I am meeting representatives of the BBC at their request following my submission that the review of the BBC considers their services to England.
I will not of course be meeting BBC England. After much prodding there is now a webpage on England, but there is still no BBC England with England’s news and other programmes in the way there is a BBC Scotland or BBC Wales. The BBC still seeks to implement a regionalisation agenda for England, breaking us up into regions that encourage little loyalty or even recognition.
My first question to the BBC is Why do you insist on trying to balkanise England when you do not do the same for Scotland? The Highlands and islands are very different from the lowlands, the borders are different from the central belt, yet you allow Scotland to be a single entity. Why is my part of England called the South of England? Why is Wokingham lumped with Dorset and the Isle of Wight, but not with neighbouring Surrey or west London?
My second question is why are you so embarrassed by England? The answer appears on your short profile of England which you have now published on the BBC website. In a revealing passage the BBC states
“Scottish and Welsh nationalist movements have long been part of the political mainstream, and are seen as champions of legitimate historical identities. English nationalism…has often been portrayed as a reaction to non white immigration and is seen as largely the province of the far right. But there is a constitutional nationalist movement that focuses on the English Parliament issue”
So England cannot have a BBC England because a few nasty people have pursued extreme nationalism, whereas in the case of other nationalist movements we look at the majority law abiding membership of those movements and not the criminal fringes. It is interesting that they seem to equate proper national coverage for the nations of the UK with nationalisms. Why can’t they just give sensible national coverage for England within the UK? Many English people want their country recognised and loved without wanting to break up the UK.
They are also hung up on devolution. Apparently you cannot have national feelings withouth a government. Their dismissive attitude to England is unpleasant. ” The kingdom of England had a distinct identity until it was subsumed into the UK in 1707″ – not you note 1603 and the union of crowns. “The establishment of devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales after 1997 gave those constituent parts of the UK their own political identity, leaving England the only part directly run by the British government”.
England is a country with no England government. It has officially recognised symbols including its flag which is flown from Churches, sports stadia, and official buildings as appropriate. You are allowed to have the English flag on your number plates. Yet the BBC claims that “Markers of specific identity such as the flag of St George tend to be unofficial, while similar signs of Scottish and Welsh nationhood are sanctioned by the separate institutions of those countries.”
So when they ask me what my issue is, I will say simply stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up, and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists.