24 February 2008

English Nationalists Need Lessons in English History.

From 1066 to 1216, England was effectively a colony of Northern France (even the Magna Carta was written by French speaking Barons). No 'English' King in this period considered themselves English - this includes English nationalist heroes like Richard the Lionheart (a Frenchman who only ever visited England twice, and whose Crusades and ransom payouts on his capture, actually bankrupted England).

The polite 'English' society of...
the ruling class, a supposed English 'trademark' and to which many nationalists aspire to, involved a reverence to their ruling class descendent's language, i.e French. Polite 'English' is generally derived from French and coarser 'English' from Anglo-Saxon. The ruling classes generally spoke French - a remnant of this is that the Queen still gives her Royal Assent to bills in Norman French. Even the word parliament comes from the French word 'parler'. There is a certain irony to nationalist calls for an English 'parliament' and their calls to leave the EU - to be ruled by the 'English', when in fact the public school dominated ruling classes in London are probably more French than those in Brussels in terms of their ancestry. The English 'Euro' regions are actually roughly based on ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the counties came later in the 12th Century under Norman rule. So when the English nationalists claim the 'euro' regions as 'artificial' to England, it is clear they know less about English history than EU officials.

In fact, most of what we now consider the best English laws and attributes have their origins abroad and were brought here by immigrants. England over the last few thousand years has been one of the most invaded and 'mongrelised' of nations - indeed this tolerance, adaptation and incorporation of new cultures and ideas has usually been one of England's greatest strengths (the Mini, fish & chips, the cup of tea, even the royal family - they all have arrived here from abroad).

I have always found the most 'English' people I have met either come from abroad or that their parents did. Who (in terms of their contribution to our culture) is more English - Salmon Rushdie or Gary Bushell? This intolerance of foreigners that English nationalists show, is not an attribute of Englishness - if anything, it is its antithesis.

96 comments:

  1. OK, so we are all mongels. We know this already. I'm Irish, Welsh, and with a little Jewish mixed in there, several generations down. So what? None that vitiates the case for devolved government. It is certainly not legitimate for Scottish MPs to vote for regressive legislation such as student top-up fees, when they are not answerable for those decisions to their electorate. The case for an English, or better still a number of regional English assembles, is unanswerable.

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  2. Stephen - "or better still a number of regional English assembles, is unanswerable".

    I agree.

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  3. I think that is what you call a straw man. I am sure most English Nationalists are well aware of the Norman invasion and the effects of French on the English language. I don't really see your point.

    And the old mongrel thing. You can't seriously be suggesting we shouldn't have an English parliament because we're not racially pure enough? No English nationalists claim racial purity. We leave that to the British National Party.

    And I think the fact the Euro-regions look slightly like the kingdoms of the heptarchy is coincidence. They were actually designed by the British government, not EU officials, but I doubt they sat down and said, "mm the country's big and needs splitting up, now what were the boundaries of Mercia and the Danelaw?" Should we have regions because we had them in the 10th century? I think we have moved on since then.

    Sorry but your insults to us English nationalists don't add up. We are not xenophobes, we just want the same rights to self-determination as any other people.

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  4. Maybe you could point me to an example of Richard I being used as an English Nationalist hero. I have certainly never come across it. Give me Alfred the Great any day. Although it might make sense for us to look to de Montfort and Cromwell.

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  5. All this is pretty much universally well known. Which leaves you to wonder why the author is pretending this is news and that he possesses some kind of intellectual superiority for telling. All he really is doing is illustrating his obvious double standards.

    Scotland was a combination of Picts, Scots, Britons and Anglo-Saxons. A bunch of Normans were post 1066 invited up to help run the place. Don't see anything telling them and the members of Labour so keen on Scottish devolution that they're much too 'mongrelised' for self-rule and any suggestion they should have show a lack of knowledge of history.

    Wales has never really been a united independent country but no telling them they can't have self rule or a sense of nationhood and that they need history lessons for suggesting otherwise.

    The suggestion that the English are mixed and that the English language has a lot of French words in are justifications against English nationalism is completely hypocritical.

    Refusal to countenance English self government is basically a mixture of peculiar loathing for their own country that dogs the left (what is the opposite of xenophobia btw) and political self-interest. If Labour thought they could rule England the way they thought they could rule Scotland and Wales, most of these objections would evaporate.

    What a 'surprise' on a Labour blog to have the 'cry racist' approach and be told that English nationalists are intolerant of foreigners, whilst in a lovely irony the article's full of the typical Labour intolerance of all things English. And would you adam and eve it all the best things about England come from elsewhere, yes we have contributed nothing to the world, it's all immigrants, we are capable of nothing unless someone from outside (who are all vastly superior of course) come in and do it for us. Labour really do loathe all things English don't they? Can't praise anyone and anything else enough can't put us down too much. No feelings of national pride and self worth for us. Perhaps the author and his party should have history lessons rather than leftwing propaganda they might get off their English are all worthless scum who should be grateful for the insult and everyone else is a permanent angel that can do no wrong bandwagon.

    As for Euro-regions being based on ancient English kingdoms, please. I know politicos really think they're better and smarter than us idiot proles, that they should be able to make a pronouncement and the general populous should all just fall in with it but really, you're just making that up.

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  6. Sarah said...
    [I] wonder why the author is pretending...that he possesses some kind of intellectual superiority...All he really is doing is illustrating his obvious double standards.

    Ha! ha! Absolutely right. You got him in one. He's all about being mr im cleverer than you.
    As for us all being mongrels that's a joke. The Normans, Angles, Saxons, Norse, Jutes, Flemish, Vikings, and Fresians were all from the same stock. England has only had significant immigration from other parts of the world since about 1950. That means 1500 years of only northern european people.
    England a "colony" of France? Ha! ha! Rubbish.
    After the Nornman invasion the English looked more towards that part of Euroland it's true. That's only because they had no choice. Before 1066 the English were orientated to scandinavia. In any case, the Normans were not French; they were vikings. England and France fought wars because the people at the top fought each other. England has never been a colony of France. Infact, England took over a lot of France which you would know if you had researched the facts. B ut of course youre not interested in the truth.
    1415 Azincourt - the height of English power. The English took advantage of French divisions to invade Normandy again. In 1415 Henry V, king of England, was returning towards Calais when the French army, superior in number, caught up with hom at Azincourt. This resultied in another annihilation like Crecy, the archers wiped out the flower of the French nobility.

    After this victory, Henry V conquered the north and west of France very nearly succeeding in achieving his grandfather Edward III's ambitions.

    Richard the third used as an English hero? AHA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

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  7. "This intolerance of foreigners that English nationalists show..."

    Can you give a single example of this? If you do manage to come up with one, I can come up with many. Why do you make up "facts" that are not facts at all?

    "...is not an attribute of Englishness - if anything, it is its antithesis."

    Of course it is, that's why it is so easy to defeat your former statement.

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  8. Sorry, I said "If you do manage to come up with one, I can come up with many."

    When I meant to say "...come up with many that prove the opposite"

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  9. SP: I think it is well known that Richard I is a popular figure amongst English nationalists. As wikipedia puts it - "an enduring, iconic figure in England".

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  10. England is currently ran by a UK Government, the only nation that is, most English Nationalists want this United Kingdom to be United, it is gross discrimination for English people to die while their taxes are used to keep other nations people alive. Taxes should be spent 'equally' if one nation has free prescriptions then all nations should have them, this is only fair. Is this how the Labour party planned devolution to be? or did they not plan for it at all? Todays politicians seem to be very poor at politics hence the mess this country is in at the present time, or was that planned too?
    Most English nationalists define 'English' as being born in England, colour or creed does not apply, but these days just living and paying taxes in England means you are also being discriminated against, this includes all immigrants of any nationality.

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  11. Sarah: I am not so sure that people know just how much the class system and our rulers descend from French rule.

    I think all nationalism is a 'bloodstained anachronism', not just the English variety. Scratch the surface of most English nationalists and you will hear an anti-French or anti-German rant. I was just pointing out the irony of this. I think the number of responses here demonstrate I have hit a raw nerve.

    I have never said England has contributed 'nothing' to the world - just that a lot of 'English' achievements actually derive from immigrants. That is all.

    This 'self rule' ideal generally stems from a superiority complex that in reality is plainly absurd. English strength is more about co-opting outside ideas than ignoring them. English nationalists who want to shut us off from the world will cripple the nation not help it. Our future strength relies on the strength of the EU as a cohesive unit with us at its centre, not as some lonely island ignored on the fringes.

    Our biggest recent foreign policy mistake was to ignore the EEC in its beginnings and hope it would go away. It won't. With or without us, it is going from strength to strength and the Euro will eventually overtake the Dollar to become the main world reserve currency. Don't all those doomday predictions about the Euro, now look pretty silly?

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  12. Anon: I think your ignorance is demonstrated in that you don't even know the difference between Richard I and Richard III.

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  13. Terry: Visit any nationalist forum if you want to see overt xenophobia/racism. But underlying this whole 'England for the English' notion is an assumption (sometimes subliminal) that English is superior. This notion in itself is prejudiced.

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  14. So Neil your objection is really to nationalism in general I think. And you have picked up on the worst elements of English nationalism and confused this term, which generally refers to supporters of an English parliament, with EUscepticism which seems to be the real target of your attack.

