Who am I?

The EU is helping create a crisis of identity through Europe. The Europe of nations answered the question of “Who am I?” by each person accepting they were Spanish or British or French or German, based on where they were born and where they lived. Most of us were born into the country where we made our living. We were loyal to it, and expected our country to stand by us. That was before common borders, large migrations of people, and strong regional policies throughout the EU.

It is true there were some tensions even within a Europe of nations. The Basques were not happy in Spain. Some of the Catholics were not happy in Northern Ireland, preferring the Irish Republic. Parts of countries that had been shunted around too many times as a result of wars and treaties found the issue of who they were and where they belonged more difficult than the vast majority who lived in one of the individual states of Europe with settled frontiers.

Before the UK joined the EEC and it evolved into the EU I never questioned who I was. I belonged to the UK, would answer the question as British, and believed in our independent democracy and quirky constitution. What do I say now? I am tempted now to say I am English. Who knows what country I will technically belong to if Scotland votes to leave. We do not even have a name, as you can scarcely call what remains the United Kingdom.

The EU decided to foster regional senses of identity within the major states of the EU, partly as a way of undermining their legitimacy, partly as a way of increasing its influence through direct finance and policy links to the regions. The EU encouraged different senses of identity in Scotland and Wales, treating them as regions they could do business with. They tried to drive England off the map, presumably fearing its power and capacity for independent thought. They encouraged the Catalans in Spain, the Venetians and Lombardians in Italy, the Bavarians in Germany and the Flemish in Belgium.

Once the EU had gained major power, it became less enthusiastic about splinter regions that might want to detach themselves from member states, at exactly the time when its original policy of fostering regional identities was fructifying. Today Scotland has gained the right to a vote on leaving the UK, with many Scots wanting to exercise it. The Catalans are insistent they deserve a vote, and would probably vote to leave Spain, if only the national government would allow it. In Italy the Veneto has just voted to leave Italy, but the Italian state will not recognise the referendum held nor grant a legal one. In the Ukraine the EU as an act of foreign policy is seeking to suppress all regional senses of identity, even opposing a federal devolved structure as well as setting itself against referenda for parts of the country to leave the Ukraine.

The EU was wrong to do so much to unsettle the original countries. It is even more wrong now to deny the strong emerging regional movements the right to legal and peaceful self determination. You should not hold out the hope of a new identity, only to dash it when people claim it.

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93 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Indeed you put it perfectly:-

    The EU was wrong to do so much to unsettle the original countries. It is even more wrong now to deny the strong emerging regional movements the right to legal and peaceful self determination. You should not hold out the hope of a new identity, only to dash it when people claim it.

    The EU is an anti-democratic monster, controlled by no one, run by a sort of absurd, over regulate, group think, mainly run in the interests of their EU bureaucrats. The various peoples have no effective input.

  2. Old Albion
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    And with that in mind; I claim my English identity and demand democracy for my country.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      You can’t claim your ‘identity’ Old Albion.

      What’s more you aren’t allowed to express your heartbreak at having lost it – not without risk of losing your job or liberty and certainly not without risk of being called a bigot.

  3. arschloch
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Dear me you are expecting a white Englishman in say Bradford or Leicester to blame the EU as to why he will soon be an ethnic minority in the city of his birth? When did the EU say you have open borders up to citizens of non member states such as Brazil?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Arscloch, I think in the two cities you mention, white English people already are an ethnic minority. Interesting to note the political complexion of each place too.

      Tad

      • arschloch
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Yes you can never underestimate the stupidity of the UKs political class. Presumably they are aware of the history of ethnic politics in the USA e.g. Tammany Hall in New York or even the politics of Liverpool and Glasgow at home. I look forward to the day a WASP Eton and Oxford educated politician is denied a place in Downing Street because he failed to win the support of some minority faction or other.It might even happen within a year or two.

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          “The Little Scotlanders demand independence.” Said the BBC political commenter. (Joke)

          We English are hated in general but by none more than our own ruling classes.

          “They tried to drive England off the map.” said Dr Redwood.

          Tried ?

          England as we knew it is pretty much over. The demographics indicate this. Accelerated under Tony Blair and continued under David Cameron.

          You’d have to be a mug to vote for the man.

          Any of them in fact. It will be illegal to be Conservative before long.

          • Arschloch
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            I would be willing to put a small sum of money down to bet that Cameron is kept out of office in 2015 by Galloway. What is to stop Respect picking up a couple of seats and acting as kingmaker? Little George May think he has it in the bag but he seems to have forgot about the boundary changes. Let alone Labour’s welfare payroll vote and postal vote machine. May 2015 should permenantly wipe the smirk off his face.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            Arschloch,

            I confess that I don’t understand what you mean.

            However. I think George Osborne has played a dangerous game with the housing market.

            He has put party before country.

  4. Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It’s all so simple in your blogs! The world was a great, peaceful place and then along came the EU and stirred things up! The British Empire surely had no role in creating large migrations of people or, what you call, “identity crisis”. Please check what these people have in common: Benjamin Disraeli, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Joseph Conrad and Salman Rushdie.

    Reply My piece said there were problems of identity for some in Europe before the EU – I did not say only the EU causes these problems. You should recognise that the EU has undoubtedly created new problems of identity – e.g. in England where we had none before – and has exacerbated some of the old ones.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      “The British Empire surely had no role in creating large migrations of people or, what you call, “identity crisis”.”

      Only insofar as being a great empire attracted a group whose loyalties, unfortunately, are non-transferable; it was they who orchestrated the Britsh Nationality Act 1948 which conferred Britiosh Nationality on millions from (overseas ed) for the specific purpose of (changing our country ed).

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 20, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

        And who was in power in 1948 I ask?

        And they have been packing them in ever since, at every opportunity.

        Tad

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Well said Patryk.

