It’s time England asserted its modern national identity – from the Spectator blog

I thought I would share my piece for the Spectator with you. I will be speaking about Englishness on Saturday.


Taking tea at 4, strawberries and cream, Wimbledon on a hot summer’s day, Christmas  carols round the tree, street parties for a Queen’s Jubilee: the images of England are often nostalgic and middle class. To some,  England, our England, is summed up in the poems of Rupert Brooke, and turned into childhood mystery  in the sympathetic portrait of the Shire in Tolkein’s Hobbit. England is the Wind in the Willows, kindness to animals, appreciation of nature’s rich and gentle abundance in a rain swept temperature island.  It is Alice in Wonderland, tales for children that recognise children are embarked on their own important journey in their own right. We are seafarers and stay at home islanders, world traders who value our independence.


           To others, there is a more muscular side to Englishness. Are we not the nation that pioneered liberty? Did not the English Parliament gain the upper hand

well before the Bastille was stormed?  Can we not see in Shakespeare’s blessed plot the sturdy outlines of freedom and nationhood? Did we not inspire an Empire and then transform it into a Commonwealth?  Have we not helped save Europe from the twin tyrannies of fascism and communism?


            To me Englishness is a living protean creation. We are not done yet. There is a modern side to England which is warm and tolerant, which can wrap itself around the fugitive from tyranny, the overseas  adventurer with money and the island dweller brought up in  a fast changing world. Whilst England still has some of its old class structure, modern England is open to the talents and critical of snobbery.


             Perhaps at its heart Englishness is anti clerical. The English value traditions and the establishment, but only at the price of ridiculing that same  power. We may allow some to stand in authority over us, because we prefer order to chaos. We also intend to tease and challenge them, safe in  the knowledge that the English elect their rulers and overturn them when necessary.


             The English were above all Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Like the Dutch and some Germans they challenged the Catholic Church and defenestrated Catholic power. Unlike the continent England had a bloodless sixteenth century religious revolution, led by the King and cemented by the transfer of wealth from the Monasteries to the energetic and  successful. For many decades English thought was governed by its reaction to the Catholic powers. Only England could have bishops but no Pope, all secured under a constitutional monarch who answered to  Parliament.


               The English were monarchists who intended to control their King. Royals were always the object of scatological pamphlets and cartoons, and were regularly changed or brought to account by others who formed the political nation. Today Parliament gets the treatment once meted out to monarchs. The mother of Parliaments has to be caricatured and pilloried in her turn.


                The English like playing games. They have given many to the world. The world has taken to football with passion and ability. Cricket remains the preserve of a smaller group of nations where it acts as a magic circle for a set of values. The English accept we should play up and play the game. The rules in sport, however recondite, should be respected. That should never impede or detract from the full force of sporting conflict.


               England is strong enough to keep her identity without a national Parliament, and with her identity and power partly shared with the rest of the United Kingdom.  As Scotland has made more moves to assert its own identity, so more have waved English flags and have thought more lovingly of tea at 4. Is that the time?  I must find a kettle.


PS Yes, I still want to see English votes for English issues in the Westminster Parliament, which should be both the Union and the English Parliament. I do not think England needs lumbering with yet another bunch of politicians and all their costs and spending plans on top of what we already have.  There is too much government in England  already, without imposing yet another layer.




  1. lifelogic
    October 19, 2013

    “England is strong enough to keep her identity without a national Parliament, and with her identity and power partly shared with the rest of the United Kingdom.”

    Well perhaps we shall see, but who will hold the powers to tax and thus partly, circa 50%, to enslave them?

    Why is the Scottish referendum question “Should Scotland be an independent country ?” when clearly the choice for them seems to be “Should Scotland become a mere region within the undemocratic EU?” Should say the Isle of Wight or Cornwall, Lancashire, London and Yorkshire be allowed to have similar referendums?

    If as you say”England is strong enough” why are they never given any say in their position in the EU or anything much else of substance? This while having parliament hugely distorted by many (usually lefty) Welsh and Scottish MPs with powers over the UK system where no such reciprocal arrangements exist over theirs?

    1. lifelogic
      October 19, 2013

      Off topic I see that the BBC wheeled out their snail expert prof Steven Jones to try to defend the BBC’s absurdly damaging position on the Anth. Global Warming issue. This on radio 4’s Feedback program. It seems someone has complained about the World at One interview with the perfectly sound Prof Plimmer recently. Clearly someone thinks it is OK to have “Thought for the day” and all sorts of absurd religious opinions on the BBC but a sensible Prof of Geology should simply be banned.

      Prof Jones is the author of a BBC trust report on science at the BBC,

      Prof : No one sensible disputes the fact that CO2 concentration have increase a little and that mankind clearly has some effect on the climate (along with millions of other factors and feed backs – many not known nor even under human control). No one disputes that climate change they always have and always will.

      What is disputed is the Catastrophic visions of a fiery hell coming from his side of the argument. He seems to think he is on the side of science and the skeptics merely hold “opinions”. He says – the problem with passionate climate change deniers is whatever the evidence they will not admit they are wrong and so in those circumstances there is no real point in talking to them!

      The consensus I see, with sensible scientists (preferably sensible physics/maths types I find) ones who have not been indoctrinated with climate science group think and the many grants of the new religion) is that the Catastrophic Global Warming agenda is at best a huge exaggeration and at worst a gigantic scam.

      The prediction of warming for the last 15 years are clearly very wrong. We shall see what happens next and adapt as needed.

      Anyway Prof Jones the solutions propose by the new religion – wind, PV and the likes do not really work in economic or even C02 terms in the real world. The BBC coverage of Global Warming Science/Religion is a total disgrace.

        1. Credible
          October 19, 2013

          Why don’t you read the IPCC report and tell us what specific parts are flawed and why, rather than reacting to second-hand views all the time.

          1. Vanessa
            October 19, 2013

            How scientific if 95% certain against 90% a few years ago?
            Some science !!

          2. lifelogic
            October 19, 2013

            The IPCC report reads like a political propaganda document rather than a scientific paper. I am rather in accord with MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen:-

            “I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.
            Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean. However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans. However, it is this heat transport that plays a major role in natural internal variability of climate, and the IPCC assertions that observed warming can be attributed to man depend crucially on their assertion that these models accurately simulate natural internal variability. Thus, they now, somewhat obscurely, admit that their crucial assumption was totally unjustified.
            Finally, in attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about. It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going.
            Richard Lindzen is an emeritus Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT.