    We didn't ignore the EEC, de Gaulle refused us entry earlier. Most people who are sceptical of the political union of the EU are supporters of economic Union as represented by the EEC (or EFTA today).

    I still predict bad things for the Eurozone. When the American crisis spreads, how will the varied economies of the Eurozone cope. With an interest rate invariably set at the correct rate for Germany, others such as Italy will suffer. It may be a reserve currency but that doesn't mean it is best for the ordinary people living with it.

    Anyway, for some intelligent English nationalism you might want to see the blogs of The Witanagemot Club rather than just forums. However these tend to deal with the West-Lothian question etc not the EU which is your issue.

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  15. Anon: I have tackled the 'west lothian question' here and here. I believe that the regions of England should have the same powers as Scotland.

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  16. SP: I think EUsceptics and supporters of an English parliament are pretty much the same people - I have never met one who isn't also the other. My target is general enough to cover both these groups.

    The ECSC (1952) was the forerunner to the EEC (Tr. of Rome in 1957). England was actually invited to join both orgs. Whether terms could have been agreed is another matter, but Britain didn't even try. Instead we attended intent to destroy the whole project - we failed but left a nasty taste in the mouths of our fellow Europeans which carried over to De Gaulle's understandable questioning of our motives. In hindsight - looking at our economic decline pre-membership, this arrogance and over-inflated value of our self importance was our biggest post-war foreign policy error.

    Economists have longed predicted the Euro would be a strong currency. The markets fought against this for as long as they could, but the US economy is now in free fall (and consequently so is the Dollar) - this was inevitable given their B of P deficits. Britain will almost certainly follow the US into recession. Lets hope we don't regret anchoring our economy to the Euro. I think the Eurozone is far better positioned to ride out the coming recession.

    I will check out the witanagemot club. Cheers for the link.

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  17. SP: That should have been 'not anchoring our economy to the Euro' (by joining in the first phase).

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  18. "I think EUsceptics and supporters of an English parliament are pretty much the same people - I have never met one who isn't also the other. My target is general enough to cover both these groups".

    I think EUrophiles and supporters of regional assemblies are pretty much the same people - I have never met one who isn't also the other. My target is general enough to cover both these groups.

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  19. Neill I assume you are either new to the English nationalist conversation and are repeating the knee jerk response offered by some on the left: or you have an alternative agenda when you say “Visit any nationalist forum if you want to see overt xenophobia/racism… this whole 'England for the English'…that English is superior. This notion in itself is prejudiced.”

    I support an English Parliament. If that makes me a nationalist, you can visit my blog and I’m sure you’ll not find any of the sentiments you describe above. I’ve not seen any English (as opposed to British) forums that promote any kind of xenophobia.

    Another of my personal views is that we should embrace “civic nationalism” because it serves a community very well during times of high immigration. Why don’t you join the conversation? You’ll discover why “regionalism” doesn’t work as a concept and why the current situation is so unacceptable.

    Anonymous, I’m in favour of the EU and an EP, but that’s my opinion and not the CEP’s (because it is a single issue pressure group so it doesn’t have a view on the EU).

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  20. Thanks for your responses Neil. It is true there is a lot of overlap between English parliament supporters and EUsceptics, though not completely as Terry Heath shows. There are also many Unionist anti-EU types.

    I hope us English Nationalists who aren't ignorant xenophobes can convince you of our point of view. I know those on the left are naturally sceptical of anything smacking of nationalism, but there are many layers to it. Some on the left do come round, for example Billy Bragg's 'progressive patriotism'.

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  21. Terry, SP, will add your blogs to my bloglist. Nice to meet some people in favour of an English Parliament that don't fit my crude stereotype. I admit my statement on EUsceptics was too sweeping.

    However, I regard regional assemblies as pretty much the only practical solution to the 'west lothian' problem.

    There are two main problems I can see with an English parliament.

    One is that there is such a political and cultural divide between English regions, particularly northern and southern England. I don't see how one parliament can represent one region without alienating others - just as a Tory UK ignored socialist voting Scotland, Wales and London leading to successful demands for their own government. If you are in favour of a PR elected English parliament (PR is used for Scotland, Wales and London) then that might solve that problem, though I have yet to see this prominently mentioned by English nationalists, it is however a very crucial point.

    An English parliament with a Tory majority on just 35% of the English vote will be as unfair as the current UK majority Labour have with just 35% of the UK vote.

    My second problem with an EP is more profound. No federal system has 85% of the population in one region, and for very good reasons. It skews the powerbase. An English parliament this powerful within the UK structure would inevitably dominate and soon be a challenge to the federal structure of the UK itself. This seems inevitable to me. How do you square this circle?

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  22. Another problem with an EP I forgot to mention is that it would involve disregarding the many referendums in London and other cities that have their own directly elected mayors.

    I think the practicaliy of the euro regions in terms of administraton is demonstrated by the fact that the Quangos (who spend £130bn of our money every year) are based on them. The sooner we end this scandalous disregard for democracy and elect these regional bodies, the better.

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  23. I am not a regionalist but a localist (as well as a nationalist), I believe the regions are too big and we should go further. A smaller state and more individual say should counter problems such as the North-South divide.

    I believe there is a fundamental difference between national and regional identity, without doubting the North South divide in England. People felt hard done by in Scotland, under an English dominated parliament, not just because of the differing political views, but because they felt themselves to be a separate nation.

    Most sensible English Nationalists don't object to devolution of power within England, but are worried this will come at the expense of our recognition as a nation in the same way Scotland and Wales have been recognised.

    Those of us such as myself who don't support the EU sometimes see other motives for regionalists, who often seem very set on the Euro-regions. Just as some believe the English parliament movement is really a way to get at Europe. I am sure many regionalists support them for de-centralising reasons, not because they are the EU's favoured method of sub-dividing nations.

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  24. God - fear and loathing of all things English from Labour supporter - shock!

    And then there's the one eyed view of history.

    FYI - Normans were not 'Frenchmen' - they were Norse men, northmen from the north - Vikings.

    The Magna Carta was written in Latin, the official written language of the day. But so was the Declaration of Arbroath - what's your point?.

    And the Richard the Lionheart jibe... I don't think he's much of a English nationalist hero is he? My guess is that he conveniently fits your skewed vision of English nationalism - the Coer de Lion, ha! A Frenchman being an English folk hero - how ironic!

    I presume you have the same problems then with Robert the Bruce? You know, that great Scottish nationalist, the fulcrum of popular Scottish independence and the inspiration for all things Scottish.... Yeah, good old 'Norman Bob', born in Essex, England into a family who came over to Blighty with Bill the Bastard in 1066.... Robert the Bruce - 100% Norman.

    And isn't 'polite English' merely the action of shoving in a 'U' where one previously didn't exist? Merely a fashion that happened after the founding fathers had left for America (Hey, Neil, I think I've discovered a nation that may, just may be more 'mongrelised' than England)..

    Isn't that why words like 'colour' is spelt differently in America? (color).

    This sweeping statement of inaccuracy - 'when in fact the public school dominated ruling classes in London are probably more French than those in Brussels in terms of their ancestry. Again, Normans were not French. And where is the proof that they are 'probably' more French (sic) that those in Brussels?

    You seem to be saying throughout your post that to be English is somehow an oxymoronic impossibility . Otherwise, why bracket England and English '' thus? Are you saying that Ian Wright or Boris Johnson cannot be proud Englishmen? Or is it only OK to be a proud Englishman just as long as you don't start asking all about that nasty national English Parliament stuff?

    And England being the most mongrelised of nations? Absolutely irrelevent, totaly inacurrate and a pathetically juvenile statement to make in order to make-weight your tenuous argument my friend. Surely even the most mongrel of mongrel countries deserve national self determination don't they? They have a word for that don't they? I think it's called 'democracy'.
    Or is it strictly off limits for the English to express themselves politically in a national sense?..

    England over the last few thousand years has been one of the most invaded and 'mongrelised' of nations

    Utter rubbish - flawed points in order to somehow validate your prejudices. The only major migrations of any significance up to 1066 came from the Celtic & Saxon migrations and the Roman & Norman invasions. Vikings colonised a limited area of the country, mostly confined to the north of England.

    The Normans took over England with less than 25,000 followers. Pre the 1960's aside from the home nations, the only migrations of any note have been the Hugenots accounting for less than 70,000 people over a period of over 50 years. The pogrom migrations from eastern Europe in the late 19th century consisted of only a tiny number of people coming to England - most went to the USA.

    The English 'Euro' regions are actually roughly based on ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the counties came later in the 12th Century under Norman rule...

    No they are not based on Anglo Saxon kingdoms - no matter how 'roughly' you define them. If I were you, I would buy myself a copy of 'The Making of the English Landscape' by WG Hoskins before attempting to give us the Anglo Saxon geography lesson.

    Honestly, it is this kind of English hating drivel that has stopped this former lifelong Labour voter (of 32 years solid loyalty) from voting for them ever again after 1997.

    I want national democracy for my country - the same model that Scotland has. No more, no less. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. And what is wrong with that?

