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Friday, 13 December 2013

WHAT ABOUT ENGLAND?


It is interesting to note that, in all the recent outpouring of angst from the self-proclaimed “PROGRESSIVE” side of politics, there is increasing recognition that the English are awakening and also their ‘weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth’ is over the fact that there is no Leftist English nationalist party. 

A good example of this type of view is in the article set out below. The article is by Anthony Barnett who is a former member of the editorial committee of New Left Review, and writes for the New Statesman and the Guardian

I would have thought the reason for this "lack" of a Leftist English nationalist party is obvious from the Left's own research. In the Labourite IPPR report 'England and Her Two Unions', it is clear that English Nationalism has certain defined characteristics which can be proven from the various opinion polls that the IPPR have done. 

They are as follows:- 
* low and decreasing support for the status quo 
* very low support for English regionalism 
* strong support for a form of governance that treats England as a distinct political unit 
*continuing lack of consensus about which English option is appropriate
*The status quo is consistently less favoured than alternatives which would give some form of institutional recognition to England as a whole. 
* English nationalism seeks no cross border subsidies and, in particular, Scotland to pay its own way. *English Nationalism seeks an end to mass immigration
*English Nationalism seeks a celebration of St George’s Day and other English festivals. It even seeks an English passport! (40%!) 
* English nationalism demands to get England out of the EU. This is an aspiration which seems to be contrary to the majority feeling in Scotland and Wales. 

It seems true there might yet be some argument between the English people to be had over the form of Constitutional response for England but there can be no doubt of its requirement to be for the whole of England and that Regionalisation has been definitively rejected. 

The problem for the Left is, of course, that all these English demands they have themselves decided to characterise as being "Right-wing". It follows that any party that has any interest in representing the views of those that regard themselves as being "English" is going to be characterised by the Left as being "Right-wing". 

This wouldn’t necessarily have to be so. If one took, as an example, opposition to immigration . At one time opposition to mass immigration was very much seen as a Left-wing position. Indeed one of the heroes of the foundation of the Labour Party, Keir Hardie, made his name opposing unrestricted Irish immigrant labour into his home area of Scotland! 

In my view, in effect the Left have self-defined themselves out of the running to be the voice of the English people and particularly of English nationalism. What do you think? 

Here is the article:- 

Scotland step by step but what about England?  

 Anthony Barnett 29 November 2013 

The Scottish Government has outlined its vision for independence from Westminster. But what the British elite is most afraid of is that the English start to demand independence from them too... The publication of the Scottish government's White Paper on its program for independence is proof of a truism. 

One that the London media, which hates truth generated by others perhaps more than anything, will ignore, repress, distort or deny (you can take your choice). For it is neither a ‘historic document’, nor a doomed message of reassurance, nor a suicide note or even a “fairy tale”. It is instead proof that independence is a process not an event. 

That this observation is becoming a cliché does not erode its veracity. There are some echoes of it, of course. Steve Richards, in his column in the Independent, for example, a paper which otherwise pilloried rather than reported Alex Salmond’s announcement of the White Paper, wrote, “Scotland is already going its own way and will continue to in the coming years. The referendum is something of a red herring.” But this is absurd, for if the White Paper consolidates an irreversible direction of travel it is hardly a diversion. 

What might seem fishy is a characteristic that misled the same London media in 1999 when the referendum on establishing a Scottish parliament within the UK took place. Journalists sent from London reported with disappointment that there were no barricades or smell of cordite in the streets as the country said ‘Yes’. Where was the revolution, they asked, as people voted and then went shopping. But Scotland is becoming normal by becoming more self-governing (an attribute it shares with the 1989 revolutions I have argued). 

This is Salmond’s calling card and it is not a deceitful reassurance. When he waves the huge white tome and says, in effect, ‘It will all be fine we are not trying to leave the planet’ it is not spin. A parallel argument that independence is a better form of living with interdependence is set out by Tom Nairn in his Edinburgh lecture on Globalisation and Nationalism

The real revolution is the international reshaping of production and the world economy in which “dwarves” like Scotland have a better chance on their own than being part of lumbering middle-states like the UK.The real difference then is human not material. It is the spirit that matters - the spirit of self-government - more than any ‘case’ for independence. Simon Jenkins, at least, understands this. 

It is about freedom. And it is this that the 'Great British' political class will try to isolate and asphyxiate, to prevent the spirit of independence from spreading across Britain. Underlying every assault on the call for Scottish independence by Darling and his cohorts is a pre-emptive attack on the English to ensure that English voters do not lose their fatalism and submissiveness, that the rule of Westminster and Whitehall now depends upon. For the declaration of independence the UK’s political class fears most of all is getting the finger from the English. Scottish contagion not Scottish independence is their main concern as “more and more English people are thinking, what the hell: if the Scots want to walk out, why don’t we just let them?” to quote from this week’s Boris Johnson column in the Telegraph that makes my case for me. 

