Archive for Britishness

Future of England Survey

Tucked away on the BBC News website is a video mentioning the results of the Future of England Survey conducted by the Universities of Cardiff and Edinburgh for YouGov.

With the Scottish independence referendum a month away you’d thing a poll on English attitudes to devolution, independence and the relationship between Scotland and England after the referendum would be major news but no, it’s hidden away in the video “features” section. I can’t find an actual article about the poll at all, just this video which is using a new interactive video format the BBC are trialling which doesn’t work on mobiles or in Internet Explorer, thus limiting the already limited prospective audience who watch video even further.

The findings of this survey are very interesting and as far as I’m aware it’s the only survey of English opinions on the subject of Scottish independence and English governance that have been carried out during the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum.

  • English Identity
  • Independence
  • What if Scotland votes yes?
  • What if Scotland votes NO?
  • English governance

Which, if any, of the following best describes the way you think of yourself?
English not British 11
More English than British 20
Equally English and British 41
More British than English 12
British not English 6
Other 4
Don’t know 5
Recently, people in England have become more aware of English national identity
Agree strongly 11
Tend to agree 34
Total Agree 45
Neither agree nor disagree 27
Tend to disagree 16
Strongly disagree 4
Total Disagree 20
Don’t know 8

Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 19
No 59
Don’t know 22
Should England be an independent country?
Yes 22
No 59
Don’t know 18

An independent Scotland should be able to continue to use the pound
Agree strongly 9
Tend to agree 14
Total Agree 23
Neither agree nor disagree 15
Tend to disagree 18
Strongly disagree 35
Total Disagree 53
Don’t know 9
People should be able to travel between England and Scotland without passport checks
Agree strongly 45
Tend to agree 24
Total Agree 69
Neither agree nor disagree 11
Tend to disagree 6
Strongly disagree 7
Total Disagree 13
Don’t know 6
The rest of the UK should support Scotland in applying to join international organisations, like the EU and NATO
Agree strongly 9
Tend to agree 17
Total Agree 26
Neither agree nor disagree 26
Tend to disagree 16
Strongly disagree 20
Total Disagree 36
Don’t know 12
The UK’s standing in the world will be diminished
Agree strongly 9
Tend to agree 27
Total Agree 36
Neither agree nor disagree 24
Tend to disagree 19
Strongly disagree 10
Total Disagree 29
Don’t know 10
Relations between England and Scotland will improve
Agree strongly 3
Tend to agree 7
Total Agree 10
Neither agree nor disagree 26
Tend to disagree 35
Strongly disagree 18
Total Disagree 53
Don’t know 11

The Scottish Parliament should be given control over the majority of taxes raised in Scotland
Agree strongly 11
Tend to agree 31
Total Agree 42
Neither agree nor disagree 21
Tend to disagree 17
Strongly disagree 8
Total Disagree 25
Don’t know 12
The Scottish parliament should be given the power to decide its own policies on welfare benefits
Agree strongly 11
Tend to agree 29
Total Agree 40
Neither agree nor disagree 22
Tend to disagree 17
Strongly disagree 9
Total Disagree 26
Don’t know 11
Would you say that compared with other parts of the UK, each of these gets pretty much their fair share of government spending, more than their fair share, or less than their fair share?
England
Gets their fair share 25
Gets more than their fair share 8
Gets less than their fair share 31
Don’t know 36
Scotland
Gets their fair share 20
Gets more than their fair share 38
Gets less than their fair share 4
Don’t know 38
Levels of public spending in Scotland should be reduced to the levels in the rest of the UK
Agree strongly 25
Tend to agree 31
Total Agree 56
Neither agree nor disagree 21
Tend to disagree 6
Strongly disagree 3
Total Disagree 9
Don’t know 13
Scottish MPs should be prevented from voting on laws that apply only to England
Agree strongly 35
Tend to agree 27
Total Agree 62
Neither agree nor disagree 15
Tend to disagree 9
Strongly disagree 3
Total Disagree 12
Don’t know 10

With all the changes going on in the way different parts of the United Kingdom are run, which of the following do you think would be best for England?
For England to be governed as it is now with laws made by all MPs in the UK Parliament 18
For England to be governed with laws made by English MPs in the UK Parliament 40
For each region of England to have its own assembly 9
For England as a whole to have its own new English parliament with law-making powers 16
Don’t know 17
Thinking about possible arrangements for making laws for England two options are often mentioned. If you had to choose which ONE would you prefer?
For England to be governed with laws made solely by English MPs in the UK Parliament 36
For England to be governed with laws made solely by English MPs in the UK Parliament 25
Keep things as they are at present 22
Don’t know 17
A Secretary of State for England in the UK cabinet
Agree strongly 22
Tend to agree 31
Total Agree 53
Neither agree nor disagree 23
Tend to disagree 7
Strongly disagree 4
Total Disagree 11
Don’t know 12
UK government ministers for each of the regions of England
Agree strongly 18
Tend to agree 33
Total Agree 51
Neither agree nor disagree 22
Tend to disagree 10
Strongly disagree 6
Total Disagree 16
Don’t know 11
An English Parliament
Agree strongly 26
Tend to agree 28
Total Agree 54
Neither agree nor disagree 20
Tend to disagree 9
Strongly disagree 6
Total Disagree 15
Don’t know 10
Changing the rules in parliament, so that only English MPs can vote on laws that would apply only in England
Agree strongly 40
Tend to agree 29
Total Agree 69
Neither agree nor disagree 14
Tend to disagree 5
Strongly disagree 3
Total Disagree 8
Don’t know 9
England and Scotland will still continue to drift apart
Agree strongly 8
Tend to agree 29
Total Agree 37
Neither agree nor disagree 29
Tend to disagree 17
Strongly disagree 4
Total Disagree 21
Don’t know 13

There is clear support here for preventing MPs not elected in England from voting on English laws and for cutting the amount of taxpayers’ money Scotland gets so England gets its fair share. Most people want to keep open borders with an independent Scotland but don’t think they should be allowed to keep the pound. The majority are in favour of Scotland getting more powers over taxation and benefits spending and think England should have its own parliament. Over half think each English euroregion should have its own UK government minister but less than 1 in 10 think England should have regional government.

