The Commission into the West Lothian Question is a pointless charade – Guest by Toque

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Posted on : 17-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : Uncategorized

The Commission into the West Lothian Question is a pointless charade

Submitted by Toque on Tue, 01/17/2012 – 17:18

The long awaited Commission into the West Lothian Question has finally been unveiled.

Unfortunately the terms of reference do not allow the Commission to consider the only solution to the West Lothian Question – an English parliament – as the Government had previously suggested it would, on two separate occassions.

Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat):

An English Parliament has been proposed in the past as a solution to the West Lothian question. It would be open to the commission, once established, to consider this as part of its review.

Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)

As the noble Lord is aware the coalition programme for government committed the Government to establishing a commission to consider the West Lothian question. An English Parliament has been proposed in the past as a solution to the West Lothian question. It would be open to the commission, once established, to consider this as part of its review.

Anyone in England who expected fair dealing from the British Government ought now to support Scottish independence.

In losing its Common Law, England has lost its Common Sense

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Posted on : 17-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : England, English Politics

In losing its Common Law, England has lost its Common Sense

The hearing, before the abomination which is known as the “Supreme Court“, in England, scheduled for today, on the question of a legally set retirement age, highlights another area of severe damage inflicted upon the country by the obscene, malfunctioning and hopefully soon to be abandoned European Union, by its treacherous supporters buried deep and furtively within the nation’s body politic.Read some background from the FT here (£) with broadcast reports no doubt widely spread and normally ill-informed elsewhere.

Common sense does not function with a Constitutional legal system which defines what is legal. Under Common Law everything is legal bar what is specifically prohibited; that is why  the European Human Rights stipulations, with which we are now so stuck, the common sense English should normally not need.

But are there now enough of us left even to grasp this point?

Rights, some of which jar so violently with our history, too often, as in this case, become themselves great infringements on the past reasonable and agreed civilised interactions between individuals!

Many over sixty five worked on to the delight and benefit of their employers in the past, obviously perfectly voluntarily. Now thousands must retire before they might wish through covert systems designed to apply old limits and employers are compelled to employ worthless timewasters until they are on the verge of death.Labels: 

I Support the Spartacus Report

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Posted on : 11-01-2012 | By : English Warrior | In : Uncategorized

I Support the Spartacus Report

So today, after months of work and planning we launch our Report


We did everything possible to engage with politicians, lobbying MPs and Peers, writing articles, attending conferences, but at every turn we were brushed aside.
Despite serious concerns from campaigners, charities and disabled people themselves, the Government’s the recent Impact Assessment (October 2011) into the proposed reform of Disability Living Allowance is almost identical to the original. Nothing has changed, almost none of our concerns have been addressed and as the House of Lords return to vote on the final stages of the welfare reform bill, we felt that it was vital we presented our own evidence.
This is the Spartacus Report. We all own it, we all created it. It is yours, use it in any way you wish. Please join in the campaign online today if you aren’t already signed up:
Tweeting using the hashtag #spartacusreport “I support the #spartacus report”
Change Facebook status to “I support the Spartacus Report”
Email your MP with the links to the report and the press release using this short covering letter :
“This report into Disability Allowance Reform has been written, researched and funded by disabled people. As one of your constituents, I am very concerned by its findings and the misrepresentation of disabled people that it exposes.
Please will you read the report and support sick and disabled people in calling for a pause to Personal Independence Payments in light of this new research.
I look forward to your response,”
Finally, please keep checking the blog all day as we will be updating regularly with very exciting updates ;)
Our report shows that :
-The Government broke its own code of consultation over the DLA reform
-The Government has entirely misrepresented the views submitted as part of the consultation, giving a partial and biased view.
-The Government claim that DLA must be reformed as claims has risen 30% in 8 years – we find that these statistics are entirely misleading and give a “distorted view”
-There is overwhelming opposition to the new benefit, Personal Independence Payments
-Some elements of PIP appear to already be going ahead, despite a rejection of the plans and before legislation has passed.
-The Government are repeatedly warned that proposals for PIP may break International and UK equality and Human Rights legislation
This is our chance to be heard. This is our chance to put evidence in the public domain from our own perspective. Today, a courier will take 31 boxes or reports, all hand stuffed into envelopes and addressed and deliver them to every peer and every MP and all of the people who responded to the consultation.
We did it. I had no idea if we could when we started, but we did it.
From today, Government may of course continue to ignore us. But they can never say they didn’t know what they were doing.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968

From England: A message of support for Alex Salmond and the SNP – guest post by Toque

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Posted on : 11-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : British Politics, England, English Campaign, English Politics, scotland, snp

From England: A message of support for Alex Salmond and the SNP

Submitted by Toque on Tue, 01/10/2012 – 22:55

Dear Alex Salmond,

You have played an absolute blinder today. Well done. Anyone who knew anything about Scottish politics warned David Cameron not to interfere in the referendum but he just couldn’t help himself. And now he looks to everyone in Scotland like an arrogant fool who thought he could dictate the terms and timing of the referendum on Scottish independence to the Scottish Government. Does he not realise that the Scottish people are sovereign; and that they elected a government to deliver them a referendum; and that the government they chose was yours not his? The Scottish Government may not have the legal authority to hold a binding referendum but it has the moral authority.

Ignore the critics who say that you are frit, those same people deny England a referendum on an English parliament because they know they will lose. You are quite right to wait until 2014 so that Scotland can have a full debate on the pros and cons of independence; so that the Scottish people can see that the Calman proposals in the Scotland Bill are inadequate; so that the Scottish people can see what effect the West Lothian Commission will have on the ability of their MPs to represent them at Westminster; and so that the Scottish people can experience life under austerity Britain, caused by the economic incompetence of Westminster politicians (albeit Scottish ones).

Autumn 2014 is a good date for the independence referendum because in 2014 Scotland plays host to the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games, and celebrates the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and in all likelihood the Scots will be complaining about the British media’s biased coverage of England’s World Cup campaign. .

You are also right to prevent Westminster from insisting that the referendum should be a straight YES/NO question on Scottish independence. We all know that the Scottish people would prefer Independence Lite (orIndependence in Britain as I prefer to call it) and so, as a party of the people, you should do what you can to ensure that Independence Lite is an option.

Gerry Hassan suggests that Scottish Government should use the following wording for the independence referendum:

Do you authorise the Scottish Government to begin negotiations with the UK Government on Scottish independence?

