Englishness? Whimsy and Billy Bragg songs. Look local instead

by Kevin Meagher

Like the inhabitants of Laputa who were embarked on the task of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers in Gulliver’s Travels, picking over the mysteries of Englishness in search of an intelligible definition is a similarly laborious – and quite pointless – endeavour.

Yet it remains a vogueish pursuit. Last week Ed Miliband made a long speech on the subject, laying heavy emphasis on his own idiosyncratic background as the son of Jewish immigrant parents who was born and grew up in different places, engendering multiple identities and loyalties (“a Leeds supporter, from North London”).

Rather than nailing a coherent version of Englishness, however, the speech served to show how variegated the term is.

Our island story is nothing of the sort. We are many tribes and have many, often conflicting accounts. We should call off the search for an agreed, top-down national narrative.

Princes and paupers, Cornish and cockney; there is little practical mortar unifying a sense of Englishness in either our geography or class. A working class Brummie has traditionally had more in common with a working-class Glaswegian than he has with an Englishman from a different social class.

Our society has been so utterly shaped by class and station that there is no great well of collective experience to call upon. That’s precisely why that other great existential issue – social mobility – similarly exercises the political elite. (Aptly enough, the subject of Ed’s previous speech).

But we’ve been down the national identity road before, struggling in vain for a suitable definition of ‘Britishness’. Gordon Brown’s belief in garden flagpoles and wafting union flags was about as far as that attempt went. Can we really disaggregate that chimera to now do any better in defining ‘Englishness?’

Ed Miliband thinks we can. Last week he said Labour should embrace “a positive, outward looking version of English identity” claiming that “we have been too nervous to talk of English pride and English character.”

While there is “romanticism in parts of the left” about Welsh and Scottish identity, defining an English identity “has tended to be a closed book” he claimed.

There’s a simple reason for that. Britishness and Englishness are synonymous.  Our union is no marriage of equals; England dominates. And a narrow, middle class, London-centric-ness (think politics, culture and finance) now dominates England.

Yet England remains a confederation of well-embedded local identities. This creates an obvious problem when looking to characterise a shared allegiance and outlook.

We saw some of this during last week’s stage-managed Jubilee celebrations. The whole thing was an overwhelmingly southern, middle-class experience.

And despite the photographs of a young Muslim woman in a union flag hijab, it was a conclusively white affair too. Kelvin McKenzie – of all people – made that point in the Daily Mail the other day.

Our fissiparous tribe can’t even agree on which style of rugby we should play. The southern middle class has rugby union, the northern working class has rugby league.

And I have a hunch that if it came to the crunch most football fans would probably prefer their local team won the FA Cup than the English national side triumphed in the European Championships.

Even as patriotic an institution as the British Army is composed of regiments representing nations and counties, with a sense of place an important part of traditions of our fighting men and women.

While the flag of St. George is, of course, a Christian symbol before it’s a national one.

So what exactly was the point of Ed’s speech?

Mostly it was an attempt to sock it to Alex Salmond. “As we make the case for the United Kingdom throughout the United Kingdom, we must talk about England” said Ed. It was an attempt to say you can be British as well as Scottish, Welsh or English. A third way on national identity, so to speak.

So Englishness, in these terms, is primarily a by-product of the effort to head-off Scottish independence. Clearly this threat now looms ahead of the 2014 plebiscite. Denied the services of 41Scottish MPs, winning a majority of English seats becomes Labour’s main electoral Achilles heel.

Hence the focus on making individual national and well as supra-national British identities co-exist.

But there is some way to go. The will-o’-the-wisp Englishness of “fair play”, “common decency” and even “the spirit of the Blitz” is pure whimsy. It makes Scottish nationalism seem substantive in comparison.

Ed’s speech was also significant for what it did not include. Whither localism? The term did not merit a single reference. Instead there was a bureaucratic pledge to see power devolved from Whitehall “down to local authorities.” Little of the spirit, then, of David Miliband’s more radical vision of “double devolution” – transferring power and influence down to actual communities.

But Ed was certainly right to reject the notion on an English parliament. To all intents and purposes, Westminster already is one. Instead we need to embrace true localism; giving expression to powerful local identities and building strong provincial institutions to reflect their priorities and values. This is where the real England is found.