So, if the UK was a truly representative democracy with a government that listened to what people wanted and acted on it we would have a devolved English Parliament with a Secretary of State for England in the British government along with a minister for each English euroregion and the £11bn or so subsidy that’s given to Scotland would be abolished and shared equally with England. What we have instead is an ever increasing bill for Scotland’s profligate spending, MPs elected in Scotland making laws that only affect England, no English government of any sort and a sustained campaign to break England up into artificial regions.

Stone Cross St George's Day Parade

The British want to teach Britishness in English schools again

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is StrengthThe British Minister for English Education, Michael Gove, has called for British values to actively promoted in English schools.

Gove says that promoting British values in English schools will stop the illegal indoctrination of children in schools run by Islamists and David Cameron thinks it’s a jolly good idea.

The British values that the British Minister for English Education says English children must be indoctrinated with are:

  • How citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens
  • An understanding that bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account by the people, through the democratic organs of government
  • An understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law, and an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • An understanding of the problems of identifying and combating discrimination

Now, let’s just examine these British values a little more closely from the perspective of an Englishman.

How citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process

It wasn’t all that long ago that we had a British Prime Minister who was elected in Scotland with a cabinet stuffed full of MPs elected in Scotland spending roughly three quarters of their time making laws for England. Nobody in England could influence their decisions making because the British govern England directly from London. It’s also not all that long ago that we had Tony Blair’s former flatmate, the unelected Lord Chancellor England, Lord Charlie Falconer (a Scot, naturally) telling us that we would never be allowed to have an English Parliament. I also recall the murmurs of discontent when the big supermarkets in England went to Alistair Darling (who of course is only accountable to voters in Edinburgh) to ask for Sunday Trading laws to be abolished in England like they are in Scotland but he said no. I don’t think many people who take an interest in politics or the English question will ever forget that we only have university tuition fees and foundation hospitals in England because MPs elected in Scotland overturned the slim majority of MPs elected in England who voted against them. Nobody in England has any influence over those MPs elected in other countries or the unelected lords and bureaucrats that make laws for England. And don’t even get me started on the EU which makes 75% of our laws. Seriously, don’t.

An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens

This is an interesting one this. “If you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” is the rallying call of fascists and big state activists alike. The fact is, it’s virtually impossible not to break the law nowadays because there are just so many of the damn things and of course problematic people need only commit a minor offence to get them into the system and ruin their lives. The book “Taking Liberties” is getting a bit old now having been written (and turned into a film) during the despotic reign of Prince Tony but most of the oppressive laws and the abuses of our hard won rights and freedoms mentioned in the book are still in force and taking place now but they’ve become so commonplace now, nobody bats an eyelid. Remember the woman who was arrested under anti-terrorism laws for reading out the names of dead soldiers outside Downing Street? How about the man charged with terrorism offences for knowing somebody who was friends with someone suspected of terrorist offences, found innocent by a jury and then put under indefinite house arrest by the Home Secretary because the jury got the “wrong” answer? This is the law that supposedly protects us by essentially stripping us of the automatic right to liberty that we’ve had for centuries.

An understanding that bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account by the people, through the democratic organs of government

Another interesting one. How do we hold the police and army to account? The police force is now heavily politicised with the introduction of elected Police & Crime Commissioners which has put nominal control of most police forces in England into the hands of political parties. Since the Police & Crime Commissioners have been in charge have we seen an increase in accountability? No. Have we been asked what we think the police are doing wrong and what we want them to do better? No. Are people unhappy with them? Yes. There is a campaign to oust the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, to resign after bringing the police force into disrepute in an appearance on a TV documentary, the first youth crime commissioner she appointed resigned for making racist and homophobic comments on Twitter and the second youth crime commissioner she appointed was suspended just 3 months into the job for having an affair with a married police officer. She is refusing the stand down. As for what’s left of the army – how do we exercise any control over them? And more importantly, why should we be able to?

An understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law, and an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour

This is a good one because I bet the person who went to court arguing that it was religious discrimination for British Airways to allow Sikhs to wear a bangle but forcing her to remove her cross and lost doesn’t think that her religious beliefs are protected. When Muslim street patrols are out in force in Tower Hamlets abusing and threatening women who aren’t covered from head to toe and men who are drinking while the police turn a blind eye, how is that helping to prevent prejudice and discrimination? When the British government pressed ahead with legalising gay marriage in the full and certain knowledge that the EU courts would rule that it was discrimination for the established church to refuse to marry a gay couple despite it being contrary to their beliefs and teachings, how is that helping to protect the freedom of Christians to practice their religion?

An understanding of the problems of identifying and combating discrimination

This is great. Finally, our children are going to be told about the institutional discrimination against England that prevails throughout the British establishment. They’re going to be told about the British government refusing to allow the English a say on how their country is governed whilst allowing the Scots and Welsh devolved government. They’re going to be told how the British are breaking up England – starting with London and its regional assembly, then Cornwall and now a revival of the regional local government reorganisation that they planned with regional assemblies but are now targeting at cities. They’re going to be told that it’s morally wrong and unconstitutional for MPs elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to vote on laws that only affect England which are devolved in their own countries. They’re going to be shown the list of attendees of the British-Irish Council so they can see how England has less democratic representation on supranational bodies than the Channel Island, the Isle of Man and Cornwall. They’re going to be told about the laws that only affect England that MPs elected in England voted against but which became law anyway because MPs elected in Scotland voted for them. They’re going to be told about the Barnett Formula and the eye-watering sums of money that are given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to pay for superior public services. They’re going to be told about the life saving cancer treatments and cures for blindness that are freely available in Scotland thanks to the extra funding the Scottish NHS gets from the English taxpayer that we can’t have in England because there’s no money left to pay for them.