          3. Credible
            October 19, 2013

            Are you saying that science should remain static? Have you actually read the IPCC report?

      1. uanime5
        October 19, 2013

        Care to explain what will happen if the world keeps increasing CO2 levels and the average global temperature keeps rising?

        1. Big John
          October 19, 2013

          > Care to explain what will happen if the world keeps increasing CO2 levels and the average global temperature keeps rising?

          Our fuel bills will drop, as we won’t have to have the heating on for so long.

          But it won’t happen as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose 10 percent between 1995 and 2012, yet global temperatures did not rise at all.

          So it is not a problem.

        2. Vanessa
          October 19, 2013

          Carbon Dioxide (rather than Carbon footprints) was TEN TIMES the amount it is at present in the history of this planet. Humans were nowhere to be found ! Explain that please ?

          1. lifelogic
            October 19, 2013

            All those dinosaur farts one assumes.

        3. lifelogic
          October 19, 2013

          Well plants will grow better, crops yields will be higher as there will be more c02 and it will be a little warmer. Also we will need less energy to heat our houses. Extreme weather events should decline in frequency on balance, rainfall should increase making some desert areas rather more habitable and productive. A little warmer is just fine, but anyway many other factors such as reduced solar activity or negative feed backs might well counter act this anyway.

          Also I read today that on August 26 2032, an asteroid might hit the earth, with an explosion of about 50 times the most powerful nuclear bomb. I suppose that might have rather an effect too. I assume this in their computer models? When do they expect nuclear fusion for energy production on earth to start I wind and what population wars, swine/bird flues over the next hundred years are these climate “experts” assuming in their analysis – clearly they need to know?

          Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. Niels Bohr Danish physicist (1885 – 1962). Predicting so lottery balls is a doddle compared to predicting the weather for 100 years.

      2. Bazman
        October 19, 2013

        95% consensus of sensible scientists in global warming already. ‘Sensible’ in your bias means any that have a denialist bent as for maths/physics scientist you are also respectful to those with zoology and English degrees as long as they deny global warming. Where does nuclear quackery fit?

        1. Denis Cooper
          October 19, 2013

          You don’t need me to tell you that the “95% consensus” claim has been thoroughly debunked; if it could ever have been thought worth much, which is wasn’t, it is worth nothing at all now.

          1. Bazman
            October 19, 2013

            Crackpot sources that you quote from those that put politics and feelings above science as the problem is so big are worth less. Denial of the banking crisis, profiteering by energy companies and other fantasises such as unemployment caused by fecklessness alone are related to small mean minded middle class attitudes. No matter how much proof you are shown it will never be enough.

        2. Anonymous
          October 19, 2013

          “95% consensus of sensible scientists in global warming already.”

          Says Bazman.

          I suppose that’s excluding the scientists with spinning bow ties and squirty flowers in their lapels then.

          *sensible* is the word that I object to.

          Thus – by allowing them to get away with this – the Left appoint themselves arbiters over which views are admissible and which views aren’t.

          Bazman clearly thinks he’s nice but he isn’t. He’ll go straight for the ad hominem and can be a bit of a bully.

        3. lifelogic
          October 19, 2013

          Well clearly if you are sensible you will be definition take their expert predictions with a huge pinch of salt. The weather today affect the weather tomorrow. It is clear they cannot predict the weather in two weeks time so how can they in 100 years. How can they allow for the clearly unpredictable anyway the solar activity, wars, volcanoes, genetic variations in plants, new inventions, meteorite impacts……………..

          They have been rather wrong even for the last 15 years have they not?

          Climate is just average weather, before you say climate in not the same as weather!

          1. Bazman
            October 20, 2013

            Is it ‘sensible’ to say putting unlimited amounts of CO2 into a natural eco system that has so far eluded man to be able to create it on a minuscule scale and expect a result that is good or benign for mankind? Fatalistic right wing dogma is ‘sensible’? This problem will effect the western world eventually and even rich Londoners who hope the rest of the population will be a buffer for them as in everything else.
            The problem is massive and just saying nothing need to be done like you do with all other problems is the same. Like more police or tolls on everything. You hope that the rich will just be able to sit on an island unaffected by anything distributing alms to the peasants. I don’t believe that is ‘sensible’ Ram it.

          2. Edward2
            October 20, 2013

            You are worrying yourself silly over less than one degree increase in the last 100 years Baz.
            Do you find when the temperature goes up one degree compared to the previous day you cannot cope?

            Don’t concern yourself so much over the alarmists’s newest predictions of 6 or 8 degrees in the next 100 years and just look back at the actual results of the last lot of failed predictions.

            I hear Al Gore has bought a super home right on the coast.
            yet according to his film, which you believe, this home will be under water within a few years.

    2. Hope
      October 19, 2013

      National identity would allow the UK to trade with who whoever it wanted, as JR has pointed out before. Today we read sophistry by Cameron heralding the EU trade agreement with Canada. However he fails to say that the UK should be able to trade with Canada without the say so of the EU. He also claims how many jobs would be created, this would be the case if the UK traded independently with the world. This sophistry will undoubtedly go into the Clegg fallacy of how many jobs the EU creates for the UK. Utter sham. As we read earlier this week, Switzerland and Iceland made Free Trade Agreements with China in their own right, something the UK cannot do. So it is baffling what Osborne and Johnson are up to because only the EU can sign free trade agreements on behalf of the UK as part of the EU. The statement made by Cameron about the Canadian FTA only serves to lose the UK identity and push his agenda for a EUSSR.

    3. Richard1
      October 19, 2013

      The correct question for the Scottish referendum is: ‘should Scotland leave the UK?’ I’m a British traditionalist, but the prospect of the UK minus Scotland is quite alluring. It would get rid of a lot of Labour MPs and save a large amount of money. It would be essential to ensure that the resulting separation deal did not leave the residual UK taxpayers with Scottish liabilities (eg if there is to be a continuing currency union, we should all get a vote to approve it, as we would for the Euro – I will vote No to that).