These are words, according to Hassan, that are easily understood by everyone, with no doubts about what it means that is open to claim or counter-claim. I think he is right, no reasonable person could object. But having secured a mandate from the people to enter into negotiations with Westminster over Scottish independence, it is then possible for the two governments to come up with a bipartisan middle-way that can be put to the Scottish people in a legally binding referendum.

Independence (as was pointed out by DougtheDug on this blog) can be declared by Scotland on a unilateral basis, and there’s not a great deal that Westminster can do about it. Whereas the problem with Independence Lite is that it has to come about bilaterally: it has to be offered by Westminster and accepted by Scotland. By using Hassan’s suggested question you are more likely to engineer a situation in which both Independence and Independence Lite are on the ballot paper.

I would like you to know that there are a great number of people in England that are cheering you on. It’s not only the Scots who feel trapped under the weight of the Imperial Parliament, an increasing number of English people do too. England is not a democracy and it lacks the basic trappings of nationhood: Parliament, Government, anthem, national holiday, etc. The government that we’re lumbered with – the UK Government – is incapable of speaking for England; it can speak of England but not for England, the English question is ignored and we’re left without a vision of an English future – England unimagined. Regrettably there is no English version of Alex Salmond, there is no politician for whom the interests of England are paramount. It doesn’t matter how often we express a desire for an English dimension to governance, we are ignored, and it is the multi-national nature of the UK and the Unionists’ desire to retain absolute sovereignty at Westminster that is the main reason preventing them from recognising English popular sovereignty. As an Englishman it makes me ashamed to say that you are the greatest hope for England, but at present you are. And not just England, you have the opportunity to shape the democratic future of the entire UK for the better.

Not that I want to put any greater pressure on you.

Good luck and God speed.

Scotland: A case of give and take.

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Posted on : 09-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : Uncategorized

It could be a case of we all put equal in, Scotland thinks they put in more based on the oil Salmond thinks they own. Whereas the UK treasury say they do not own that much because the oil belongs to UK PLC.

All Hinges on the Uk Continental shelf act 1964.  All countries in the UK agreed to it.

Still does not take away that a Scottish person per capita gets more per head than I.

Where is the Equality in this defunct UK?

Scotland: A case of give and take (Original Article)

Does Scotland get more out of the union than it puts in?

Talk of a Scottish referendum has revived this very old debate, which is old precisely because it does not allow for an easy answer.

You won’t catch me taking a view on the broader question, whether Scotland would be better off leaving the UK – economically, or, er, spiritually. Nor will you find me commenting on the rights and wrongs of a divorce from the standpoint of the English.

But Sir Gus O’Donnell, in almost his last public act as head of the civil service before Christmas, decided to highlight the risk that Scotland would leave the UK in the next few years, and apparently the prime minister has taken the warning to heart.

So it seems a good time to go through the numbers on that narrower question of whether Scotland gets more in terms of public spending than it gives back in revenues.

For readers who’d rather not wade through the statistics: the answer is yes, Scotland does get a net subsidy.

But how large depends heavily on how you account for North Sea oil. And if you define a subsidy as getting more in spending than you put back in revenues, it’s worth remembering that we’re all being subsidised by the Treasury these days. It’s just that when we’re talking about the UK we call it a budget deficit.

Now for the numbers part.

The basic facts are that Scotland accounts for 8.4% of the UK population, 8.3% of the UK’s total output and 8.3% of the UK’s non-oil tax revenues – but 9.2% of total UK public spending.

Scottish Executive figures for 2009-10 show that spending per capita in Scotland was £11,370, versus £10,320 for the UK. In other words, spending in Scotland was £1,030 – or 10% higher – per head of population than the UK average.

What about revenues? The same source shows Scottish total non-oil tax revenues coming in at £42.7bn in 2009-10, or £8,221 per head, which compares with total public expenditure attributable to Scotland of £59.2bn, or £11,370 per head.

Incidentally, these numbers include not just the so-called “identifiable” public spending that took place in Scotland, on schools, roads and the like, but also more amorphous parts of the budget like defense and debt interest.

On this basis, Scotland ‘got’ £16.5bn more in UK public spending in 2009-10 than it contributed to total UK revenues – or a ‘subsidy’ of around £3,150 per head.

Now it is customary – even south of the border – to point out that Scotland has greater spending needs than many other parts of the UK, because it has a higher unemployment rate, for example, and higher levels of expensive illnesses like heart disease and cancer.

So it’s not necessarily a sign of great profligacy that the Scottish spend more per head. That is one reason why more than half of Scotland’s public spending is allocated according to the dreaded “Barnett formula”, which for sanity’s sake I’m trying not to get into.

But Alex Salmond and his supporters have a more basic objection (phew), which is that the revenue figures for Scotland make no mention of North Sea oil. These are falling, but were still more than £6bn in 2009-10.

If you add in a proportion of those revenues, in line with Scotland’s share of the UK population, it makes very little difference to the overall story. But if you say that more than 90% of the oil revenues are Scottish, as Mr Salmond would consider geographically appropriate, then you get Scotland ‘putting in’ £48.1bn in tax revenues in 2009-10, not £42.7bn.

Put it another way: Scotland provided 9.4% of total UK revenues and got ‘only’ 9.2% of UK public spending in return.

Now of course, the UK Treasury doesn’t agree that the oil revenues belong to Scotland, and it almost certainly never will. In fact, as any Scottish Nationalist will happily tell you, it was the Treasury that helped to invent a new extra-territorial category of national output for North Sea oil, in the 1970s. Treasury statisticians will tell you it made sense to keep the oil sector separate from the broader UK economy. Mr Salmond will tell you it was a Whitehall plot to steal the oil from the Scots.

So there are two numbers to choose from, depending on whether you take a Whitehall view of oil, or the view from Holyrood.

On the Treasury view, the gap between spending and revenues in Scotland for 2009-10 was £3,150 per head. On the Scottish Nationalist view, the gap between spending and revenues was closer to £2,130.

Please, take your pick. All I ask is you bear in mind one other number – related to one other obvious, but very important fact. Namely, that Scotland is not the only part of the UK that is currently spending more than it raises in revenues.

If you apply the same kind calculation to the UK as a whole, the net ‘subsidy’ for the average person was well over £2,000 last year.

So Scotland and England do have that in common, after all.

