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.