      JR – things change. I am in Ethiopia at the moment; two wars with Italy, freedom obtained via British armed support, mad Soviet times and mass torture, famine, war with Eritrea, loss of Eritrea, and now a new country as a near neighbour. Yet the economy is booming, people are smiling and can eat and are purposeful and new businesses are starting up all over. We could do with a bit of this positive thinking.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      So much immigration encouraged by the legacy parties for their EU utopian dream and no feelings of national identity by the British.
      We the English people have lost our tolerance and can no longer believe the never ending promises to some solution after another election or a blue moon or if there is an r in the month. Talk, talk, talk.
      The political class have lost all credibility with thinking people and have to be removed to restore sovereignty and democracy to Westminster given away incrementally by stealthy treaties by the LibLabCon cartel for their beloved EU, all at our expense. We start with European elections next month.
      It can’t be hidden any more and our health, education and housing is in crisis to meet the needs of all the foreign people at our expense. How is that charging foreign people for their services coming along? Still over 500,000 gross allowed in every year! Reform of the Human Rights Act? Right to recall MP’s? Boundary reform? Reduction and reform of the quangos. Austerity with 80% reductions and 20% tax rises? Powers repatriated from the EU? The Tory led Coalition have only had 4 years.
      After all this time we might expect just one result couldn’t we?

  5. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    These are profound and important concepts. We tend not to think much about them until what we are familiar and content with is threatened by external forces.

    Most of what humans achieve is as a result of people joining together to pursue a common objective. Where the joining together and the objectives are changing, particularly under the influence of external forces, little of lasting benefit is achieved. A good example is the disruptive effect of war, and World War in particular.

    The UK is particularly fortunate that since 1066 the external influences have not made any fundamental changes to evolution progress. Mainland European nations are nowhere near so fortunate, and I would say is one of the reasons the EU is appealing to them as it offers stability and a chance for evolutionary progress. The UK does not need the EU in that way.

    Central control provides coherence and a sense of direction. The downside is that the narrower the sense of direction and the tighter the control, the more likely more people will find that in conflict with their choices.

    Good governance has to strike the balance between direction, so all people do feel part of the same nation, and flexibility, so that smaller groups can influence their own destiny. The UK has 1000 years of experience of doing just that, and having learnt what does and does not work are well placed for further World success OUTSIDE the EU.

  6. sm
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    One wonders if any of the progenitors of the EU or its current high command have ever consulted or listened to knowledgeable professors of European history.

    From eastern Russia to western Spain, and from the Baltic to Sicily, great swathes of people and tribes have either moved themselves around or the rights over them have been transferred from one great king or superpower to another, causing endless struggle/financial hardship/war – and who benefits from this in the long run? Well, no-one obviously – other than a handful of Archdukes or EU commissioners who live out their final years in swansdown-lined nests, oblivious to the problems they have created.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Yep ! The powerful minority have always preyed on the weak majority. They use all means and tools at their disposal to keep the masses subjugated and docile. Whether it be religion or TV.

  7. zorro
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Good piece John, but we have known what the EU’s ambitions were all along and its expansive appetite. The main thorn in the side of the EU’s ambitions would have been a strong UK, but, unfortunately, successive Parliaments and elected placemen have slowly allowed our rights to be whittled away on a legal and political level.

    The EU has successively used a ‘divide and rule’ strategem along with the employment of ‘useful idiots’ (or worse) to play down (or co-opt) the nation state and encourage regionalism under the benevolent watch of the super federalist structure. That regionalism is fine for the EU as long as it can control it and it portrays no realistic threat. Of course, if it does, that is when it opposes it. That usually manifests it when the people in the area say that they want to make real, effective decisions for themselves.

    The EU is having its wings clipped in the Ukraine but that is because it and its ‘useful idiots’ (both in the EU and Ukraine) have implicitly threatened Russia with their public statements. Russia had to act and has done so in a measured way bearing in mind the provocation.

    I do wonder if the West’s strategy is to deliberately provoke a war. It was badly shown up by Russia over Syria as rather bloodthirsty and too ready to support extremely unsavoury characters. The West has been wounded by these wars over the last 10 years including any moral superiority it may have claimed. A lot of eyes are being opened as to the true nature of international politics and they really do not like their governments or the characters who lead them, or the associations the latter seem to nurture or protect…..

    zorro

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      ‘ It was badly shown up by Russia over Syria as rather bloodthirsty and too ready to support extremely unsavoury characters.’

      Absolutely right Zorro! As I may have already mentioned, the local Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert, wrote to the Director general of the BBC at my behest to enquire as to why they broadcast as genuine, a piece that was clearly staged for the foreign media, showing Syrian people supposedly injured in a Syrian government chemical attack. When I get my reply, with John’s permission, I promise to post it here for all to see. Yet that could have tipped the scales in favour of yet another war as the use of chemical weapons ‘crossed the red line’. We (that is, the UK and the US) would have allied ourselves with some right dross in the process. Regrettably, some of whom actually come from the UK.

      We’ve been down that road before as I recall – arming those fighting the old USSR in Afghanistan, only for those arms to ultimately be used against our own service personnel after our own invasion.

      I really do wonder about the morality of people like Cameron and Hague when I hear them glibly spout war rhetoric nonsense, and I question their suitability to be in office at all. We ask our brave servicemen and women to put themselves in harm’s way on the most flimsy of pretexts, if not ones that are bogus altogether. Before the likes of Cameron and Hague star a war, I think they should be made to fight one first, on the ground, then perhaps that will cool their enthusiasm for them.

      And we need to ask, who ultimately benefits from foreign entanglements that lead to military confrontations. Politicians who have moved on to become peace envoys or to sit on the boards of arms companies, or perhaps the arms-sellers themselves?

      Tad

      • sm
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Wars cost money. Who will lend us this money? Who will benefit?

