Below is a paper by the author of the 'Britology' Web blog, David Rickard, who, curiously for a English nationalist, appears to support UKIP.
One of the reasons why I found it impossible, despite Nigel Farage’s tempting blandishments, to join UKIP, was the obvious fact that UKIP is a British nationalist party (UNITED KINGDOM independence party!).
At the moment the British State, with its crazy spend-thriftedess; mad globalist, internationalist and mass immigration policies; hawkish and profligate determination to “punch above its weight on the world stage” regardless of whether the wars it thus gets involved in are in English interests; and, last but not least, its determination to break England up into 'Regions', poses a greater threat to the integrity and interests of England even than the EU.
A clear and simple factual example of this is that the total UK subscription to the EU is currently, c£16 billion a year of which a significant proportion comes back via the “conduit effect” to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In comparison England’s subsidy to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the House of Lords’ 2009 report on the Barnett Formula, is running at c£49 billion a year.
Anyway, regardless of the public awareness and therefore the “saliency” of the issue, at present it would appear that David Rickard at least and from the research quite a few other English nationalists can convolute their logic to the point where they are still able to support an old fashioned (imperial, nostalgic) British nationalist party.
Here is what he has to say, what do you think?
UKIP and English NationalismOn the eve of the publication of ippr’s latest investigation into English nationalism England and its two Unions, David Rickard looks at UKIP’s understanding of the political union that they do want to preserve and the party’s appeal to English nationalists.
It is a fitting irony that a party calling itself the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is now increasingly being seen by political commentators as a vehicle for English nationalism. Really, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Much of this commentary is further confused by the fact that it often seems incapable of making any clear distinction between ‘Britain’ and ‘England’. Articles alternately acknowledge that UKIP’s cause is essentially that of defending the integrity and sovereignty of the ‘British nation’, and describe the party’s support as deriving from ‘Middle England’ and ‘Little Englanders’.
Part of the problem is that UKIP itself and its leaders also seem broadly incapable of distinguishing between England and Britain. This was illustrated by Nigel Farage’s hapless foray into Edinburgh in May of this year, when he was subjected to the barracking of a crowd of pro-independence protesters. His reaction was revealing: he called the protesters “anti-English”, whereas in fact they were anti-Union. That makes them anti-English, arguably, only if the Union is construed as one between Scotland and England, and if the desire to sever that Union is based on active dislike of the English. But if, on the other hand, you see Scottish independence as merely severing a political union with a state, the UK, which will continue much as it is now after Scotland’s departure, then this is neutral towards England: in itself, it implies no sentiment, good or bad, towards England at all.
It would be safe to conclude, I think, that most UKIP members, and Nigel Farage in particular, do see the UK as primarily a Union between England and Scotland. In my view, this is what enables them to view the UK or Britain as a single nation or country, with essentially no discontinuity or fundamental difference between England and Scotland, the latter being regarded as just as much ‘my country’ as England. The words of the not-so-British-sounding UKIP candidate in the recent Aberdeen Donside by-election to the Scottish parliament, Otto Inglis (whom Nigel Farage had come to Scotland to support), are indicative here. He writes:
“We cannot have unionism in our land until it is present across the whole of the UK. The party of England’s shires and northern towns must become Scotland’s unionist party too. . . . Be British still to Britain true because we are one nation that has rejected every constraint placed upon it to become the most successful union that will ever be seen. . . . Nostalgia alone will not rekindle British unionism: the Scottish Tories are in terminal decline and only UKIP can carry the banner of that once great Unionist party forward.”
It is this sort of ‘anglocentric’ appropriation of Scotland to England as one country – as opposed to two distinct countries, as they are viewed by most Scots – that the anti-UKIP protesters most vehemently objected to when they shouted the words “go back to England” at Nigel Farage.
This episode reveals that the UKIP project is built on flawed foundations: it is the defence of a ‘nation that is not one’, in all senses: not a nation; not one nation but (at least) two; and not united. The Scottish-independence movement represents the most serious challenge to this idea of the UK as an integral nation, whose independence UKIP exists to defend. Hence, the Edinburgh welcome Farage received exposes not just the fact that UKIP’s policies and predominantly ‘English’ priorities are unpopular in Scotland, but that UKIP’s very existence rests on the shaky foundations of a fragile concept of British nationhood.
Clearly, Inglis’s words and perspective are shaped by their Scottish context. However, UKIP would be making a strategic miscalculation if they started to present themselves in England as the champions of the Union and of Britain as a nation. That is because much of their support does derive from tapping into English nationalism – but a nationalism that runs in many ways counter to UKIP’s ideals of Britain as a sovereign nation and of the UK as a successful political Union that best serves the interests of all its citizens. This is UKIP’s true English-nationalist support base. But this English nationalism is incompatible with UKIP’s UK-state nationalism and Anglo-British conception of the Union.
How is UKIP managing to tap into this underlying English nationalism? What are the characteristics of this nationalism, and which UKIP policies is it drawn to? Firstly, it should be pointed out that English nationalism covers a broad political spectrum, as does UKIP’s own appeal. There are far-right English nationalists (with a white-ethnic conception of the English people) and socialist English nationalists (defending a radical, egalitarian English tradition tracing its heritage back to the English Civil War and further still to the Magna Carta), and everything in between.
Key points that almost all English nationalists and UKIP have in common are the following:
Mistrust of the EU as threatening English / British sovereignty, democracy and even existence
Hostility towards unfettered, mass immigration as leading to over-population; as bringing about an intolerable strain on English / British public services, housing, employment and infrastructure; and making people of a traditional English / British background feel that their culture and communities are being undermined
Distrust of the political class as an unaccountable elite that has lost touch with the way ‘ordinary’ people think.
I think it’s above all this sense that ‘the nation’ (England, Britain or England-Britain) is under threat – from the EU, globalisation and self-serving politicians – that unites English nationalists and UKIP supporters. It’s also of course what perturbed Nigel Farage so much in Edinburgh: he was confronted with the strength of hostility towards the UK in a part of it he regards as integral to it.
The difference, of course, is that English nationalists by definition do not see the UK / Britain as ‘the nation’ in any sense other than political: as a quasi-nation state (strictly, a union state) or national polity. And English nationalists very often feel that England’s existence as a nation is under threat from an additional source: from the UK state itself. (A curious inversion: whereas UK state nationalists such as UKIP worry that the UK’s existence is threatened by the prospect of Scottish independence, English nationalists fear that England’s existence is menaced by the continuation of the UK as the sovereign power that reigns over England.)
However, this sense of an England under threat is also what profoundly unites English nationalists and UKIP supporters. This is paradoxically because of UKIP’s conception of the UK as, at heart, a union between England and Scotland (with Wales and Northern Ireland as added extras), albeit viewed through an English cultural lens.
Wherein lies this profound common ground? It is the fact that UKIP – unlike much of the political establishment – at least regards England as a nation in its own right, and one which is integral to the UK. The UK that UKIP defends is a UK that includes and acknowledges a distinct England, albeit that the rest of the UK is indistinct from England in its eyes. Irrespective of whether UKIP eventually comes out with an official policy in favour of an English parliament, English nationalists can at least be confident that UKIP as such would not stand by in silence as England is consigned to the history books, any more than they would allow Britain to suffer this same fate – and this by very virtue of the fact that UKIP makes no fundamental distinction between England and Britain.
In summary, UKIP exists to defend the UK; but this is a UK which, nonetheless, acknowledges the continuing existence of England. And it is in this that UKIP and English nationalism find common cause.
(Here is the link to the original article >>> http://englishcommonwealth.org/ukip-and-english-nationalism/)