Thursday, June 14, 2018

A letter to the Guardian

Surely little surprise that people in England will – when specifically asked – identify as English (Here’s why the left must place its stamp on Englishness, 7 June). At 3pm most Saturdays I identify as a fan of Partick Thistle FC, but I usually let that go by 5pm. National identity has no real relevance to our sense of self or our day-to-day deliberations, despite the desire of many that this were not so.
The left is right to ignore nationalism (though in Scotland it practices entryism, for the time being at least). When asked what this national identity actually amounts to, it all melts away into nothing. Martin Kettle gamely tries to flesh out some “witty and polite” English characteristics. For John Major, it was warm beer and long shadows on the cricket ground. And north of the border, being Scottish still amounts to little more than “not English”. What is masked by all this is that the real sentiments expressed in the YouGov poll that Kettle discusses – disconnection and disempowerment – are not dictated by postcode or the colour of your passport but are overwhelmingly, and inconveniently, class issues.
Brian Gardner
Glasgow Branch

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