    The fact that the Labour (Hey, another polite English word!!!) Party has a problem with democracy and will stop at nothing to besmerch the cause of English nationalism says more about the intolerence and bigotry of its members than it does about the just and noble cause that is English nationalism.

    This believer in democracy, this Grandson of a prominent Labour Party member of the early 20th century wonders what my old Granddad who was a leader of the hunger marches in the 20's, IWW member and who stood for Parliament in the 30's as the 'The Man who could not be bought') would make of the current constitutional basket case that is the UK - and the democratic emasculation of 50 million people by an all consuming, all controlling state apparatus....

    I reckon he'll be spinning in his grave at a rate of knots, don't you, Neil?)

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  25. Neil, thanks for the link, I’ll try to reciprocate.

    I too am a localist, but we have to initially establish an English Parliament before power can be further devolved to the cities and counties. This is for two reasons…

    1. Equality before the law/constitution is at the heart of any modern liberal democracy. The overriding consideration in the first round of devolution was based upon the nationality of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland(?)Size was dismissed because Scotland is twice the size of Wales, and Wales is twice the size of N.I. There would be a federation of different sized nations, but California and Rhode Island are part of a federation, so there must be a way to handle this. However, if England is not given the same consideration, it would be inequitable… and that is unworkable.

    2. The biggest challenge we are facing today, mainly in England, is mass immigration on a scale not seen before. I believe the best vehicle to handle this is a concept called Civic Nationalism. This is where anyone, regardless of race, place of birth etc etc, can subscribe to a set of values and call themselves a citizen of that nation. Newcomers can call themselves English by subscribing to values (imagined or not) of fair play, favouring the underdog, democracy, tolerance etc and IMHO it will serve us very well.

    We can’t apply this to Britain because the Scots and Welsh have their own national programmes and Britain has negative connotations with some in the former empire. I also can’t see subscribing to Midlands or Yorkshire values as having the same gravitas. Besides, I (like most people) don’t want to be one of the few people in the world that are nationless.

    There is a north/south divide, but the difference is not as great as that between industrial South Wales and touristy North Wales: or the industrial/financial lowlands and rural highlands. Those two managed to overcome greater obstacles, so I’m sure we could do the same…especially once we have a greater degree of locality.

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  26. SP, I am sure we can both agree that the UK is too centralised and that regional unelected quangos spending £130bn of public money is scandalous.

    I think Scottish, Welsh and London devolution has been a big success, genuinely bringing power closer to the people and making it more accountable. If we look for failings of this devolution it is that still too little power has been decentralised - this is especially true for London.

    I believe that a large part of the success of current devolved power is that it has been in manageable units - Scotland, Wales and London have populations of 5m, 3m and 7m respectively.

    I believe that smaller administrative units than this pose problems of efficiency. Where we draw the borders is open to debate, but it does seem the nine 'euro' regions are a good basis to start from.

    This is not to say some powers cannot be devolved even further (even to street level) but we do have to consider what is reasonable. Try and find any successful national organisation or company, TV station etc, that works on smaller regions than the 'euro' ones.

    For example, one of the biggest problems for London is trying to co-ordinate policy between the 32 boroughs. London has one of the worst recycling and waste collection records in the country as a result, despite having some of the most 'green' minded residents according to surveys. There is no co-ordination in vital infrastructure like waste disposal and collection - that could be much more efficiently delivered by a London wide service.

    When London transport was under the control of the boroughs it was in terminal decline and completely uncoordinated. Tory surburban boroughs even now still try to block free travelcards. The same is true of London's housing policies. Petty political disputes dominate with no overall strategic direction that is desperately needed for the region.

    A good example is one of film makers, who found film making in London - where agreement might be needed by many different boroughs, so frustrating they regularly restricted filming there or gave up altogether and filmed elsewhere (until the founding of a London wide organisation). How much other business in other sectors is lost due to this unnecessary red tape?

    Also, any discussion of local democracy cannot escape the wider discussion about the electoral system. The hegemony of over 70 years of continuous Tory councils in the South and Labour councils in the North on only 40% of the vote is not only undemocratic, it breeds corruption and inept governance. We must change to PR so people are properly represented everywhere.

    So, my questions to you, that you have so far not answered are;

    If any English region (London for instance, who have already voted for a directly elected Mayor) voted against an English parliament, would you override their wishes?

    Could you justify one party having a majority in an English parliament on just 35% of the vote?

    Do you really believe that a federal system where one region has85% of the population would be sustainable?

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  27. Alfie: Examples of Norman language - "Essai de grammaire de la langue normande". If you want to think that sounds more Norwegian than French you are entitled to your opinion!

    As for Richard 'the lionheart', I think the clue to his heroic status might be in his well known moniker, don't you think? Our rugby and football teams make much of this 'lion' stuff as well and I have yet to hear it used in a negative way.

    The relevance of the Magna Carta not being written in English, I would have thought was obvious. Especially since English nationalists seem so proud of invoking this French baron's charter.

    Whether you like it or not, the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms of England do bear a striking resemblence to the current English regions. The Norman based counties were formed later. My point here is that; calling the regions 'artificial' 'euro' constructs makes no sense. Surely what is important is the efficiency of our local government and as I have argued in other comments on this thread, it makes more sense in terms of effective administration of infrastructure to have 9 English Assemblies than just 1 or 39. Even these county borders have been fluxed over the last century so they have no more legitimacy than the regions.

    For reference I am not using the term 'mongrel' in a negative sense. Perhaps the word 'hybridised' is more appropriate to what I was trying to get at. US society is built on immigration, but no more so than ours I believe. Only forty generations covers the last two thousand years - hardly that long a period when talking about ancestry. Which is one of the reasons why nationalism is so pathetic really. Why should I have anything (whether political beliefs or cultural likes) more in common with you than say someone from France? I think this discussion suggests the opposite. Am I less English because of that? I am not disparaging Englishness - just your version of it.

    Finally "I want national democracy for my country - the same model that Scotland has. No more, no less. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. And what is wrong with that?"

    So you want PR for the English Parliament and for local government like they have in Scotland? I could live with that, although I still think having 85% of the population in one region of a federal government will cause the break up of the UK.

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  28. Terry: If California was 85% of the population of the US, then don't you think this would affect the federal structure of the Union? For instance, would their capital still be in Washington?

    When no region has more than say, about 10% of population then agreement on these things can actually be easier and fairer. This is why we cannot pretend that England is the same as Scotland and Wales within the UK structure.

    On point 2 - what if someone born here refuses to subscribe to some part of this 'civic nationalism'?

    Whenever someone suggests that England is more important than their region (Yorkshire people would surely declare independence if they were allowed) I always think of the 'club v country' debate at football. Most prefer their club. I would argue that someone's place of birth is as important (if not more so) than their country in shaping attitudes.

    Like I have said to SP, would you accept a PR elected EP? If not why not? And would you override the wishes of any region that voted against an EP?

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  29. On point 2 - what if someone born here refuses to subscribe to some part of this 'civic nationalism'?

    Nothing, I should think. I think Terry meant it as an analogue of scots or welsh values, whatever they might be. Personally I have never understood the patriotism thing, just as I have never understood how people can passionately support a football team. The country where we end up living is largely a matter of chance so why invest it with quasi-religious sentimentality.

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  30. Most English consider themselves some kinda descendent of several groups anglo saxon jutes norman etc but if someone like Ian Wright who is a passionate black Englishman,who the hell can say he is NOT,Born here raise here! if he wants to be English! who the hell, do labour think they are!look at france & italy the mixtures they dont bother with this celtic crap!

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  31. "English Nationalists Need Lessons in English History."

    Not from Brighton Labour party we don't.
    I lived in Brighton for 3 years and have spent much time working with historical groups. Brighton council does very little to promote Brightons history.

    " From 1066 to 1216, England was effectively a colony of Northern France (even the Magna Carta was written by French speaking Barons)."

    No because Northern France in 1066 would have meant the Northern part of the Isle de France, not Normandy. Maybe you need to get your historical and geographical facts straight before lecturing us.

    "No 'English' King in this period considered themselves English - this includes English nationalist heroes like Richard the Lionheart (a Frenchman who only ever visited England twice, and whose Crusades and ransom payouts on his capture, actually bankrupted England)."

    Oh I see so it's the game of plucking a historical figure from the past and assigning it to a group as their "hero".

    How about this then:

    "The Labour party who hero worship Pol Pot, Stalin and other figures of Communisim......"

    Most English nationalists know far more about their history then those in the Labour party would give us credit for, and certainly know enough to tell you that Richard the Lionheart was French. I can count Doctors of English, Historical re-enactors and history graduates amongst those who would consider themselves on the side of English civic nationalism.

    "The polite 'English' society of the ruling class, a supposed English 'trademark' and to which many nationalists aspire to, involved a reverence to their ruling class descendent's language, i.e French."

    What a load of ill informed rubbish, most English Nat's I have met are proud of their local accents and dialects and don't go around pretending to be Stephen Fry.
    Secondly you have failed to mention that the English language also contains lots of Greek and Latin words for medical and scientific words not just French.
    Norman French is of course made up of the Germanic influence of the Franks as well as that of the Norse (hence the Nor aspect of Norman)

    "Polite 'English' is generally derived from French and coarser 'English' from Anglo-Saxon."