Let’s leave the search for a catch-all definition of Englishness to Billy Bragg and undergraduate sociology essayists.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

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38 Responses to “Englishness? Whimsy and Billy Bragg songs. Look local instead”

  1. Rallan says:

    You want this to be true. Labour treats England with contempt without a second thought. But stating your opinion with confidence does not make it the truth. Regional assemblies were rejected. English pride (and irritation) is real and growing.

    You’ll sell us out (again) to preserve your Scottish voting block. Labour repeatedly tries to pervert democracy for it’s own electoral advantage, usually at the expense of England. Whatever settlement is reached with Scotland, it will be the final straw. Then England will bite you.

  2. swatantra says:

    The fact is the UK is largely a conservative country.
    the population is generally lethargic for change, and when it does it does so atas the the resort and in bits and bobs. So we don’t get the revoultions that the continentals get, the upheavals, the civil wars, all that often. So our historians are at a dead loss to put forward radical manifestos because they know they’ll go down like a damp squib.
    Sir John was right: its still the bucholic pastoral idyll of the rural countryside that is portrayed on our chocolate boxes and butter tubs and Danny Boyles depiction of Gt Britain to Foreigners at our Olympic Games.
    And it won’t change until we dispose of the Monarchy and institute a Republic. I know it failed with Cromwell, but we should give it another go. Let Liz be the Last Monarch, then we can make progress.
    So Billy should be singing songs not about devolution but revolution. But he won’t; because he’s part of the Establishment.

  3. Alan Lockey says:

    As a Labour member I totally disagree with this article. Indeed, I’m more in sympathy with the above post, minus the extreme language.

    All national identity is, ultimately, an intellectual construct and you can poke fun at it all. But English national consciousness is growing and it demands political expression. Labour would be foolish to ignore it or leave it to the exclusive jingoism of the right.

  4. Alan Lockey says:

    Besides, Ed’s point was about multiple identities. Why set up a local v national debate unless you wanted to present a false choice?

    There are many many reasons for the ‘double devolution’ spirit, something which I also strongly believe in. But escaping from a national conversation about England’s place in the Union, constitutionally, politically and in terms of identity, is not one of them.

  5. Kevin says:

    Alan – you miss the point. If we’re serious about English identity and giving it expression then it isn’t found in an off-the-peg Englishness which seems to splice together Orwellisms, bromides and wishful thinking. If there is such a thing its a mosaic of smaller, localised identities.

    The ‘political expression’ of this ‘national consciousness’ as you put it should be to embrace localism meaningfully.

  6. Toque says:

    “A working class Brummie has traditionally had more in common with a working-class Glaswegian than he has with an Englishman from a different social class.”

    So why have a Scottish parliament then?

    Kevin Meagher’s article is so predictable that Theodore Dalrymple responded to it before it was even written:

    “The other way of attacking Englishness has been to say that the English are divided between north and south, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, and so forth. But this is not true only of the English: it is true of every human group.

    Indeed, if this argument against Englishness were valid – that the English vary greatly among themselves and therefore there is nothing distinctive about them or their culture – then no human group whatsoever could have an identity because the same could be said about all groups and we would all then be left as isolated human molecules floating in a social, psychological and cultural vacuum.

    Perhaps one of the reasons that Englishness has traditionally been so disliked by the Labour Party is that, without Welsh and Scottish votes, there would never be a Labour government.”

  7. Kevin says:

    Toque – be interested to see you set out defining English characteristics that apply across 50 million people that does not drift into amorphous tosh.

    Scottishness and Welshness are more coherent given their much smaller scale. There are 10 times more people living in England than Scotland. There are as many Greater Mancunians as Welsh.

    Try re-reading my piece again. Especially this bit ‘…we need to embrace true localism; giving expression to powerful local identities and building strong provincial institutions to reflect their priorities and values. This is where the real England is.’

  8. Anon E Mouse says:

    What is the point of these silly ill informed articles?

    I realise with the authors seeming support for Irish nationalism that he would have a bias against the English but this article is frankly ridiculous.

    The Labour Party has behaved in a disgraceful manner towards the English in recent years and Miliband seems to be willing to change that.

    When Scotland votes for independence it will be the end of the current incarnation of the Labour Party and they will be forced to listen to the wishes of the English and it won’t be before time…

  9. Chris says:

    This is a well argued statement of your political position, but despite that it is whistling in the wind. Social groupings are self-selected creations of the mind, having little substantial intellectual merit (your criticism of Milliband’s speech), but which are nonetheless powerful contributors to how people view themselves and the societies in which they live.