        More bread,circuses, false flags. Difficult to trust any of them without absolute incontrovertible evidence. ( and that’s our lot all-though, it sticks in the throat saying our lot)

    • Timaction
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree with this comment. I instinctively used to support my Government and the USA in its foreign policy. No more, as the latest crisis has shown the depth of deception by politicians and journalists. The legacy parties and the media seek to deceive and hide the origins of the troubles. It was the expansionist plans of the EU initially through trade and then eventual implied membership that threatened Russia in its backyard. The EU’s plans were supported by the USA for its own interests. The rest is history.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    JR: “I belonged to the UK, would answer the question as British, and believed in our independent democracy and quirky constitution.”
    As far as I’m concerned I want a reversion to the status quo ante. The EU has been and remains an increasingly pernicious, anti-democratic organisation. When democratic rights are removed from people what alternative to violent uprising is left to them to change an overbearing government dictatorship? I have long held the view that this organisation, lauded by its proponents as the means of ending European conflict, would in fact ultimately foment violence. That is why on 22 May we must send a clear message to the Europhile leaders of the three main Westminster parties that we want to be freed from subservience to the EU.

  9. Normandee
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    (I have read another website – which I have not had time to check out ed – which says)

    “A cocooned and self-referential Westminster bubble simply cannot conceive of anything outside of itself. But it is that very ability to think and act outside the bubble that has made UKIP into nothing less than a revolutionary phenomenon in British politics.”
    Are you in or out of the bubble, you might like to think you are out, but you are very firmly in, and we know what bubbles do eventually don’t we.

    Reply UKIP is not revolutionary – it rightly operates within the current democratic structure, trying to get people elected to political office like other parties. So far it has not succeeded in getting a single MP elected, but has had some success in past European Parliamentary elections and is currently in second place in the polls for the May European elections. It has trouble keeping the MEPs the public do elect, with a worse record in terms of percentage of elected officials lost through scandals or disagreements within the party than the main Westminster parties who also can have their difficulties. I do not see myself as in a bubble unable to see things clearly outside, though I am able to speak and vote in Parliament on the big issues of the day.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Granted you are unusual in that you’re inside the bubble and intelligent enough to be able to distance yourself from the self-reinforcing ideas within it on most areas. You must therefore be able to see that the majority of MPs across Labour, Conservative and Libdem share common ground on many issues – the sort of ideas espoused by Nick Clegg in his recent debate with UKIP….., and the very fact that Clegg was blown away on most arguments was a litmus test for how “out of touch” the 3 main parties are. In that sense we can say UKIP is “revolutionary”, not in the sense of political revolution, but in the complete change of ideas from those of the other 3 main parties.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        I recall some of the emails that passed between myself and Bob Spink when he saw the light. The Westminster alienation machine went onto overdrive! We want one thing, most of the politicians want something quite different, but still tell us they are on our side and batting for Britain. The trouble is, when it looks and smells like BS, it probably is.

        Tad

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Tad – When it looks or smells like BS ?

          Well it certainly tastes like it and I for one am sick of being fed it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Were not Thatcher and Blair revolutionaries of a kind? They operated within the democratic structure.

    • Normandee
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I cannot believe that a man of your experience can be so naive, or deceitful, it has to be one or the other. UKIP have increased their presence at every stage along the way, as did every new party throughout history. They won more seats in Europe last time, and you accept that they will probably win more this time, and they are poised to start winning seats in Parliament next year, how many they win is yet to be seen, but your only alternative is to maintain the established corrupt system. A system which is so self serving that you have many mp’s of all parties that are still in the HoP that had they been hunted down like the UKIP people have been should have ended up in court, and prison. People in glass houses especially “glass houses of parliament” shouldn’t throw stones.
      You make such a lot about speaking and voting in the HoP, but what has it really achieved? and do not try to claim credit for anything that it has been acknowledged was forced on Cameron by UKIP.
      Accept the facts the conservative party no longer exists, it has been transformed into a party that is the enemy of the state.

      Reply Conservatives in Parliament, achieved promises of a referendum before losing the pound, got this government to veto the Fiscal Treaty, cut the budget and now have a promise of a referendum in 2017. We were battling ever closer union before UKIP began life, and maybe UKIP learned much of what it knows about the EU from hearing us in Parliament opposing every Treaty that Labour put forward.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        UKIP came into being in response to the Maastricht Treaty on European Union disgracefully agreed by Major and then even more disgracefully approved by a Bill rammed through the Commons on a confidence vote, without any referendum in which the British people could have had their direct say on it because that was the very last thing that Major wanted. Its preamble reiterated the commitment to a process of “ever closer union”, and thanks to Major and the great majority of Tory MPs who supported him that was what the British would get whether they wanted it or not.

        • Jennifer A
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Denis – As a result we are having to ask questions such as today’s ‘Who are we ?’

          This began – and is being continued – under the Tories.

        • sjb
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          The British people did have an opportunity to register their disapproval just two months after the Treaty was signed, Denis.

          The 1992 Conservative Party Manifesto stated:
          “The Maastricht Treaty was a success both for Britain and for the rest of Europe. British proposals helped to shape the key provisions of the Treaty including those strengthening the enforcement of Community law defence, subsidiarity and law and order. But Britain refused to accept the damaging Social Chapter proposed by other Europeans, and it was excluded from the Maastricht treaty.

          All Member States must live up to their obligations under Community law. At Maastricht, we secured agreement that the European Court will be able to fine any Member State which fails to do so.”

          The General Election had a high turnout of 77.6%. The Tories won with a 41.9% share of the vote; the Anti-Federalist League (forerunner of UKIP) won 4,383 votes, although they only stood in 17 constituencies. In 1993, the League stood in two by-elections scoring under 2% both times.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            I fell asleep halfway through that, sjb.

            ‘Boring’ being the most potent weapon of the EU.

          • Boudicca
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            You are conveniently ignoring the fact that when Major won his election, there was no anti-EU Party to vote for as Lib Lab and Con were all in favour of the EU.

            That is what The Establishment has relied on whilst it transferred our Sovereignty in stages, without a mandate from the people.

            Of course people voted Conservative: they had no idea then what the Maastrict Treaty really meant then …. or would mean, going forward.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            The thing to remember, at the time of the 1992 General Election, the internet was still in its infancy, and well-informed blogs such as this, that pool their knowledge and experience, and argue from a position of strength, were still a long way in the future. People had to rely for their news largely on state-run television that was very slanted, and newspapers. Little wonder some politicians seek to control the internet.