      In the more likely event the Scots vote to stay, the Conservatives should establish devo-max, also for England. The English MPs alone would vote on English issues. How about min levels of tax – eg 20% on income and gains, 15% VAT for the whole of the UK and then the individual parliaments get to set extra taxes for their nations? The Scots and Welsh will presumably (initially) want very high taxes for high public services, and England can become more like Switzerland or Hong Kong, enjoying the higher receipts and better growth and public services which would come with lower taxes. This policy could be an election winner.

  2. Mike Stallard
    October 19, 2013

    In my late fifties as an Anglican Rector, I came to see that all the above stuff is finished.

    People no longer go to Church in most of the country. People no longer treat the monarchy as the centre of a vast sprawling Empire. The Second and First World Wars are as remote as Napoleon and most of our history is being forgotten in schools too. The old nexus of parishes and bell ringing and afternoon tea and families and weddings and even funerals and baptisms is now history where I live.
    Even our local town centre is almost deserted and the railways in the Fens are historic memories.

    So I moved on and became a Catholic. That was unthinkable even in the 1980s. My children moved far away into Arabia, Asia and Australia. Life changed. It is now very, very different. Being English in Asia or Arabia means absolutely nothing. Australia is a vibrant new (almost foreign) country. If I am honest, what identifies me abroad is my Catholicism, not my nationality. Europeans I meet are affronted when I address them as Citizen and speak of our beloved Presidents.

    But at my lesson last Thursday evening a Russian, two Lithuanians and an Estonian all said that they intended to settle here because they really like it and the lifestyle really suits them. So England cannot be all that bad. Me? I like this new country which has absolutely nothing to do with the past.

  3. lifelogic
    October 19, 2013

    In the telegraph today:

    Britain must up its game to compete in global economy. Britain has lost its sense of ambition and optimism and has allowed “the bits that were great” to wither, George Osborne has said as he called on the country to “up our game”.

    Fine, but what the UK needs is lower taxes, far less government and less tax borrow and waste, far fewer and better regulations, non religious energy at say 1/3 of the cost (as in the USA) and perhaps he could undo his ratting on his clear IHT threshold promise. It is largely him and Cameron who need to “up their game” and release industry from the government’s and the EU’s damaging counterproductive shackles.

    1. Bazman
      October 19, 2013

      Does that include religious belief in nuclear power?

      1. Edward2
        October 19, 2013

        As you are obsessed with the importance of CO2 levels, it is odd you also are totally against nuclear power which creates energy with no fossil fuel use and is the best solution if you really want to reduce world CO2 output.

        How else are you going to do it and keep the lights on Baz?

        1. Bazman
          October 19, 2013

          Carbon capture with coal and gas will in the end have to be used. With further research into cleaner energy by more efficient use and burning. Along with new technologies. Don’t tell us about costs when nuclear is seen as cheap. Fatalistic fantasy and denial maybe easy, clean renewable energy must come in the future.

          1. Edward2
            October 20, 2013

            Not actually answering the question I raised Baz.
            But lets hope engineers can develop the fantasy technologies you mention, to a point where they actually work and can provide the massive shortfall in energy supply versus demand for the planet.
            Before the lights start going off in Europe I mean.

          2. Bazman
            October 20, 2013

            The unthinkable of nationalisation may have to happen putting the countries interests first unfortunately… Ramit

          3. Edward2
            October 20, 2013

            We look forward to increased tractor production from these State run industries.
            Innovation is what we need not the disasters of State run industry.

          4. Bazman
            October 22, 2013

            Lets hope for the best from France and China then. Ram it.

      2. Anonymous
        October 19, 2013

        Bazman – For someone who owns a large and ‘pointless’ motorbike you have an awful lot to say about how much other people should (or shouldn’t) be consuming.

        Have you stripped your life down to the bare basics so that you can lecture others on carbon emissions ? Are you absolutely sure ?

        Please don’t bang on about CO2 until you have.

        1. Bazman
          October 20, 2013

          Blaming the individual for Co2 emissions and going on some sort of crusade for large car and motorcycle owners is not what its about and I have never claimed this. Large capacity and in general powerful vehicles are in the minority and do not emit much CO2. They are highly taxed and expensive and in many cases do few miles during their life as few people want the cost. My high powered motorbike takes up less space,does not cause traffic jams, uses less fuel, causes less damage to the roads and still blows your car into the weeds! I also have a seven seater diesel people carrier for more mundane trips and live close to where I work. TH house is very well insulated and energy efficient.
          I can clam to be holier than thou to many without a hair shirt so.
          Ram it.

          1. Edward2
            October 20, 2013

            Someone with your views Baz, should not run a powerful motorbike which emits large amounts of CO2 nor drive a large diesel car.
            You should only walk or cycle or in extreme need, use public transport.
            Come on Baz don’t you know that every little bit of CO2 is killing the planet.

          2. Bazman
            October 21, 2013

            Read my post again edward and stop making things up.

          3. Edward2
            October 21, 2013

            You are the equivalent Baz, of someone who campaigns for animal rights and encourages everyone to convert to vegetarianism yet continues to eat meat every day.

          4. Bazman
            October 22, 2013

            I don’t campaign for individual reductions on CO2. You are making this up. When and where have I ever wrote this? This is not a real answer to the problem. You could be against the inhumane treatment of animals and still eat them. You could even be against this as it effects the quality of the meat. Or even be against the eating of meat for environmental reasons and eat small amounts of a certain type. The last person who was against eating stones died. This is not my argument.

      3. lifelogic
        October 19, 2013

        Fracking, gas, coal, oil and conservation and efficiency (heat pumps and heat and power) first, then nuclear if needed, then (and only if and when the technology can be made to work and be cost effective) perhaps wind, tidal, wave and solar. If we do not crack fusion before then.

  4. Old Albion
    October 19, 2013

    You know my views on this John. An English Parliament need not mean more politicians but less, if the development of a Federal UK is pursued.

    1. livelogic
      October 19, 2013

      Fewer politicians, fewer bureaucrats, fewer parasites and fewer lawyers, just never ever seems to happen in the state sector.

      It seems you always need to old structure to continue for at lease another 1000 years, and the new one too and probably six extra QUANGOs to oversee the transitionb arrangements, divide up the powers, rule on dispute between the two bodies, oversee the new building (usually built at 10 times its finished value) and to pretend to stop the individuals from pinching money from their expenses or employing their mistresses or boyfriends.