    The best examples of this are in sport. Many people support a Premiership or Championship football team without any ability to explain their choice of team, unless it is perhaps “because my Dad/Mum supports them”. Evolutionary pressures have wired into us the notion of the social grouping, which is why supporting a football team is so attractive: you go to a match and you are brotherhood of people gathered together, with the team, on a shared enterprise, namely the more-or-less worthless one of winning a football match, and where you can enjoy the feelings of togetherness.

    These are visceral feelings not amendable to your analysis, which is why Milliband was basically right. The fact is that Welsh and Scottish nationalism has stirred emotions not only of the Welsh and Scots but also, by reflection, people living in England. Actions have their consequences and those arising from national devolution in Wales and Scotland are playing out now. The left can go with it, or not go with it, and win or lose by doing so, but having lost control of devolution to nationalist sentiment in Wales and Scotland they cannot meaningfully influence the long-term outcome.

  10. harry says:

    If the author really thinks the Westminster parliament is the equivalent of an English parliament it shows how much he knows about England,he certainly does not FEEL English or he wouldn`t be making statements like that.

  11. Toque says:

    Kevin, why would anyone want to define the national characteristics of any nation – it’s impossible. But the fact that it is impossible (and pointless) doesn’t mean that a feeling of national identity is impossible or pointless, or that politics shouldn’t reflect and give voice to that identity.

    Culturally I think there are bigger geographical divides in Scotland and Wales. Politically (party politically) there’s a bigger divide in England. But cohesive politics and cohesive culture do not necessarily equate to cohesive national identity. Look across the Pond to the US or Canada and you will find people with strong feelings of national identity who live in nations that are culturally and politically less cohesive than our own.

    Labour’s big mistake under Brown was to try and describe a cohesive British identity as a way of bolstering the case for the British state. Your mistake is to try and deny the case for an English state by painting a picture of incoherency.

    What is obvious to anyone is the fact that if England is incoherent, then so too is Britain – which is the problem that Cruddas and Miliband are trying to address in their naive wrong-headed way.

    Britain is a multinational state and it requires an English voice to prevent the conflation of England and Britain. The anglocentricity (dual English-British function) of the British institutions of state is damaging to the Union.

  12. Matt says:

    Englishness is a verb. English is as English does. The English do not depend upon a politicians’, historians’ or academics’ definition of Englishness in order to exist as a social, cultural and political unity. We are that we are, and we become what we make ourselves. Stop fussing. Now lets have a referendum on our own parliament. It’s for us to decide, just as it was for Scotland and Wales to decide.

  13. Kevin says:

    Chris, Hary, Toque – thanks for feedback. But I’m still not hearing any coherent definitions of Englishness from you. My contention, as per the piece, is that this is because there aren’t really any. In order to find the real England we have to go local. Local identities are fundamental in understanding the English. This is why there is no symmetry between Scottish and Welsh nationalism. There are more people living in the north west of England than in Scotland and Wales combined. To connect with England we must be serious about localism.

  14. Chris says:


    This is disappointing, because you seem to be stuck in a logical bind on this. My point is quite different to yours, which is that this is (a) a by-product of national sentiment in Wales and Scotland, and (b) is not amenable to “coherent definitions”. Give me a coherent definition of Welshness other than “people who live in Wales”, “people who value Welsh culture” or stereotypes like “they have lots of male voice choirs”, all of which have their English equivalents.

    As MIlliband said, people have multiple identities: which can include, say, that they are from Yorkshire, they are English, and they are British.

    Questions of political organisation (as opposed to feelings of belonging and identity) are capable of your kind of analysis and you may be better off concentrating on that. As it happens I am a firm believer in their being a Parliament and government for the North of England, with powers similar to those of the Welsh government and assembly: I think it shameful how the interests of the North of England are so poorly represented in comparison with, say, Wales, to their considerable disadvantage. However, there is no way it is going to happen because neither Labour nor any of the other major political parties are willing to concede that much power in England (as evidence of which I call upon Prescott’s vacuous regionalisation proposals which would have conceded no substantive powers are all, and which if they had done might have been successful). And fiddling around with the powers of local authorities isn’t going to cut it.