            People generally are becoming better informed, and now, there is also a political party that speaks their language, who could in time break the dominance of the other three. These things move slowly, but they DO move.

            And you’ll note that the 1992 GE was the last time the Tories won outright. They still had the ‘Maggie factor’. Every time Major came onto the television, commentators had to remind us who he was. It’s a pity they didn’t also give us a health warning to say he was so pro-EU.

            The Tories decline is linked to the availability of greater knowledge. People can actually see what they were like, but the ones they turned to thereafter proved little better. They were just as duplicitous, but with added incompetence. And as for the Lib Dems, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn they go out every night to the bottom of their gardens with a torch to see if they can find any fairies!

            Tad

            Reply There was a crucial difference between Mr Major and the Lib Dems/Labour – he negotiated an opt pout from the Euro for the UK and used it. A Lab or Lib/Lab government would have taken us in without a referendum.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            It was barely mentioned during the election campaign, and as it radically changed what had previously been directly approved by the people in a referendum it should have been put to a fresh referendum.

          • sjb
            Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            The 1993 Christchurch by-election was held during the Maastricht rebellion.

            “We were a year and a half or so into a parliament. The party was fighting among itself. There was a vote of confidence in the government [following a vote against the Maastricht Treaty] while I was in the middle of the campaign.” – losing Tory candidate

            “I knew in my heart of hearts, because of the climate and because by-elections are the opportunity for people to protest, life was looking a bit dodgy.” – Tory agent

            And the electorate did protest, but not to the Anti-Federalist candidate; he won just a 1.6% share of the vote.

            http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/features/snapshotsofthepast/10567737.When_the_eyes_of_the_nation_turned_to_Christchurch/?ref=rss

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 22, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            If Major was so sure that the British people wanted all of their future governments to be bound by the Maastricht Treaty, why didn’t he have the courage of his convictions and ask them directly in a referendum?

            Oh, was that because an unknown candidate of an unknown party only got 1.6% of the votes in a by-election, or was it because he knew that if the issue was properly debated as a separate issue, and as the only issue, in a referendum campaign then he might not win that referendum?

            In 1979 people had got fed up with a Labour government which had tolerated trade union disruption to the point where rubbish was piled up the streets and the dead were lying unburied, and so they voted in a Tory government.

            They didn’t vote in a Tory government because they wanted a Prime Minister who would then agree to radical changes to the terms of the EEC contract which they had directly approved in a referendum only four years before, when she herself had actively campaigned to secure their approval, without bothering to ask them directly whether they agreed with those changes to the contract in fresh referendums; but that is what happened, and that set the precedent that once the people had voted in a party to govern then it could hand over more or more powers of government without ever directly asking them whether that was what they wanted.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted April 20, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

          Denis–But Major was elected so as we do things he was right and the mass of the people were wrong–ridiculous really

      • Normandee
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Well you have answered one question, although not as I expected,you are neither naive or deceitful, you are simply delusional.

      • dave roderick
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        you can oppose as many treaties as you like if the eu dictate that you must accept you all roll over
        also heath and all politicons since have all commited treason by giving this country away, try reading the magna carter and common law or should we call it common sense law

    • dave roderick
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      but achieve no meaningfull change

  10. Mark B
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    You can blame the EU for many things. Flooding, Presidential over throws etc. But there are things that you cannot blame the EU for. Signing up to the then EEC. Giving away ever larger chunks of our rebate. Allowing the EU to dictate more and more policy areas.

    But blaming the EU for the breakup of the UK is, in my opinion, certainly one that cannot be laid at the EU’s door. No, the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of those we elected in Westminster.

    Labour wanted to set up a Socialist Utopia north of the border and, gave all the necessary powers. They created a voting system that they thought, at the time, would keep the SNP from ever gaining power. They of course were wrong, like so much of their muddle up thinking has been proved so wrong, and damaging.

    The Conservative lead coalition should have addressed this issue early on. Cameron should never have allowed foreigners living in Scotland a say. The whole thing to me looks like total political ineptness of the highest order and not some Brussels inspired plot.

    In short, YOU ALL cocked-up ! And you are looking for a Scape Goat. Shame on you.

    Reply I spoke, wrote and voted against measures that are helping to spl.it the kingdom. You should not ignore the role of the EU in this as in so many other things in our public life.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      On balance I agree with Mark. Clearly Blair in his “fair to everybody” (except the English) mode pushed for devolution, probably against the will of the majority of the UK. From there it was like a ball rolling down a hill, and as with everything else it would have been too difficult for the “all inclusive” (except the English) Cameron to do anything but give the Scots a vote on their direction.
      Who could blame them for leaving? They think they’ll either be negotiating with Miliband or Cameron on the day of judgement! It’ll be like handing them the land of milk and honey!

      • Boudicca
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Blair is an EUphile.

        In giving the Scots and Welsh devolution, he was advancing the EU’s project to regionalise Europe.

        In the EU’s plans, Scotland, Wales and NI were each classified as a separate region and were therefore allowed their own devolved Parliament. England was too large (and too stroppy) and was to be broken into 7 regions, each with a regional Assembly.

        Prescott convinced Blair that he could win a Referendum for a Northumbrian Assembly …. the hope being that if one was implemented via a Referendum the other 6 would fall into place one by one.

        Fortunately the good people of NE England had the good sense to reject the proposal.

        But the EU remains committed to a Europe of the regions and that is no doubt why Cameron refuses to even discuss an English Parliament.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          England was to be broken up into 9 euroregions, one of them being London where of course that has actually been done. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made up to 12 for the UK.

          But while this was pushed forward by Blair, or more particularly by Prescott, it had been given a massive impetus by Major through the Maastricht Treaty which inter alia established the EU’s Committee of the Regions.

          Here is its mission statement:

          http://cor.europa.eu/en/about/Documents/Mission%20statement/EN.pdf

          “We are a political assembly of holders of a regional or local electoral mandate serving the cause of European integration.”

