say there’s a fair degree of common cause somewhere in there”

    Yes I’m sure there is common cause in there but generally English nationalists are nothing but hostile and insulting towards Cornish nationalism. So many of them seem to come from the UK right which is drunken with preconceptions of Cornwall and anglo-supremacism. This has tended to push Cornish nationalists, generally from the progressive left, towards the English ‘grass roots’ regionalists like England Devolve.

    I have tried to on a number of occasions to promote cooperation with Eng Nats but with no luck; it seems they just can’t stand the idea of losing a bit of what they see as England.

    Of course on the other hand English nationalists will say that the Cornish movement is rife with anglo-phobia and wants to help break up England.

    Either way there is much mistrust and misunderstanding.

    If you really wanted to change things then a Britology Watch article of the Cornish question would be a great start and much appreciated.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 9 March 2008 @ 3.42 pm | Reply

  18. I will write about Cornwall at some stage, Philip (aka Fulub le Breton?); if not in this blog, then in a ‘book of the blog’ I’m planning – no publisher yet! At least, you’ve helped to open MY eyes to the Cornish question, though.

    Comment by David — 9 March 2008 @ 4.55 pm | Reply

  19. Aye FLB it is and I speak some Breton by the by. Anyway great news and do feel free to stay intouch.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 15 March 2008 @ 3.21 pm | Reply

  20. Will do; haven’t checked out Cornwall24 much lately – must revisit soon!

    Comment by David — 15 March 2008 @ 11.40 pm | Reply

  21. A couple of things you may be interested in for Britology Watch.

    How to make a county disappear:

    Well I don’t have the exact formula but if you study this website from the Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association you’ll be able to see exactly the constitutional loops the establishment and Duchy authority have jumped through to turn Cornwall, an extraterritorial crown possession legally separate from England, into a supposed English county.

    This site explains how a British territorial possession became someone’s private estate.

    It makes great and fairly easy reading and should be studied by all those interested in the UK constitution. For more details of the Duchy scam you can listen to the person behind the Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association, John Angarrack, in interview on BBC radio Cornwall talking about his new book here:

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 29 May 2008 @ 8.25 am | Reply

  22. oops! of course I mean’t country not county.

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 30 May 2008 @ 7.14 pm | Reply

  23. Thanks for the link, Philip. It makes interesting reading – quite a job of scholarship.

    Comment by David — 5 June 2008 @ 4.07 am | Reply

  24. Yeah his book makes a good read also:

    Comment by Philip Hosking — 10 June 2008 @ 7.03 pm | Reply

  25. Well I’m a supporter of Kernow, and it’s cause for independence (I have known many who wish to be fully independent of the UK) or acceptance as a distinct culture. However what annoys me is that the Cornish Nationalists seem to almost always stereotype most English Nationalists, Regionalists and Self-Determinationists as being Anti-Kernow and wanting to keep “Cornwall” as a county when I myself can find little evidence of such folk being the majority.

    I find it more the case however of Brythonic characteristics being more commonly forced on England than vice versa, not in the past, but this century…hence the English have to call King Arthur their heroe when in fact he was a Brython who fought against the early English peoples…which does work both ways to be fair in that a Brythonic hero is being claimed for another group, but I actually think it’s more a case of King Arthur being used to affirm the Brythonic/Celtic culture of the British Isles at the exclusion of English culture which, though influenced (sometimes forcibly…mostly by the Normans who were in a large part Breton, including William the Bastard) by Celtic culture, is not of it, it is it’s own (not through genetics or skin colour but by culture).

    You complain about English imperialism but forget that the English have not been their own “rulers” since the Norman’s consolidated control of England, took the other nations and paved the way for the British.

    The phenomenon you are experiencing is British Imperialism or Britology rather than this “Anglology”, as even if they claim the Cornish to be English, they mostly claim the English to be Brythons or British anyway so it’s going full circle.

    The British are the ones oppressing Kernow, they just spoon-feed you lot the lie that it’s the English as the British hate to see different groups actually getting together in a common cause. Yes, it’s true that Cornwall did become under West Saxon control as did the English, Saxon and Jutish kingdoms, however they still retained their culture (hence they were still called “wealas”), and were on the same side against the Norman invader (as were the Welsh and who allied with Wild Edric and Scots who allied with Edgar Atheling).