Except they won’t be told any of the above because of the British values they didn’t include in the list:

  • The English are an inferior people
  • There is no cost too great to keep the Scots and Welsh happy as long as the English are paying
  • Englishness must be suppressed at all costs
  • An English life is worth less than a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish life
  • War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, England is Britain

Portsmouth betrayal should be a rallying call for English independence

The British government is closing Portsmouth’s shipyard to protect jobs at the Clyde shipyards in Glasgow in a transparently political move to placate the Scots ahead of their independence referendum.

Portsmouth shipyard workers betrayed by the British

Just look at these comments from some of the English workers the Brits are sacrificing to protect Scottish jobs:

It’s definitely a political decision. All to do with Scotland and Scottish independence; it’s disgusting. They don’t care about us.

This is simply pandering to the Scottish government before the independence referendum next year.

Even the MP for Portsmouth is unhappy:

It’s a massive and grave error on the part of the government to put more shipbuilding in Scotland. It’s political. It always has been.

And then there’s the comments section in the Express …

Disgusted that our weak government is letting this happen – to shut Portsmouth and give new contracts to a Scottish port is despicable.

What a disgrace, blatant politically inspired bribery for the jocks…well what if they say YES to independence anyway…I do hope they do vote to leave and let the politicos explain why we are buying ships off a foreign country?

i hear that its portsmouth yard that will close rather than the scottish ones..i wonder why that is. is there a referendum coming up

Even some Guardian readers are having a pop …

Scottish jobs saved at the expense of English workers.

Portsmouth is being sacrificed for saving Scotland ahead of a referendum

A thousand workers in Portsmouth thrown on the scrapheap just so project fear can keep making a spurious point about the “benefits of the union”. Playing politics with peoples lives yet again.

Helps the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK I suppose…

Then there’s the Telegraph …

Why give it to the Scots? Are their unemployed more deserving. Sadly, they are never going to vote for independence so shafting the ENglish YET AGAIN is horrific.

This is little short of treason by Cameron to the English in a futile political sop to the Scottish. If he had any balls at all he would preserve the English yards, scrap the Scottish yards and state that the decision would be reviewed after the Scottish referendum on independence.

Why are they trying to buy Scottish votes, the Glasgow yards are hotbeds of socialism and militants, they should take the hits and not the English yard, kill two birds with one stone.

Short term daftness to rely on warship building in a country that is not committed to the UK. This has Cameron McFudge written all over it. The lads in Portsmouth should have been supported, not the would-be defectors in Govan. Salmond will be laughing yet again.

A disgusting sop to the Scots nationalists. What ought to have been brought home to them is that even the threat of independence costs Scots jobs. As if a separate UK government would ever build ships in a foreign Scotland . . . Should it ever happen Portsmouth will need rebuilding from scratch. I’m a Conservative Party member but if there was an election tomorrow I wouldn’t vote for them. They’ve just sold England down the river for short-term and disguided political reasons!

If this isn’t a political decision, I don’t know what is. But in the unlikely event of Scotland voting for independence next year, I trust that this decision will be reversed in double quick time.

The sacked workers in Portsmouth know they’re being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy, politicians know the workers in Portsmouth are being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy and the general public know the workers in Portsmouth are being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy. There is no price the British won’t pay to keep the Scots in the union as long as it’s the English that are paying.

I used to think there was a place for England in a reformed British union but it’s pretty clear that England will never be important to the Brits. It’s time for English independence.

NFU launches Buy British campaign in England

NFU Buy British - only applies to England

Only applies to England

The NFU launched a “Buy British” campaign today to promote “British” food.

Funnily enough, there is no mention of the campaign on the NFU Cymru website or the NFU Scotland website where they are encouraging people to buy Welsh and Scottish respectively.  The NFU England website … doesn’t exist because there is no such thing as NFU England.

The NFU is just another of those racist organisations that has Scottish, Welsh (often Northern Irish) and British arms.  I wouldn’t make a conscious effort to buy “British” anyway because if it’s not English it’s foreign but if there was some campaign that I was inclined to back I certainly wouldn’t do it if the organisation urging me to back it denied the existence of my country.

So fuck you NFU and shove your “Buy British” campaign up your arse.

Two governments gives Scotland “the best of both worlds”

I read this, got angry, used some traditional Anglo-Saxon words and then sent the following email to Cowardly Cameron …

I see in the news today that you believe that Scotland having 2 government’s is “the best of both worlds” and that because Scotland has its own devolved government they can make decisions needed “to meet the specific needs of Scotland”.

Can you please explain why you feel that England doesn’t deserve the best of both worlds and why England shouldn’t have its own government to meet the specific needs of England?

You are putting so much effort into making the case for the British union in Scotland that you’re forgetting that the 85% of the population lives in England where we have no self-government, where MPs elected in a different country make our laws and where the case for being part of the British union has never been weaker.

I urge you to end the institutional discrimination against the English and give us the devolved English Parliament that 7 out of 10 English people want.

Census reveals rise of Englishness and death of Britishness

The 2011 census results have been released and they make for interesting reading.  I didn’t take a constructive part in last year’s census (not so much on ideological grounds but because I don’t trust the British government with the information) but it’s interesting reading nonetheless.

England

For the first time, the census allowed us to say if we identified ourselves as English and an overwhelming majority of people did – 37.6m people (67.1% of the respondents) identified themselves as English with 32.4m (57.7%) identifying themselves as solely English.