  5. Denis Cooper
    October 19, 2013

    And for my reply here I will copy and paste my reply on the Spectator blog:

    “”England is strong enough to keep her identity without a national Parliament”

    Not if Paddy Briggs below has anything to do with it.

    Understand that his kind will NEVER stop trying to break up England until we have our own Parliament for the whole of England.”

    What had “Paddy Briggs” said to make me respond like that?

    Well, just a rather incoherent stream of denying that the England and the English even exist and pushing forward “the virtues of Europeanism”, it can read here:

    along with my reply directly to him:

    “I’m English, not just British, and as far I’m concerned you can take your “virtues of Europeanism” and stick them you know where. It is because of people like you that the English must have their own Parliament for the whole of England.”

    And we must, JR, we must, despite the extra cost.

  6. The PrangWizard
    October 19, 2013

    There can be no renaissance in England until we are allowed to develop our distinct identity just as the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are being encouraged to do, and we need our parliament. English votes for English issues, is a shoddy compromise, an attempt to delay and defer, and hiding behind objections to ‘another layer of government’ is cheap populism. The British Elites, as usual, think they know what is best for us, as they did for others who showed them a more enlightened path as history shows. The fight for national self-determination is now right at your door Mr Redwood. I hope you believe in other peoples’ rights to self-determination, and you may stand up for these rights. But you don’t think the English are entitled to the same. That I think makes you a hypocrite.

  7. Mark B
    October 19, 2013

    Mr J. Redwood MP sir,

    First off, I was going to start of with an apology too you because what I am about to say may seem unkind. But if are going to write this utter tripe and take the ‘Brahms and Liszt’ out of those, such as myself, who regard this matter with some seriousness, you cannot be surprised if I, an perhaps others, take considerable issue with you.

    First off. You really do need to re-read and check your facts before writing. There are so many gaping holes in your knowledge of English history one can only conclude that you were either writing this from Nick Clegg’s Champagne cellar or got some seventeen year old intern, whose lack of knowledge of England, the English and our Kingdom’s history amounts to zero.

    As a ‘British’ MP I can well understand why you see things the way you do. You touch on quaint little sneering and deriding cliches about us and try to turn it into something that it is not. It is not about characters from history, or about little traditions like tea at 4. It is an Island race who have shared loyalties, experiences and ancestry. A common identity and, you forgot to mention it, a shared Common Law – English Common Law. Law that is practiced from the America too Australia. Yet you and your fellows ignore our way of law making and allow a Continental style of governance and other foreign forms of law and practices incompatible with our own.

    The ‘British Empire’ was just that, British ! Britain, as a nation, only came into being when the the Parliament’s of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland unified.

    Scotland got her Parliament because the Socialist’s thought that they would be able to create in Scotland, a Socialist Utopia. They even set up the electoral system in such a way that would deny the SNP the chance of ever getting power. It did go to plan did it, such is the Parliamentarian hubris and inability to ‘think outside the box/bubble’ ?!?!?!

    When the Kingdom of Scotland got her Parliament back, in my view that ended the Act of Union, since we are no longer one people with one Parliament. Just because you and your fellows do not see it like that, does not make it any less true.

    “England is strong enough to keep her identity without a national Parliament, and with her identity and power partly shared with the rest of the United Kingdom.”

    Absolute tosh !

    ” I do not think England needs lumbering with yet another bunch of politicians . . . . ”

    Then why don’t you get rid of the Scottish Parliament, the Irish and Welsh assemblies, the EU, and not forgetting, elected Police Chief’s. And do not tell me that Police Chief’s are not a form of politician.

    You are merely trying to formulate a position on a subject on which you have little idea because you simply do not care.

    I can only end with:

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    And on this issue, there can be no doubt.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 19, 2013

      ” … or got some seventeen year old intern, whose lack of knowledge of England, the English and our Kingdom’s history amounts to zero.”

      Surely you’re not suggesting that JR is employing uanime5?

      “Britain, as a nation, only came into being when the the Parliament’s of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland unified.”

      Well, it was a century earlier, after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, that James proclaimed himself as the King of Great Britain.

      But to go back further, even before his decisive victory at Brunanburh in 937 Aethelstan was claiming to be not only the King of England but the King of All Britain, and he issued charters and had coins minted using that title, eg:

      More about the little recognised Aethelstan here:

      “When the Kingdom of Scotland got her Parliament back, in my view that ended the Act of Union, since we are no longer one people with one Parliament. Just because you and your fellows do not see it like that, does not make it any less true.”

      But the Parliament that Scotland got back was not the Parliament that abolished itself in 1707, despite a ridiculous claim by some SNP woman that it was.

      Before 1707 the Scottish or Scotch Parliament was a sovereign parliament, owing its existence and authority to nobody outside Scotland, unless you wish to go back to the Pope who granted the King the right to be anointed with holy oil.

      On the other hand the present Scottish Parliament is not a sovereign parliament but merely a devolved parliament, owing its existence and authority to an Act of the sovereign British Parliament.

      Indeed the whole point of the independence referendum is whether the Scottish Parliament, and the government it nominally controls, should continue be no more than devolved authorities with the United Kingdom or should assume the mantle of sovereignty.

      I think English commentators have made far too much of this claim that there can only be one parliament in the United Kingdom and therefore the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament effectively dissolved the Union and so we are no longer one people.

      Nobody would say that the Australians cannot be considered one people because apart from the federal parliament there are state assemblies, many of which do call themselves parliaments:

      But I do believe that the English deserve their own parliament just as much as the Scots, and moreover that it is only through establishing a parliament for the whole of England that we can put a full stop to the incessant efforts of the eurofanatics to break up England into EU regions.

      1. Mark B
        October 19, 2013


        Many thanks. And thanks once again for correcting me and adding to my knowledge on the subject. I may not get everything right and I am always happy to be corrected. The links you provided have been bookmarked.

        Thank you Mr. Redwood MP for posting my reply, unedited.