          “Our mission is to involve regional and local authorities in the European decision-making process and thus to encourage greater participation from our fellow citizens.”

          “Our political action is based on the belief that cooperation between European, national, regional and local levels is essential if we are to build an ever closer and more mutually supportive union among the people of Europe and respond to the challenges of globalisation. To this end, we work closely together with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and in the Member States with the various tiers of authority, in order also to promote multi-level governance.”

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I have to agree with you Mark B. The responsibility for the deliberate attempt to destroy the UK has been principally that of our own elected politicians, mainly Labour through mass immigration, giving away powers to the EU and regional separation. The Tories are culpable. These three issues are extremely difficult if not impossible to reverse and Labour know it.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Again Max, I’m in full agreement, but the Tories want us believe they’re somehow different, and that is the biggest con of all. I wish it were not so, but the facts don’t lie. It is they who have been complicit in some of the biggest deceptions. If only people read more and took the trouble to seek out the truth rather than rely on impulse or voting purely by tradition. Where the three main Westminster parties are concerned, the people might soon find they are actually for, what the elite are against, and vice versa.

        Tad

        • David Price
          Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

          People don’t read more or “take the trouble” to seek out the truth because they are busy with their own lives, families and livelyhoods. As such we must place our trust in representatives and hope the do right by us. We have been educated to also rely on an independent press to ferret out the truth. Unfortunately the trust and hope in all these is so often misplaced, not necessarily because of individual naughtiness.

          The biggest con though may be that Mr Farage and UKIP are any different in terms of words, deeds and competence. When you do take the trouble to read around they appear to be as sullied as the rest.

          It seems they can’t even be bothered to turn up and do the job they are paid to do even when it directly benefits the UK national interest such as with the the fisheries and FTT votes.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Personally David, I think the issue of Britain’s membership of the EU is of such gravity, people really ought to take a greater interest, whatever their commitments. If they wish to remain in blissful ignorance and make an uninformed choice at the ballot box, then they cannot complain when their political representatives in whom presumably they have given their faith and trust, do the dirty on them and sign away their birth right. I used to blindly follow the Tories, but like so many others, I eventually got heartedly sick of being duped.

            On UKIP itself, I’m not a UKIP member so I cannot presume to speak for them, except that it does seem to me, they’re getting their act together. They took on some people in good faith, who turned out to be ‘wrong ‘uns’ and got rid, which is the natural process. Let’s not forget that some former Labour ministers now have a predilection for porridge, including a former Euro-minister! And the Tories and the Lib Dems weren’t exactly clean. How many resignations and ‘not standing agains’ did the expenses scandal bring about?

            On Mr Farage, he represents an alternative to those who have already failed. They have already proven themselves to be incompetent and untrustworthy. I am not going to judge Mr Farage on mere speculation. As with all who promise to be new brooms, I am more than prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in order to get rid of the dirt that taints every Westminster crevice. Time will tell. But who else do we have that promises to get us out of the EU once and for all, rather than deliver some compromise of a fudge?

            Tad

        • Peter Davies
          Posted April 22, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          @Tad

          “If only people read more and took the trouble to seek out the truth rather than rely on impulse or voting purely by tradition”

          - the problem I think is the stealthy nature of the EU and the way it has been constructed by treaties and regulations makes it boring for most – they don’t see the effects until it is too late, get used to something then forget about it and something else comes along.

          Blogs such as this highlight these issues from an informed position but as a percentage of the general public who reads them? It always comes down to the populist “whats in it for me” type soundbites that draw peoples attention – the rest is boring “CRAP”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      The presense of the EU clearly has a huge infulence on the Scottish debate and makes more feel they can break the Union. Why have both the UK government and the EU one (and then the Scottish one and local government too)? No wonder we all have trouble competing in the world.

  11. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Personally I have never found it too hard to grasp that my Country is England and my Nationality is British; but even that now seems to have its wheels falling off. The idea of Europe becoming one Country or even one Nation I find fatuous; and by no means a good idea even in some sort of dreamy Utopian theory. I don’t want to be homogenised with otherwise interesting parts of Europe: if I want to feel at home I’ll stay at home. Otherwise an excellent article.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Leslie
      What Nationality ?

      Just look at the front cover of your Passport for a clue.

      What does it say.?

      If you have ever been to the USA then they regard us as UK citizens.

      I wonder what the situation will be if Scotland leave ?.

  12. rick hamilton
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Every other country in the EU (except perhaps Sweden) has had its constitution changed in the 20th century by invasions, occupations, coups or dictatorships in a way which the UK never has. As you say with that experience they might feel more secure as part of the EU, especially the former communist countries.

    The UK developed its own way of doing things since Magna Carta and spread its values around the world with some success, so why did we ever need “ever closer union” at all? Trading relationships yes, of course. But who ever asked for or wanted ECU except the bureaucrats and politicians who benefit from the power, the glory, the membership of an elite cabal and of course a glittering gravy train.

    I have asked on this blog before, why did successive governments sign up to ever closer union over and over again when the outcome was surely always going to be the profoundly undemocratic trap that we now find ourselves in?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Rick,
      You ask: “why did successive governments sign up to ever closer union over and over again when the outcome was surely always going to be the profoundly undemocratic trap that we now find ourselves in?”
      One thing is certain, they knew exactly what they were doing. There can be no doubt that the people of this country have been betrayed for decades by politicians. Some ( e.g. Cameron) think that they can still pretend that this wasn’t and isn’t the agenda – they really do take us all for fools.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Exactly!

        Tad

      • Boudicca
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        FCO file 30/1048 – released under the 30 yr rule whilst Heath was still alive – makes it perfectly clear that it was a deliberate policy and they knew exactly what they were going.

        Heath admitted that he knew what was planned and he had lied when he said there would be no loss of Sovereignty.