    So whereas I do think Kernow should be independent and I do actually always point out that the Cornish are not English but their own ancient culture that should be respected I do take offense to them claiming that the UK/Britain/British Empire are the same thing or that the British Empire advances English culture in any way, as I cannot remember the term “British” being used by the Early English, I don’t remember them think Arthur their hero who protected them from invaders and most of all I don’t seem to remember the English starting their own histories from the British peoples, through to the Romans, eras that have little to do with English history but only to that of the Brythons. The English are the only culture in the UK that don’t learn about the origins of their own culture, which is more to do with Jutland and the Continent than the early eras of Britain. When I watch or read things on English history that go on about “our ancestors” in the Pre-Roman and Roman Era I cringe as that is only based on (racist) genetic theories (that are greatly flawed) and the fact that it happened to have concerned the area now called England*.

    So no sorry Philip, I respectfully disagree with you, even if I agree with Kernow’s cause. Besides what about the Cumbrians, another Bryhonic people (albeit maybe Anglo-Brythonic) that are treated worse than the Cornish, and don’t get me started about how badly the Anglic culture of Lowland Scotland and the Norse culture of the Orkneys and Shetlands are treated. Every culture in the British Isles is being disrespected somewhat.

    *I don’t disagree with British History being taught but I would like us to learn about our own culture, at the very least that of the Mercians who traced their kings descent to the kings of “old” England in Southern Scandinavia.

    P.S. Sorry if that was rambling, I ramble on a fair bit when I get into “rant mode”.

    Comment by The Northumbrian — 1 November 2008 @ 8.51 pm | Reply

  26. Nice site man! I am from New York State and I am sad to hear about the “pc” stuff going on in England. It scares me. Keep up the blog and help your fellow countrymen remember the greatness of your empire. Rule Britannia, bro.
    Can I still call it an “empire,” or am I gonna offend some lefty MP?



    Comment by Cliff — 24 January 2009 @ 7.58 pm | Reply

  27. I think this is well overdue. Us Brits pardon me ENGLISH are too far marginalized.
    I struggle with forced multiculturalistic ideologies where were are denied our quintessential Britishness nay most particularly ENGLISHNESS as if we are not a Nation and Scotland, Wales and Ireland is.
    I am sick of having my culture squeezed out. Other countries celebrate the many variations of their culture(working class, middle class, upper class, aristocratic, sub-culture, outsider etc) but we are mercilessly branded Racists simply by wanting to enjoy what is ours.
    We are in danger of becoming the US Mark II and Americanisation has homogonised out all unique expressions of the English Culture.
    No person worth their salt would hate or despise or refuse to fraternise with other races and cultures. There are many and should be enjoyed. If one is able to help in any way do that also.
    This is a complex and contentious area, made contentious by the failings of Multicultural Facism which lets other immigrant cultures revel in their native customs yet condemms us for doing similar.
    Your blog looks scarily enlightening, neccessarily controversial.
    The Problem being how to be and express ENGLISHNESS and not be labelled a Racist and how to get mixed with other cultures without denying one’s own historical unique culturally distinct roots.

    best of English British (food, culture etc) to you and this difficult but needed Blog/

    Comment by katesjc6189 — 9 September 2009 @ 1.11 pm | Reply

  28. I think this is easier. RESIST ALL AMERICANISATION but love on those Yanks! This seems a culturally acceptable form of Resistance.

    Comment by katesjc6189 — 9 September 2009 @ 1.12 pm | Reply

  29. I believe in Kernow and quite frankly, am annoyed by some maps put out by our English nationalists showing kernow to be part of England. It is not. On the otehr hand, as someone said above, I’m also annoyed to see anti-Kernowness being foisted on the English as a strawman when, as you say, msot English probably don’t mind one way or the other.

    Whilst being English and wishing for the West Lothian and Barnett to be immediately resolved, I’m actually delighted if Cornish traditions and the Cornish flag be shown to English schoolchildren – one thing we must not get is insular.

    Why have certain Scots bloggers struck me from their blogrolls when they discovered I was Witanagemot? Did I strike them form my blogrolls for being Scottish? These things are not down to us, what we are. Why must we be at loggerheads, why must we fight, why must we have a highland clearance or a Culloden?

    Why can’t we effing well just get on with one another?