British Futures: 51% Support an English Parliament – Guest post by Toque

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Posted on : 09-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : British Politics, CEP, England, English Campaign, English Politics, scotland, snp

British Futures: 51% Support an English Parliament

Submitted by Toque on Mon, 01/09/2012 – 00:00

For those of us interested in the constitutional future of the United Kingdom the Hopes and Fears State of the Nation 2012 report by British Future provides interesting reading.

66percent.jpg66% of us feel a strong connection to Britain but we feel a greater sense of belonging to our home nations. In England, surprisingly perhaps, 62% of ethnic minorities (including 69% of Asians) feel strongly English, which leads the authors to muse that Englishness is now considered a civic rather than an ethnically defined identity. The poll suggests that there is little conflict between English and British identities, with respondents who feel that they belong to Britain and to their local areas demonstrating a strong sense of English identity too. A strong sense of English identity fell to 27% among those who claimed to have no strong sense of being British. This mutually reinforcing link between English and British identity was reflected in the data from the North East of England where a whopping 40% of people claimed to have no strong sense of belonging to England:

Only 49% of people in the north east feel strongly British, much lower than the 67% who feel strongly British across England as a whole. While 62% of Welsh people and 60% of Scots feel strongly British, with 37% and 40% disagreeing.

Despite its low affinity with England the North East was the area that demonstrated the greatest support for the establishment of an English parliament (58%), which is perhaps a reflection of concerns over the Barnett Formula or simply due to a greater awareness of devolution to Scotland.

Across Great Britain (not the UK, Northern Ireland was not included in this poll) 51% of people support the establishment of an English parliament, rising to 52% in England alone. There is little support for the Status Quo (though it is noticeable that Scotland, which has the greatest degree of autonomy, is more supportive of the Status Quo than the rest of Great Britain) and even less for ending devolution by abolishing the national parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

nations-agree.jpg

Opponents of an English parliament will doubtless argue that whilst it may be true that polls such as this show demonstrable support for the establishment of an English parliament it is not a salient or high priority issue, as demonstrated by the lack of signatures for that cause on the Government’s petition site. Nevertheless, given that the three main parties, and until recently UKIP, have been fiercely opposed to an English parliament, it will concern the British political classes that they are out of step with public opinion and there remains the potential in England for an assertive English nationalism during their battle with the Scottish nationalists.

scottish-ind.jpgThe spirit of British fraternity that is evident in support for an English parliament is also evident when it comes to Scottish independence. Opposition to Scotland leaving the Union is similar in all three home nations, with – the authors say – the main difference being a lower proportion of don’t knows in Scotland. Though the headline for nat-bashers like Alan Cochrane must surely read ‘Scots are more supportive of Scotland remaining a part of the UK than either the English or the Welsh’.

Support for Scottish independence was highest in the South West of England, where 34% would like Scotland to become independent compared with 40% who would like Scotland to remain a part of the UK.

British Futures: 51% Support an English Parliament by Toque

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Posted on : 09-01-2012 | By : English Warrior | In : Uncategorized

British Futures: 51% Support an English Parliament

Submitted by Toque on Mon, 01/09/2012 – 00:00

For those of us interested in the constitutional future of the United Kingdom the Hopes and Fears State of the Nation 2012 report by British Future provides interesting reading.

66percent.jpg66% of us feel a strong connection to Britain but we feel a greater sense of belonging to our home nations. In England, surprisingly perhaps, 62% of ethnic minorities (including 69% of Asians) feel strongly English, which leads the authors to muse that Englishness is now considered a civic rather than an ethnically defined identity. The poll suggests that there is little conflict between English and British identities, with respondents who feel that they belong to Britain and to their local areas demonstrating a strong sense of English identity too. A strong sense of English identity fell to 27% among those who claimed to have no strong sense of being British. This mutually reinforcing link between English and British identity was reflected in the data from the North East of England where a whopping 40% of people claimed to have no strong sense of belonging to England:

Only 49% of people in the north east feel strongly British, much lower than the 67% who feel strongly British across England as a whole. While 62% of Welsh people and 60% of Scots feel strongly British, with 37% and 40% disagreeing.

Despite its low affinity with England the North East was the area that demonstrated the greatest support for the establishment of an English parliament (58%), which is perhaps a reflection of concerns over the Barnett Formula or simply due to a greater awareness of devolution to Scotland.

Across Great Britain (not the UK, Northern Ireland was not included in this poll) 51% of people support the establishment of an English parliament, rising to 52% in England alone. There is little support for the Status Quo (though it is noticeable that Scotland, which has the greatest degree of autonomy, is more supportive of the Status Quo than the rest of Great Britain) and even less for ending devolution by abolishing the national parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

nations-agree.jpg

Opponents of an English parliament will doubtless argue that whilst it may be true that polls such as this show demonstrable support for the establishment of an English parliament it is not a salient or high priority issue, as demonstrated by the lack of signatures for that cause on the Government’s petition site. Nevertheless, given that the three main parties, and until recently UKIP, have been fiercely opposed to an English parliament, it will concern the British political classes that they are out of step with public opinion and there remains the potential in England for an assertive English nationalism during their battle with the Scottish nationalists.

scottish-ind.jpgThe spirit of British fraternity that is evident in support for an English parliament is also evident when it comes to Scottish independence. Opposition to Scotland leaving the Union is similar in all three home nations, with – the authors say – the main difference being a lower proportion of don’t knows in Scotland. Though the headline for nat-bashers like Alan Cochrane must surely read ‘Scots are more supportive of Scotland remaining a part of the UK than either the English or the Welsh’.

Support for Scottish independence was highest in the South West of England, where 34% would like Scotland to become independent compared with 40% who would like Scotland to remain a part of the UK.

Great article, very thought provoking and well worth the reblog.

