Mr Miliband has plunged into the politics of identity, by telling us he is proud to be English. He has also apologised for Labour’s past, which he tells us was not good at cherishing or promoting England’s identity.
The amusing thing about his foray was the Channel Four interview with him. It was a great interview. It stuck entirely to Mr Miliband’s chosen topic. It asked a series of simple and good questions. The more he was asked, the less Mr Miliband said. The interviewer had no need to do what they usually do, and go off after some different topic or embarrassment. At the heart of Mr Miliband’s case was no heart, no lungs, no soul for England. There was certainly no policy for England, no wish to tell the EU that England has a right to a life.
He was unable to identify a single English characteristic that could not be said to be a British characteristic as well. His definition of Englishness, a stoicism in the face of adversity, is surely a British characteristic if it is anything. He rules out an English Parliament. He has still not come round to the better answer, twin hatted English and UK MPs at Westminster with English votes for English issues. He has still not renounced his and the EU’s wish to balkanise England with false regionalism. Labour did its best in office to eclipse England and to set up as much English regional government as possible, to try to distort and twist our sense of identity.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the special characteristics of England. As Mr Miliband had in mind the contrast with Scotland, some of our different culture and characteristics you would have thought were obvious.
He seemed as tone deaf to Englishness as the BBC were to the mood of the UK as a whole during the Jubilee. Maybe the BBC were put off by a sea of Union flags, and by the enthusiaism for monarchy. Their chosen presenters were in the main ignorant of our history, ill informed about the pageant, incapable of providing informed commentary and always wishing to take things down to the lowest common denominator. The BBC is usually tone deaf to England, and with their friends in the EU do their best to deny it voice or existence. Over the Jubilee water pageant they extended the insouciance to the wider nation.
I am particularly angry with the BBC after hearing Sunday’s interview on the World at One about the Euro’s problems. Three senior people who have constantly urged more European integration, have backed the Euro and in the case of Mr David Miliband thrown away some of the UK’s powers of self government in support of this cause, were allowed long periods to say what they wished in a kind of extended pro EU party political broadcast. They were not asked a single difficult question. At no point did the BBC think to ask them why the Euro scheme had gone so badly, or to suggest they might be partly responsible for the unemployment, the broken banks, the collapsing economies and all the other disasters the Euro is now bringing. Surely Mr Sutherland, a former Irish EU Commissioner, should have been asked if he now thought the Euro had worked out well for Ireland?