Letter to Brian Simpson, MEP – Anglophobe

Hat tip to Waking Hereward for this little gem. Here’s what the Labour MEP for the North West Region said, writing in the Labour magazine Egremont Today:

“I don’t know about you, but I am getting a bit fed up with those who keep telling me we need to have an extra public holiday centred around St George’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for an extra public holiday, but I am afraid I do not consider myself English. I consider myself British and I believe the extra public holiday should be on a day that is close to all of us British people, not one of its regional parts. 

“So, I find myself in agreement with George Galloway MP, when he says Battle of Britain Day in September would be the ideal candidate. It is an important date in our history and September can still offer some reasonable weather on which to have a public holiday. Unfortunately English nationalism is on the rise and although 56% of the population still favour being in the UK, 34% believes we should separate into 4 different countries, which I believe would be a disaster. Fuelled by Margaret Thatcher who did her level best to destroy all three of them. For the Welsh, Scottish and Irish, a national identity exists, but what identity exists in England? 

“I feel as a born and bred Lancastrian, that I have more in common with the Scots and Welsh than I do with Southern England. For me, the English Parliament would be an object disaster for the North of England, as it would be dominated by London and the South East and we would be treated like second-class citizens. No, keep the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the sports field; but in the world that really matters, let’s stick to the United Kingdom and end all of this nationalism nonsense. I am proud to be British, so let’s have a public holiday on a day relevant to Britain. What do you think?”

 

So I told him what I thought:

At the end of your article, you ask people what they think about your remarks:

“in the world that really matters, let’s stick to the United Kingdom and end all of this nationalism nonsense. I am proud to be British, so let’s have a public holiday on a day relevant to Britain”. 

What about (your) British nationalism, then?

“For the Welsh, Scottish and Irish, a national identity exists, but what identity exists in England? 

“I feel as a born and bred Lancastrian, that I have more in common with the Scots and Welsh than I do with Southern England”. 

You’re contradicting yourself, aren’t you? Presumably, if you feel more affinity with the Scots and the Welsh than with (Southern) England, that must mean you feel you share their national identities, which are distinct from the British identity. Or if you view the Scottish and Welsh identity as (also) British, as opposed to (Southern) English, then there is a distinct English identity, albeit one that you identify with Southern England. You really need to get your logic sorted out. Plus I’d be surprised if many proud Lancastrians would share your disdain for England: the county whose symbol is the red rose of England.

“For me, the English Parliament would be an object disaster for the North of England, as it would be dominated by London and the South East and we would be treated like second-class citizens”.

Gosh, you really have it in for us southerners, don’t you? Yes, you do have a lot in common with the Scots and the Welsh: for ever whingeing about the concentration of wealth and power in the South-East, despite the fact that the Barnett Formula and devolution actually give them a greater slice of that wealth per capita than any other ‘region’, as you might call them (apart from London – which isn’t the same as the whole of England, in case you didn’t know) and more democratic influence over how that wealth is used than England. What a load of poppycock: an English parliament could well be located in the north somewhere – I for one would welcome that even though I live in East Anglia, as I would see it as part of the opportunity English self-governance would provide to redistribute more power and economic growth throughout England and away from the South-East. New Labour’s record in that respect isn’t exactly glowing.

“Unfortunately English nationalism is on the rise and although 56% of the population still favour being in the UK, 34% believes we should separate into 4 different countries”. 

It sounds as though the people who want to preserve England as a nation, with the right to choose how it governs itself, will soon outnumber the British nationalists. You’d better hurry up and finish off New Labour’s project to abolish England altogether (one of the ‘regional parts’ of Britain, as you call it) so you can celebrate the demise of the English nation on your holiday “relevant to Britain”. So we’re also going to get rid of the St. Andrew’s Day holiday in Scotland, are we? Oh yes, I was forgetting: they’re a real nation, England isn’t. 

 

No wonder English nationalism is on the rise with England deniers like you around in the party in power. We’re not all neanderthal white Anglo-Saxons, you know; we’re just defending the existence of the nation that we regard as our own. There is an English identity: it’s mine and that of millions of my fellow countrymen and -women. So what are you going to do about us? Do you think by suppressing our identity with ‘Britain this’ and ‘Britain that’, we’ll just see the error of our ways and agree that it’s much more rational and modern to be British than English? You can erase us from your discourse but you can’t wipe us off the map, or deny our right to celebrate our identity and choose how we wish to be governed. And I can tell you, it isn’t by people like you.

If you want to tell Mr Simpson what you think of his views about England – and borrow any of the above points if you wish – then drop him a line at: Briansimpson.Labour@virgin.net. I expect he – or more likely his extensive support staff paid for by his generous MEP’s expenses allowance – will have a full inbox to deal with this morning! Perhaps he’s gunning for a Chief Executive’s post for one of the ‘English regions’ after he gets voted out at the next Euro elections – unless the Tories have abolished the Regional Assemblies by then!

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2 Responses

  1. You’re so right.

    Of course he’s contradictory.

    Like most of the British nationalists.

    ‘I do not consider myself English … What identity exists in England’

    What a terrible thing to say about your home country.

    ‘For me, the English Parliament would be an object disaster for the North of England, as it would be dominated by London and the South East and we would be treated like second-class citizens.’

    Think about how Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have felt for years then?

    So you’re happy with Westminster rule just now?

    Or is the Labour MEP arguing for English Federalism?

    ‘No, keep the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the sports field’

    Like the Olympics then? (Or was that separation in sports just back before the First World War and not to be applied now?) Or will he echo the views of Seb Coe: ‘Fuck ’em’

    Of course St. George’s Day should be a public holiday. As should St. Andrew’s Day – instead of the terrible half hearted attempt currently – and St. David’s Day. I know St. Patrick’s Day is in all of Ireland.

    Why not give us Battle of Britain Day too?

  2. David,

    Well argued, as always.

    Incidentally, I am a proud Lancastrian – as, of course is Alfie – and an even prouder Englishman.

    I suspect that gerrymandering England deniers such as Mr Simpson know that the game is up and his egregious and offensive remarks are simply part of the unedifying death throes of the wholly undemocratic political construct he refers to as ‘Britain’.

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