Unlike ‘constitutional reform’ in England, which remains the preserve of an elite that trades on the unique advantage given it by the absence of codification, the Scottish process is a rooted in the sovereignty of the people. When the Irish exercised theirs, the Protestant ascendency in the North created a popular Unionist barrier between the force of Irish republicanism and the main British island (creating a peculiar, religiously branded politics of a mobilized minority democracy). But this time, as the Scottish people exercise their sovereignty, it will be much harder to isolate their claim of right to do so from the rest of us. 

The positive formulation that lies behind Boris Johnson’s lampoon is far more threatening, “If they can decide whether or not to be ruled by Westminster, why can’t we?” The sadness is that there is no English party or movement capable of making this challenge in a positive fashion. For the energy and spirit of Scotland’s example could lead to the emancipation of us all with the declaration of self-government by England and the emergence of an English parliament. 

This would be able to co-create a federal Britain with its Scottish and Welsh sisters that could command the lasting, positive assent of the Scottish people, as Carwyn Jones has said as the First Minister of Wales. The case for this currently improbable scenario is something I allude to in a short contribution to Gerry Hassan and James Mitchell's After Independence just published by Luath Press. It would not mean the failure of the White Paper for it would be an expansion of the process of independence not its frustration. 

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/anthony-barnett/scotland-step-by-step-but-what-about-england

14 comments:

  1. The essential problem is that an internationalist cannot be a nationalist. The only option is to convert Englishness into an inclusive 'idea'. Twenty years ago this might have been possible. Now as the ethnic English are threatened left and right, so to speak, it will not be so easy.

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  2. I think the English Democrats should be portraying themselves as a left wing party. The only way to get round the faux-left media is to play them at their own game. The ED's should portray themselves as the real left,, - the left which the faux-left has abandoned. Any party which is explicitly for English interests and does not portray itself as left will be disparaged by the faux-left media as being a nasty, racist, unfair, intolerant party. If the ED's were to portray themselves as left the media would have nowhere to go. By the very fact that the ED's were left the media could only portray them in a positive light -fair, populist, forward thinking, tolerant,,, which of course they are in any case.

    As Jonathan Bowden said in one of his videos, the founders of the Labour party would turn in their graves if they knew that Labour had become a pro capitalist, globalisation supporting party. Bowden also points out that in the run up to the referendum on the common market involvement in the seventies, certain left wing groups put posters up at bus stops telling people to vote against common market involvement. So it's clear that the principles of the original left have now become so skewed and altered by the Frankfurt school influence.

    UKIP has established itself as a major force to be reckoned with and the overwhelming majority of its supporters vote UKIP because they are right wing, pro capitalist, and the vast majority of its voters implicitly see them as a party of and for English interest.
    The ED's should therefore become the real left. They should concentrate on those ideas of the original left in Britain. Anti capitalism, anti globalisation, anti EU, Workers rights, reduce working hours, against economic migration because it cuts English workers wages, nationalisation of utilities and railways etc, personal responsibility, sustaining the English identity, strong policies on law and order, etc, etc.

    Many people want to vote for a party which has original left principles. Vast numbers of these people either don't vote at all or they inexplicably continue to vote for the Labour party despite the fact that the Labour party has abandoned the core principles which they are supposed to stand for. If people could see a real left party in action there would be massive public support for it.

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    1. Some of the policies you mentioned belonged to the classical liberals and conservatives , when the conservatives were keen on conserving things too.

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    2. Well the tories have moved to the left following the LibDems while labour has come away from the far left to middle left.
      I was only thinking something along these lines the other day,then I read Johns comments , I thought it makes sense really I believe in National Railways and Buses re Nationalise the NHS properly take over the RIP OFF PFI.

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    3. Well the tories have moved to the left following the LibDems while labour has come away from the far left to middle left.
      I was only thinking something along these lines the other day,then I read Johns comments , I thought it makes sense really I believe in National Railways and Buses re Nationalise the NHS properly take over the RIP OFF PFI.

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  3. I agree with everything that John has said. This is definitely the way forward for the EDs

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  4. UKIP have not quite established themselves as a major force, they need
    local councillors and MPs to progress. The major connurbations of Greater London and Greater Birmingham will be small pickings for them because
    most non-Ethnic Britons have been persuaded that any party even
    discussing immigration, let alone taking a reasonable position on it, is
    not in their interests.

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    1. We're not Right, we're not Left, we're just English. That's our motto and we must be true to it. If we become a re-invention of Old Labour, we're doomed. When I joined the English Democrats, I was told that we faced a long struggle. I'm up for that. If we are to try to be something we're not, in the hope that it will generate support for the wrong reasons, you can count me out.
      Clive,
      Weston-super-Mare.

