I am not a nationality

John B asks, “English? Wossat then?

Many bits of the administrative region called England – London, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Newcastle-and-surroundings, Manchester-and-surroundings, Scouseland-and-surroundings and Cumbria, for starters – all have regional identities that are far stronger than any ‘English’ identity.

I obviously don’t know well enough because I’m not English. But from this not-very-distant distance it certainly looks to me as though England, as a ‘nation’, doesn’t have very much in common with itself. Cornwall itself probably has a stronger nationalist movement than the whole of England does! (Whether the English want a national English Parliament or regional parliaments is up to them though. It’s a bit rude of me to tell them what’s what.)

Scotland is the same mind you. There’s probably not an awful lot I have in common with, say, your average person from a remote fishing village in the north. There are at least two major spoken languages (three if you include Scots, as many do) in Scotland. A Scottish identity is there though. Scotland’s Parliament is reasonable — nay, required — because of the separate legal and education systems which Scotland always had, and that’s before you go on to ask about identity or nationality or whatever.

I hate the whole concept of the nation though. I am not a nationality. I am an individual person.

Update: John at The England Project adds his views. The conclusion is one that I agree with.

Why should one nation have a parliament in the union and not the others? Cultural arguments simply do not wash because to have them one has to accept that only countries that have a single and strong cultural identity should have a national parliament.

5 comments

  1. Parliaments based upon what now? This is interesting (via Doctorvee ).Talk of ‘Englishness’ as a cultural identity annoys me, particularly when it’s used to justify strengthening ‘England’ as an administrative region, and even more particularly when it’s used to lobby

  2. You are an island unto yourself are you then, doctorvee?? Sprang into being fully formed – no mother or father?? Each of us belongs to a nation, which is made up of tribes/families. Your ancestors created a nation of Scots. You and I as individuals are not really very important even if we feel we are unique. Why hate your nation? You are saying that you hate your genes,the history of your people the culture that surrounds you,the land that you live on. Why not do something for your nation? Remember JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you,….”. Or are you the end product of history, the final product in a line of ancestory that goes back in Scotland for about 12,000 years??
    There certainly is an English nation as well – perhaps a bit more laid back because it is the largest nation in the UK. 80% of Scots say they are Scottish first and British second. 60% of the English say they are English first and British second. 70% of English say that Scots MPs in the UK Parliament should not vote on laws that apply only to England – and yet soon those MPs will be voting on anti-smoking laws in England. Expect an English backlash, which if allowed to develop unchecked may break up the UK.

  3. You are an island unto yourself are you then, doctorvee?? Sprang into being fully formed – no mother or father??

    I didn’t say that. I just said that I don’t consider myself to be primarily a nationality. I am a person. Whether I am Langtonian, Fifer, Scottish, British, European or anything else has absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever. I didn’t choose where I was born. It doesn’t matter one iota.

    I feel no connection to “Scotland”. I feel a bit of a connection to Kirkcaldy, my home town, because that is where I grew up and that is where I have my memories. But if I tried to tell anybody that Langtonian is my nationality I would get laughed at.

    Why hate your nation? You are saying that you hate your genes,the history of your people the culture that surrounds you,the land that you live on.

    Where did I say that? You are jumping to some pretty weird conclusions.

    Why not do something for your nation?

    I’d rather do something for humanity. Nationality is a diversion from the bigger picture. Even the largest “nation” in the world, China, only contains a fifth of all humans living today. Why should I restrict myself to doing something for “my nation” when I could do something for humanity as a whole?

    The idea of a nation is a very modern concept. This historical stuff doesn’t wash. No caveman ever said, “in 12,000 years time my descenants will be proud Scots.” What a load of rubbish.

    Additionally, my mother reckons she descends from Norway, because of her maiden name. If I were to follow your advice, I should be proud of my Norwegian heritage, even though I have never visited Norway, cannot speak a single word of the language and know absolutely zilch about its history. So where does that leave me in terms of nationality?

    There’s no point in getting in a fuss about it. The modern world is a globalised world. Let’s deal with it.