    2. Cliff. Wokingham.
      October 19, 2013

      I think one should also question the concept of a “bloodless religious revolution.” Speaking as a Catholic myself, I am pleased I am alive today and not at the time of your “bloodless religious revolution,” from my history lessons, which were delivered at a time when we were still a proud, confident nation, much Catholic blood was spilled and many Catholics suffered persecution if they didn’t comply to the diktats of the then monarch…..I suppose the modern version is the new false religion of climate change; that, I would suggest, is more a bloodless, religious revolution than the one you cite John.

      Perhaps John you would be so good as to clarify for me as to whether you were being ironical or serious? It is difficult to tell if you can’t read people’s body language and facial expressions and have to just rely on the written word. Was this an ironical, tongue in cheek piece: I sincerely hope it was!

      Reply It was written with a light touch and wild generalisations.

      1. zorro
        October 19, 2013

        Queen Mary wasn’t averse to executing Protestants….


        1. Cliff. Wokingham
          October 20, 2013

          You’re right of course but, I didn’t say she didn’t!

          Mankind has perverted religion to their own ends…..We see it now with (other religious sects ed) and in the past, we saw it with the Christians. Which ever group has, at the time, the whip hand, they will make it difficult for those of other religions or indeed, political views. We see examples of the tribalism on here day after day; one group says one thing is right and something else is wrong and another group says the opposite……Still, while we squabble over left and right, religions, climate change, media bias etc, so the great and good will let us get on with it whilst they slowly but surely, destroy our way of life and our country.

          I often think of our politicians being like parents of toddlers: the toddler wants to go into the swings and slides areas, the parents wants to go home, the parent grabs the kid by the hand and marches him off in the direction the kid doesn’t want to go. The kid throws a tantrum, the parent ignores it but promises the child he can go to the park tomorrow or later.
          The politician (parent) wants to go deeper and deeper into a federal Europe, the people (the kids) don’t want to; the politician just forcibly drags the people deeper and deeper into it whilst promising a referendum tomorrow or the day after if the people vote them in again; kind of, behave yourself and do as you’re told and you’ll go to the park tomorrow…..Sadly, tomorrow never comes!

      2. forthurst
        October 19, 2013

        “Reply It was written with a light touch and wild generalisations.”

        …and rose-tinted spectacles, ’nuff said.

    3. Bazman
      October 19, 2013

      Nick Clegg’s Champagne cellar! Are first two floors are red, the next two white and the basement Champagne? Ladies love Champagne as it tickles their nose apparently.
      Sing along with the common people Cleggy. It might just get you through…

  8. Andyvan
    October 19, 2013

    All these romantic images of long lost England Mr Redwood. Sadly the reality is that to be English now means that you do not get a say in whether we are in a union with Scotland whereas they do. You do not get a representative government (if we had we wouldn’t be in the EU). You get taxed for far more than 50% of your income. You get fleeced by artificially low interest rates that steal your savings. You get your currency devalued by money printing that supports the ruling class. You are bombarded by rules and regulations that do not benefit you but support big business and their profits. You get lied to and stolen from at every turn and should you have the misfortune to fall ill and enter an NHS hospital you are at dire risk of such bad treatment you’ll die from it.
    Being English for 99.99% of people doesn’t bear any resemblance to the afternoon tea and cricket images that politicians like to trot out, it’s more akin to indentured slavery but with the opportunity to vote overseer gets to be in charge every 4 years.

    1. livelogic
      October 19, 2013

      Much truth in this alas.

    2. Gary
      October 19, 2013

      And all this due to the one fatal flaw in the English character, excessive deference to authority. It is the same trait that compels us to form queues. This trait caused us to be disarmed as we doffed our caps, and unquestionably accept to be ruled by the preposterous mix of monarchy and the tweedledum and twedledee farce called Parliamentary Democracy.

    3. Denis Cooper
      October 19, 2013

      “You do not get a representative government (if we had we wouldn’t be in the EU).”

      Very probably true, but you cannot blame the Scots or the Union with Scotland for our EEC/EC/EU membership.

      If you think which Prime Ministers were responsible, and who elected the MPs who were prepared to support those Prime Ministers in their treachery, then the English must accept almost all of the blame themselves and not try to make the Scots scapegoats for their own folly.

    4. Cliff. Wokingham.
      October 19, 2013

      Totally agree however, I feel that every five years one only gets to choose what the public face of that overseer is; to me, the main parties are all the same and it feels like having to choose whether to be hung, crucified or shot!

    5. libertarian
      October 19, 2013


      Once again an excellent post

  9. English Commonwealth
    October 19, 2013

    “England is strong enough to keep her identity without a national Parliament, and with her identity and power partly shared with the rest of the United Kingdom.”

    One wonders whether John Redwood believes that the United Kingdom would be strong enough to keep its identity without a parliament; and why, even if England is strong enough, we should forgo representation when our partners in union do not.

    That stuff about an English parliament meaning “more politicians” is complete guff. Politicians have ruined the Lords and it is chock full of 800+ place men and party apparatchiks. Abolish it, turn it into a federal parliament, and turn the Commons back into what it’s is supposed to be: an English parliament.

  10. Roger Farmer
    October 19, 2013

    Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales have between them around 117 members of the UK Parliament as well as having parliaments of their own. All these 117 vote on English matters at Westminster. They vote on political lines and on occasion in exactly the opposite way to which they would vote in their own parliaments. They are largely socialists. They are therefore a distortion on democracy within England. By putting an end to this anachronism we could reduce the size of the UK Parliament by about 18% and return democracy to England. When there is need to discuss matters pertaining to the whole of the UK, such as defence, then members of the three national parliaments could be invited to Westminster to make a contribution.
    (sentence left out ed)

  11. alan jutson
    October 19, 2013

    I see more debate on Tv recently about the coming referendum in Scotland.

    I have yet to hear anyone talk of the percentage of the UK National Debt they intend to inherit.

    I assume John a percentage of this debt is going to be part of the negotiations, or does Scotland escape Debt free ?

    Yes the Uk is one of the better parts of the World to live, and still has many valuable traditions and traits, but it is being undermined fast by those who have no knowledge of our history, traditions, sense of tolerance and fair play.
    Soon our backs will eventually be against the wall, and we will have to fight our corner once more to re-establish some of our traditions and sense of fairness..

