To me, England and Englishness is a state of mind rather than just being a member of a people or race on an island just off the European mainland. It is a state of mind much admired and respected by many, whether English or not. There is also a strange English tradition of self-hate, or at least loathing, as Englishness is despised by many in England who would do anything to destroy it – mainly socialists and others on the left, and it is they who often decry ‘tradition’.
When I think of England, I think of a people are proud without being jingoistic, who are settled and comfortable in their own body and history – never wishing to be anything other than English, and who just have this natural balance about themselves. The English countryside is the perfect mirror.
They also believe strongly in fair play being the cradle of liberalism, modern democracy and freedom with responsibility. A willingness to support the underdog and wanting to give a helping hand to others and a clear sense of Christian Conservative principles underpinning the country’s instincts.
Lastly, what also sets us apart is our independence of mind, creativity and invention, a willingness to view authority with a more than healthy scepticism and also our dry and often self-deprecating sense of humour.
This is a jumbled mix I know, but it is really difficult to describe Englishness because it is just the sense you have of what it means to be English, and what it means to others. A state of mind as well as a strong sense of place.
Certainly, when I meet people from abroad I feel they look up to us still for the rules, history and standards we have set and expounded across the world. I also feel they can see this natural sense of comfort and confidence the English have about themselves as well as our scepticism about authority, the sense of fairness and our humour. Some, especially in the European Union, can see and sense this, but do not quite understand it, or want to understand it. I sense those in the rest of world are more comfortable about the English than those in the rest of the European Union who continue to be on a mission to try and control it. Those who dislike the English, I feel, are jealous of the English.
As well as looking up to the English, I suspect many from abroad would find it a bizarre trait that so many in England actually despise the English. Clearly, the Labour Party, especially New Labour, and the pseudo-intellectuals who hang onto its coat tails would do anything to dismantle it as all socialists do not believe in liberty and freedom, because they fundamentally believe the state comes first.
I never understand how the last Labour Government lost control of our country’s borders unless they did so on purpose. By allowing uncontrolled immigration, they willingly allowed a loss of Englishness, certainly this was the result of those coming here ending up in ghettoes as there were not enough resources nor time to allow proper assimilation. I am hopeful that those who have settled here recently will quickly become part of this nation’s rich fabric – and want to – much to the socialists’ annoyance I am sure.
Labour created the ‘West Lothian Question’ which has opened up some fissures with the countries within the British Isles with the hope that this would damage Englishness. The English are left paying twice, subsidising the rest of the British Isles but then still having to pay tuition fees and prescription charges for example, while in Scotland there are no such charges because these are subsidised by English money. That clear unfairness breaches the English sense of fair play and therefore is actually driving a heightened sense of Englishness – a socialist own goal, one of many I would say.
Labour also signed up for more European Union control and never be fooled by Blair and Brown’s refusal to join the Euro being based on economics, it was because they knew they would never win a referendum in England and therefore Britain. Perhaps it was a combination of the natural socialist tendency to dislike Englishness coupled with some, like Blair and Brown, who were not English.
In conclusion, being English is an indescribable, almost spiritual feeling. It is hard to put your finger on it, but that is the part of its beauty and its captivation. By and large one has still truly won the lottery of life having been born in England.
Every morning when I wake up I just know I am English, that it is great to be English and that England is the best country in the world. Granted we may no longer be the greatest at playing those games we created, but we still play them with much verve, skill and hopefulness that maybe one day soon we will regain our sporting prowess to match our proud history and current place in the world.
Karl is the Conservative Member of Parliament for the Lincoln Constituency which includes Skellingthorpe, Bracebridge Heath and Waddington East.