  15. Chris says:

    Englishness is something that we in England all share, form heritage and cuklture, something that others have copied, it is also something that labour dare not mention, labour have treated the English people with contempt and racism.
    All England’s needs is her own dedicated national parliament and equality, which is on the way.
    The British Gov discriminate agsinst the English in favour of the Scottish. This is coming to and end to, There are more people in England who wish for their own parlaiemnt than there were Scots who were granted theirs. The argument that it’s not wnated is utter nonsence and now there is no argument agsint it other than that of racism and discrimination.

  16. Independent England says:

    Kelvin- you say that Scottishness and Welshness are more coherent given their much smaller scale.
    Really? The Welsh don’t all even speak the same language on a day to day basis. many speak Welsh many speak English.
    There is also a clear north south divide in Wales but we don’t hear the regionalists calling for an end to the Welsh Assembly and their replacing with a North Wales Elected Assembly and a South Wales Elected Assembly


    As for Scotland. Coherent? Really? Is that why a lot of Scottish people want independence and a lot don’t? And the Scottish Parliament had to pass an Anti religious Bigotry Act!

    And when will the Labour leader give us a definition of Scottishness, Welshness and N.Irishness?

  17. Independent England says:

    Kelvin I’m still not hearing any coherent definitions of Scottishness Welshness and N.Irishness from you.

  18. Kevin says:

    Chris, don’t want to contradict your analysis – you seem perfectly capable of doing that on your own. Safe to say agree with you about north of England. Which is essentially the point I’m making – no single coherent version of Englishness with equal purchase across 50 million people.

    Go local instead (as I say in the piece and in every response to it – if only people bothered to read) and give expression to powerfully-felt, genuine local identities rather than foisting a synthetic Englishness over the heads of everyone.

    Finally you do a disservice to John Prescott – his proposals were much bolder than that.

  19. Michele says:

    Kevin, before we go into what is Englishness (though personally I feel Matt has got it right) – Explain to me what is Scottishness? What is so unique about Scotland that entitles them to be called a nation, to their own Parliament which does not also apply to England? What is not ‘whimsical about tartans, kilts, shortbread and bagpipes?

    The tired old argument of ‘too many people in England’ for either national identity or political parity is beginning to irritate; and your dismissal of the national flag of England, the Cross of St George totally ignores its solid place in England’s history.

    Maybe it is best that you leave the question of Englishness to the English and begin to listen when they tell you; otherwise you will have little relevance in a nation beginning to waken and stretch itself.

  20. David Kelly says:

    Wouldn’t it have been simpler and quicker to have written, “I am an Anglophobic racist, and I hate everything to do with England and the English people.”?

  21. Not to pick hairs but many in Cornish people don’t consider themselves to be English at all. The last schools census showed 47% of school kids preferring Cornish rather than English or British to describe their ethnic identity. Equally one could argue that, even if Cornwall is run as an English county, its -de jur- constitutional position is quite other: http://www.scribd.com/doc/44178693/The-Duchy-of-Cornwall-A-Very-Peculiar-Private-Estate

    Perhaps Labour is considering localism and a new devolution but lets just say when Cornish campaigners handed them a petition of 50,000 signatures calling a Cornish assembly they missed the chance by ignoring us.

    The Campaign for a Cornish Assembly: http://www.cornishassembly.org/

  22. Kevin says:

    Michelle – are you seriously saying the Cross is national symbol before it’s a Christian one? You might want to reflect on historical dates.

    Suspect this is a dialogue of the deaf. I think a single top-down Englishness is impossible and we should recognise England is a patchwork quilt of powerful identities and give expression to that plurality. Some of you disagree, buy can’t seem to explain the characterstics of this single, unified identity or how we measure it. Each to their own. Which is kinda the point I’m making.

  23. Sarah Jones says:

    “Suspect this is a dialogue of the deaf. ”

    Non-more true than of you. We’re constantly being fed deary demands to define Englishness (in predictable left wing fashion) yet we’re supposed to believe there is such a thing as Scottishness or Welshness because ‘I says so’. No definition is offered despite one being requested by several posters, that you insist these are ‘coherent’ identities (and therefore presumably such a thing should exist) and that it is you that demand justifying an identity before we are allowed to talk about it. Why don’t you try putting up or shutting up?

    This is basically the standard every other identity but English piece based on the usual left wing dislike of the English and desire to gerrymander political advantage. With the ‘facts’ tailored to match what the author wants to be true about the English with the English being held to one standard and everyone else to another.