        Every PM since Macmillan has betrayed the British people – including Mrs Thatcher, although she woke up to what was intended which is why Heseltine etc deposed her.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Take a look at FCO report 30/1048 to Ted Heaths Government before the ONLY referendum where the people were promised there would be no loss of sovereignty and it was all about trade. It will make you want to weep at the treachery. Most people still don’t know this. We have been lied to for over 40 years on all things EU. The legacy parties leadership simply cannot be trusted!

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          ‘ It will make you want to weep at the treachery. ‘

          Or perhaps rather than weep, we should consider something much more fitting for a traitor TA, like we used to do years ago, and I’m thinking brick walls and blindfolds, followed by the confiscation of their wealth and property.

          We’re far too soft now, and that is what the perpetrators of the deception have depended upon as leniency has allowed the traitors to pretty much get away with their crimes. Some things don’t change for the better.

          We really should see this treachery for what it is, and not just merely as a divergence of opinion between the pro and anti-EU camps. We have beep duped by agents of a foreign power into giving away our sovereignty and it has been a disaster for the UK. It was fully orchestrated with malice aforethought, and a blatant disregard for the wishes and the welfare of the people of the United Kingdom, as documents now show.

          Tad

          • Stevie
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            But Tad whilst agreeing with your sentiments what can we do about it now as we are only offered tame politicians that have gone through the induction process and have become a reflection of their leader in whatever party they belong to?

          • APL
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Stevie: “what can we do about it now ”

            For a start you could stop voting for the official parties. If you must vote conservative, vote independent conservative, if Labour is your poison, vote independent Labour.

            It’s the party cartel that is our problem.

  13. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Another excellent article on a fascinating subject Dr Redwood.
    Although I share your views on the EU, I think that you are giving that organisation too much of the credit for ruining our country when most of the blame lies here at home. We now live in what amounts to a police state which masquerades as a democracy. Any deviation from the ‘values’ imposed upon us is severely punished by arrest, job loss, pension entitlement threatened, etc; in fact many of the techniques that were used in the former eastern bloc are now used here. This climate of fear was introduced under the Blair government and it has been maintained ever since. We know who is really in power in this country.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Well said Max! I’ve seen evidence of that too.

      Tad

  14. Atlas
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    To many in Brussels the EU == a new Roman hegemony. But will it be a Republic or will it have an Emperor??

    I suppose the amusing thing is that eventually the Anglo-Saxons overthrew the later Western Roman Empire.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Atlas–Couldn’t happen today: it would be “illegal”

  15. Tad Davison
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Another excellent and thought-provoking piece John. Just for the hell of it, here’s something that might provoke a few more thoughts, and it is Easter.

    My old man was from Northern Ireland and of the Roman Catholic faith. He often used to tell me even when I was quite young (so you see I’ve had this nickname for many years), ‘Tad, politics is something a man chooses, but religion is something he’s born with.’ I agree, but in that I would also include ones nationality. My dad was Irish first, and British a very close second, whereas I regard myself as English first (and staunchly English too). So despite claims by some to the contrary, my dad proves there is such a thing as a ‘Northern Irish Catholic Loyalist’.

    Born in 1918, he saw some very difficult times in the province. The few jobs that were widely advertised (and many weren’t) very often came with the instruction, ‘Catholics need not apply’, so little wonder there was discontent, resentment, and a longing by some to belong to another place where no such segregation existed. But my dad, despite being born into Roman Catholicism, still regarded himself as part of the people of, and was loyal to, the United kingdom. So in 1936, as an 18-year old, he joined the Fleet Air Arm as he’d always wanted to fly.

    His ship was HMS Glorious, and he served until that fateful day, June 8th 1940, when it was blown out of the water in the Norwegian Sea by the German Battle Cruiser, Sharnhorst with a very large loss of life. Afterwards, he joined the RAF where his services were needed the most, and he later settled on the mainland.

    He worked hard to keep is wife (my mother) and his growing family, holding down two, and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. Yet he always felt like a stranger, and that somehow, despite virtually renouncing his religion, and nearly dying for this country, he was never really treated as an equal. So I am left to wonder if some of those from different faiths and from the Commonwealth feel truly British after taking up residency, or do they still consider themselves to be of their native lands and bear allegiances to their former countries?

    Where does loyalty to the UK come into play? I hear people who have residency here, and who regard themselves as British, denounce it and all its works, yet are quite content to get sucker from it when it suits them. And I cannot ever recall anyone from other countries inside the EU describing themselves as anything other than where they were born – Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian etc. It sure is a tricky subject.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  16. forthurst
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    “Who knows what country I will technically belong to if Scotland votes to leave. We do not even have a name, as you can scarcely call what remains the United Kingdom.”

    The unity was that created by the Act of Union. The Scots believe that they can share our Monarchy (and currency); they could join the Commonwealth whose titular head is the Queen, but if they want to share our Monarchy, they would need to accept the Queen as their Head of State whose role would be delegated to a Governor-General; they would then be entitled to occasional visits from assorted Royal Personages.

    There are those in the Conservative Party who would be happy for the dissolution of the UK if it afforded them political advantage; many of those who drive Conservative Party policy have very little loyalty to this country, feel alienated outside the M25, and express revulsion for the English in off guarded moments; such people may never have visited Scotland, have no Scottish ancestry unlike many English, particularly from the North, and regard the Scots as an alien people who provide bad governance at Westminster from time to time. Should the Union break up, the Conservative Party will have played a unique role; it is, more focused on the Middle East than North of the Border whose inhabitants feel totally alienated by the priorities of the Conservative Party, being why it has practically ceased to exist there.

    The problem with having a “quirky” Constition like ours is that it is too dependent on the goodwill of those who govern from time to time; in particular, there is no statutary obligation to maintain a fair electoral system, such that no political party has advantage from an unfair alignment of constituency boundaries, or a voting system which prevents unfair representation in proportion to votes cast. Had that not been the case, our present poitical climate could have been very different.

    The dissolution of the UK should be the epitaph of the failed parties that have misruled this country for at least a century, taking us into unnecessary major and minor wars, diluting our national genius with antipathetic and alien cultures, and finally binding us into an undemocratic and incoherent proto-empire based in Brussels.