I have said many times that Britishness is not just in decline but fatally wounded and the census figures bear that out.  Only 16.3m people (29.1%) identified themselves as British and just 10.7m people (19.1%) identified themselves as solely British.  Even as a dual identity Britishness is dead in the water.

The ethnicity figures are a little worrying – only 59.8% of people in London identify themselves as having British ethnicity.  Ignoring the fact that there is no such thing as a British ethnicity, this isn’t a healthy statistic.  London is the political and media capital of the UK, the place where policy is formed and in no way does London give a realistic view of the UK which is one of the reasons why so much British government policy makes no sense.

In 2001, 9% of the population identified themselves as immigrants (ie. born outside of the UK).  Last year it was 13%.  Since 2001, something like 3.8m immigrants moved to England and Wales.  When we are so short of jobs and housing already, this level of immigration is simply unsustainable – it’s over 5% of the population.

The census data is supposed to drive British government policy and provision of services – that’s the reason given for compelling every adult in the country by law to complete the census – so it will be interesting to see how the 2011 census results drive policy.  The promotion of Britishness clearly has to stop, it’s a minority identity which costs tens (if not hundreds) of millions to promote and British government policy is geared around its exclusive promotion.  Most people in England identify themselves as English but this identity is subject to official policies of marginalisation and suppression.

Labour and the “one nation”

The Milibeasts

If this is the answer, what the hell was the question?

Ed Milibeast used the phrase “one nation” a lot in his Labour Party conference speech and our MP here in Telford, David “Scum Sucking Tories” Wright, clarified on BBC Radio Shropshire that he was talking about one nation socially, economically and geographically.  He made it pretty clear that there is only room for one nation as far as Labour is concerned (even though it’s not a nation) – Britain.

It’s odd to hear such Big Britisher sentiments coming from the party responsible for introducing devolution in Scotland, Wales and London and a party so single-mindedly committed to the abolition of the nation state.  It’s also more than a little inconsistent with their support for the balkanisation of England which has led to them proposing a “Parliament of the North” this year and even launching a fake think tank to promote it.

At least they’re no longer trying to cover up their opposition to democracy or ambition of destroying our nations.

Why I won’t be supporting Team GB or the Olympics

I don’t like the Olympics.  It’s not an irrational dislike of the Olympics or an ideological objection to the Olympic ideals, it’s for a number of (in my opinion) rational reasons …

Official Olympic Sponsor London 2012There is no English Olympic team and I’m not British.  For me the British Olympic team is as foreign as the French team.  Sure it’s mostly made up of English competitors but they’re competing under a false flag that I bear no more allegiance to than the Stars and Stripes or the Tricoleur.  There is nothing other than a lack of political will or corporate support preventing the replacement of the British team with English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teams which, I suggest, would get far more support than the British Olympic team.  The precedent has been set with the Hong Kong team that is still competing in its own right despite having been subsumed into China in 1997.  Until such time as there is an English team in the Olympics, I will continue to shun the games.

The superficial Britishness that’s on display during the Olympics is really grating.  The imperial flag is everywhere and it’s even replacing the English flag at a lot homes which is something that no other British promotional activity has even managed to do in the last decade or two.  The proliferation of the imperial flag and public declarations of being “proud to be British” are the result of a relentless promotion of Britishness by the British government and big business who love having one brand covering four nations that they can promote instead of all that inconvenient respecting our historic nations and identities.

The amount of taxpayers money that’s being spent on this British vanity project is obscene.  I don’t know how many homeless, ill or deprived people could have been helped with just the £9bn direct cost of the Olympics let alone the billions more that have been spent by local authorities and public bodies but it’s a better use of taxpayers money than the Olympics.

The oppressive way the Olympic brand and the monopolies are being protected are an annoyance as well.  Why couldn’t the Olympic Kebab shop in London continue to be named the Olympic Kebab shop just as it has for years?  Why can’t schools use the Olympic rings on a poster produced by kids?  Why can’t a chip shop sell chips if the Olympics have moved in next door for a few weeks?  Why can’t you turn your wi-fi hotspot on on your mobile phone if you’re in an Olympic venue? Why are you forced to buy food and drink from approved suppliers? Why has the Olympics sold out so utterly and completely to corporate interests?

Why are politics allowed to interfere in the Olympics?  Why does Taiwan have to be called Chinese Taipei just because the Chinese like to bully their smaller neighbour?  If they’re offended by the name Taiwan being used screw them.  Why does Macedonia have to be called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia just because the Greeks get all prissy about them using their country’s name in case some people see it as giving merit to the idea that Macedonia might have a claim to the Greek state by the same name even though they’ve expressed no interest in making such a claim?  If the Greeks don’t like it screw them too.

Why did the British government and LOCOG allow a bunch of French Language fascists dictate that the French language must be used in the Olympics and not only must it be used but it has to be used before English?  I don’t care whether it’s in the founding charter of the modern Olympics (the idea for which was nicked from the English by a Frenchman) says that French and English are the languages of the Olympics, the French have never insisted on the French language being used until London beat Paris to the right to host the Olympics – if was a deliberate, calculated insult aimed at Les Rosbeef.

While there is a British team it should be names properly.  Team GB doesn’t cut it – that name represents half of the constituent territories of the Olympic team.  Great Britain is a geographic term for the island on which England, Scotland and Northern Ireland reside.  Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are also represented by Team “GB” but they’re not in Great Britain, they’re in the British Isles.  But so is the Republic of Ireland and they aren’t represented by Team “GB” so Team British Isles doesn’t cut it either.  The fact is, there is no short and snappy title for what Team “GB” covers because it’s just not a natural, historical or cultural entity.  The shortest accurate team name would be Team UK and Crown Dependencies.  I refer back to my earlier use of the word “superficial” – it applies equally here.

Finally, the most annoying thing about the Olympics: Seb Bloody Coe.  If ever there was a case for pre-emptive euthanasia, he surely has to be it?

