Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Question of National Identity


Another question for you...

I was listening to a Peter David Shore speech about the '75 referendum [on membership in the European Economic Community]. It was a student union speech, maybe the Oxford Student Union--I don't know.

In it he said: "And a constant attrition of our morale, and a constant attempt to tell us that what we have and what we have [inherited] is not only our own achievement but what generations of Englishmen have helped us to achieve ... is not worth a damn."

In the Hola Massacre Speech [from 1959], J. Enoch Powell said: "All Government, all influence of man upon man, rests upon opinion. What we can do in Africa, where we still govern and where we no longer govern, depends upon the opinion which is entertained of the way in which this country acts and the way in which Englishmen act."

Both speeches phrased the issue in terms of Englishmen. Do people (not immigrants, but UK subjects) from the other parts of the UK feel slighted by such language? And if not, why not? Why didn't the speakers use "British" rather than "English"?



Henry is a friend in Northern Ireland. 

I am not British, but when I listen to both these speeches, I am moved to tears.  

Seth Barrett Tillman, A Question of National Identity, New Reform Club (Sept. 27, 2017, 1:54 PM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-question-of-national-identity.html 


John Farrier said...

I recently read Robert Shepherd's 1996 biography of Powell. If I remember correctly, Shepherd explained that Powell saw his personal identity as English, but was willing to go along with a British national identity for political language.

Powell really had his blood up during the then-famous Hola massacre speech. Perhaps, in his anger, he slipped.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that most Americans can tell the difference between "English" and "British".

Bill Befort said...

"You have to be very careful how you use those terms. When we win, it's 'Another triumph for Great Britain!' When we don't, it's 'England loses again.'" --Michael Flanders

NO GOOGLES said...

English means just people from England. British means England + Scotland + Wales.

Terrence Berres said...

Then there's "England expects that every man will do his duty."