  17. Gyges
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Who am I?

    Surely I am who I am; I don’t have to subornidate myself to the myth of some collective based around another myth of nationalism to be someone? Surely subordinating the individual to the collective is socialism?

    Are you advocating socialism, John?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      You’re confusing patriotism with socialism.

      I don’t expect there were many socialists among the many thousands of public school boys who volunteered to fight for their King and country during the First World War, with the average lifespan on the front as a subaltern now estimated to be just six weeks.

  18. Amanda
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I read something a while back that resonated with me – our history is one of making a nation out of tribes, but the EU has made tribes out of nations !! I am interested as to why the EU has now decided it is against ‘regions’ – for, I work on the maxim (gleaned from experience) that whatever the EU wants is not in the interests of the people of Europe.

    In terms of who I am, that is easy, I am English (albeit that I have Highland ancestors),that is where my heart is, and I am proud to be so because of the history of the people who have made England and our achievements to civilization; not because of the state of the country today.

    It seems anyone can be British these days, and the terms means nothing by way of ethnicity, shared values and culture, and history. What is British? So many qualify it terms like British Asian. I am only ever European, when far away in another continent – and then it is a geographic view, never ever a political/national one. When, people ask me where I come from I reply England, I am English. That to me is far more specific, and accurate. I also note, that my grandchildren identify themselves as being English, which is interesting.

    Europe can chop and change; is Russia in Europe, is Turkey in the EU -what a mess !! Britain can come and go as Scotland, and Wales unite and disunite, and immigrants of all kinds live on these islands. But England, and being English has a deeper meaning to me, far beyond a transient political construct !!

  19. Boudicca
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood likes to place the blame with the EU ….

    In the UK’s case, the blame lies entirely with The British Establishment – our own Mandarinate and Political Class who deliberately set out to destroy British Sovereignty and therefore the United Kingdom, in order to join the EEC/EU.

    Amongst the political class, none is more culpable than the Conservative Party, which Mr Redwood remains a member of.

  20. Simon
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Divide and rule

  21. bigneil
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    When a group of people in another country, many of whom have probably never been here, can order that we have to house, finance and treat the health of the many foreign criminals who claim asylum -to which our leaders bow and say yes master -something is drastically wrong. If they have come here to commit crime -just to be rewarded with a free life on our taxes – they should be deported -no ifs no buts no legal aid. I do not care what they allegedly face. Why should people here have to have lives ruined by these people -then have to pay taxes so the criminal can stay here in comfort. Our so called elite have clearly lost it. I wonder what would happen if (someone close to the PM ed) was targeted ?

  22. Terry
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Well said, John
    I did not attend Oxbridge. Instead, I went through the University of Life and it seems my Uni taught me rather more than Oxbridge has relayed to our current Political leaders. None of the present crew seem to have the necessary passion for their own country, albeit Britain or England and that is very dangerous for the future, especially for the future of our offspring.
    Nationality and patriotism is being undermined in our schools, in our Unis and in the Public Sector. On one side we have the Islamists subversively infiltrating and t’other the EU agents doing the same.
    When is somebody in charge going to stand up and be counted. All for the love of their country just like Mrs T and the old Brits pre 1939?
    Britain has become sickeningly too compassionate, too worried about Foreign people in foreign lands that she has neglected her own once dedicated citizens. It is time to look back, not necessarily in history, but to turn back to our own country and make that and us true Brits, THE priority. Dear Leaders, nobody out there will criticise you for doing the right thing. Because this time “It is the right thing to do”.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Ironically those who wish a return to patriarchal times have nothing to fear from Islam.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        It would be worst for our womenfolk, but we should all fear it.

      • Terry
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        It’s a joke, right?

        Where does your patriarchal idea come from? I never mentioned such a desire.

    • Stevie
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Hi Terry this is Vladimir Putin’s SHORTEST SPEECH EVER

      This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin.
      How scary is that?

      On August 04, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma
      (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about (words left out ed) minorities in Russia :

      Reply I cannot find any evidence that Mr Putin gave such a speech. The words in it are similar to emails I used to be sent claiming the former Australian PM gave such a speech. I checked that out and was told by Australian MPs that she gave no such speech. I will not post the alleged Putin speech.

      • Terry
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I agree with you John. Sorry, Stevie but there have been umpteen of these counterfeit speeches being banded about the internet. A pity because we could do with a leader who will speak up for his indigenous peoples and put his/her country, first.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I used to have no problem thinking of myself as British and English.

    To a very rough approximation, I would be more British for any aspect of life which related to the kind of matters which are now still reserved to the British Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998, and more English for any aspect of life which related to the kind of matters which have been devolved from the British Parliament to the Scottish Parliament, but not of course to an English Parliament.

    Then I discovered that as an Englishman I was loathed and despised by most of the politicians elected to the British Parliament, including most of the great majority who had actually been elected by the English as their representatives.

    And contrary to the claim made by some other commenters here, this habitual ingrained contempt for the English was not restricted to Labour MPs, as it became clear that many Tory MPs were no better.

    This is from January 2000:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/596703.stm

    “English nationalism ‘threat to UK’”

    “Jack Straw and William Hague warn of nationalism”

    “Cross-party politicians have warned of growing English nationalism following devolution, airing their views in a BBC programme.

    Home Secretary Jack Straw says the English had used their “propensity to violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland” on the Radio 4 programme Brits. The broadcast is examining what it now means to be British.

    Mr Straw will describe the English as “potentially very aggressive, very violent” and will “increasingly articulate their Englishness following devolution.”

    Also appearing on the programme is Conservative leader William Hague.

    Mr Hague will say: “English nationalism is the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism that can arise within the United Kingdom, because England is five-sixths of the population of the UK.””.

    “”Jack Straw is worried that nationalism will manifest itself in violence and wants a positive English identity created which will beat off the unpleasant side.”

    “The Tory leader will add that he believes there has been a “rise of an English political consciousness”.