An awful time for an English monarchist

The last few weeks has been pretty awful for me as an English monarchist.  I’d love to get involved in celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee but the politicians have made it all about Britain and Britishness and big business has happily gone along with it seeing pound signs in front of their eyes.  As a result, instead of seeing pictures of the Queen everywhere, we’ve got British flags.  I just can’t stand seeing the British flag everywhere, it irritates me immensely and it’s effectively precluded me from joining in the festivities.

Queen of EnglandWhilst the Queen is, of course, the Queen of the UK she is also the Queen of 16 other countries worldwide without counting the member states of the UK.  This weekend’s celebrations are supposed to be for the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, not a celebration of the British state or even her reign as the Queen of the UK.  Her diamond jubilee has been celebrated in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other countries she’s Queen of although of course none of them put in quite so much effort as England.

The BBC have naturally been banging the drum for Britishness.  At one point during their coverage of the jubilee I did wonder if presenters had been set a target for the number of things they should declare to be “British” or if perhaps they’d adopted a new version of the game Bullshit Bingo using only the word “British”.  The weather was “British”, the people were “British”, queuing up all night was “British”, the pageantry was “British”, the whole event was apparently quintessentially “British” according to the BBC who were at their most Britishly British on this most Britishly British of Britishly British occasions.

Over the last few years the British flag has declined into virtual obscurity, only really making an appearance on government buildings and hotels whilst the English flag – the Cross of St George – is commonly found hanging from bedroom windows, fluttering on cars and flying from flag poles everywhere else.  This pleases me immensely because it means that English people are finally recognising the difference between England and Britain, between the British imperial government and the English colony.  Up until now that is because it seems that all it takes is for the shops to start selling red, white and blue tat and for politicians and the media to tell us how great it is to be British and English people start flying the butchers apron instead.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair on my fellow countrymen and women and they’ve simply been taken in by the British Flag = Queen rubbish.  Maybe they’ll take down the British flag and get the English flag up in its place in time for the football and I won’t have to see quite so many of them again.  I already know England is the last colony of the British Empire, I don’t need (or want) constant reminders from people who don’t seem to know any better.

Of course, most of this overt Britishness is far from spontaneous.  I know British flags have been handed out at lots of places to ensure it outnumbers any of our national flags (this is par for the course at the Proms, for instance).  Children (my own included) have been made to make their own little flags to wave for the Olympics and the jubilee and the Sun newspaper have been giving away free union flags for this weekend.  The fact that so many companies have had to start mass producing British tat, school kids have had to make their own British flags and a newspaper has had to give them away free speaks volumes.  You can buy a Cross of St George easily any time of the year and nobody needs to give them away for you to see them everywhere. Perhaps there’s hope yet for this nation of sheep?

Jubilee Flag Guide for confused English people

Intending to fly a flag for the Diamond Jubilee?  The first two of these flags represent the Queen, the third one is the British imperial flag in England.

Queen Elizabeth II's Personal Flag

Queen Elizabeth II's Personal Flag

Royal Standard

Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Standard

British Flag

Flag of the British State

Special offer for this week only: a free face-palm for every English person flying the flag of the British imperial government to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen of England.

When will someone make the case for the union?

So, I suppose it’s about time I blogged about the Scottish independence referendum as it’s been in the news for a week or so.

Basically, this is the story so far:

Alex Salmond has been dicking about for a few years saying they’re going to hold a referendum on Scottish independence but keeps putting it off because a) they won’t vote for independence and b) the longer he threatens it, the more he can screw out of the Brits at our expense.

Salmond knows that the Scots won’t vote for independence so he’s come up with a great wheeze: devolution max.  Devolution max is almost, but not quite, a confederation between Scotland and “Britain”.  The Scottish government would be almost on a par with the British government, Salmond and Cameron would meet each other as equals rather than provincial administrator and imperial overlord.

Cameron got fed up with Salmond dicking about and told him he’s got to have his referendum sooner rather than later and he can’t offer devolution max, just a yes/no to independence.  Salmond told the media London was dictating to Scotland; Cameron said he wasn’t dictating, he was merely telling the Scottish government what they can and can’t do in a dictatorial manner (I’ve paraphrased slightly).

At some point the British government decided that after years of indecision, an independence referendum held by the Scottish government would be illegal.  Nobody has offered an opinion as to what they would do if Salmond held his referendum and ended up as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Scotland – the thing about a unilateral declaration of independence is that it’s, well, unilateral.  Salmond retaliated by saying he’d order the Scottish police not to man polling stations if the ballot papers didn’t have his options on them (yes, he can do that but technically the British Home Secretary trumps the Scottish First Minister which would make for an interesting pissing contest wouldn’t it?).

The brief posturing is over with no clear winner and now the two sides are setting out their stalls.  The Brits are making the case for the union to the Scots, humming Rule Britannia whilst Britishly tearfully extolling the British virtues of the British union and good old British Britishness in British Britain and British Scotland.  Some of them are suggesting wrecking manoeuvres such as giving people in England a vote on Scottish independence as well, although they seem to have gone quiet since Survation (an up-and-coming polling company with a very good record so far on political polls) found that more people in England want to see Scotland declare independence than Scots.

The Scottish nationalists are doing what they usually do – confusing England with “Britain”, throwing some random numbers on paper to show they’re subsidising England and … well, that’s about it but even so the Survation poll says that Salmond is quite comprehensively winning the “referendum war”.

Unsurprisingly and true to form for the Brits, virtually nobody is thinking about England in all this.  The Labour MP for Torfaen in Wales, Paul Murphy, has called for the balkanisation of England by resurrecting Prescott’s rejected local government reorganisation with regional assemblies but that’s about as far as it goes.  Other than that it’s been Scotland, Scotland, Scotland as if the future of the UK and the relationships between the member states in it are the exclusive domain of the Scots.