  24. Chris says:


    “Chris, don’t want to contradict your analysis – you seem perfectly capable of doing that on your own.”

    That seems somewhat unnecessarily offensive and ad hominem. As it happens, there appear to be more than one ‘Chris’ posting; my two posts began “This is a well argued statement of your political position” and “This is disappointing”. Can you enlighten me by pointing out the contradiction in those. If you were to provide a “coherent definition” of Welshness that might also help me understand your point better.

    Re John Prescott, can you tell me what functions were to be passed from central government to the regions, apart from some minor transport matters? The strategic planning functions were taken from the county councils and unitary authorities who previously produced their structure plans; the regional development funds were diverted from local authority development assistance funds to be administered on a regional basis. It is generally recognised that the weakness of his proposals was his inability to persuade any of his departmental colleagues to hand anything meaningful over, together with a complete lack of cabinet support on this.

  25. Independent England says:

    Kevin, we are still waiting for your definition of Scottishness, Welshness and N.Irishness!

  26. William Grant says:

    The Scottish Parliament is not a national parliament, it is a regional parliament, within the UK. If it was a national parliament it would have around 45 more members, if the Scandinavian and Irish Parliaments are anything to go by.
    The referendum to set it up came about because the English majority diverted from its habit of voting Conservative and voted Labour in, in 1997. Opinion polls in Scotland indicated that voters wanted a parliament, and English people could have stopped it coming into being by voting Tory then – they didn’t, so the anomalies which have arisen because of the parliament are their own fault.

  27. Chris says:


    On Prescott again, I have dug out an article that Peter Hain wrote (and which I corresponded with him briefly about, as he also supports a government and assembly for the North of England), in which he said in answer to the lack of devolution in England:

    “It could be a regional government in the north-east of England – rejected, I known, in 2004 but rejected on a kind of Mickey Mouse offer where the powers were not really real and the timing wasn’t right” [1]

    You are of course entitled to take the view that his characterisation of Presocott’s proposals as “Mickey Mouse” were wrong but I think you need to mention the matters to be transferred under them from central government (not taken from local government) which made them “powerful”.

    [1] Western Mail, 31 January 2012

  28. Independent England says:

    William Grant the English voted in 2010 for a Conservagtive mandate of stopping non English constituency MPs voting on English matters.
    So you are happy for that to go ahead I presume?

  29. William Grant says:

    Independent England, Yes, I would be in favour of that dog’s breakfast, although it has to be pointed out that the LibDem representation in the Scottish Parliament slumped because of the coalition at Union level with the Conservatives. Uk-wide political coverage on tv and radio means that the composition of the devolved administrations is heavily influenced by England’s politics and politicians. They still have significant indirect say on devolved matters, despite the protestations of some. Broadcasting would have to be devolved to prevent this, and the loss-making Sky News axed. Ed Miliband’s speech pointed out he doesn’t want more politicians. So, he could easily support EVOEL at a future date, if forced to.

  30. Chris says:

    William Grant:

    I really do think that proper regional government is a better solution than EVoEL. The problem is that I don’t believe the main parties have the stomach for it, including unfortunately Labour, as they like being able to determine policy on English matters at Westminster and this enables them to retain the status quo outside Scotland and Wales (and of course Northern Ireland, although that has a different dynamic). If there were genuine regional government in England, Westminster and Whitehall would need to be much trimmed.

    The author of this article apparently doesn’t agree that Prescott’s proposals were next to meaningless (although I am not at all convinced his view is backed by any real facts, let us wait and see what he has to say on that), but I think we have to accept that in consequence EVoEL is likely to be at some point in time.

    However I think Milliband is to be applauded for trying to head this off by providing a cultural outlet for England, which I support, in the hope that he can head off a political outlet. I am not surprised that the soft left London-based metropolitan tendency is arguing against it though. Happily the present Labour leadership has a bit more vision.

  31. David Kelly says:

    Here’s a suggestion, although some might find it a bit too radical for their tastes. What about asking the voters of England what form of governance they want for England? We have the same citizenship as people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and pay the same taxes. In fact, we pay more tax, as we pay for so many things that people in the devolved nations get free or cheaper at the point of delivery. Consulting people involves an element of democracy, which probably makes it too radical for some tastes.

  32. Rallan says:


    “are you seriously saying the Cross is national symbol before it’s a Christian one? You might want to reflect on historical dates.”