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Posted on : 07-01-2012 | By : English Warrior | In : Uncategorized

I’m not alone in feeling English, not British. But that has nothing to do with racism or Ukip | Suzanne Moore

Englishness is not the preserve of the right

Suzanne Moore · guardian.co.uk
Read by 1,027 people

PJ Harvey … 'I live and die through England, it leaves a sadness'. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex PJ Harvey … ‘I live and die through England, it leaves a sadness’. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex

‘My mother was half-English and I am half-English too,” sings Billy Bragg on England, Half English. He has more idea about what he is than I do. My father was American, my grandad Cherokee, my mother adopted, so really I don’t know. She had olive skin and black hair. Jewish? Italian? English? It didn’t matter, anyway. Everyone always said how much I looked like my grandma. People see what they want to see. Or perhaps I really did look like her, though we had no genetic connection. Perhaps love runs thicker than blood. That’s what I felt. Lately, though, I feel very English, if such a feeling exists. That’s right: English, not British. I see England speaking of itself once more and I am not surprised. Old and new Englishness abounds and it is not connected with racism or with Ukip. But it will be if it cannot be heard. On the day the verdicts of the Lawrence trial came in, the BBC, in trying to explore “race relations” (a term way past its sell-by date in every sense), referred to last summer’s riots as “the English riots”. Did my heart swell with new-found patriotism? Not exactly. But the Scots, Welsh and Irish did not riot. Then people online started talking about the English Defence League’s reaction to the Lawrence verdict. What was highlighted on many of the threads was the obvious disarray and ignorance of the EDL. We have been told it is in decline, yet I would not be so complacent about that when suspect groupings such as Casuals United are going strong. The last time I wrote about how the EDL were aping the language of inclusivity, I was automatically accused of being racist, as if to look at such material is to endorse it. But seeing, for instance, Ted Hughes’s poetry co-opted by the EDL is indeed unsettling. This attempted rebranding of the far-right has not been a success, but it is early to dismiss it as a total failure. This is why it matters that we talk about Englishness, and now even more so in our post-European “isolation”. Again, there have been parallel worlds: one in which we are all assumed to be pro-European EasyJetters, the other where the majority are uneasy about what “Europe” means. It is hardly small-minded to worry about democratic accountability or to simply observe; those of us with family in Ireland watched the European money flow into that country, and then flow out again. The anti-Europeanism that upsets the bien pensants is pragmatic. But if we pull back from Europe, will we look further inwards? Devolution means a shoring up of some identities, while others are in flux. The kind of nationalism that Billy Bragg talks of is a patriotism of radical Englishness, of class solidarity and anti-racism. This speaks to me. When I was very young and travelling in India, I had arranged to meet a friend in a huge city and she found me simply by going to the cheapest flop houses and looking through their books. When she saw a name with “English” and not “UK” beside it in the nationality box she knew it was me, for even then I could not bear the term United Kingdom. She laughed at me a lot, because her father knew something about Englishness: he was EP Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class. If my clinging to Englishness was making a statement about class, then I came home to a place where Britishness had become the default for anyone who wanted to say something, or perhaps nothing, about race. Thus, many people identify themselves as Black-British rather than, say, Sikh-Scots. This hybrid works if the centre can hold. But the centre has shifted. Englishness is not the preserve of the right. The cultural canaries sing. Thus Jez Butterworth writes Jerusalem and PJ Harvey has been singing of her connection to the white chalk of Dorset and now to the blood and bones of England itself. “I live and die through England, it leaves a sadness.” Her England is of the past and the future; the dead of the Empire’s wars are not denied. Then, of course, Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu, AKA Tinie Tempah, does Englishness in a totally different way. “Yeah, they say hello, they say ola and they say bonjour” leads to the very funny “I’ve been to Southampton but I’ve never been to Scunthorpe.” The scuppering of Englishness as any kind of ethnically pure or white identity is happening: listen to the way kids talk. The problems come when Britishness, or Europeanism, feels enforced rather than organic. This is often what people are really complaining about when they say multi-culturalism has “failed”. This loss is replaced by Englishness as nostalgia. Orwell, always the reference point, got most things right. But he described the essential qualities of Englishness as “gentleness” and “privateness”. He clearly hadn’t seen Big Brother. Some say anxiety about Englishness can lead us only backwards; others say look to it for its anti-establishment credentials. And I would. It could be more than anti-Catholicism and morris dancing. We could have greater expectations. My loyalty is to no flag and no king, and I fully understand why many prefer the term British. But where I live, where I hear so many tongues and see so many faces, where many worlds collide, where I may be a citizen and as awkward as I like, is actually England.

Did Cameron lie to get you on side? : FCO: no EU Treaty was drafted at the European Council in December – Guest post by Wonkotsane via Bloggers4Ukip.

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Posted on : 05-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : Uncategorized

Thursday, 5 January 2012

FCO: no EU Treaty was drafted at the European Council in December

Three weeks ago we submitted a Freedom of Information Request for a copy of the EU treaty that David Cameron was supposed to have vetoed.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office have responded today with the following:

Dear Mr Parr,

Thank-you for your email. I apologise for the short delay in getting back to you.

We are not treating your email as an FOI request as no EU Treaty was drafted at the European Council in December. So I have passed your email asking about the Prime Minister’s rejection of a new EU Treaty and a financial transaction tax to my colleagues in our Europe Directorate for a response. They will be in touch shortly.

No treaty?  That’s interesting because according to the Conservative Party website on the 9th of December …

Prime Minister David Cameron has today spoken of his decision to veto a new European treaty following a round of discussions with European leaders in Brussels.

The Conservatives misleading the public?  Surely not.If you read the FOI request that we submitted, the first question asks for a copy of the treaty that Cameron vetoed and “If no draft treaty exists, please provide a précis of the intended purpose and contents of the proposed treaty”.  So no thanks, a statement from the EU Directorate isn’t really good enough.

Dear Mr Leinster,

Thank you for your reply.  In the first question in my request I said “If no draft treaty exists, please provide a précis of the intended purpose and contents of the proposed treaty”.  As no treaty exists but the proposed contents of said treaty were “vetoed” this information must surely exist and as such I should be entitled to it under the FOIA, notwithstanding the usual restrictions around national security/interest.

Whose Englishness is it anyway? – guest post from the pages of Our Kingdom

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Posted on : 04-01-2012 | By : EnglandExists | In : British Politics, CEP, England, English Campaign, English Politics, Uncategorized

Interesting read, I hope you enjoy it.

Christine Berberich4 January 2012

‘Englishness’ has been a popular term for the past decade. A look into any publisher’s catalogue will immediately discover a wide variety of titles dedicated to the topic of English national identity. These can be very specific – such as, for example, The Politics of EnglishnessThe Englishness of English Dress, orLandscape and Englishness, or tend towards the more general, all-encompassing, such as Englishness Identified or, quite simply, Englishness (i). Add to this the almost overwhelming number of books dedicated to England and things English – ranging, to name but a few, from Watching the English and England: an Elegy to Identity of EnglandAn Imaginary EnglandReal England or Eating for England – and one would be forgiven to think that everything there is to know about England, the English and Englishness has been covered, written and analysed (ii). Still, new titles keep arriving; and still, the answer to the question ‘what does it mean, in the twenty-first century, to be English’ has proven elusive.