    Reply Yes. In the unlikely event of Scotland voting for “independence” (within the EU !) the negotiations would include their share of the debt,what happened to their contribution to our armed forces, their share of North sea oil and gas etc.

  12. Iain Gill
    October 19, 2013

    Re “nostalgic and middle class” shame you didnt list a few of the things a more working class view of the world is nostalgic about…

  13. Credible
    October 19, 2013

    John , you have been very selective and taken only snapshots of the parts you like (which I acknowledge is difficult to avoid in a short piece).

    However, we can’t be like we were. All countries are in continual change. We didn’t always have tea at 4, or cricket. There was a time when these things were new. Perhaps some new things that come along are good and should be welcomed, just as some are not.

    Some things you neglected to mention are the genocide committed in the north of England by William the Conqueror, the profits from slavery, the work houses, atrocities abroad and pretty shabby treatment of Catholics at times. Not that I particularly want to denigrate our country (which includes the whole of the UK) because there are things to be proud of and things to be ashamed of everywhere.

    I loved watching the test matches on the telly as a kid. We would pop outside and practise our bowling, get together with friends and try to emulate our heroes. Now, we can only watch the test matches if we pay for Sky and my children don’t ever see it.

    Mark B makes a good point about elected Police Chiefs.

    1. Mark B
      October 19, 2013



      Yes, we must always look at England’s history and remind ourselves it is just like the histories of many other nations. It has good and bad in it, and we should learn both.

  14. Sue Jameson
    October 19, 2013

    Pity some of us “English” have lost our roots and identity altogether. I will never get mine back. My family are Cockneys and before the Socialists took over, the East End was our home. From Aldgate to East Ham and further afield. We have been robbed of our heritage, Pearly Kings and Queens and the great British Cabbie. All gone, my children and grandchildren will not experience their roots. Funny how other indigenous people around the world have rights and the English and old city dwellers have none. etc ed

  15. Leslie Singleton
    October 19, 2013

    Being English may not mean much to Englishmen living in England anymore but it does mean a lot to many of our friends and relatives overseas. Why do you think they clamour to come here even for short visits? I have an American friend who says he regards London as the Capital of the World. He regarded Trooping the Colour (the real one) and Lunch at one of the Inns of Court as “awesome”.

  16. Terry
    October 19, 2013

    You highlight England very well, John. More is the pity that some of our media and the PC crowd wish to wipe us little Englanders from the map. I trust one day this country will revert to type and smile again.

  17. Acorn
    October 19, 2013

    Er … perhaps you could try it with music next time. Not that we should be surprised you are recycling some more old Conservative thinking, you have been recycling old, out of date economic ideas for three years now. And, updating your party ideology to the twenty first century, would render it non Conservative by definition.

    I still favour a bit of English independence, same plan as the Scots. We leave the federal UK and join the federal EU; take it over and make it speak english. Once we are in, we raise merry hell to sort out the Treasuries and currencies (single or pegged plural) and; most importantly, streamline the management. We re-organise the democracy bit on the 97 NUTS 1 (currently) regions. Definitely have much less than the 736 MEPs there now. What could possibly go wrong 😉 😉 😉 .

    We would introduce a law that says you can’t be an MP / MEP, unless you have at least a first degree in some or all applied, engineering, science, maths, project management and accountancy.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 19, 2013

      “I still favour a bit of English independence, same plan as the Scots. We leave the federal UK and join the federal EU”

      That’s your idea of independence, is it?

      To be legally subordinated with a pan-European federation, a federal United States of Europe like the federal United States of America?

      1. Chris
        October 19, 2013

        The federal United States of Europe is very much the goal for those in Brussels, and while I applaud Mr Redwood for supporting Englishness, the far greater issue at stake is the complete loss of sovereignty of the whole UK to the EU. It has been planned for many years, and apparently supported by the majority of those in the 3 main political parties. I suggest the following half hour presentation, which I was alerted to by “Paris claims” on the Conservative Home website, is essential viewing for those who want to know exactly what EU membership entails, and what the goals are of the federalists. The duplicity and complicity of so many UK politicians, many of them Conservative, in keeping the true aims of the EU from the electorate, including the loss of sovereignty, is quite staggering.

  18. Atlas
    October 19, 2013


    As an Englishman I don’t have a problem with the Scots wanting home rule. This is principally because the West Lothian question still remains unresolved.

    What put fire into the Scots Nationalists was the Thatcher era – whether misguided or not, it gave home rule legs. This is in the same way that the post 1916 actions by the UK Government in the Island of Ireland resulted in the Irish Free State.

    Cameron thinks (in his Etonian self-assuredness?) that the Scots will say NO. Having watched some of the SNP’s party conference yesterday, especially the speech by the SNP’s deputy leader, I think he is in for a surprise.

    Reply Labour stayed in charge of Scotland until this century, when a Labour government in the UK provided the stimulus to the SNP taking over at Holyrood.

  19. JoolsB
    October 19, 2013


    Far from creating another bunch of politicians, an English Parliament would do just the opposite. For a start, if England had it’s own parliament, now the only nation in the western world denied one, there would be nowhere near 650 UK politicians needed to legislate on the few remaining reserved matters. No need for a new building either as the House of Commons would do. Most of the 800 Lords and Ladies could be put out to grass also, especially as it is only English legislature which they scrutinize.

    With respect John, English votes for English Laws is not enough and is an insult to every man, woman and child in England as it would only address the West Lothian Question and not the English Question, ie. who governs England. England as a nation has no voice within the UK Parliament, no First Minister and no Secretary of State, it has absolutely no-one speaking up for it. England, the so called Mother of all Parliaments is now reduced to a colony governed by foreign rule. England gave the the Tories a 62 seat majority in 2010 and yet it nearly ended up with a rainbow coalition of Labour, Lib Dums and Scots and Welsh Nationalists thrown in to make up the numbers if Brown had got his way, every party except the one England voted for and this could very well happen again in 2015. And what did the party England elected have to say about the self annointed Brown governing England where he had far more say than he did for his own consituents and Scotland? Absolutely nothing! It’s bad enough England is now governed by a coalition where we have jumped up Lib Dum MPs, including their Scottish & Welsh ones interfering and over-ruling English only matters which is predominately all the UK Government has control over nowadays, especially when the Tories were given a clear mandate by the people of England. Why should the governance of England be decided by the whole UK when those nations now having their own self determining legislatures making most decisions affecting them in their interests and theirs alone, something denied to England?

