Tag Archives: English

English and British?

A recurring subject on this blog has been the difference (and the inherent conflict) between the identities known as ‘British’ and ‘English’, respectively.

For many, if not most people in the Anglosphere, the identities and terms are interchangeable. I confess that for a good while I was prone to use the terms indiscriminately, though I understood that one can be ‘British’ but have no English blood. The two names describe something different. Even some of my readers in the UK on the old blog said that they often used the term ‘British’ when they really should have said ‘English.’

This post was prompted by a piece at the blog Christianity and Race, which in turn was inspired by a post by Mark Citadel at Citadel Foundations, titled ‘Little England’.  Good, thought-provoking pieces, both. I find little with which I can disagree in either post. I will say, with all due respect, that it may be a little unfair to attribute the ‘English vs. British’ problem to arrogance or hubris only on the part of the English. I know this is a common view of the English, as they were very much a dominant power in the world up until the early 20th century, when their empire began to break up/be broken up.

The original transformation of England into ‘Britain’ or ‘Great Britain’ began with the Act of Union in 1707. It was not by naked aggression or force on England’s part that this Union was effected, though I can certainly agree that, in retrospect, it set England on a course that was to be more damaging to the English than to any of the other ethnic groups who made up the state to be known as Great Britain, then the United Kingdom. Depending on which ethnic group your sympathies lie with, you may disagree. But it’s true that the other component ethnic groups within today’s UK can keep their ethnic identity, symbols, flags, customs, languages, and even their own parliaments, while England lacks those privileges. The English flag of St. George has been labeled ‘divisive’ and ‘hateful.’ England cannot decide its own fate without the input of the many other ethnic groups who now reside there. The English identity is labeled as ‘too exclusive’, because, let’s face it, one cannot be ‘English’ except by ancestry and by genetics. It is a blood kinship, just as is the Scottish or Welsh or Irish identity. Now, we read stories in the Irish media about the ‘new Irish’, with pictures of Africans or Asians smilingly holding their Irish citizenship papers. But no one is fooled by that; people know that Irishness is a matter of blood, as is ‘English.’ Papers and documents can’t confer Englishness  on anyone.

The comparison of the inclusive ‘British’ identity with the ‘American’ identity is a valid one; both are strictly civic identities, and thus they are artificial and arbitrary. One cannot create a real nation by fiat or by documents, and a nation is not a nation if it is based on an ideology or a ‘proposition.’  Britain, or the United Kingdom, has mistakenly followed the American example and is attempting to create a polyglot, multiracial ‘proposition nation’, and the results are looking disastrous. The Empire, unfortunately, laid the groundwork for this. Much as I admire Rudyard Kipling and his work, he tended to romanticize the Raj to some extent, and to establish the idea that someone like his character ‘Gunga Din’ could be ‘British’ in spirit though he was a Hindu. As the empire dissolved, bizarrely, the same Hindus who clamored to expel the British from their homeland soon chased after their former ‘oppressors’, desiring to live amongst them.  The same pattern happened with the Irish, many of whom chose to live in England despite their resentment of the hated ‘Brits’ in their homeland.

So it is not British, or ‘English’ hubris or ambition alone that created the situation; the circumstances are too complicated to merit that charge.

I agree with both of the cited blog posts that England should rediscover its particularistic identity, rather than clinging to this polyglot, all-things-to-all-people ‘British’ identity. I am admittedly a partisan, though I wish all the indigenous people(s) of the UK well, but I think it was the English who were and are the core of what was once ‘Great’ Britain; it was they who made it great. England, ‘Little’ or otherwise, would still be a great country should they go their own way, and let the component countries of the UK go their way.

The future, I hope, will go in the direction of decentralization, of a return to ethnic particularism, and away from polyglot, mixed-multitude empires, which eventually must end in some kind of internal strife and inevitable totalitarianism. The best case scenario would be what I call the ‘blender’, the mixing together of distinct identities into some amorphous mass, not a desirable outcome if we want to preserve the real diversity that exists amongst the various rich cultures of Europe.

Britain’s ‘great history of diversity’

On the subject of the alleged ‘British diversity’ which has supposedly always existed, here’s a good response from Derek Hopper on Twitter.

But even as I write this, I am sure the usual propaganda outlets, the BBC being one of the worst, is cooking up new TV series and movies teaching the young people that blacks, Moslems, Asians, et al have always been in Britain. And if you see it on TV or in a major movie, it must be true. Right?

The ‘English diet’

It’s pretty rare that the British press ever has anything positive to say about anything traditionally English, so this article from 2011 is a rarity. According to this, the ‘English diet could save thousands of Welsh, Scottish and Irish lives.’ Apparently, some think the English diet is healthier than the diet followed by the average Welsh, Scots, or Irish household.