    A very lazy way of putting it. Essentially the building blocks of the modern English language are Anglo-Saxon with Norman French,French, Latin and Greek words grafted on top.

    "The ruling classes generally spoke French - a remnant of this is that the Queen still gives her Royal Assent to bills in Norman French. Even the word parliament comes from the French word 'parler'."

    Yes they did for a couple of hundred years, but many became speakers of middle English. I'm not sure you are any more qualified to talk about the progress of the English language then myself, but I bet I know a damned sight more (even with the odd typo) about subjects such as the great vowel shift, and the emergence of middle English then your good self.
    I certainly didn't learn that in school under a Labour government either.

    "There is a certain irony to nationalist calls for an English 'parliament' and their calls to leave the EU - to be ruled by the 'English', when in fact the public school dominated ruling classes in London are probably more French than those in Brussels in terms of their ancestry."

    Oh right so apparently us English Nat's want to be ruled by a ruling clique from London, who are descended from the Norman barons :roll: that's news to me.
    Perhaps you would prefer the Old English term for a parliament? Witanegemot maybe?

    "The English 'Euro' regions are actually roughly based on ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the counties came later in the 12th Century under Norman rule. So when the English nationalists claim the 'euro' regions as 'artificial' to England, it is clear they know less about English history than EU officials."

    Utter rubbish again, the shire system came into play WAY before the Normans arrived. Shire derives from the Old English Scir (prounced sheer) and meant a piece of land literally sheered of to form an area.

    As for the regions representing the Heptachy, that's a bit lazy now isn't it! Get a map and study the change of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from the 5th C to the 11th C and you will see they are as vastly different over that period of time, as they are from the Euro Regions.
    The Heptachy is also a debated subject amongst academics anyway.

    "In fact, most of what we now consider the best English laws and attributes have their origins abroad and were brought here by immigrants. England over the last few thousand years has been one of the most invaded and 'mongrelised' of nations - indeed this tolerance, adaptation and incorporation of new cultures and ideas has usually been one of England's greatest strengths (the Mini, fish & chips, the cup of tea, even the royal family - they all have arrived here from abroad)."

    If you are going to play that loose and fast with history that could be applied to ANY nation on earth :roll:.

    England of course didn't exist over the past few thousand years. It didn't come into existance until around the same time as Scotland i.e. around the end of the first millenium AD. The English did not even start to arrive on these shores in significant numbers until around the 5thC anyway.

    "I have always found the most 'English' people I have met either come from abroad or that their parents did. Who (in terms of their contribution to our culture) is more English - Salmon Rushdie or Gary Bushell? This intolerance of foreigners that English nationalists show, is not an attribute of Englishness - if anything, it is its antithesis."

    I see you had to try and get the whole racism tar brush going to finish off the article didn't you....

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  32. To my angry fellow nationalists - I understand I was angry at first. I think we are convincing Neil that the views he had of English Nationalists were of an ignorant minority and there are plenty of educated civic nationalists. He is still an avowed regionalist though.

    To Neil - I have no problem with PR at all. Yes there would be a problem if some 'regions' wanted devolved government and others wanted an English parliament. The same as if some wanted regional parliaments and others didn't. Does regionalism accept some flexibility - leaving the UK parliament as West-Lothian tied as ever. It is a tricky one, how to do this democratically.

    But one thing we object to strongly is the number of hoops put up for England to jump through, in a way that Scotland, Wales, France or the regions are never expected to do. Any questions about citizenship will apply equally to regions given the same powers.

    And as for England being too big for the good of the Union. Independence must be an option. We cannot put an abstract political institution above the interests of ordinary people. England's government must be decided by the people of England, not for the convenience of Scotland or to preserve the Union at all costs.

    Plus, if we had 9 or 10 English regions in a federal UK, Scotland would in effect be nothing but a UK region, with no recognition of it's national status. Something I think they'd find unacceptable.

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  33. Anon: I am not the one placing any kind of restriction on who is English or not. I believe in aiming for a world without borders and agree with Stephen that patriotism is weird.

    Nationalists seem to criticise Labour for mass immigration and multiculturalism on the one hand and then for being racist on the other. Surely you cannot have it both ways.

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  34. Neil, I assume you oppose a Palestinian state just as much as you oppose an English state.

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  35. I find it difficult to understand how and why this post has been made but then again nothing surprises me about Labour who have systematically attempted to wipe England from the political and cultural landscape.
    The asymmetrical devolution that has been imposed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland cannot be reversed. It has led to social injustices that will no longer be tolerated by the people of England. English demand for justice has fomented a new and vigourous English Nationalist movement that will not be denied.

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  36. englisc fyrd: Surely what should matter is what size of region works best. Successful national organisations organise at no smaller than euro sized regions - the counties are too small. The regions are a more efficient size to organise services within.

    Considering how much the county boundaries have changed over the last hundred years and that we all agree that England's counties at least partly developed under French rulers, I think this accusation that the current 'euro' regions are 'artificial' is completely silly - like I say, there is a resemblence between these regions and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (for those who like this sort of analogy).

    Considering how much of our history was dominated by foreign intervention, it seems ridiculous to argue that the naming of an area twelve hundred years ago is relevant anyway. Which is the basic point I was trying to make.

    Finally, so Normandy is not in Northern France and Richard 'the lionheart' is not a celebrated English nationalist figure? This debate is getting more and more surreal.

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  37. Anon: I can agree that Labour botched devolution in its first term. It was too cautious, if it had held referendums in the English regions at the same time and offered them the same powers as Scotland, they all would have passed easily. The vote in the North East was the normal protest against a party in power for a long time, rather than a rejection of devolution.

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  38. Snafu: My dream is one world working together and no petty wars over borders or religion or whatever. This obviously will not happen overnight. The West should use its powers to this effect if it had any sense, rather than stirring up hostilities and conquering territories for its own economic gain. Maybe this is just a pipedream, but it is a noble one I think.

    In the long term we could organise the world into regional administrative units, no borders, one world currency and economy. Religious disputes are the most difficult to solve especially when communities have been torn apart by centuries of injustice and retribution. Still there has been real progress in Northern Ireland, so I wouldn't give up hope for the Israel/Palestine dispute. I think both groups should have a share in power.

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  39. Neil, the only objection I have to PR is that very small parties can become disproportionately powerful when it comes to horse trading over coalition Governments. Having said that, if it was a choice between and EP with PR or no EP, I’d vote EP with PR.

    As for England comprising 85% of a federal UK, I would have preferred devolution to the regions of Britain, but this Govt decided to devolve power on a national basis. We are where we are and there is no going back to pre-1998. Having said that, I don’t think it would make much difference anyway. A federal Government would deal with pan-UK issues such things as Defence (or rather Attack, if this Govt is anything to go by), Foreign Policy, Immigration etc. The things that really matter to people (Health, Education, Policing etc) will be devolved matters and where it makes sense they can be devolved further to localities.

    In reply to Stephen and your question regarding those born here not subscribing to the civic values…

    We all subscribe to something, whether it is Socialism, Christianity, Stoke City FC (hurray!), Wales, England or Scotland. Maybe Stephen is more evolutionary advanced, but the world over, people are pluralistic and gregarious.

    When you have so many different people living cheek by jowl, you need some kind of glue and I think the Yanks have got this one right. I’m sure it is a reflex of many to adversely react to importing the “American Way” over here, but we don’t have to use their values, just there system. No one else has taken a more diverse set of people and integrated them so effectively, whilst they can still hang onto their Italian-American, African-American, Jewish-American et al identity.

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  40. Terry: When I have visited the US, I only really see this 'pride in America' stuff amongst the wealthy surburban middle classes. As Michele Obama said the other day 'this is the first time I have been proud of America'. For most US citizens that sums it up. You still haven't answered this question - what happens to those who refuse to sign up to these 'English' rules?

    You have got it wrong about PR. Smaller parties only have power in proportion to their size of vote. For example in Germany - the liberal FDP only ever got 20% of cabinet posts - which reflected their vote percentage within the government (with the emergence of the Greens, the FDP have been out of power since the 80s, Germany has had less post war leaders and elections than us). The coalitions that have happened in Britain under our system are distorted by being a coalition government unrepresentative of what people actually voted for - so it is not surprising they have not worked so well.

    Rather than coalitions and policies being decided behind the closed doors of a small clique of party members and officials as at present (all parties are coalitions of views and different factions). Under PR, the voters get a wider, direct and transparent choice on which party policies make up the coalition - as they now know their vote will count instead of being wasted (as it presently is in 85% of seats). It is a more representative, nuanced and democratic choice. It gives real power back to the voters and this is reflected in more diverse opinions and political representation (especially of disadvantaged groups) and more productive government (higher economic growth, political engagement and better public services). This post here explains more.

    Would you really prefer a system that gives a majority of seats (i.e. absolute power) to a party which only got 35% of the English vote in an English Parliament?

    Do you really prefer a system that gives 70 years and more absolute hegemonic rule to Tory councils in the south and Labour councils in the north (who never win more than 40% of the vote) - inevitably breeding corrupt and inept governance and despair amongst voters who are denied a wider choice - which is consequently reflected in dismal turnout?