    The Tories either have a death wish or are mad to ignore the English Question especially as that is where they get their support, or did. They can’t even say the word England, let alone stand up for it against the constant blatant discrimination levelled at it both politically and financially by the UK Government since Labour’s dog’s dinner of a devolution act which deliberately left England out so they could carry on using their Celtic votes and their Celtic MPs to govern England. We know Labour are intent on balkanising England into regions and thus erasing the nation of England off the map and the Tory party will have stood idly by and allowed it to happen.

    With respect John, we are told by our self serving politicians that there is no demand for an English Parliament despite poll after poll showing the opposite. Here’s an idea, next time the Scots or the Welsh are asked yet again how they wish to be governed, how about asking the English who have never been asked, just once, how they wish to be governed? What are the politicians afraid of – losing their jobs?

    England is waiting John and if the Tories continue to treat England with the same anti-English contempt as Labour, then they will only have themselves to blame when England is handed over to Labour on a plate in 2015 whether she votes for them or not.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 19, 2013

      That is what I have suggested, that on the same day that the Scots have their vote on whether they wish Scotland to leave the UK the English have a vote on whether they want an English Parliament. Even in the (hopefully) unlikely event that the Scots voted for independence, that would still leave England without an elected assemby while the Welsh and Northern Irish had theirs.

      Plus … it would be good to have a third referendum on the same day, a UK-wide referendum asking whether we want to continue with the process of “ever closer union” prescribed by the EU treaties.

  20. John Wrake
    October 19, 2013

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your setting out of Englishness, you have written ” Only England could have bishops but no Pope, all secured under a constitutional monarch who answered to Parliament.”

    I fear that is only partially correct and as such, is dangerously misleading.

    The genius of the English Constitution is that sovereignty does not reside in the Pope or the King or the Parliament, but in the English people, whose God-given freedom is protected by The Common Law, supreme over Pope, King and Parliament.

    Our institutions are designed to be kept in equilibrium by the promises made and kept by us all. Sovereignty is given to the Monarch in response to the Monarch’s Coronation Oath to govern according to our laws and customs and uphold the Protestant faith. Our law is administered by judges who have made the oath of obedience to the Monarch. Our Established Church is led by Bishops who have sworn an oath of obedience to the Monarch, their supreme governor on earth and every member of Parliament is required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Monarch before taking a seat. Everyone who holds any office in the State is required to swear a similar oath.

    In essence, Englishness is a matter of trust, with that trust surrounded and fortified by The Common Law to which all, Monarch, Judge, Bishop, Member of Lords and Commons and every citizen is subject. That Law is God-given and requires us all to love God and to love our neighbour.

    Because we have failed to uphold our Constitution, trust has broken down. Men and women in authority continue to break their oath and break their word. Society at large has turned away from the faith of our fathers and has failed to hold its leaders to account. Oaths of fealty to the Monarch are become meaningless since our sovereignty has been unlawfully given away. The Institutions of the State are increasingly held in contempt and everyman looks for someone else to blame.

    Until we, as a nation, return to the rule of law, Common Law, our troubles can only increase.

    John Wrake.

  21. peter davies
    October 19, 2013

    There is too much government all over the UK in my opinion.

    The devolved assemblies could have been made to work without another layer of politicians. I would have gone for in Wales and Scotland the majorities in those regions making up the administrations with HOC MPs from those areas and to conduct devolved business in the devolved assemblies and UK business in the HOC with the same MPs – this would at least avoid Scottish MPs voting on non Scottish issues.

    Given that its the Civil Servants who do the leg work I can’t see why devolution wasn’t designed this way.

    1. JoolsB
      October 19, 2013

      Neither can most of us but of course it was deliberately designed this way so Labour could carry on sending their Scottish and Welsh MPs to Westminster to keep them in Government even if that Government does predominately only govern England nowadays. 117 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs would all have bugger all to do if they couldn’t meddle in English only business. We constantly get the lame excuse of an extra layer of politicians and more expense for not having an English Parliament but it’s funny how non of our MPs with English seats point this out as a way of saving money and in the process going some way to restoring democracy.

  22. uanime5
    October 19, 2013

    The English were above all Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

    Above in what way? It can’t be naval power or sea trade as during this period the Netherlands were superior in both respects.

    Unlike the continent England had a bloodless sixteenth century religious revolution, led by the King and cemented by the transfer of wealth from the Monasteries to the energetic and successful.

    What about all the Catholic uprisings during the Dissolution of the Monasteries? Also the wealth of the monasteries wasn’t transferred to the successful but to all the people Henry owed money to.

    Only England could have bishops but no Pope, all secured under a constitutional monarch who answered to Parliament.

    The Monarch didn’t answer to Parliament until after the English Civil War when Charles the second was restored to the throne. Though James the second did try and renegade on this, resulting in William of Orange being asked to depose him.

    Royals were always the object of scatological pamphlets and cartoons, and were regularly changed or brought to account by others who formed the political nation.

    Which monarchs is the Spectator referring to? Who regularly changed these monarchs and why?

    The Spectator seems to be whitewashing English history to claim that England is better than the rest of Europe.

    Reply I wrote the piece, not the Spectator!
    The English Crown had to summon Parliament to obtain additional tax revenues. The monarch was frequently changed in the C15, C 16 and C17, with Parliament playing an important part in recognising a new monarch or accepting the end of an old one.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 19, 2013

      “The English were above all Protestants” obviously means that the great majority of the English were Protestants, not that they were above other Protestants.

  23. margaret brandreth-j
    October 19, 2013

    They may be romantic to some, yet yes this is so;and we did not carry out our lives with mountains of money surrounding us, but we had an identity. These images, although perhaps more salad days to most, were real. We did not have to be labelled socialists to have social graces. The older gents on my fathers Victorian terraced house row, used to dock their hats at me as I passed down the road. We used to consider the ageing population , we used to see people on their own and include them. Now spite is so rife ,that it is a power kick to exclude people .
    Our language is also exquisite. It has evolved , but it remains musical. Just a simple word like ‘GO’ has an open vowel sound and predicts continuity and progress whereas ‘STOP’ with a stressed closed consonant is abrupt and evokes the thing it invites one to do. These words are not restricted to the past poets , but are included in our every day life.
    I do wish I lived amongst the manners of my youth though.