 

This, of course, immediately gives rise to yet another question: is it actually possible, or even desirable, to find a definite answer to ‘the English question’? Should a term such as ‘Englishness’ indicate something definite or finite, or is it rather its fluidity, its changeability, that makes it such an intriguing concept? The following essay does by no means attempt to find an answer to the above question. Instead, it sets out to show how one contemporary novelist tackles issues of national identity and belonging by setting up his readers’ expectations only to then challenge and subvert them.

Julian Barnes’ Booker-prize short-listed novel England England of 1998 is a playful, almost irreverent deconstruction of preconceived and traditional ideas about national identity (iii). The novel is structured into three parts that follow the life of its main protagonist, Martha Cochrane, as she first recounts her early childhood memories; then her rise and fall as manager of the theme park England England, a ‘reconstruction’ of England in the Isle of Wight; and finally her old age in a forgotten corner of old England called ‘Anglia’. While the beginning and concluding part of the novel are realist in their narrative tone, the middle and longest part of the novel is postmodern in that it blends a variety of techniques and philosophical ideas. My essay will firstly focus on Barnes’ use – some might call it over-indulgent use – of the narrative device of the list; it will then look at the novel’s technique and conclude that that in itself resembles a list with the result that Barnes seems to be satirising his own novel.

The narrative device of ‘the list’, and here in particular its use in attempts to define and explain national identity, deserves some elaboration. When all else fails, a simple listing of things, events and people one associates with a particular country can be offered in place of a proper definition. Dominic Head has pointed out the “empirical habit of cultural commentators who resort to lists of things that might define that national character by drawing together its disparate elements” (iv).The list of writers and cultural commentators who have made use of such lists is long and eclectic, ranging from John Betjeman, who famously conjured up “the Church of England, eccentric incumbents, oil-lit churches, Women’s Institutes, modest village inns, arguments about cow parsley on the altar, the noise of mowing machines on Saturday afternoons […] branch-line trains, light railways, leaning on gates and looking across fields” (v), and George Orwell, whose image of “old maids biking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning” (vi) has since been appropriated for nostalgic evocations of England’s past greatness, most famously by John Major in the 1990s; to otherwise seemingly more forward-looking and cynical commentators such as Jeremy Paxman who, in 1998, compiled a list of things English containing “village cricket and Elgar […] punk, street fashion, irony, vigorous politics, brass bands, Shakespeare, Cumberland sausages, double-decker buses, Vaughan Williams, Donne and Dickens, twitching net curtains, breast-obsession, quizzes and crosswords […]” (vii). Paxman’s list is particularly interesting as it departs, in some respects, from the ‘typical’ list of Englishness that often focuses on purely rural England – see, for example, Betjeman’s focus on villages and rural churches. Paxman not only combines the rural with the urban, but also offers an intriguing blend of objects, places, names and attitudes that shows just how much and how many different aspects there are to Englishness.

The internet has recently also proven to be a valuable research tool on Englishness as a plethora of websites dedicated to debating Englishness have sprung up. Prominent among these are the Open Democracy Net’s ‘Our Kingdom’ section that is dedicated, as a blog space, to the “future of the United Kingdom” (viii), and the “Icons” site which, in its own words, tries to offer “a portrait of England” (ix). Aim of the Icons website is to offer its users a list of markers of Englishness – but to allow its users to vote them either ‘in’ or ‘out’. As such, the Icons website is not as prescriptive as the above selective lists but offers more active involvement by individuals, who can also ‘nominate’ new icons for general vote.

Of particular interest in this context is the website “What England Means to Me” which offers an ongoing debate and dialogue and attempts to compile a “Domesday Book” of contemporary feelings, opinions and attitudes about Englishness (x). Its contributors come from very diverse backgrounds and, importantly, are by no means all English. “What England Means to Me” brings together political commentators, practicing politicians, academics, socialist activists, farmers and many more, and, looking through the entries, what stands out most is the diversity of them which clearly shows that ‘Englishness’ is a term difficult to pinpoint, and of immense subjective meaning and importance. However, I would like to focus on the following two entries. The Conservative MP John Redwood, for example, depicts England as

a summer’s day by a river in a wooded valley, an afternoon on the cricket field, strawberries at Wimbledon, and well kept gardens in leafy suburbs. It is seeing Shakespeare enacted at the Globe, hearing William Byrd and Handel. It is a way of life and a way of thinking. At their best Englishmen and women believe in fair play, freedom and tolerance (xii).

Scilla Cullen, the Chairwoman of the Campaign for an English Parliament, finds that

England is a country of local loyalties and identities, villages where people look after one another, pubs that you can walk into and strike up a conversation, pub gossip; the unique change ringing of our church bells and the church as the focal point of a community, less so nowadays unhappily. Clichés such as the sound of wood on leather on a lazy summer’s afternoon are just as evocative whether or not they are clichés. England means quiet country lanes and villages and that green and pleasant land; a connection with the soil and the farming community; food production, the basis of life (xii).

These are, clearly, two very patriotic statements; and also two statements with considerable political spin: by listing certain things that Redwood and Cullen consider to be particularly English – cricket, strawberries and cream, pretty, suburban gardens, the green and pleasant land – they try to create a sense of community among their readers, or dare one say a sense of complicity down the line of ‘Englishmen and women will know what I mean’. Althouth this might, indeed, be what the terms ‘England’ and ‘Englishness’ conjure up for the two, their choice is extremely selective, tapping into stereotypical, and, potentially, outmoded or at best socially exclusive clichés of Englishness that, inevitably, exclude the majority of readers.