I don’t want a vote on Scottish independence because it’s Scotland’s business but if Scotland has a referendum then a referendum should also be held on English independence, Welsh independence and Northern Irish independence.  If the union is to continue then it should be because most of the people in all four member states want it to, not because 4 million voters in Scotland say so.

I would love to hear the British nationalists making the case for the union to England like they are for Scotland.  I would love to hear them explain why we should stay in a union where we have no voice, where £20bn of our taxes are taken from us on threat of imprisonment and given to the other three member states of the UK to spend on things that we can’t afford, where politicians elected in another country are allowed to introduce and vote on laws that only apply to England when they can’t even vote on the same things in the country they were elected in and where we are generally robbed, put upon and despised.  I’d love to hear them make the case for that union because right now all I’m hearing is Scotland, Scotland, Scotland when quite frankly I couldn’t give a damn whether they stay or go.

The celtic dog has been wagging the English tail for too long and it has to stop.  The British establishment is full of people who are, quite frankly, irrationally fanatical about Scotland.  They are 5m people (and falling), we are 51m and increasing.  They spend the money, we foot the bill.  They have an inferiority complex, we have to make ourselves subservient to them to make them feel better.  The obsession is with what the Scots want, forgetting that actually it’s England that would make or break the union.

So what’s the answer?  It’s quite simple …

Hold the referendum in Scotland with the three options – independence, current level of devolution or “devolution max”.  At the same time, hold a referendum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland offering the same choices (“current level of devolution” in England being what the Scots have now).  This will result in an English Parliament being created.  Take out the unconstitutional, unworkable English Votes on English Laws fudge (there’s no point trying to implement something that can’t work, it’s just wasting time and money) and support for devolution in England is overwhelming.  This may result in assymetry as it’s not guaranteed that all four member states of the UK will vote for devolution max (I’m thinking of NI here) but it would be through choice, not because the British government is prejudiced against one country.

This raises the spectre of one or more member states of the UK voting for independence.  Scotland is probably less likely to vote for independence than England despite the overt nationalism north of the border.  Of the four member states of the UK, only England pays its own way and only England would thrive outside of the union.  Despite the protestations of some Scots, they do extremely well out of the union whilst England does extremely badly out of it.  If one or more member states vote for independence then the British government should be prepared with a firm plan for a British confederation.  I won’t dwell on the virtues of a confederation, just follow the link.

The independence of one member state would raise some interesting challenges when it comes to the inheritance of treaties.  For instance, who would keep the UK’s seat on the UN Security Council?  If Scotland declared independence then “Britain” would probably still exist for a short time and once it fell apart, England would naturally be the successor state.  But if England declared independence and Scotland didn’t, “Britain” wouldn’t last any longer but Scotland would naturally be the successor state.  Salmond wants to demilitarise Scotland and on the international stage Scotland is a non-entity (“Scotland, isn’t that in England?” – you get the picture) – the UN isn’t going to have a bunch of whining skirt wearing with delusions of grandeur on the UN Security Council.

EU membership is another question that needs considering.  Scotland is the most europhile member state of the UK, it would probably want to remain a member.  The EU would want to keep England to pay the bills.  New countries joining the EU have to agree to join the €uro – Scotland might not be too fussed about joining the €uro but England?  It’s unthinkable.

What about the British Overseas Territories?  Who will inherit those?  If a confederation can successfully be created then problem solved.  If not, it’s open for negotiation – they may opt for independence, they may choose their own “protector” to pay fealty to.

The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties says that it’s basically up to succeeding states to decide who takes on what treaties with the assumption that if no agreement is made, all the treaties currently in force will apply to all successor states.  That means that the default position is that all member states of the UK declaring independence would remain members of the EU, UN, NATO and party to all the other treaties the UK has signed up to since 1978 unless they agree to divvy them up.  Contrary to what British politicians say, independence of any of the member states of the UK does not necessarily mean losing the memberships of international bodies the UK currently holds.

None of the perceived problems are insurmountable so what reason is there for the union to continue?  This is the case the British unionists have to make to all of us, not just the Scots and this is precisely what won’t happen.  The British are so obsessed with what the Scots want that they won’t see what’s happening under their noses until it’s too late.

The British have lost Wales

There is a misguided belief in “Britain” amongst the political classes, a belief that below the surface there is a common British identity that unites us all and will stave off the forces of celtic nationalism.  Their obsession with celtic nationalism and indifference to English nationalism will come back to bite them in the arse but that’s a different topic.

I’ve just got back from a fortnight’s holiday – the first week was spent in Somerset and the second week in Ceredigion (or Cardiganshire as it used to be called).  There was an abundance of English flags in Somerset (Burnham-on-Sea to be exact) but not to the exclusion of the British flag, just a lot more St George’s Crosses than the butchers apron.  Wales was different though (at least the part of Wales we stayed in) – the only British flag I saw was, ironically, outside the Welsh Assembly building in Aberystwyth where it occupied one of the “other” flag poles to the side of the Welsh flag, the other “other” pole sporting the ring of stars logo of the EU.

Flags aren’t the only symbol of nationhood and cultural independence of course and this is where the Welsh have the English at an advantage: the Welsh language.  People in the street, in cafés and shops spoke Welsh to each other.  Not just old people who grew up in a time when Welsh communities were often isolated and the Welsh language survived simply because they weren’t exposed to English, it was people my age and most importantly, young people.  Welsh kids sitting in cafés with their family quite easily swapped and changed between English and Welsh depending on who they were talking to without hesitation and they are the ones who will decide what the de facto first language of Wales is in a decade or so.