    It’s a modern symbol, not a historical study. The George Cross is THE modern English national symbol as understood by most English people today, and will remain a national symbol so whether you accept it or not.

    “I think a single top-down Englishness is impossible and we should recognise England is a patchwork quilt of powerful identities”

    Honestly, what are you talking about? You’ve been reading WAY too much left-wing theory porn. Single top-down English-ness? Are you having a laugh?

    English is how we see ourselves, and also the way everyone else sees us. We are defined by those around us as much as by ourselves. And with the rise of hostile Welsh & Scottish nationalism there is increasing English nationalism. Nothing you can say will stop it, and ignorant garbage like your article will promote it.

    The acid test is this; do I get angry when someone questions my identity as an Englishman, the value of being English, or treats England with disrespect? My answer is Yes, and it’s the same answer you got from the Englishmen of the North when Labour tried to carve England up to artificially prop up your diminishing power base.

    We may not always like each other but English is English, and you challenge that at your peril. England was a nation long before there was a Labour Party, and it will continue as a nation long after you’re gone.

  33. Terry says:

    Kevin – I’d be interested to see you set out defining Scottish characteristics that apply across 5 million people that does not drift into amorphous tosh.

    Englishness (unlike Scottishness and Welshness) is more coherent despite its much larger scale.

    At least the English speak the same language

  34. Terry says:

    “Opinion polls in Scotland indicated that voters wanted a parliament, and English people could have stopped it coming into being by voting Tory then – they didn’t, so the anomalies which have arisen because of the parliament are their own fault.”

    Oh please, it was a General Election, not a single issue referendum.

    We were sick of 18 years of Tory rule… we’re not that happy now, but an unaccountable PM (Brown)with no mandate on Health, Education, Social Policy etc was too much for many of us to bear.

  35. swatantra says:

    When it comes to the crunch people are not stupid, as the Irish and Greeks have proved just recently. They will vote for what is in the interests of the Country as well as themslves: to stay in the Euro, to admit to a certain amount of belt tightening and to reduce their debt, and to stay in Europe. So Referendums on ‘in or out’ are a complete waste of time. We know what the result is going to be anyway. The Greek GE was in fact a Referendum: Either Put up, or Shut up. And the Greeks decided. There is a place for Referenda, but not on these kinds of issues.

  36. uglyfatbloke says:

    William – the slump of the Scottish glib-dumbs is more than just a product of the coalition, it is also to do with their failure to put their money where their mouth is on federalism/homerule and on civil liberties. The curious thing is that the gnats have benefitted since they are no better on personal liberty issues than the tories (or Labour either I’m afraid). Even if the gnats lose their referendum (and I’m not so sure about that as I used to be) they will take out most – perhaps all – of the Scottish glib-dumbs at the next GE, with the excepetion of the one I live in, where Carmichael will win on the basis of his personal vote.

  37. William Grant says:

    Chris, I voted against bringing the Scottish Parliament into being, precisely because I wanted devolution to be based on regions and simultaneously delivered UK-wide, if it took place at all. Politicians are so unpopular just now, that we won’t get many takers for creating more of them, despite the UK being behind much of the EU in political representatives per head of population, meaning that Westminster need not be trimmed, if we were to get up to other levels of governance.

  38. steve wells says:

    Dear sirs

    Reading all the above comments to which half of i do not understand, i feel i have to comment on being English as it seems that the British govnts are so anti English especially the labour Party.

    I am a man of 56 years, and as a kid i grew up in west london in a working class family. I can remember as a family unit going to the voting stn and on the way it was all about labour. then after we all went to the local pub and sat in the beer gdn. The adults would talk about politics and us kids would run around playing. and the whole road would be in the pub as well.

    but in the last 15-20 years i have grown to dislike labour, well not just labour,the whole political system in this once proud country. But now i am English, i do not like being called British, i hate the british and all it stands for. i now live in Newcastle upon tyne and i talk quite a lot on this subject and am quite pleased to hear that i am not alone. i certianly believe it is increasing. Even when i go back to london i get the same feeling, as i still go and watch my football team.

    And what really suprises me is the youngsters that are saying it up and down the country. All you hear about is scottish independance but you should be worried about the English, cause i think you have pushed the English too far.

    It seems you try to justify what is not English. But all i can say is being English is what is inside us and you can not take that away from us.

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