Entries such as the ones above, despite their upper-middle-class and somewhat wistful and backwards-looking, not to say reactionary, take on Englishness, can be linked to the theoretical concept of lieux de mémoire put forward by the French historian Pierre Nora (xiii). Nora differentiates “sites of memory” into environments—milieux—and places—lieux—of memory. For him, history is a construct that presents selective forms of the past. ‘Memory’, by contrast, can be changed and manipulated and is consequently more active. In this respect, Nora’s milieux de mémoire are also devolving: they are the spheres in which we not only live but engage with the past. But to return to the idea of icons of nationhood: these can be seen as Nora’s lieux de mémoire, static, fixed sites of memory, for examples places, pieces of literature, certain persons or landscapes — but always a gateway to the past and to memory. All the previously mentioned lists are, of course, nothing but a manifestation of Nora’s concept of lieux de mémoire and it is important to see that it is selective and suggestive lists such as these that form the backbone to discussions and writing on national identity. If we link Nora’s lieux de mémoire to Benedict Anderson’s concept of nations as imagined communities, then we can see that, for reasons of political spin (not to say power) certain images of a nation are repeatedly conjured up – presumably by those in power – to create a sense of belonging, and a sense of community. Anderson sees nations as “cultural artefacts of a particular kind”, one that requires the willing participation of everybody concerned, to imagine the nation as “a community” (xiv) – and the repeated use of certain images certainly could be seen to help that process along. However, it is also important to realise that it could be abused for political gain and spin. Randall Stephenson has pointed out that “a nation’s sense of identity is inevitably entangled with images it has to adopt in presenting itself to the outside world” (xv), a comment that points at another issue: that there is often a difference between how a nation sees itself, and how it is perceived by others. Crucially, Stephenson suggests that nations then often perpetuate and re-enforce the image others have in order to keep a certain standing in the world or, on a more practical level, to maintain foreign interest and attract tourists.

This is where Barnes’ novel England England comes in as it is a lampooning of the contemporary tourist industry that can also be read as an ironic construct around the notion of ‘lists of Englishness’ or lieux de mémoire to such an extent that it turns it into a self-conscious list of lists. On a personal level, the novel starts with the figure of Martha Cochrane and her attempts to find a sense of national identity as a child: her earliest memory, she claims, is of “sitting on the kitchen floor … and there, spread out… was her Counties of England jigsaw puzzle” (EE, 4). Martha’s attempts to piece together her jigsaw are symbolic of trying to find her own sense of self and, quite literally, her place within her country. The novel’s cover illustration – jigsaw pieces showing the South of England – is indicative of this slow process of building a sense of self and belonging. Once a piece of the jigsaw goes missing – and with ‘Nottinghamshire’ it is a substantial and, crucially, a very central piece – Martha’s developing sense of national identity is disrupted and she appears forever searching, not just for the missing piece but also for her own sense of self.

At school, Martha and the other children are conditioned into a prescribed notion of Englishness encompassed in the historical dates they are required to learn off by heart and repeat to rhythmic clapping:

55BC (clap clap) Roman Invasion

1066 (clap clap) Battle of Hastings

1215 (clap clap) Magna Carta

1512 (clap clap) Henry the Eight (clap clap)

Defender of Faith (clap clap)

culminating in ‘1940 (clap clap) Battle of Britain / 1973 (clap clap) Treaty of Rome’ (EE, 11). This list of ‘important’ historical dates is, like the previously mentioned clichéd stereotypes of Englishness, highly selective, only conveying a sense of a triumphant Englishness that does not leave any space for doubts regarding the supremacy of the nation. In addition, the rhythmical clapping the children have to provide does not allow them time for reflection or, heaven forbid, questioning of the dates and events they are ordered to absorb. Effectively, they are thus turned into little, patriotic automata.

It can be argued that Barnes satirises this ‘conditioning’ when, over almost two pages, he lists the various categories that can be found at an Agricultural Fair, ranging from “Three Carrots – long, Three Carrots – short, Three Turnips – any variety, Five Potatoes – long, Five Potatoes – round” and “Six Eschalots, large red, Six Eschalots, small red, Six Eschalots, large white, Six Eschalots, small white” to such delectable things as “Collection of Vegetable. Six distinct kinds. Cauliflowers, if included, must be shown on stalks” and “Tray of vegetables. Tray may be dressed, but only parsley may be used”, taking in livestock and condiments, to eventually culminate in the dazzling and fragrant display of “Three Dahlias, decorative, over 8’’ – in three vases, Three Dahlias, decorative, 6’’—8’’ – in one vase, Four Dahlias, decorative, 3’’—6’’ – in one vase” and so on (EE, 8—9).

An extensive list such as this so early on in the novel does several things. First of all, it once again reflects Martha’s own childish sense of insecurity, or rather her relief at the believed security these lists – seemingly set in stone – appear to convey: “there was something about the lists – their calm organisation and their completeness – which satisfied her” (EE, 9). Martha seems to feel that only if things have been properly labelled and pigeon-holed do they achieve a sense of proper being: “She felt as if the items laid out before them could not truly exist until she had named and categorised them” (EE, 9). But the passage has a deeper meaning for the novel as a whole as it points at the constructedness of everything: Country Fairs are organised, as the list shows, in an almost regimented manner; Country Fairs, as any tourist brochure of rural areas will confirm, are also representative of a quintessential Englishness, a fact explored in Iain Aitch’s tongue-in-cheek A Fête Worse than Death which promises, in its blurb, yet another “hilarious insight into what it is to be English in the twenty-first century.” (xvi) Barnes’ novel thus shows very early on that ‘Englishness’ is built around rigid pointers of national identity that are themselves artificially constructed and that can, as in the case of artificially arranged vegetables, be taken to extremes. And this notion of the nation as an artificial construct is considerably elaborated on in the rest of the novel.

The personal level of national identity construction is further pursued in the figure of Sir Jack Pitman, the founder of the theme park England, England. Here, too, lists play an important part: Sir Jack is described not simply as a business tycoon, but as an “entrepreneur, innovator, ideas man, arts patron, inner-city revitaliser” (EE, 29), every new title further emphasising his importance. However, as he is a self-made, or, in his case more specifically a ‘self-styled’ man, the list of nouns describing his standing rather gives rise to doubt: why a list of words, where a single one might have sufficed? This might have to do with Sir Jack’s origins which are described as somewhat dubious (xvii) and which might also explain the fact that he always tries his utmost to appear as the stereotypical, upper-class English male, be it in the choice of apparel when going on a country walk clad in – yet another form of a list – a ‘tweed deerstalker, hunter’s jacket, cavalry twills, gaiters, hand-crafted doe-skin boots and fell-walker’s stave. All made in England, of course: Sir Jack was a patriot…’ (EE, 42) or in his taste in braces: ‘He pulled on his after-lunch cigar and snapped his MCC braces: red and yellow, ketchup and egg-yolk. He was not a member of the MCC, and his brace-maker knew better than to ask. For that matter, he had not been to Eton, served in the Guards or been accepted by the Garrick Club; yet he owned the braces which implied as much’ (EE, 30). While Sir Jack considers his own behaviour as that of ‘a rebel at heart… A bit of a maverick. A man who bends his knee to no-one. Yet a patriot at heart’ (EE, 30), it could also be read as the insecure casting around for a recognised identity, for a sense of belonging of the potential outsider, be it the social outsider in class terms, or the outsider in terms of national origin. This is a case of literal self-fashioning according to national stereotypes and could be seen, in the words of Aileen Ribeiro, as “a defiant buying into nationality through clothing.” (xviii) Whether or not this ‘buying’ into English national identity is successful is a different matter; but the fact that a “couple of young hikers” start snickering when seeing him in his walking outfit seems to query it altogether (EE, 42).