Road signs are an indication of the change in the status of the Welsh language.  Dual-language signs were permitted in 1965, a national roll-out started in 1972 and until relatively recently they have generally been in the form of English road signs with Welsh translations.  The opposite is now true in most of Wales – the road signs are in Welsh with English translations.  English speakers are accommodated alongside Welsh rather than the other way round such as you might find in arab countries where the latinised version place names are included underneath the arabic.

English being the lingua franca of international trade and diplomacy has many advantages on the world stage but at home it takes away one of the most obvious things that unites a people and sets them apart from their neighbours.  If England had a unique language of its own in everyday use – pockets of Old English speakers, perhaps, that could be used as a starting point – then the English identity would be a lot stronger than it is now and we wouldn’t be facing problems such as the threat from Britification and the public’s willingness to accept institutional discrimination as the price of the union.

Wales, like Scotland, has been lost by the British.  The symbols of British cultural imperialism that you see in England just don’t exist in the celtic nations.  The companies and political parties investing in Britishness are limiting themselves to an increasingly narrow section of English society who still believe in Britain.  Support for English devolution is consistently falling just shy of the 70% mark whilst support for English independence has jumped to 36% in a Comres poll published in July this year.  A TNS-BMRB opinion poll published in June this year showed that support for Scottish independence has risen to 37% (51% in people under 24) and in Wales the most recent opinion poll I can find is 2007 which shows support for independence at just 12%.  Support for devolution in Scotland was 70% in a 2009 Populus poll, the Welsh referendum on extending devolution this year was 64.5% and the last poll I’ve seen in England was 67%.  Support for devolution in England is higher than in Wales and almost as high as Scotland.  But the independence figure is the one that is most interesting – almost as many English people support English independence as Scots do for Scotland (and significantly more than support Welsh independence) but the rate at which support for independence is increasing in England far outstrips any increase in support that Scotland has ever seen.

Companies have already realised that Britain is a toxic brand in Scotland and Wales which is why you will rarely find anything overtly British in shops and supermarkets outside of England.  The same goes for political parties – there is not a single -England arm of any UK political party but they all have -Scotland and -Wales arms.  Charities and non-profit organisations are the same – there is an Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age UK; there is a British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, BMA Wales and plain old “the BMA” for England.  What they have failed to notice is the increasing irrelevance and even opposition to “Brand Britain” in England and that will cost them dearly in the very near future.

The union could still have a place in our future, albeit in a significantly different form to the current union but it will only survive the next few years if it is reconfigured on the basis of fairness, equality and respect for all the people of these four nations.  There is a small (and I mean small – a couple of years at the most) window of opportunity for the British to save their union but they will need to put their imperial past behind them and start thinking the unthinkable: most of “Britain” isn’t British any more.

Union? What union?

Ok, the wedding is over and done with and we’ve got our new princess.

Watching the wedding made me feel quite happy really – I love the royals and I’m sure William and Kate will turn more than a few borderline republicans into monarchists.  The run-up to the wedding has been absolutely horrendous though – days of inane chatter, clueless hypothesising and utter bollocks from people trying to imply they have some inside knowledge of the wedding because they know the Middleton’s gardener’s milkman’s postman’s next door neighbour.

The big downside of the royal wedding, though, is the proliferation of the union flag and people declaring their pride in being “British”.

The resurgence of the English flag over the last few years has been great.  Passing rows of houses with English flags in their gardens and hanging out of their windows is a gratifying sight but the last few days has seen English flags taken down and replaced with the flag of our imperial masters.  Even St George’s Day has been largely ignored by shops who decked out their stores with red, white and blue bunting weeks ago.  There is a very real danger that people will fly the BNP flag now that they have bought them instead of the Cross of St George, putting back the cause of progressive English nationalism by years.

And as for this ridiculous pride in being “British” – how does that work?  How can English people – the citizens of the last colony of the British empire – feel any pride in a non-country that has failed to build an inclusive national identity in over 300 years of existence?

The so-called “United” Kingdom is anything but.  The union between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been superficial from day one and we are no more united now than we were in 1707.  This union of four nations has five governments, five flags, four languages, four constitutions, three legal systems, two judiciaries and two royal families – Prince William will be King William V of England and William III of Scotland.   “British” is a three century old failed experiment in social engineering that is as irrelevant now as it was before the Act of Union.

I used to describe myself as English first and British second.  Now I’m just English.  And isn’t it time we had a Prince of England?  A much better title for Prince William that Duke of Cambridge!

Sorry, who gave football to the world?

No Mandate Brown has told Sky News that he hopes there will be a Team UK for the 2012 Olympics.  Not Team GB you’ll note, but Team UK.  Great Britain doesn’t include Northern Ireland – something that doesn’t seem to bother Lieutenant Governor Brown in Beijing – but the Northern Ireland FA is the only one that has said it might join the English FA in a British football team.

Team Britain?  Hell no!He went on to say “Britain is the home of football, which we gave to the world, and people will be surprised if there is an Olympic tournament in football and we are not part of it”.  This is the kind of revisionist drivel that our glorious leader loves so much.  Football has been played in England since the 12th Century but only made its way north of the border in the 19th Century.  English football has spawned not only the international game the Americans call soccer but American football, Australian football, rugby and a multitude of other football and rugby related games.  Scotland brought the Tartan Army to the game…

As for people being surprised if there isn’t a British football team, I think they’d be more surprised if there was one because Britain simply doesn’t exist from a footballing point of view.

Like I said, just the sort of revisionist drivel you expect to hear from a British nationalist Scot desperate to deflect attention from the rapid disintegration of the union caused by his party’s anti-English, Scottish appeasement.

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Liebour think tank says Britishness won’t unite us

The Joseph Rowntree Trust, a Liebour think tank, has concluded that “a fixed notion of Britishness” will not help to unite the population of the dis-United Kingdom.

The report says that ideas like swearing allegiance to the Queen, Britishness lessons and a Britishness Day public holiday won’t help people feel British, making an arse out of No Mandate Brown’s pathetic obsession with ramming Britishness down English childrens’ throats.