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  41. Neil, your idea that power should be allocated according to racial groups doesn't really stack up. As all human life must have originated in a fairly small area (I believe somewhere in the bottom half of Africa) so if you take this to the logical outcome, we'd all be part of the Zimbabwean Empire or something.

    I am unashamedly half-German (in your racist terms), totally English (in cultural terms) and would very much like England to be independent; of the EU, the UK, the UN, Nato, the World Bank, the IMF and the Geneva Convention on human rights.

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  42. Mark, I never said that. I believe that any governance should accurately represent the people and be an efficient size, that is all. I don't believe governance at either an English national or county level would be efficient or practical and I don't believe any system other than a proportional one is democratic.

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  43. Neil, I studied politics about 1,000 years ago (actually it was 1982) and there were many examples where minority parties were calling the shots. I’ve not looked at it since, but if it actually does give power proportional to the voters, then I’ll be all for it.

    I travel to America a great deal, but normally to the west coast were they tend to be far more ‘liberal’. As I said, I’m not advocating that we embrace American values, I’m saying we should adopt their system.

    Nothing would happen to anyone born here that does not subscribe to those values, just as nothing happens to anyone today that preaches racism (as opposed to inciting racial hatred). Civic nationalism just adds greater weight to any objections.

    Your argument regarding permanent Labour councils in the north and Tory ones in the south goes against your idea of regionalism doesn’t it? I actually think the major parties will adjust their positions in each area (as the Lib Dems, Labour and Conservatives do in Scotland) reflecting local opinion/circumstance to a greater extent.

    Also, I have often encountered those on the left that believe an EP would equal a Tory government. These figures show this not to be the case, given the same constituencies and FPTP Labour would have been returned in England as they were in the UK since WWII, including 2005 where the popular vote went to the Tories http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/ge05/seats.htm

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  44. And yet you are - subconsciously, most likely - displaying a very English trait in your article:you are equating nationalism with resentment of foreigners. This is a fact of the English psyche. In Thailand, people would find such a thought process bizarre. Pride in your own nation is natural for Thais (perhaps too natural but that's a different topic).

    Your argument against Nationalism is an old chestnut. Just a glance at the BNP Q+A page would give you a response. Ethnic nationalism is defined for the BNP as the i"ndigenous British", i.e. the first settled races on the British isles.

    Yes we have been influenced by the French both racially and linguistically. I don't think this is a revelation to most people. That does not mean that our (evolved) language, civic identity or currency should be dissolved into Europe. Just because certain cultural traits and culinary influences have arrived from foreign shores does not mean that we shouldn't take action to protect them in this day and age. Look at the chili, this was introduced to Asia by the Portuguese but it has now become an Asian custom and integral to many Asian cuisines.

    I do appreacite the point you are trying to make but I think most educated nationalists moved past such polemics long ago.

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  45. "My dream is one world working together and no petty wars over borders or religion or whatever."

    Neil, have you demolished your garden walls or fence as a first step to the removal of international borders!?!

    You need to wake up and start living in the real world! Humans are selfish, ambitious, acquisitive creatures that seek to take (and keep) territory and power!

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  46. "Finally, so Normandy is not in Northern France"

    Maybe you didn't read my post correctly. Normandy in 1066 was NOT part of Northern France. Northern France would have meant the northern section of Isle de France. France in 1066 was a very different looking country to what it is today. Normandy was a seperate Duchy controlled by the Norman Dukes. Normandy did not become a part of France until 1204! Even to this day some sections of Normandy are part of the British Isles i.e. the Channel isles.

    "and Richard 'the lionheart' is not a celebrated English nationalist figure?"

    Not amongst anyone I know he is not a "Nationalist figure". Sure he is a folk hero associated with Robin Hood, and I'm sure some English nationalists see him from that perspective, but then so do a lot of other people who enjoy watching Robin Hood or movies about the crusades.
    Why would the majority of English nationalists be interested in him when we have a plethora of real heros who have contributed to English society to choose from?


    This debate is getting more and more surreal.

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  47. On this Richard I thing, I have been looking around and the only references I have found are a controversial blogger called Lionheart - I suspect for the anti-Islamic qualities more than Englishness. And the user name of someone on a forum which you have already pointed me at.

    I think amongst political English nationalists, i.e. those writing on Witanagemot, CEP members etc there isn't much hero worship. In fact a search for Richard the Lionheart English Parliament in Google returns my response to this article as second place. And it only went up yesterday.

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  48. Neil, there are always layers of government, at each level there is waste and inefficiency and corruption and power seeking for its own sake. So the more layers there are, the worse it is.

    Ergo, the ideal unit of government is local authorites (a couple of hundred thousand people in each) for most things, all within a slimmed-down framework of England-wide basic rules (signing treaties, declaring war, minimum voting age at national elections and not much else), and maybe county councils for things like motorways or rail links that cross several local council areas.

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  49. Thanks for the history lesson. Here's another startling revelation; St George wasn't even English? What a shock eh?

    As for Richard the Lionheart - my personal site's logo is a take on Richard's three leopards heraldry, regardless of how long he lived in England he was still King of England and the leopards are still an identifiable symbol of England. I feel no shame about using it.

    What bothers me most about Mr Harding's post is the last sentence:

    "This intolerance of foreigners that English nationalists show, is not an attribute of Englishness - if anything, it is its antithesis."

    From where I'm sitting, Mr Harding's verdict that English nationalists are intolerant, reveals far more about his own predjudice than any within the English movement.

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  50. Snafu: The war in Northern Ireland would be worse using your approach. Even the Tories had to embrace Livingstone's approach to the IRA in the end. All progress relies on ideals (some unachievable), but if you don't try, you don't get.

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  51. Terry - "Your argument regarding permanent Labour councils in the north and Tory ones in the south goes against your idea of regionalism doesn’t it?"

    No, it just goes against our current electoral system which is a joke. There are dozens of councils where the party with a majority of seats even got less votes than another party. Our current electoral system is a travesty of democracy.

    "but if it actually does give power proportional to the voters, then I’ll be all for it."

    It does - that is why it is called proportional representation.

    "given the same constituencies and FPTP Labour would have been returned in England as they were in the UK"

    I may be a Labour supporter but I also believe in democracy. How can any democrat defend a system which gives more seats to a party that didn't even win the popular vote, yet alone a majority of votes? I don't think this helps Labour in the long run anyway. It distorts the party towards the rightwing, inept and corrupt tribal loyalists in the party when Labour could have actually come third in terms of votes in 2005 and still won the election. Labour play to the few thousand voters in the marginals rather than the millions of poor in their heartlands. If Labour do not represent these poorest people, then no one will. With the help of the rightwing press, it also leaves a vacuum for the BNP to fill on anti-muslim propaganda.

    "Civic nationalism just adds greater weight to any objections".

    This sounds ominous to me. Are we to give greater weight to someone's argument based on some 'pledge' to Queen and country. Sounds terribly fascist to me.

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  52. R&W "you are equating nationalism with resentment of foreigners".

    What else is it?

    Like the point about chilli.

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  53. EF: Normandy may not technically have been France in 1066, but they did speak a very French like language and it is modern Northern France, and the point I was making was that the rulers of England did not see themselves as English.

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  54. SP: I think maybe the more enlightened realise that Richard I was born in France but not most nationalists.

    Mark: Successful national organisations use economies of scale much larger than local authority sizes.

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  55. "EF: Normandy may not technically have been France in 1066,"

    No technicalities about it, it was not part of France. It was a seperate Duchy.

    "but they did speak a very French like language and it is modern Northern France",

    Yes they did speak a French like language, because the Normans who where essentially pirates where great tradesmen and knew the benefit of adopting the language.
    Just because Normandy now is part of Northern France has nothing to do with English civic nationalism. As far as Edinburgh used to be part of England but I doubt the people living in borders would appreciate the Labour party telling them they are mongrels and not Scottish because of their ancient ties to the kingdom of Bernicia.

    "and the point I was making was that the rulers of England did not see themselves as English."

    This depends, if you are referring to the quislings i.e. those English that sided with William, then yes they did, until they where disposed of. But I take your point on the Norman rulers. However these rulers of England where essentially a small clique who took control and not all of those spoke Norman French, a lot where Breton and would have spoken a language similar to Welsh. The Normans also expanded their realms as far as Scilliy.
    Just because those in command at the time who sparked rebellion and protest (see Hereward, see the Harrying of the North) and held the country to ransom and in servitude spoke French does not prove anything to discredit English nationalism Neil. It certainly does not warrant the attack folk like you level at those of us who are proud of our country have to endure. Especially when the stupid racist card comes out.
    The English nationalists I know are not only well educated, they are well travelled and in some cases speak a second language. Just because we want a seperate country with the power to govern ourselves does not make us racist or anti-European. The majority of criticism is levelled at the EU not Europeans themselves.

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  56. "SP: I think maybe the more enlightened realise that Richard I was born in France but not most nationalists."

    I'd like solid evidence to prove that please. You are implying that because somebody is a Nationalist they therefore lack education right?
    I wonder how many of the general populace know Richard the 1st was PROBABLY born at Beaumont Palace, in Oxford England like most of his line?
    Last time I checked Oxford was well.. yes in England.

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  57. Chris Wade26/2/08 8:23 pm

    "Sarah: I am not so sure that people know just how much the class system and our rulers descend from French rule."