The British media, like the American media, are always scolding and nagging readers about ‘eating healthier’, and if anything, the UK media are worse for their nanny state meddling in people’s diets and health choices. It’s bad enough that the government(s) and their media arm are sticking their noses where they don’t rightfully belong — government is not meant to involve itself in what we eat; at least in the U.S. our government is limited, strictly speaking, to certain functions — at which it is currently derelict (such as enforcing our borders) and it has no business preaching to us about what we eat. But the media does that constantly, and worse, they are behind the times as to the ‘information’ with which they lecture us. Example: their incorrect, and since discredited ideas about the benefits of ‘low-fat’ diets. But they persist in nagging us about eating low-salt diets as well.

Most of us remember that the older generations, our grandparents if not our parents, ate diets that are now condemned by the health establishment as bad and unhealthy — yet those older generations often seemed to live longer, healthier lives than today’s health-obsessed people. My Southern grandparents, of English descent, ate a breakfast that was almost identical to the traditional ‘full English’ breakfast, pictured here. Most people today would be horrified, probably calling it a ‘heart attack waiting to happen’, though my grandmother lived a healthy life, dying at age 94; her brother died at 105. And they ate this kind of diet.

If you read the article I link to above, about the ‘full English breakfast’ you will notice that the writer says, of the obligatory tomato included on the plate,

“Much like the beans, the tomato may seem like an optional garnish; I assure you, it is not. The sweetness and acidity that come from a cooked tomato goes a long way in cutting the fattiness that is inherent in the rest of the plate.”

I was amused by that; the older generations in my family always said that the tomato was there to “cut the grease” in the rest of the meal. Even centuries after our family came to this country, those sayings still persist. But yes, the tomato does seem to ‘cut the grease.’

It is interesting that some of the culinary and dietary habits came to this country, though in this country,  at least in the South, other breakfast items like ‘grits’ were added to the breakfast menu. I don’t think that particular food has British antecedents, especially as corn (Indian corn, or maize to some in the old country) was a New World food.

As to whether the English diet is healthier than that eaten elsewhere in the UK, I can’t speak to that; I found, in Ireland, that the people ate similar diets to that of most English people, with some minor variations — like brown bread with breakfast, although the Irish do like their ‘fry’ for breakfast at times too.

It does seem that on both sides of the Atlantic, the nanny state governments want to dictate or control what we eat, and while they claim to be motivated by concern for our health and well-being, at the same time they are feeding us GMO foods, and in this country, removing ‘place of origin’ labeling on some foods, and importing much of our food and medicines (even prescription medications) from third-world countries with very poor safety standards, and histories of adulterated and toxic products. So how concerned are ‘our’ governments, really, about our health and safety?

And it does seem as though they are aiming to make vegans of us all, eventually, and to habituate us to a ‘third-world’ style diet, emphasizing the exotic ethnic foods that the many immigrants have introduced into our Anglosphere countries. Out with the old, and in with the new, regardless of the dubious health benefits of these new foods.

Could it not be that our bodies are genetically programmed to do well on a certain type of diet, a diet which includes meat and dairy and what the questionable ‘experts’ call unhealthy amounts of fat? Our Northern European ancestors seem to have done pretty well on that diet, and yet we are constantly told we should stop eating it.  I suppose this article about the relative health benefits of the English diet would not be written in 2017. In the years since it appeared, the health ‘experts’ haven’t shown much sign of revising their ‘low fat, low salt’ dogma.

As for me, I prefer to go with what works, and what was good for the older generations is good enough for me, I think.

Place names in the British Isles

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The map shows the pattern of settlements by Celts, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians in the British Isles, as reflected in the place names common to those areas. It’s informative when considering the popular beliefs as to the ethnic makeup of the various regions in Britain and Ireland.

For example, it looks as though the Saxon settlement extended up into the Northeast part of Britain, and those northern regions near Scotland provided a good many of the ‘Ulster plantation’ settlers in Northern Ireland. Obviously (as is already known) those settlers were usually not ‘Celtic’ in origin, as is popularly assumed by many Americans who claim ‘Scots-Irish’ origin.

It also looks as if there was more Danish settlement in Eastern England, which was the place of origin for many New England colonists.

The map is from Isaac Taylor’s ‘Words and Places, or Etymological Illustrations of History, Etymology, and Geography’, London, 1865

On an ‘Anglo-American Union’

W.T. Stead wrote, in the preface to his ‘Anglo-American Union’:

“The advent of the United States of America as the greatest of world-Powers is the greatest political, social, and commercial phenomenon of our times. For some years past we have all been more or less dimly conscious of its significance. It is only when we look at the manifold manifestations of the exuberant energy of the United States, and the world-wide influence which they are exerting upon the world in general and the British Empire in particular, that we realise how comparatively insignificant are all the other events of our time.