    “Once a part of a united country or kingdom that is so predominant in size becomes nationalistic, then really the whole thing is under threat,” he will say.””

    Now I would think of myself as more English than British, and I am a quite unashamed English nationalist, and if Straw and Hague don’t like that then they can lump it.

    In any case, I will never again waste my vote on either of their parties, or on that other lot of anglophobes in the so-called “Liberal Democrat” party.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Denis,

      I recall an EU debate in the House of Commons some years ago and a little while after a friend had delivered his ant-EU contribution, a Labour MP rose and said something to the effect, ‘I know what the problem is! It’s English nationalism!’

      To which my friend replied, ‘I’m sorry that he doesn’t like my English nationalism.’ My friend in this instance was Sir Teddy Taylor, who of course is Scottish!

      Tad

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Should read:

      This entirely false positioning works. Why ? Because it is what the leftist Hive Mind wants – it approves and is not much bothered by the truth. The threat to the Superstatists from the English is not our alleged predilection towards violence and cruelty (lies) but from our individualism and lateral thinking. I don’t feel that it’s an exaggeration to say that we are being (marginalised in ed) our own country.

  24. Lithgae Dave
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    A fatuous article. I am Scottish. Scots are a subset of the set of Britons. The British are a subset of the set of Europeans. I am by definition therefore 100% European, 100% British and 100% Scottish. I am happy with that and see no contradiction between these identities. How I describe myself to others will depend entirely on the context.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Who says we are Europeans?

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Lithgae Dave, “European” is not a nationality.

      Europe is a sub-continent of Asia, though traditionally we have treated it as a continent in its own right. Europe does not have a natural boundary, such as Australia, nor an obvious applied boundary, such as North and South America.

      A memorable feature of a widely acclaimed book on European history is that the author had to start by defining “Europe”; in fact the definition is arbitrary.

      The fact that there are a number of nationalities located in Europe, and the fact that they can be treated as a set, does not mean there is a nationality superset called “European”.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Europe is my Continent, not my country !

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and next Wednesday is St George’s Day, so I suppose we English will be treated to another load of anglophobic crap in the media.

    St Andrew’s Day – hurrah, let’s have a holiday in Scotland and fly lots of saltires and have a ceilidh.

    St David’s Day – hurrah, unfortunately not a holiday but we can still celebrate it.

    St Patricks’ Day – hurrah, a holiday in Northern Ireland and huge parties around the world, how wonderful.

    St George’s Day – boo, no holiday of course, and we don’t want those violent English flying their racist flag, stamp it out; in any case St George was not really England’s patron saint, blah blah blah, let’s write a Guardian article saying what a rotten character he was without even bothering to check that we’ve got the right one:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/apr/27/comment.britishidentity

    Sick of it, JR, absolutely sick of it; and do you know what?

    I DON’T BLAME THE SCOTS FOR ANY OF THIS, I BLAME THE POLITICIANS WE ENGLISH HAVE BEEN FOOLISH ENOUGH TO ELECT.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      I’m sick of it too, Denis.

      I intend to vote Ukip at the EU and general elections. Not because I think Ukip are any good but to pull the plug on the whole charade.

      I will never vote mainstream again. Cameron is really patronising.

      Don’t anyone be bought by Osborne’s house-bubble boom either.

  26. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t blame the politicians either for all of this EU rubbish .It Is partly due to the post war children who became well healed , yet sneered at anything British as they took the money for the Brits hard groundwork. I blame the ones who conned the business people into thinking that to sell off was better and get out what you can here and now is all that matters. It was obvious the the small sell off to the bigger and it happens again and again until a relative few have control .The ‘ controllers’ do not care about identity, only about power and money.
    My identity is important to me , my lost welsh ancestry and my English birthright.
    John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ should be left exactly where it should be; in the realms of imagination.
    I know who you are John ; a thoroughly likeable English gentleman.

  27. Gary
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    ” It is true there were some tensions even within a Europe of nations.”

    the understatement of the year. Rivers of blood flowed in Europe over inter-national slaughter. Repeatedly. One went on non-stop for 100 years.

  28. dave roderick
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood asks us: Who am I? – to which the obvious response must be: well, if you don’t know John, how can we?

    However, seeing as the question has been asked – and as one does not wish to be discourteous and ignore a question – perhaps the suggestion that he is an enigma might be helpful to the debate. When endowing someone with the description of being an enigma we are inferring that that person is someone who is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous.

    Puzzling? Most definitely. Ambiguous? Again, most definitely.

    We have here a man who maintains he is a eurosceptic, yet shelters under the umbrella of a political party that most definitely is not eurosceptic. We have here a man who complains about dictatorial rule from Brussels yet wishes to impose the continuance of a similar form of dictatorial governance on his own people. We have here a man who castigates the loss of democracy involved in our membership of the European Union yet who then wishes to continue said loss among his fellow people.

    Personally, I feel that the use of the word enigma is a tad misleading where Redwood, , is concerned – how about the word hypocrite?

    along with most of the w——s in government

    Reply Unpleasant drivel. I voted to leave the EEC when we had a referendum, and am pressing for a referendum on In/Out again. What is hypocritical about that? The only other option people propose on this site is the option of joining a different party so I would no longer have a vote and voice in Parliament to make the case against the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I second you on that, John.

  29. David Price
    Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve not thought about the issue before but if pressed I would have to say British.

    I know who I am but not so sure “what” I am in the sense you describe. I was born and brought up in England where I currently live but my parents were not both English. My family now is decidedly not English and came from many countries, some in the Commonwealth. My career involved working with colleagues and customers on all continents so my background and outlook is not English.

    However, I am labelled English by the actions of extremists in Wales and Scotland who declare I am not one of them because I don’t live there but I certainly don’t feel English. Over the last 20 years the UK government has gone in directions I disagree with and when I relied on it to uphold English law it failed miserably so as far as I can see there is no specific region or party that represents my interests.

    I see very actual little benefit in voting for any party at present.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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