Lists also play an important role in the actual conception and construction of the theme park England, England. One of the first lists the reader is confronted with focuses on the search for an island location for the planned theme park:

‘if we are seeking to offer the thing itself, we in turn must go in search of a precious whatsit set in a silver doodah’. … ‘The Scillies?’ … ‘The Channel Islands?’ … ‘Lundy Island?’ … Anglesey was out. The Isle of Man? … ‘There,’ he said, and his curled fist came down like a passport stamp. ‘There.’ ‘The Isle of Wight,’ they answered in straggly unison (EE, 61—2) .

Barnes thus provides a clever geographical frame that works its way around the English coast island by island and that picks up on the image of the Counties of England jigsaw in the first part. Every island is systematically worked through and assessed for its suitability.

The lists also consider “proper English foodstuffs” to serve in the park, approved by the “Gastronomic Sub-Committee”and ranging from “Roast Beef of Old England […] Yorkshire Pudding, Lancashire hotpot, Sussex pond pudding, Coventry isgodcakes, Aylesbury duckling, Brown Windsor Soup, Devonshire splits, Melton Mowbray pie [and] Bedfordshire clangers” to the probably less known and more regional “Hindle Wakes, stargazey pie, wow-wow sauce […] fat rascals, Bosworth jumbles, moggy and parkin” (EE, 90—1). That the reputation of English food in the world is not the best is not a secret; certainly not since French President Chirac’s diatribe against it (xix). The attempt to sell the best of English cuisine to the visiting tourist is consequently understandable. But even in this seemingly innocent line-up of English delicacies there is political spin: traditional dishes such as faggots and fairy cakes are omitted “in case they offended the pink dollar”, spotted dick is renamed “spotted dog” but still discarded from the list, “toad-in-the hole” and “cock-a-leekie” rejected outright (EE, 90—1). In the planned theme park of England, England, not even food is taken for what it really is – food – but it is imbibed with an alleged political message. Political correctness taken a step to far.

The notion of lists culminates in Sir Jack’s market research into clichés of Englishness. “Potential purchasers of Quality Leisure in twenty-five countries had been asked to list six characteristics, virtues or quintessences which the word England suggested to them” (EE, 83). The result is the so-called “Fifty Quintessences of Englishness” that include predictable markers of identity such as the Royal Family, the Houses of Parliament, the White Cliffs of Dover and Thatched Cottages, pubs and cups of tea, but also such unexpected and negative ones as hypocrisy, perfidy, whingeing, emotional frigidity, flagellation, and bad underwear (EE, 83—85).

While Barnes’ list of Englishness is very amusing and, potentially, very enlightening, it once again hints at an unsavoury truth: who does, in fact, decide what IS and ISN’T a marker of national identity? Sir Jack’s reaction when going through the list is telling: ‘Sir Jack prodded a forefinger down Jeff’s list again, and his loyal growl intensified with each item he’d crossed off. This wasn’t a poll, it was barefaced character assassination. Who the fuck did they think they were, going around saying things like that about England? His England. What did they know?’ (EE, 86). By crossing things off the list, Sir Jack immediately designates himself as the ‘Creator’ of the new ‘country’ of England, England and shows that the choice of markers of national identity is, by force, subjective and selective. He does, consequently, not reconstruct England, but simply constructs a very personalversion of it. (xx)

The result is frightening. The Isle of Wight quickly loses all sense of identity and is being turned into an England in Miniature – an ironic stab by Barnes at the island itself that has, over the years, repeatedly marketed itself as just that, an England in miniature. Natural features are blotted out or bulldozed over, to be replaced by copies of the originals that can be found – but suddenly lose their interest – all over England. The theme park with its method actors that buy whole-heartedly into the ideology of the project soon surpasses the original and England herself sinks into ignominy. Barnes’ novel thus perfectly applies Baudrillard’s three stages of postmodernity: it starts with the simulation – the building of the theme park – which leads to a blurring and finally implosion of the boundaries between reality and the simulated. The original world – i.e. England herself – is replaced by the simulation which leads to a hyperreality. The warning signs for this come very early in the novel when Sir Jack – who assumes almost god-like characteristics – grand-eloquently warns his employees that ‘I could have you replaced with substitutes, with … simulacra … quickly’ (EE, 31). The novel thus, in the words of Frederick Holmes, “deconstructs the very concept of authenticity, showing how it is inextricably mixed with and dependent upon inauthenticity” (xxi) which is a more positive reading of England England than Matthew Pateman’s comment that England England is all about “the quotation of history, of people, of places, of things.” (xxii).

Pateman, incidentally, flatly condemns England England for the similarities, both structurally and content-wise, it bears to Barnes’ preceding work: “What was perhaps […] surprising, from an author whose work had previously seemed so fresh and new, was the extent to which the novel also seemed to rehearse ideas and themes already encountered in previous of his novels in a fashion that was also very similar to earlier treatments.” (xxiii) He elaborates that England Englandemploys a similar structure as Metroland or Staring at the Sun, and that Barnes reiterates content from earlier novels, such as A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters which he sees reflected in Martha’s “Brief History of Sexuality”. (xxiv) This leads him to suggest that Barnes is “himself deploying the strategies of simulacra, inauthenticity, and fake in order to tell a story of simulacra, inauthenticity, and fake.” (xxv) While Pateman considers this an unsuccessful experiment, I would like to argue that it is one that is perfectly in keeping with Barnes’ use of the list. His use of lists quite simply exceeds mere lists depicting national identity. The self-referentiality to his own work, plus the use of a wide variety of techniques such as parody and pastiche, the switch in narrative mode from realism in the first and last section, to postmodern experiment in the second, as well as the recreation of a pastoral elegy in the final part show Barnes’ conscious engagement with the idea of simulation. While the idea of national identity and its artificial construction and perpetuation clearly stand at the foreground of England England, the whole novel in itself turns into a very clever ‘list’ in its own right.