[…]
This survey is intensely interesting to all men, but it is of transcendant [sic] importance for my own countrymen. For we are confronted by the necessity of taking one of those momentous decisions which decide the destiny of our country. Unless I am altogether mistaken, we have an opportunity — probably the last which is to be offered us — of retaining our place as the first of world-Powers. If we neglect it, we shall descend slowly but irresistibly to the position of Holland and of Belgium. No one who contemplates with an impartial mind the array of facts now submitted to his attention, will deny that I have at least made out a very strong prima facie case in support of my contention that, unless we can succeed in merging the British Empire in the English-speaking United States of the World, the disintegration of our Empire, and our definite displacement from the position of commercial and financial primacy is only a matter of time, and probably a very short time. If, on the other hand, we substitute for the insular patriotism of our nation the broader patriotism of the race, and frankly throw in our lot with the Americans to realise the great ideal of Race Union, we shall enter upon a new era of power and prosperity the like of which the race has never realised since the world began. But ‘if before our duty we, with listless spirit, stand,’ the die will be cast, and we must reconcile ourselves as best we can to accept a secondary position in a world in which we have hitherto played a leading role.

If, on the contrary, we are resolute and courageous, we have it in our power to occupy a position of vantage, in which we need fear no foe and dread no rival. We shall continue on a wider scale to carry out the providential mission which has been entrusted to the English-speaking Race, whose United States will be able to secure the peace of the World.

It is, therefore, in no spirit of despair, but rather with joyful confidence and great hope that I commend this book to my fellow countrymen.

December, 1901,
W.T. Stead”

Obviously, Stead’s proposal of an Anglo-American Union was not to be, and Stead probably had little inkling of the coming two disastrous World Wars which would be so costly, in both lives and treasure,  to England and the British Empire overall. He probably couldn’t have envisioned the loss of the Empire with the decolonialization following the wars, and the ill-considered move to open Britain to the multiracial, polyglot peoples of the ‘Commonwealth’. This got under way in earnest in 1948, with the arrival of the Windrush, with its human cargo presaging the ‘diversity imperative’ of the post-war years.

It wasn’t until years later that the Labour government had decided (according to the words of Jack Straw) to ‘rub the nose of the [British] Right in diversity’. As we can see, though, this push to ‘multiculturalize’ Britain was already well under way by the 1990s. Britain and the indigenous English had already been somewhat conditioned, gradually, to accept this change. Just as in the United States, we had long been conditioned to believe that our country was a ‘melting pot’ of first, Europe’s peoples, and then the peoples of the entire planet, as the decades went by.

Various justifications were, and have been, offered as to why we ‘have to’ open our countries up to an array of peoples from every corner of the globe, and why this must be accelerated, regardless of its effect on us and on our children’s future prospects. Most often we are told that the ‘world is growing smaller, and we have to function as a ”global community”; that we can’t be independent and self-sufficient any longer in a ‘global society’. We can no longer have the luxury of freedom of assocation as invididuals nor can we, as nations, associate only with those we choose; we must be utterly indiscriminate.

Yet if this world still made sense, it would be most sensible to have closest ties with those who are of common origin with us, who speak the same language and share, to some degree, a similar culture and customs. Why then did Britain and the United States, despite the long (but now weakened) ‘special relationship’ between our countries, choose to go in the opposite direction? Why did both our countries choose to welcome utter strangers, with whom we have little to nothing in common (except 46 chromosomes, it seems) rather than to have sought, long ago, to enter into some kind of reciprocal relationship? Why did both countries (as well as the other countries of the Anglosphere) coincidentally go for the ‘diversity, one-world’ option? Of course my question is mostly rhetorical.

W.T. Stead’s idea of an Anglo-American United States may have been a misguided notion; it might not have been workable. There are many reasons why; in part, it may be that because both our nations, being stiff-necked and proud, regarded one another as rivals or competitors, and each of our nations’ governments felt the need to ‘prove’ something to the other. Americans have long been taught, implicitly if not explicitly, that our ‘democratic republic’ was far superior to the outdated system of the mother country; we were more committed to ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ than our poor British cousins, who were mere ‘subjects’ , while we are ‘citizens of a free republic.’

Pride, and petty rivalry.

I am not sure that a “United States of the World’ will ever exist; if so, it will not be the nation most of us were born into. I am an ethnonationalist and not a pan-Europeanist. But it does seem baffling and counter-intuitive that we choose to join with strangers rather than kinsmen.

William Tyndale and his views on nation

From the Faith and Heritage blog, Adi writes of William Tyndale and his view on the English nation.

“Tyndale was also a nationalistic Englishman, having great love for his kin and country. When martyred, even though it took place in continental Europe, his final prayer was not for the world (or even Europe) to be saved, but instead he prayed for the repentance of his own people: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”

Today when the average Christian is taught to believe that nation and race are irrelevant to Christians, Tyndale’s ideas on the importance of nation and people could be seen as incongruous, when in fact they were probably not so unusual for his time.

Read the rest at Faith and Heritage.

The legacy of our forebears

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This quote from Peter Hitchens resonated with me. I’ve contemplated those great cathedrals and thought of the skill and art that went into conceiving and constructing them. It should impress us with what our forbears were capable of. Where are the modern equivalents? The very fact that these buildings took generations to build and that they were ‘built for the ages’ impresses me with the builders’ belief in something transcendent and eternal; they saw their  place in this unbroken chain of folk and faith.