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  5. Yes, maybe the English Democrats slogan of 'not left, not right, just English' is the right message to continue sending out. The media will continue to define policy positions such as "anti-EU" and "anti-immigration" as "right wing" no matter what.
    As Robin says the left have probably self defined themselves out of the running to be the voice of English nationalism. It is clear from the IPPR polls that the characteristics of English nationalism are quite distinct and different from the characteristics of the Scottish and Welsh nationalisms, both of which are of the internationalist left "pro EU" persuasion.
    If the internationalist left makes an attempt to push for an English nationalistic movement in the image of the Scottish and Welsh nationalisms they will fall flat on their faces as their is simply no demand for it in England on the terms which they favour.

    In the lecture on Globalisation and Nationalism which Barnett cites, Nairn seems to push this ridiculous idea, which seems to pervade, that the Scots are more equipped to go forward into the globalised world. This simply due to the fact that there are lots of Scot expats around the world who have mixed in and assimilated into their adoptive countries. Therefore as a result of this exposure, according to Nairn, Scottish people are more accustomed and accepting of other cultures. Nairn then goes on to admit that Scotland itself has hardly been affected by mass immigration at all. As a result of the globalisation which these internationalists favour, Scotland will be swamped by mass immigration. It will be interesting to note the Scots levels of tolerance as they are forced to compete for space and resources. When wage reductions become a reality and cultural differences become apparent, particularly if the traditions of those incumbent cultures are completely at odds with that of the Scottish liberal tradition.

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    1. Clive, In response to your above comment with regard to the proposition which I put forward, that the English Democrats could 'lurch' to the left.. The intention was not to suggest that the English Democrats should become a reinvention of 'old Labour'. Rather, my intention was to suggest that the 'old Labour' - eg. of the 1960's, 70's, 80's variety had abandoned some of the Labour party's core founding principles. I could well be wrong but in my view if the original Labour party was around today it would concur with, stand for and include certain ideas which are now passed off as 'right' wing such as personal responsibility, positive nationalistic sentiment, anti-EU, strong policies on law and order, welfare only for those who are genuinely deserving, British jobs for British workers, Anti-globalisation, anti immigration, National Health Service - not International Health Service.

      I was watching the book review on BBC parliament the other day and it was said that Tony Benn has revealed in his latest diaries that he has no time for Tony Blair. It said that Benn believes that Blair abandoned the 'old Labour' principles and that Benn regards Blair as a Thatcherite.
      Well in my opinion Benn himself does not represent the original Labour principles. Tony Benn turned up at Glastonbury this summer and that tells you everything you need to know. Benn probably hasn't even spoken to a member of the British working classes for the last fifty years and his internationalist ideals are no solution to their travails.
      The idea I had was that if the English Democrats were to become the personification of the original left they would not be "trying to be something which they are not" as you put it but rather it would be the full resonance of what they believe in. The idea being that this approach could attract huge numbers of the disenchanted tribal left vote (since it is surely votes at the end of the day that the English Democrats want) whilst the principles of the English Democrats were maintained and upheld.
      Anyway, as I concluded above, the Internationalist left consensus would not allow a variant anti-mass immigration, anti EU left to emerge and in any case such an approach could alienate voters of a more classic liberal persuasion. So the ED's neutral position is probably the best approach to maintain. Also the model of the Front National in France is the one to be drawn upon.

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  6. Certainly, the English economy needs to be rebalanced as the mixed economy as it was prior to the zealous libertarian Mrs T. We must escape the clutches of Turbo capitalism. There as still some in the Tory party and the Labour party who probably think that way. The recent intervention by David Davies, who should be the Tory leader, on grammar schools points to the fact that there are a small number of Tories who are not posh, rich and public school educated; but the former are probably sneered at and looked down on as common by the latter.

    As regards moving to the Left and to Old Labour ground. Sadly the British National Party has tried that and it did not seem to work. Working class Labour voters continued to pin a red rosette on a donkey; despite the fact they have been treated with contempt by the Marxist student party they are now voting for.

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  7. Certainly the clutches of Capitalism is a huge problem for the people of England, who are treated with such contempt.

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  8. Beware the undermining of Englishness by the attack by the establishment represented by the BBC on the few remaining elements left in the English language, e.g., 'aid' for 'help', 'prior' for 'earlier', 'prior to' for 'before', 'of John' for 'John's', 'decade' for 'ten years' etc., etc..

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  9. What is wrong with you people? This man executed a wounded person in the theatre of war in what world is this either right or does it appeal to the British sense of fair play. I say throw the key away he is an embarrassment and a criminal oh and yes I was a squaddie

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