    Well come on then enlighten us
    thick Mongrels.

    Ps. Why do you deny you are pure
    are you that ashamed of yourself
    Stephen, Do you think you should beg to your superior Scots for identity. You should be ashamed of
    your self worthlessness.

    Well I am still waiting to be enlightend.

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  58. "SP: I think maybe the more enlightened realise that Richard I was born in France but not most nationalists."

    Probably true, and neither do most people in general. Neither do we judge someone on where they are born.

    You attribute xenophobic feelings to Nationalists and deny them self determination based on the assumption they are making xenophobic arguments. But it you yourself who comes across as xenophobic and even racist when you suggest that England's lack of racial purity or the fact England's past rulers have been foreign somehow should deny us the right to self determination.

    Yet at other times you praise the English acceptance of foreign ideas. If England is as you claim (and I think it is no different to France or Germany in this) one of the most diverse (what you call mongrelised) countries in the world surely that should count in our favour?

    But as for regions vs English national parliament. I see the regions as a block to true localism and failing to recognise the exisiting national identity of English people. Whether you feel it or not, it does exist.

    But for debates on the future of England from both pro-English parliament and pro-regional points of view Our Kingdom is a very good site.

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  59. EF: I am not saying nationalists are thick, some of the most intelligent people have their prejudices get the better of them - look at Enoch Powell.

    What does it mean to be 'proud' of your country? How is being born here or there anything to be proud of? Isn't nationalism just irrational?

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  60. Chris W. Pure? What planet are you on? You could perhaps call a selectively bred dog a pure breed but humans? You are having a laugh. Anyway, if dogs are anything to go by, us mongrels have more fun, are healthier and are more intelligent.

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  61. EF: I am pretty sure wikipedia has it wrong on this one. There are conflicting reports but Rouen seems his most likely birthplace. And as this book points out, he is a most unlikely English hero - spoke no English, only visited England twice, yet gets pride of place in Westminster Palace.

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  62. SP: I just think all this nationalist language is silly - "nationless", "self determination". What a load of baloney. I have more in common with Joshka Fischer than Boris Johnson. English nationalism, like most xenophobia is based on fear. I am not being xenophobic in pointing that out, nor am I being racist to point out the obvious fact that the human race and English people in particular are mongrelised to a very significant degree. My aim is the opposite. Racism and xenophobia feed on nationalism and vice versa. I am an internationalist - I am not jusging anyone on where they are born - in fact I am trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to hero worship English historic figures and achievements when so much of them and it derives from abroad.

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  63. Neil, do you think this Government is fascist in advocating British values (in England only)? What is the difference between that and English values that include tolerance and ethnic/racial inclusiveness?
    Why do you support the nationalist devolutionary settlement in Scotland and Wales, but not England?

    You say “I am trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to hero worship English historic figures and achievements when so much of them and it derives from abroad.”

    The English (not from abroad) have been responsible for giant leaps in mankind’s development, (eg the computer, world wide web, the jet engine, industrialisation, the theory of evolution, the steam engine, the steam locomotive etc.) This is largely due to such measures as free education for all, (until NuLabour recently leveraged the half arsed devolution settlement to ensure it was axed for English working class kids) and a large degree of social mobility.

    What is wrong with celebrating that?

    You say you are an internationalist but actually you’re not, that’s your objective/dream. You are actually a British citizen with less constitutional rights than other British citizens. If that is also your objective, congratulations that’s what you (and I) have got. But if you don’t mind, I’ll campaign for equality.

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  64. be Stephen is more evolutionary advanced, but the world over, people are pluralistic and gregarious

    Hey Terry, whatever floats your boat. If you want to feel lachrymose about the country where chance has caused you to live, that's your right. I just said that I didn't understand the feeling. By the by, I've never found the absence of patriotism to be a hinderance in social activities. But then my idea of a good night out is not spending it with tanked up yobs singing 'enger-land, enger-land'. I guess that would be why I don't understand the football thing, either.

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  65. "English nationalism, like most xenophobia is based on fear."

    Absolute rubbish once again. As I pointed out peviously I know a fair number of English nationalists, they are not racist or xenopobic. Many are very well travelled and have lived abroad (myself included) some I know speak more then one langauge, can you out of interest?

    You are commenting on a subject you appear to know NOTHING about. Your making wild statements, spouting the same old cliche about being a Nationalist = racist, xenophobic blah blah...

    I'm sure plenty of your lefty mates in Brighton would be crying into their tea over "indigenous" cultures of the Amazon or Indonesia being destroyed (and surely on a micro level indigenous cultures are nothing but a form of Nationalism/Tribalism) but that's ok isn't it, because it's fashionable.

    Nationalism is not a negative thing. Stop trying to get out your litle brush and painting us all as racists or xenophobes.

    Why am I proud of my country? Why wouldn't I be? Sure we have been involved in some pretty hideous acts in the past, but our ability to face up to it and denounce it is a good quality. The contributions English people have made to music, science and political reform are vast. We have a beautiful country and some fantastic architecture. Why wouldn't I proud of that?

    I think your suffering from the self loathing Englishman syndrome.

    People like yourself who support the Labour party are the real racists. You are supporting a botched devolved system that see's the English recieve a second class of health care, tuiton fee's and less public spending per head for starters.
    The Labour party dragged us into the war in Iraq, introduced SOCPA and numerous other authoritarian laws (I believe in the space of 10 years some 3000 laws where added to the books).

    Labour have systematically destroyed democracy and freedom in this country and people like yourself who vote for them are just as guilty I'm afraid.

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  66. As Englisc Fyrd points out we nationalists are not what you think. I too have lived abroad and speak an foreign language (not fluently but I can hold a conversation).

    Nationalism/patriotism has been condemned here as irrational. Yes, where I am born is chance, but where I grew up affects who I am today. It is chance I was born to my parents but it doesn't make me love them any less. Love is irrational, morality cannot be logically derived from first principles. Doesn't mean they are redundant concepts.

    You have your ideal vision of the world. It sounds like the EU but worldwide (euurghh). But is it legitimate to keep people who live in England disadvantaged within the Union until your dreamland is achieved. Surely some kind of democratic legitimacy is better than nothing.

    Until the world is free of tribal feelings and can be neatly divided into conveniently sized regions for our rulers (and didn't that work well in colonial Africa), why not work with people's genuine feelings rather than hoping they were as 'logical' as you?

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  67. EF, SP: "some I know speak more then one langauge, can you out of interest?"

    Not really. I know a little Punjabi I learned from friends and some rudimentary French from my comp. This is much to my shame, I know. I am planning on taking up French again this year.

    Contrary to what you think, I am not 'anti-English', I just don't think we should be arrogant enough to think we are superior to everyone else, that is all.

    I agree with you that it is unfair that power is not devolved to English people outside London. For the reasons outlined above, I feel this must be solved through regional assemblies not an English parliament.

    The funding situation is quite complex - for instance parts of Northern England and London receive similar funding per head as Scotland. The Barnett formula does need changing though even though it would make less than 4% difference to the English even if the advantage was scrapped (out of interest it is Northern Ireland that does best).

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  68. Terry - "do you think this Government is fascist in advocating British values"

    I think Brown's proclamation "British jobs for British people" was terrible, frighteningly racist and embarrassing to us Labour supporters. And yes, conflating England and the UK as the same thing is wrong.

    "Why do you support the nationalist devolutionary settlement in Scotland and Wales, but not England?"

    Because Scotland and Wales have small populations that are of a size similar to optimal regional government for England.

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  69. Neil you say that

    "....Scotland and Wales have small populations that are of a size similar to optimal regional government for England"

    The population of Scotland is 5.2m, Wales 2.9m and N.Ireland 1.7m so using your logic shouldn't regions be based on a size of 1.7m? If not, how do you arrive at 'optimum size' for a region? NI at 1,7m is far smaller than Scotland at 5.2m!

    If we use 1.7m as the optimum size then NI is one region, Wales would be split into 2 regions and Scotland 3? England would have about 30!

    Would you agree that Scotland should be split into 3 regions, the Scottish parliament scrapped and 3 Scottish Regional Assemblies be set up to replace it?
    Similarly scrap the Welsh Assembly and set up 2 Welsh Regional Assemblies ie. a North Wales Regional Assembly and a South Wales Regional Assembly.
    Or why not join NI and Wales together to make one region of similar size to Scotland and the English Regions.

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  70. Derek: Around 5-20m is ideal in terms of providing efficient services (if we go by successful national organisations), but geography has to be taken account of - it is not an exact science but clearly no federal system in the world would have one region of 50m with the rest at only 5m, 3m and 2m.

    It obviously makes sense to have Northern Ireland as one region. Scotland and Wales also come easily within a reasonably governable size. The English regions range from 2.5m(5% of total popn.) in the North East to 8m(16%) in the South East.

    Look at any federal nation in the world and it it common sense to have reasonably sized regions where no one region would dominate (let alone have 85% of the population). England has nine regions which are similar in size to Germany which has 16 federal states ranging from 0.7m(1% of total popn.) to 18m(22%). France has 26 regions at a median size of 2.3m.