The BBC has devoted over half of its article on the Joseph Rowntree report to the previous report by another Liebour think tank, Civitas, that recommended teaching pro-British propaganda to English children and quoting that report’s author several times.

Education and communities and culture are devolved meaning that any decisions on the teaching of British propaganda in schools or indoctrinating children will apply only in England.

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Letter: Shropshire Star

This has been printed in the Shropshire Star …

Who does Gordon Brown think he is trying to make public buildings in England fly the British flag?

Which flag flies from public buildings in his constituency in Scotland?  Certainly not the “butchers apron”.

The Prime Minister is currently in his own country supporting the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party (there’s isn’t an English Labour Party of course) at their spring gathering.  She intends to lead Labour to victory in the Scottish Parliament – the Parliament that Gordon Brown helped to create in 1997 and the English equivalent of which he actively conspires to deny us.

There are only a handful of buildings in Scotland that Gordon Brown can force to fly the British flag because most public buildings are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.  However, in England he can – and will – force public buildings to fly whatever flag he chooses to drape himself in to try and cover up the fact he has no mandate in England.

I live in England and I fly the English flag all year round.  I no longer consider myself British at all – the British nationalist Labour Party have demonstrated quite clearly that it is only the Celts that matter in this union, not the English.

When the Conservatives took control of Telford & Wrekin Council they replaced the flag of the EU with the English flag.  I hope the take advantage of the new relaxed flag flying rules to remove the British flag and replace it with our own national flag, the Cross of St George.

Stuart Parr
Shropshire Branch
Campaign for an English Parliament

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Brown plans more regionalisation in England

According to the Times, Gordon Brown is planning to create a network of London-type mayors in the “English regions” to combat Englishness and promote the Britishness agenda he has become obsessed since being parachuted into the post of Prime Minister without a mandate.

England has always been considered expendable by the Labour Party, hence their willingness to embrace the EU’s regionalisation agenda.  Balkanising England suits Labour’s political agenda – England doesn’t vote Labour but enough of “the regions” probably would making it easier possible for Labour to win another election.

The North East euroregion rejected regionalisation in a referendum a couple of years ago but that decision has been ignored.  Only 22% of people in the North East wanted regional government and that was the euroregion that the British government said had most support for regional government.

The people of England don’t want regionalisation, the British government has no democratic or moral mandate to impose it on us.

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Rooney criticised for not singing British anthem

Bob Peedle, Chairman of the Royal Society of St George, has criticised Wayne Rooney for not singing the British national anthem before England games.

Apparently, Rooney doesn’t know the words which Peedle thinks is disgraceful and has offered to teach them to him.

The Royal Society of St George is there to promote England and the Commonwealth, singing the British national anthem before English football games is counter-productive to that aim and Bob Peedle is wrong.

I sent the following comment to the Daily Mail:

I’m sorry, I fail to understand why an ENGLAND player should sing the BRITISH anthem when his Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts sing their own anthem.
 
Bob Peedle’s organisation represents England, not Britain – he should be devoting his energies to getting an English anthem (such as Jerusalem) sung at English matches, not criticising English football players for not singing another country’s national anthem.

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No, no, no

No Mandate Brown is appealing to “middle England” to support more devolution for Scotland and support the union.

The One Eyed Wonder of Wankistan says that the UK is “the world’s most successful multi-national state” but that the union isn’t “a contract of convenience that can be renegotiated”. Multi-national or multi-regional? Remember, as far as Liebour is concerned there is no such thing as England.

Also today, Jack Straw is going to set out a “statement of British values” that define British citizenship and press the non-existent case for a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. There’s that word again – responsibilities. It’s no longer enough that you live here, work here, pay your taxes here or were even born here – you must have some good old British responsibilities for the British good.

The Demon Headmaster will be pressing for more power at local, regional and national level with more power for city governments. The national level is, of course, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (which isn’t even a nation). The regional level, obviously, is England which must never be given any form of acknowledgment as a national entity. City government (aka City Regions – the EU’s favoured form of “local” government) will only apply to England … sorry, the English Regions … because local government is devolved.

Apparently, today is the first day of Jack Straw’s consultation on Britishness, British values and a British Bill of Rights. Has anyone English been invited to take part in this “consultation”? If Jack Straw and Gordon Brown get away with what they’re trying to do right now then that’s the end of England forever.

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Flying the flag

No Mandate Brown is grinning and giggling to himself over a report that says all British government buildings should be encouraged to fly the British flag to promote Britishness.

The British government is responsible for a relatively small number of public buildings in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but most belong to their devolved assemblies, particularly in Scotland.  Predictably, the Scottish government instantly denounced the daft idea and once again confirmed that the Scottish flag will fly from Scottish government buildings.

The report also makes provision for the English flag to be flown more often but the idea is to promote Britishness Brown’s British Britishness so don’t hold your breath.  The British government orders public buildings to fly the British flag on certain days and in the name of Britishness and preserving their cushy British jobs, British MPs will support the British government’s decision to force all British public buildings in England to fly the British flag.

Quite why Britishness Brown thinks Scottishness and Welshness are to be encouraged but Englishness is the work of the devil, I don’t know.  He supported the “sovereign” right of the Scottish people to determine the best form of government for themselves and he pledged to put their interests “first and foremost in all [his] acts and deliberations” when he signed the Scottish Claim of Right.  Perhaps it’s because destroying the English national identity will keep the union artificially alive and the English serfs will continue to pay their taxes to their celtic lords, thereby fulfilling his pledge to put Scotland’s interests before those of England.  Or perhaps he just hates England and English people.

Whatever the reason, the Cross of St George is the only flag that will fly at my house and every public building in my town that flies the butchers apron will get complaint after complaint until it’s taken down.

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