To conclude, I would like to come back full circle and refer you back to the website of What England Means to Me where Gareth Young, one of the editors, wrote:

The England of the mind’s eye, that England that exists in our imaginations, is a schizophrenic construction drawn from often conflicting ideas of England. There is the Romantic’s England, that of the bucolic shire, the pastoral idyll of stone cottages, winding lanes, parish churches, hedgerows and patchwork fields; there is the Nationalist’s England of Imperial institutions like Monarchy, Parliament, Civil Service, Military, and then; there is the Idealist’s England, the idea of England itself, Habeas Corpus, Freedom of thought and expression, Individualism, Tolerance, Democracy. All too often these imaginings contrast with the reality of England, a place in which we not only fail to build a new Jerusalem but seem to move ever farther from the England of our mind’s eye. (xxvi)

Barnes’ novel plays with these notions of various ‘schizophrenic construction[s] drawn from often conflicting ideas of England’. He uses traditional and acknowledged – rightly or wrongly – icons of Englishness and deconstruct them for his own means. By building his novel around different lists of Englishness, he not only ridicules this idea in the first place – in fact, Aileen Ribeiro writes that ‘perhaps the making of such lists (‘listism’?) is a peculiarly English idiosyncrasy?’ (xxvii) – but also shows up those lists precisely for what they are: artificial constructs that, maybe, help to convey a few stereotypes of the nation but are not more than that, and should be recognised for all their shortcomings. And those shorcomings are clear to see: most of the markers of Englishness compiled in the “50 Quintessences” are traditional, backward-looking, and nostalgic. The theme park of England England does thus not provide a version of a contemporary England in miniature, but rather one of an England of times gone by, and thus potentially a mythical version of England. As Nick Bentley has pointed out, England England is devoid of “any sense of a future England.” (xxviii) Barnes consequently highlights the shortcomings of the tourism and especially the so-called heritage industry that, in the effort to instil any sense of patriotism and identity instead turn the past into a theme park, something artificial, constructed and, effectively, highly non-representational of ‘the real thing’.

Originally published by the Journal of American, British and Canadian Studies.Berberich, Christine (2009), “A peculiarly English idiosyncrasy?”: Julian Barnes’s use of lists in England, England. American, British and Canadian Studies, 13. pp. 75-87. ISSN 1841-1487. Republished by kind permission.

Dr Christine Berberich is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Portsmouth University. 

 


 

i) See Arthur Aughey, The Politics of Englishness (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), Christopher Breward, Becky Conekin & Caroline Cox (eds),The Englishness of English Dress (Oxford: Berg, 2002), David Matless, Landscape and Englishness (London: Reaktion Books, 1998), Wendy Webster, Englishness and Empire 1939—1965 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), Paul Langford,Englishness Identified. Manners and Character 1650–1850 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), Simon Featherstone, Englishness. Twentieth-Century Popular Culture and the Forming of English Identity (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009)

ii) Kate Fox, Watching the English. The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2004), Roger Scruton, England: an Elegy (London: Chatto & Windus, 2000), Robert Colls, Identity of England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), Roger Ebbatson, An Imaginary England. Nation, Landscape and Literature 1840 – 1920 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), Paul Kingsnorth, Real England. The Battle against the Bland (London: Portobello Books Ltd., 2008), Nigel Slater, Eating for England. The Delights and Eccentricities of the British at Table (London: Fourth Estate, 2007).

iii) Julian Barnes, England England (London: Jonathan Cape, 1998). All further references parenthetically within the text.

iv) Dominic Head, “Julian Barnes and a Case of English Identity” in Philip Tew & Rod Mengham (eds), British Fiction Today (London: Continuum, 2006), 19.

v) John Betjeman, “Oh, to be in England,” The Listener 29.739 (11 March 1943:( 296.

vi) George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn. Socialism and the English Genius(London: Secker & Warburg, 1941).

vii) Jeremy Paxman, The English. A Portrait of a People (London: Michael Joseph, 1998), 22—23.

viii) See www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom

ix) www.icons.org.uk

x) http://whatenglandmeanstome.co.uk

xi) John Redwood at http://whatenglandmeanstome.co.uk/?p=38

xii) Scilla Cullen at http://whatenglandmeanstome.co.uk/?p=89

xiii) Pierre Nora, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire,’Representations 26 (1989:( 7—24.

xiv) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983; 1991; London: Verso, 1998), 4, 7.

xv) Randall Stephenson, The Last of England? Oxford English Literary History Series, Volume 12 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 47.

xvi) See, for example, the extremely detailed website of the Great Yorkshire Show with all its intricate entry requirements athttp://www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/Livestock and the website of the Association of Show & Agricultural Organisations ASAO at http://www.asao.co.uk/ . See also Iain Aitch’s exploration of Englishness in A Fête too Far. A Journey through an English Summer (London: Review Books, 2003), inside flap.

xvii) Speculation ranges from a ‘Mitteleuropäisch tinge’ to his original name to rumours that he was born ‘east of the Rhine’ as the illegitimate child of ‘the shirebred wife of a Hungarian glass manufacturer and a visiting chauffeur from Loughborough’ and the conspiracy theory that he was born ‘the son of a humble Mr and Mrs Pitman, long since paid off’ (EE, 33). Crucially, Sir Jack does his best to promote the myth surrounding his origins.

xviii) Ribeiro, ‘On Englishness in Dress,’ 17.

xix) See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4649007.stm

xx) See here also my article “England? Whose England? (Re)constructing English identities in Julian Barnes and W.G. Sebald”, National Identities 10.2 (2008, June:( 167—84

xxi) Frederick M. Holmes, Julian Barnes (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 93.

xxii) Matthew Pateman, Julian Barnes (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2002), 78.

xxiii) Pateman, Julian Barnes, 72.

xxiv) See Pateman, Julian Barnes, 73ff.

xxv) Pateman, Julian Barnes, 75.

xxvi) Gareth Young at http://whatenglandmeanstome.co.uk/?p=76

xxvii) Ribeiro, ‘On Englishness in Dress’, 15.

xxviii) Nick Bentley, Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008),184.