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  71. Why not break Scotland in to 2 regions? Or perhaps 3 regions and include some of the Berwick area in the 3rd region? Or why not try and establish each region to be in the'ideal'size range of 5-20 million. Wales looks a bit small to be a region on its own with less than 3 million so why not include it within say the English SW region which has a population of around 5 million. A population of around 8 million would be well within your guidelines.
    Why is it that the regions conveniently respect the national boundaries of Scotland Wales and N.Ireland yet fail to do so for England? Clearly it is not just a matter of size!
    Why not attach S.Wales to the S.West of England and N.Wales to the West Midlands?
    The permuatations are plenty but of course it will not happen because the Government look upon Scotland Wales and N.Ireland as nations. They repect the fact that they are nations but deny that England is anything more than a set of regions! Gordon Brown himself often uses the phrase 'nations and regions'!

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  72. Derek: I have already answered your question - clearly you don't like my answer. Having four regions of 50m, 5m, 3m and 2m is not a federal system that will last long, that is why England is different. If you want an independent England then an English Parliament is the way to go, but you can kiss goodbye to the UK as one nation. And for what? Regional assemblies solves the 'west lothian question' just as well as an English pariament does.

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  73. You haven't answered my question.
    Why not include say S.Wales in with the SW of England? We are all British according to Gordon Brown.
    By the way English Regional Assemblies do notsolve the WLQ not unless you want to have England split into 9 regions with the powers of the Scottish Regional Assembly, sorry, Scottish Parliament. With that in place you could have income tax different by up to 3% in different 'English regions', prescription charges in Manchester, free in Newcastle, some Universities charging top up others not, council tax in Brighton, local income tax in Bournemouth etc. etc. What nonsense!
    You are however right on one point. England needs her own English Parliament,English Government and English First Minister. I'd prefer independence.
    By the way, why isn't the Scottish Parliament called the Scotland Regional Assembly? Any ideas?

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  74. Derek: S.Wales is not with SW England for the same reason you wouldn't put NE England with Yorks and Humberside - these are self defined regions.

    I AM proposing, that the regions have the same powers as Scotland. I don't see a problem with different regions having different services and taxes - that would bring democracy closer to the people. In practise the ideas of the best regions would quickly spread to others - so I doubt the changes would be very stark for long.

    Scotland and Wales have proven that these differences can work with small populations. With my regional system, how long do you think it would be before the English regions also demand free prescriptions and different student fees etc? With the vast political and cultural differences between different English regions, wouldn't that choice be true democracy? IT would surely be better than just ignoring the North or South of England as an English Parliament would. This ignoring of regions is what led to Scottish, Welsh and London devolution in the first place.

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  75. All the 'racism'and xenophobia is coming from Neo Nasty Labour and surprisingly is aimed at the English.
    If I may educate the uncouth person who originated this blog, England until the 1940's was one of the most homogeneous countries in Europe, with no more than 1% of it's population having been immigrants over the space of almost 900 years.The self-loathing and self-hatred of the Neo Nasty Labourites is a symptom of the degeneracy since the last war.
    They and they alone insist on racial purity as an absolute essential in order that an individual may voice the right to national identity-just like those they pretend to despise,the Nazis.
    Their knowledge of English history is so shallow, because they are attempting as dedicated historical revisionists, to pretending that all English history began in 1066.
    They even go so far as to make this
    part of our children's 'education' under what is effectively a totalitarian regime.
    Be proud of being Polish, African,Rumanian or what you will, but please don't say that dreadful word English.
    If the aggressive attitude of this government towards the majority ethnic population of England does not make nationalists of us all, I for one will be very surprised.
    Keep it up Neo Labour -We've got you pegged!

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  76. We English are already demanding free prescriptions etc. Neil. Whether or not England needs a regional aspect to government is up to the people of England to decide! You cannot go from a UK level of government to an English regional set up without an intermediary step ie. an English Parliament/government. Propose getting rid of the Scottish Parliament and regionalising Scotland and I might take you seriously. The present 'set up' is all to convenient ie. that Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland are just the right size to be regions whereas England is too big.
    With regard to English regions having powers such as prescription charging that's nonsense. We need an integrated health strategy not one which has an inbuilt post code lottery. The wealthier English regions would be able to afford free prescriptions whereas the so called poorer regions would not! Unless of course you had some sort of Barnet formula working. Under your proposals who would administer that? The British government of course and that would not be an English only government would it?
    Fiscal autonomy at a regional level in England would lead to massive differences in services across the regions!
    As for London, that's not devolution, it's merely a form of local government!

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  77. Self rightous dickheed harding and his oh so important views ha! ha! ha! You're a fuckin' puff Harding. Youy cant even deal with posts that dont agree with you you waste of oxygen. I do likeyour Angle Saxon surname though -ing is English AHA! HA! HA! HA!

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  78. Stephen, Do you think you should beg to your superior Scots for identity. You should be ashamed of your self worthlessness

    Chris Wade, which part of my of words 'the case for an English assembly is unanswerable' were you incapable of comprehending?

    Well I am still waiting to be enlightend

    Since you are incapable of understanding the simplest English, I think there is little else I could write that would enlighten you.

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  79. Derek: "You cannot go from a UK level of government to an English regional set up without an intermediary step ie. an English Parliament/government".

    Without a written constitution, the government can do what it likes - but that is another argument...

    Derek, I think any change to the constitution would need a referendum to back it up, if that led to an English parliament - so be it, but we might as well have England as a completely independent nation and end the UK - because that is where it will lead. If that is what people want then great, but although you might want it, I doubt the majority of people in England do.

    The only alternative way to solve the 'west lothian question' is to have strong regional government - this is not impossible as you seem to suggest. In fact, it works well in Germany and other countries where they raise their own taxes and even have differing electoral systems. Scotland and Wales show that government this size can work well.

    There is no reason why a Souh East assembly and North West assembly cannot work just as well. Yes it would lead to difference in service provision - but that is democracy and this is better than ignoring local opinions and dictating everything from London.

    (By the way, calling them parliaments or assemblies is irrelevant - it is the powers that matter - the only reason it makes sense to use the term assembly in England is because it demonstrates a lesser degree of seperation from the whole.

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  80. "Without a written constitution, the government can do what it likes - but that is another argument..."

    No, a government cannot 'do what it likes'.
    Although we have an unwritten British Constitution, the Queen in Parliament, to use a constitutional term, remains superior to the government! There are also inbuilt constitutional safeguards to ensure that the rule of law is maintained. The Seperation of Powers is probably the greatest safeguard ie. a seperate Executive, Legislature and Judiciary ensure that no one body has absolute power.
    I agree that we should have a referendum, but as the Scottish and Welsh had and not muddied by questions about regional assemblies, which had their chance in 2004 and were firmly rejected.
    Over and Out!

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  81. Derek: the North East rightly rejected a talking shop, if offered the same powers that Scotland has, it would be a different matter.

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  82. "Why do you support the nationalist devolutionary settlement in Scotland and Wales, but not England?"

    Harding:

    Because Scotland and Wales have small populations that are of a size similar to optimal regional government for England.

    28/2/08 1:45 PM

    "Small populations"? "optimal regional gov't"? Both of these reasons are bogus. By your supposed logic scotland should be cut into several regions.
    You, and people like you, throw up various reasons for abolishing the country of England; all of them are ridiculous.
    How come you can't admit that you're anti- English and anti-England and be done with it? You'll feel better once you admit it. Honest!

    Harding:

    Scratch the surface of most English nationalists and you will hear an anti-French or anti-German rant. I was just pointing out the irony of this. I think the number of responses here demonstrate I have hit a raw nerve.

    "Most English nationalists"? You dont know most English nationalists. What a ridiculous comment! It sums you up. It also shows your anti-English bigotry in all its glory!

    The irony of what? English people having French ancestors? And? Oh you think that's annoying? How old are you? My great grandfather was a jock. So what? See, that's what you dont understand innit mate? I have a norse surname. Do I think i'm a viking? By your childish, unintelligent logic, you must feel like an Anglo Saxon. Your name does end in ing. An Anglo Saxon suffix is ever there was one. Ha! ha!

    "Hit a raw nerve"? Ha! ha! Stop kidding yourself Harding. We're merely stomping on your pathetic attempted justification for being an anti Englsh idiot. You don't actually mean anything to us you prize plonker!
    If there's one thing that all the anti English swine have in common it's their need for being noticed. Poor Harding! Why don't you go ask your mummy for as hug. I almost feel sorry for you.

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  83. Anon: I don't know why you think I am anti-English. I just think an English Parliament will not work within a federalist UK. I also think those English nationalists who think they speak for ALL English people are just plainly wrong. I'm English and you don't represent my views, that is for sure.

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  84. Neil having read through this blog & come to your last statement.

    "I don't know why you think I am anti-English. I just think an English Parliament will not work within a federalist UK". That is your opinion, many of us thought at the time & still do that partial devolution would not work but unlike the Scots & the Welsh were not give the right to vote on it.
    My question is where was the democracy in this, if devolution is such a good idea for some? Why should we all of not had a vote & the decisions based on that. But I guess that the Scottish led labour Government already knew the answer they would of got.
    All we English ask is the choice if it does not go our way then so be it, I am prepared to take the risk are you.
    Why doesn't this Government level the playing field & give us the vote. Sorry they've sold the playing field to pay for Iraq, did we vote on that? or the Lisbon Treaty, cowards politics if you think you'll lose don't give them the vote.