    These facets were not middle class. My grandmother was a clean , proud , smart gracious lady, quiet, genteel , very ordinary and in a council house, which was immaculate. Apart from engaging in the normal motherly duties she was a tailoress and made beautifully fitted clothes for all her family.

  24. Bazman
    October 19, 2013

    We are getting more English as thsi Daily Mail England that never was and never will be existed in the 1930’s for about a thousand people and we seem to be heading that way again.
    What all you fantasists are afraid to admit is we should take the lead from modern Russia and become more like their system which allows low taxes and large companies to do as they like, with the country being run as as a financial aristocracy but not to think they can become political because of this. This allows companies and the mega wealthy to just get on with it as long as they have state permission in helping themselves to the vast wealth of Russia and investing this abroad in tax havens such as London giveing the best deal for the average Russian citizen.
    Ram i.t

    1. Mark B
      October 19, 2013

      National Socialism you mean ?

  25. They Work For Us
    October 19, 2013

    The indigenous population of England do need to stand up for their own culture and values and not be unduly influenced by minorities to change our ways to accommodate them.
    Political correctness and the fear of being labelled racist by a self styled liberal elite is a cancer that is destroying our (majority) society and has stifled proper debate in the past.
    We should have the moral courage when asked to change our ways to suit a minority to say “I am sorry but we don’t do that here (and mean it).

  26. Anonymous
    October 19, 2013

    Whatever Englishness is it is changing very fast and it doesn’t seem like it is going to be around for very much longer.

  27. Normandee
    October 19, 2013

    What’s that term to describe an activity that creates the impression of occupation whilst actually achieving nothing ? All this talk of Englishness (to which I only have a partial claim) is futile, great forces are under way to remove this identity completely, oh it may remain as the name of a district of Europe, but it’s identity will be destroyed. So while you are sat around talking about it, it’s disappearing over the horizon, but then that’s what you and your colleagues do isn’t it ? you sit around and talk about it.
    Well you could be talking about it in opposition soon, unless you stop talking and remove your first and biggest problem, Cameron, and then get on with winning the next election on an out of Europe ticket (excuse the Americanism)

  28. Kenneth
    October 19, 2013

    The serious problem we have is that political parties must be BBC-friendly in order to get air time. No BBC air-time, no political party.

    If any politician does not behave in a BBC-approved way they soon get hounded off the stage.

    So, we end up with a BBC-friendly Conservative Party, saying very lefty things and even UKIP is in the process of being sanitized.

    This is not just a matter of style: this translates into policies and laws. Socialist laws. Laws that throw people out of work and cause serious hardship.

    The problem for England is that the English are NOT inherently socialist. However the Scots and Welsh generally are (at least to a greater extent).

    The pressure to coerce our politics, and therefore our People, into a socialist regime is intolerable and may reach breaking point before soon.

    The BBC should immediately reform itself and recognise that some of its extremist output is very damaging to English people.

  29. Broken Arrow
    October 19, 2013

    England! What kind of bubble do you live in? This must have been written by some soppy intern!

    (personal details left out ed)
    My England of childhood is dead and buried! Killed by a generation of quisling politicians, who’s only desire was loot and self aggrandisement, and worship at the alter of political correctness!

    The kind, generous and compassionate people of this country, whose good nature and charity, is constantly abused by a septic ruling elite, who hold them in nothing but contempt, deserve better!

    I have sworn never to lift a finger in defence of this country, only its people!

    If you think I’m bitter… you’re right!

    1. Bazman
      October 19, 2013

      Ah! Them were the days..When were the days? When England was for Englishmen and hub caps were not stolen?

  30. Chris S
    October 19, 2013

    “PS Yes, I still want to see English votes for English issues in the Westminster Parliament, which should be both the Union and the English Parliament”.

    Yes, apart from my preferred solution of Scottish independence, ( Why don’t the English and Welsh get to vote as well ? ) this is the second best solution to the West Lothian problem.

    But are we ever going it see it happen ? The solution recently recommended by a bunch of Civil Servants was a whitewash and nothing like enough to satisfy us.

  31. John
    October 19, 2013

    There is no hope for England if we have “English votes for English laws” because there are only British MPs that will discriminate against the English. They owe their allegiance to the UK and without a distinct voice the English will be disregarded. To illustrate the point just look at free elderly care in the devolved nations while the English have to sell their homes. Look also at university fees of £9000 for England and free to the Scots even if they are educated in England. The list goes on and on but you get the point.

  32. BobE
    October 19, 2013

    17 months until the end of the lib dems. 🙂

  33. BobE
    October 19, 2013

    I was banished again

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    October 20, 2013

    All this is good. We can’t define Englishness solely by cultural features. We all remember John Major talking of Englishness meaning warm beer, cricket on the village green and old maids cycling through the mist – having just given away massive chunks of our sovereignty in the Maastricht Treaty and having cost our country £2 billion by stubbornly resisting our exit from the ERM for 5 hours on White Wednesday.

    Being Glasgow born, I should perhaps not express an opinion, but the most glorious act in England’s history was when you chopped King Charles the First’s head off.

  35. Excalibur
    October 20, 2013

    There were no fewer than five C of E churches within walking distance of my home. On Sundays their crowded congregations sang from ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’, or chanted or sang the elegant language of the ‘Book of Common Prayer’. Railway stations with their steel-edged steps and perpetual smell of fish, confronted the traveller with messages of hope; ‘Come unto Me all Ye that are Heavily Laden’. In short, England was unashamedly Protestant. It’s schools were staffed by gentle men who had seen the ravages of war and were grateful to be teaching in the peace of ‘home’. Poverty was rife, but so was contentment, if not happiness. And as people left their churches (whether in town or countryside) they walked out into a quiet land. What Roger Scruton described as ‘an enchanted place’. And so it was. People were confident they would be fairly treated under English Common Law and the police, by the use of ‘tact and good humour’, were respected and incorruptible. So England has lost its identity, John. As Scruton’s father said “We are in the hands of our enemies”. I wish it were otherwise, but there is no way back.

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