    Comment by jameshigham — 12 September 2009 @ 10.20 am | Reply

  30. I have coined the term culturism to mean the opposite of multiculturalism. They call all who point out that cultural diversity is real and can be negative as well as positive, racist. Racism is stupid and dangerous. But race and culture are not synonymous. If cultural diversity is real, culturism is necessary.

    Rather than just denying we are racist, we need a word to spread that conveys our positive values.

    Please

    John Press, Ph.D

    Comment by Culturist John — 1 February 2010 @ 6.00 am | Reply

  31. I am an American, and in America, we identify ourselves by our ethnic backgrounds. My ancestors left England in 1630 and landed in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and have been in the States ever since. Though I have some Scottish,French, and Welsh blood in me as well (which technically makes me “British-American,) I have long identified myself first and foremost as “English-American” since this is my dominant bloodline and with which I most relate. The reason I am writing in this forum is that, as is happening in England, “Englishness” or those who declare themselves as ethnically English in the United States, is rapidly vanishing. The numbers are remarkable. According to Wikipedia’s reporting of the US Census data, the number of people who identified themselves as English in 1980 was 50 million, 1n 1990 it had dropped to 32 million, and by 2000, it had fallen to 24.5 million. The Scots, Welsh, and and N.Irish saw some changes, but nothing as dramatic as the drop that has happened to the number of English-Americans. The 2010 census is here, and I fear to see how far the numbers of English-Americans will have dropped, again. If total U.K-American population is looked at, from 1980 to 2000, the U.K population dropped from 61 million to 36 million. This is absolutely remarkable and alarming. It almost seems as though there is and has been a concerted effort, by whomever, to minimize and marginalize the English diaspora in America, and on a larger scale, British-Americans and white-Protestant Americans. Out of 9 Supreme Court justices, there remains only one Protestant, and there is absolutely NO representation of white American Protestants in Hollywood, even though white Protestants remain the overwhelming majority in America. And as regards to Hollywood, I don’t think I need to tell you who speak with an English accent that their favorite portrayal of villains speak with, yes, English accents. (1.)Englishness, (2.)Britishness, and (3.)white Protestants in America in general appear to be rapidly disappearing and to have lost a massive amount of power and influence in a very short period of time. So this attack on Englishness is not only a problem in England, but appears to be global as it relates to the English diaspora.

    Comment by English Yank Kevin — 10 April 2010 @ 12.32 pm | Reply

    • Interesting comment, Kevin. I was completely unaware that ‘English-American’ was even a recognised category in the US census, although of course one is aware of the WASP category. I think England and, by extension, Anglo-Saxon / Anglo-American civilisation is conveniently blamed for many of the ills of the modern world – forgetting that the English and Americans together have probably played the biggest part in shaping the modern world per se, whose benefits everyone is nonetheless happy to chase after. And, along with the Russians, we did save the world from Nazi-Japanese domination in WWII. But I guess those who are on the up often don’t like remembering who they owe their wealth and freedoms to.

      Comment by David — 13 April 2010 @ 2.51 pm | Reply

      • Hi David, and Kevin,
        This ‘English-American’ designation is news to me, too. I am, however, not an American, at least not in the USean modality. I’m an American in the strict sense of the word: a native of the Americas, which stretch from the Bering Sea to the tip of Patagonia.

        In my world, the Upside Down world, the English-American is referred to as the Anglo-Saxon. It is futile to think of America as Anglo-Saxon, since immigration and population exchanges dating from the mid-1800s pretty much wipes out the notion of such purities; miscegenation is the norm, indeed the rule. That goes as much for bloodlines as it does for cultural identities, since customs and norms of the Anglo-Saxon stock are very much diluted, including the language, which has absorbed many calques from other languages and also spawned numerous neologisms that bear no resemblance to an Anglo-Saxon identity. — IMHO.

        Much of the so-termed ingenuity and advances ascribed to and attributed to English and ‘American’ culture were not, in fact, developed by English or English-Americans; they were developed by ethnonationals of other descriptions.

        We can parse this until the cows come home, but the fact remains that the Americanic English per se wield just a bit of hubris in these matters. The nearest we can describe this phenomenon is the descriptor of being Romanised. If the English themselves want to speak of Englishness, then this goes in the same breath with the miscegenation and absorbtion of Britons into the Roman weal, firstly, and thence to the gradual transition from Germanic to Gaulic.