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  85. Anon: Labour have made a mess of devolution. They should have had regional referenda at the same time as Scotland and given them the same powers. Labour were popular then, they would have won easily.

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  86. Labour destroyed the UK with devolution.
    We English are not going to let them destroy England with regionalisation.

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  87. You seem so sure that the result would of gone labours way, but remember on a yes or no question there are only 2 choices & that means the vote from all the parties would be split. You also seem a bit cock sure that all labour voters would be in favour of consigning their country to history in favour of tin pot regions.
    A whole new Barnett type formula would also have to be worked out that ensured poorer regions like the South West were not penalised.
    Sorry I forgot the rural economy is not a priority as we don't vote Labour.
    Also you only have to look at the recent un-official referendum on the Lisbon Treaty to see that party loyalty does not always coincide with personal feelings. People vote for the party that aligns closest to their beliefs, only a very small percentage look on party loyalty with a religous fervour that can not be shaken.

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  88. Harding:

    "I think those English nationalists who think they speak for ALL English people are just plainly wrong."

    I have read all messages (via English nationalists) in this thread; not one claims to speak for "ALL English people"! Can you please stop inventing things to use against the English nationalist message. It is a)immature, it is b)not intelligent, and c) it's a waste of time. Ah-ha! But isnt that the point? It doesnt matter if your replies are not intelligent and mature in nature, just as long as they waste our time. I dont know why i'm surprised, you anti-English England haters never have anything
    intelligent or different to say! It's always the same old rubbish. Surely you can think up some other excuse for denying the entire English nation self-determination? Ha! ha! No! Of course you can't!

    Harding:

    "I'm English and you don't represent my views, that is for sure."

    Again, nobody has said that they represent your views! Mr Harding, you appear to have a rather large chip on your shoulder.
    Slagging English nationalist's views doesn't mean you are automatically correct! Infact, I can't tell whether you're correct or not because you make so much stuff up. You coming out with such gems as, "an English parliament would be too big for the UK" when you cannot prove this is ridiculous. It's like saying, the universe is going to implode. You tell me how you can prove that an English parliament would be "too big" for the UK! You wont answer the question because you cannot prove it. That's okay, I am used to you not answering questions. I wonder what it's like not having the guts to face up?

    Get used to it mate. To quote a hippy band, You see me, you hear me there are millions think just like me! Not just in England either mate.

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  89. And when are you, the great Harding, going to give me, i.e. an English nationalist, a history lesson? I am still waiting.
    I see that you took down some of my posts about Richard the lionheart. You dont like being proved wrong do you?

    Neil Harding said...
    I think it is well known that Richard I is a popular figure amongst English nationalists. As wikipedia puts it - "an enduring, iconic figure in England".

    Oh yeah, all English nationalists love Richard the lionheart. If Wikipedia says so it must be true. Ha! ha! Anyway, why are we waffling about this when we should be talking about why the Barnett formula needs to be abolished immediately?

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  90. There is no reason why a Souh East assembly and North West assembly cannot work just as well. Yes it would lead to difference in service provision - but that is democracy and this is better than ignoring local opinions and dictating everything from London.

    Why do you need "regions" for this? Why not just give those powers to the county councils? Then we might see real Darwinian democracy in action.

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  91. Do you always back down when you lose the argument? Ha! ha! Very good! Very good! We win!

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  92. Anon: I don't always have the time to respond straightaway.

    As I have explained above - we could give the powers to the county councils (and this would be better than an English parliament), but it is not the optimum size to achieve efficient organisation of services. For example the 32 London Boroughs proved disastrous at organising London wide public transport, and still provide no strategy on refuse collection, recycling, planning which needs London-wide organisation. The boroughs also add needless bureaucracy to companies that work across whole regions - as the problems film-makers in London have. It drives countless business away, when operating over 32 boroughs requires 32 bureaucracies paperwork to be dealt with.

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  93. Harding:

    "For example the 32 London Boroughs proved disastrous at organising London wide public transport, and still provide no strategy on refuse collection, recycling or planning, which needs London-wide organisation. The boroughs also add needless bureaucracy to companies that work across whole regions - as the problems film-makers in London have. It drives countless business away, when operating over 32 boroughs requires 32 bureaucracies paperwork to be dealt with"


    Hmmmmm, but several invented eurolander "English regions" wouldn't "add needless bureaucracy" Mr Harding? Why not?
    You just shot yourself in the left foot!
    Wherever there is bureaucracy, i.e. power-crazy p.c. loony leftists, there is trouble. I can just imagine what EU imposed English regional "government"
    will lead to. EU commie stooge wannabes will attempt to lead the English into oblivion by causing all kinds of in-fighting.
    Which is why anti-English loonies desire fabricated EU so-called regional govt for the English nation! They wish to have us fighting each other. They can't achieve this if the English are united! It is the same old divide and rule tactics. *Yawn*
    As they cannot divide us they resort to repeating the same old crap time after time. If that doesnt work they act petulent. It is like discussing homework with a 9 year old.
    Why are we even discussing irrelevant so-called EU imposed English regional govt when polls say that the English want their own parliament?

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  94. Anon: Polls can be manipulated. Referenda on regional government could have been easily won in the late 1990's because the Labour government was so popular. For whatever reasons, Labour delayed the referenda for too long and then only offered talking shops rather then the real devolution enjoyed in Scotland, Wales and even London.

    But, ok, lets work with the position we have now. You are right a referendum on an English parliament could probably be won because people like to stick two fingers up to any government that is unpopular.

    We do know people want quite rightly want more power locally, whatever their position on an English Parliament, but wouldn't the socialist North soon tire of being dictated to by Tories in London, just as Scotland did?

    What if London voted to continue its own governance or if any other region voted against an English parliament? Would you just ignore their views in your pursuit of an English parliament?

    But lets assume an English parliament could avoid these problems by being elected by Proportional representation - as happens in Scotland, Wales and London. The balance of power with 85% of the population controlled by one parliament in a federal UK would quickly lead to English independence. Maybe that is what you want, but do the majority of people in England? I doubt it. The only way to keep the UK together is to have efficient regional governement that is large enough to take the strategic decisions needed and avoid the over bureacratisation involved at the complicated county, borough and metropolitan level.

    That is not to say more powers should not be devolved to the county level - they should - some like revenue raising, health, education, transport, planning and refuse collection should be regional. But one thing is sure replacing the centralisation of the UK parliament with one for England will only lead to the break-up of the UK and no improvement for local democracy.

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  95. 1. You speak of keeping the UK together when you have already started the process of braking it up.

    All we ask for is the same rights to decide our future as England, as Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland have already been given. the decision taken unilaterally by each Nation without the consultation of the others I believe.

    You also for some reason speak of a region rejecting the idea of an english parliment.

    the Vote we ask for is on the basis of 1 person 1 vote, not some crazy botched regional vote that can be used as a lever by unscrupilous politicians to try & divide our Nation on the outdated
    Labour North , Tory South basis. To long have politians preyed on such 19th century rubbish, there is as much poverty in the countryside as there is in the cities but we get less publicity.

    You also back the regions as being a way to eliminate over beaureacacy in one sentence, but back local councils in the other.

    I do not want to break up the UK, I still want a government that oversees the needs of the country as a whole. I just want a single English Parliment to look after the needs & governence of England that is elected by the inhabitants of England & that does not have MP's not elected by the inhabitants of England being able to enforce unfair decisions on us.

    This could in theory cut out a layer of government as each of the 4 parliments or assemblies would be elected by there own people to look after their own interests. They could then elect an executive to represent them in the UK Government this could be done on a proportional basis or by a set number of representative per country (say 20, no problem of the English 85% there) from this all major international policies could be taken. Gone are all the Welsh, Scottish & Northern Irish MP's in London. Each country has it's own Governing Body raises it's own taxes to pay for it's own policies & pays into a central levy for Defence & other centrally funded bodies. Sounds like my Council tax bill & that seems to work.

    Too Simple perhaps?

    Some parties would lose to many Scottish MP's?

    Perhaps this would start a whole new power base of parties that would displace all our current parties.

    To many Snouts taken away from the trough & having to work for a living?

    No they would never see the logic or simplicity only the loss of their jobs (Brown, Browne, Reid Darling, Martin & the other current Scottish MP's ruling Englands green & pleasant land without a mandate having been elected by Scots).

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  96. The only person who needs a history lesson is the fool who wrote the article. His grasp on the basic Anglo-Saxon origins of the English is no better than that of a five year old.

    He is basically trying to feed an already uneducated (as far as English history is concerned) public with nonsense designed to keep them ignorant of the facts and keep them in their place - i.e. to be constantly ashamed of who they are. All this talk of a 'mongrel people' is total rubbish anyway. it is an accusation that is particularly used against the English but could be applied to any group of people on Earth. The thing you have to ask yourself is why ignoramuses like to use it exclusively against us? Well the anti-English ulterior motive is as plain as the nose on your face.

    Don't believe a word of it. It is total twaddle and he knows it. If he actually believes it then I pity his ignorance - and those that would believe any of it.

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