        Meanwhile, I’ll stick to the (our) broader template of anglosajón and norteamericano; that descriptor is in greater keeping with the reality of things.

        Comment by Ric — 20 April 2010 @ 6.31 pm

      • Thank you, David. Yes, “English” is, despite the intense de-constructionalism that has been going on globally against us, still exists as as an ethnic group in the United States. From the first census in 1790, it was listed as by far the largest ethnic group, and now is listed as third behind German and Irish, respectively. Had there been a census of any sort conducted in the first 125-175 years of English colonization of what were to later become “British” colonies, before the creation of the the United States, there would scarcely be another ethnicity to be listed at all. Yes, “WASP,” meaning “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant,” although not an “official” category on the census, is a catch-all phrase to mean English. However, I really hate that term because it is redundant in that Anglo-Saxons ARE white, incomplete, in that to be considered “English” is a much larger amalgam of the originating pre-English ethnic groups than simply the Anglo-Saxons, and that to be English by no means implies we are all Protestant. Regarding your comment, and to paraphrase, that the English and the ethnically English-based civilizations around the world are often blamed for the ills of the world, I believe, honestly, are merely the sniping by those who envy the very success we have had, and the incredible contributions to the world they/we have made through the centuries, especially in the last three or so.

        Comment by English Yank Kevin — 28 April 2010 @ 1.31 am

      • “Hi David, and Kevin,
        This ‘English-American’ designation is news to me, too. I am, however, not an American, at least not in the USean modality. I’m an American in the strict sense of the word: a native of the Americas, which stretch from the Bering Sea to the tip of Patagonia.

        In my world, the Upside Down world, the English-American is referred to as the Anglo-Saxon. It is futile to think of America as Anglo-Saxon, since immigration and population exchanges dating from the mid-1800s pretty much wipes out the notion of such purities; miscegenation is the norm, indeed the rule. That goes as much for bloodlines as it does for cultural identities, since customs and norms of the Anglo-Saxon stock are very much diluted, including the language, which has absorbed many calques from other languages and also spawned numerous neologisms that bear no resemblance to an Anglo-Saxon identity. — IMHO.
        From Ric:

        “Much of the so-termed ingenuity and advances ascribed to and attributed to English and ‘American’ culture were not, in fact, developed by English or English-Americans; they were developed by ethnonationals of other descriptions.

        We can parse this until the cows come home, but the fact remains that the Americanic English per se wield just a bit of hubris in these matters. The nearest we can describe this phenomenon is the descriptor of being Romanised. If the English themselves want to speak of Englishness, then this goes in the same breath with the miscegenation and absorbtion of Britons into the Roman weal, firstly, and thence to the gradual transition from Germanic to Gaulic.

        Meanwhile, I’ll stick to the (our) broader template of anglosajón and norteamericano; that descriptor is in greater keeping with the reality of things.”

        Your comment only highlights the point I made about the decline of the acceptance, or explicit opposition to, the idea that there is any ethnic group known as “English.” As I mentioned in my response to David, this is nothing less than strict de-constructionism of an entire people. The very terms “Anglo-Saxon” and “WASP” are two ways of NOT acknowledging the very term “English” when referring to the English people. Furthermore, you even deny that English and/or British people, (wherever on the globe they were located,) apparently invented anything at all, at anytime. I find that astonishing. Can any invention, then, be attributed to anyone, at anytime, ever? Or is it just those of English “stock” that haven’t invented anything?

        While miscegenation has of course occurred for many, I disagree that this is the norm, or at least considered as such, by US citizens. For instance, the Irish, Italians, Mexicans, Jews, and on and on, maintain a STRONG sense of ethnic identity, and curiously, their identities are not disected, down-graded, or called by something other than what they call themselves. And as to miscegenation, it must be noted that Jews have spread throughout a multitude of societies for five thousand years, mixed ethnically with others, and yet to this day retain a strong sense of their own Jewish identity. Though they are probably the most ethnically mixed of all peoples, the still consider themselves to be Jewish. And they remain Jewish in whatever societies they live in, again, to this day. Why should it be, then. that the English, or any other ethnic group, not call themselves what they wish to call themselves?

        You say that those of “Anglo-Saxon stock” wield a bit of hubris. Another word for hubris may be said to be called “pride,” and what people proclaiming themselves to be within ANY ethnic group are not allowed to have pride? The implication here, clearly, is that while all other ethnic groups may show and have pride, the English, and the British, wherever the may be, may not show their pride.

        Lastly, while you were deconstructing us (and by the way, you forgot to mention the Viking-Danish influence,) you said that Britons were first absorbed into the Roman weal. Just wanted to point out the Roman weal was almost entirely derived from the Greek one.

        Comment by English Yank Kevin — 28 April 2010 @ 3.38 am

  32. @ Comment by English Yank Kevin — 28 April 2010 @ 3.38 am,

    Thank, you EYKevin, for your insightful response. We have highlighted the rather absurdly spiraling problem of what is ‘authentic’ and what isn’t. Authenticity is deconstructed; that is what ‘authenticity’ seeks to do —deconstruct. The irony of self-descriptive reaches into depths of history as *linearities* is where we are all falling apart, and have multiple times. That was then, and this is now, and we cannot escape this. I am cautioning against the folly of seeking any some such “purities” in these matters. These questions are political; not ethnic, not racial, and not personal. They are political spheres and as such socio-relational, and by ‘political’ I also mean economic. Economic socio-relations is what drives these vapid rhetorical constructions, and we are pridefully driven to deconstruct them again and again in the rather vain hope that there is some ‘Essence’ we can see as a “root.” I don’t have any answers as to what solutions these endeavors hope to achieve, other than perhaps gratification of pride.

    I hope that you can discern that it is this deeply ironic self-circling that I originally attempted to point out in re the question of inventions. These are all inventions, all of them, every one of them.

    I also hope, of course, that the irony is not lost on those not English, or para-English, or quasi-English, or what have we.

    This Big Problem is Kulturkampf stuff. Pride is driving wars. Political correctness is the phenomenon of those within the (a) fold critiquing or even criticising each other over who is holier than the next. This is absurdness, and is what I am alluding to in my previous post about hubris. Pride, which is what you counter for on that note, is most certainly not to be denied, but needs also to be recognized for what it is as well as the multiplicity of problems it contains. Pride surges when affront is encountered. When affront is absent, pride is actually hubris; self-congratulation. There is no need for pride in the absence of contention. Pride is a reaction to loss; as there is life, so there is death. Nothing escapes this cycle. All that is necessary is honesty. Feelings of pride set us apart. If that is what you seek, very well. I feel, and would maintain, that this is a slippery slope.

    Comment by Ric — 1 September 2010 @ 4.01 pm | Reply

  33. For the record, I find the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ when applied to people who are alive in modern times to be offensive.

    I’ve yet to hear or read it used in a non-prejudicial manner. It tends to be used as a very loaded term.

    It’s strange how other groups of people, and indeed countries, are allowed to be called by their modern names, but the English and England aren’t. They’re not English, they’re anglosajon, apparently.

    The modern English are not ‘anglosajón’, and there is no country called ‘Anglosaxonia’ and no language called ‘anglosaxon’ and no ‘anglosaxon’ flag, so why the hell do we have this label shoved down our throats?

    Comment by myname — 25 March 2011 @ 10.41 pm | Reply

    • Well, we sometimes talk of the French as ‘Gallic’, even though France stopped being ‘Gallia’ (Gaul) 1500 years ago. We also say ‘Teutonic’ for ‘German’, ‘Hispanic’ for Spanish-speaking peoples, etc. I agree that ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is usually pejorative as well as inaccurate and anachronistic. I guess we should just take it with our ‘English’ stiff upper lip or what the French call ‘le phlegme anglais’. In other words, let them scoff: we can take it – and give it just as well.

      Comment by David — 26 March 2011 @ 9.08 am | Reply

  34. Hello from California! May I share or/and repost some of your images and blog entries under 2011 UK Census?. I just began my blog, and I am covering the topic of Taxonomy; in the USA we have these ridiculous forms with a litany of irrational options. I’m trying to educate people the difference between geography, political identity, and the false concept of race. Warm Regards, Joey

    Comment by raiseandrefute — 26 June 2012 @ 7.27 am | Reply

    • Feel free!

      Comment by David — 29 June 2012 @ 11.54 am | Reply

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