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Liberated: What did the British ever do for the English? (from The Times)

Posted on June 08, 2012 by

It’s been months since we freed an interesting piece of writing from behind a paywall, but this opinion column from today’s Times deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in the nationalist cause, and we can’t claim to be experiencing any great guilt about depriving News International of 0.0000001p in order to bring you it.

It’s an analysis of Ed Miliband’s bizarre “Englishness” speech yesterday (which gets odder and odder the more you examine it), and aside from making the lazy, clumsy but common error of asserting that Labour can’t win in England alone it’s a thoughtful and interesting piece highlighting the contradictions between Miliband’s assertions and depictions of Englishness and his Unionism. Read it below.


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17 to “Liberated: What did the British ever do for the English? (from The Times)”

  1. Rolf

    Thanks for sharing this.
    One comment I read yesterday suggested Ed’s speech had been preparation in advance of an Indy yes vote – presumably meaning that once the Scottish revenues were gone he could look back and say to England, I warned you and I really tried to keep Scotland. Or perhaps he was aiming to entice Tory voters from parts of England that Labour would need to win over in order to replace the lost Scottish MPs?
    As for all this Englishness/Britishness/Scottishness – I will vote Yes because I think that there is a democratic deficiency in Scotland, has been for decades. It’s that simple and has nothing to do with my nationality, perceived or otherwise.

  2. Confucious

    One thought occurs, a few unionists have recently been floating the idea that independence is inevitable. Could it be the Mr Milliband secretly accepts this analysis and is positioning his party to win more English voters back to the party?

  3. Confucious

    Ahha it seems Rolf and I had the same thoughts!

  4. Rolf

    Confucious – great minds think alike!

  5. MajorBloodnok

    I agree that his aim was the English voter and not Scots.  And to woo these voters Labour has no option (or so he believes) but to move to the right… which is already happening and does not endear him to voters north of the border.

  6. Juteman

    I think one of the most telling things from Ed’s speech was the comment that the Union needs the Scots for economic reasons. I think he said it twice.
    Nobody seems to have picked up on that.
    Is this the start of ditching the ‘subsidy junkie’ tactics? Maybe the next narrative will be laying a guilt trip on us Scots, for taking our oil money away from the poor English?

  7. Cuphook

    I’ve just been reading the comments in the Telegraph on articles about Ed’s speech and the reich wing are out in force rabidly denouncing anyone who is perceived to be less English than they are.
    There is a big problem with English nationalism and while any opportunity to discuss it and normalise it should be welcomed I just don’t think Ed gets it. He’s confused himself as to what is English and what is British. Maybe he should give Billy Bragg a phone.

  8. Cuphook

    I was just thinking about English nationalism and it crossed my mind that perhaps it’s easier for us Scots, being the smaller partner in the Union and all too ready to guard the borders of our sensibilities for any infringement, to identify what is English and what is British.
    England has always been the default paradigm for Britain. The English way was always the “correct” British way and any divergence from this in the “Celtic fringes” was considered quaint as long as it didn’t disturb the status quo.
    When England equalled Britain in many people’s minds it must have become confusing when they considered truly British institutions.

  9. Aplinal

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing.
    I do take exception to a couple of things.  Mr Collins suggests (and in fact in Ed’s speech – I dd not read all of it, it is a poor piece of writing IMHO) that Scotland somehow benefits from being in the union, but England does not.  Strange then that Ed stated more than once that England benefits financially from Scotland.  No mention of the other way round.  So, Mr Collins, without some evidence – I realise this is not usually provided by the pro-dependency commentators – this statement about Scotland  is vague wishful thinking. (The too poor argument).
    Mr Collins also seems to think that Scotland gains security.  How exactly?  The MoD is pulling troops and equipment out of Scotland with gay abandon.  The WMD on the Clyde are , if anything, a TARGET as much as a ‘deterrent’.   And the withdrawal of cover for the oil fields and the Scottish coast is nothing short of a scandal.  To think that an Independent Scotland would be uniquely incapable of establishing, improving, equipping, and maintaining an appropriate armed force is risible.  (The too stupid argument).
    Finally, the idea that Labour will be forever cast into the political wilderness in England without the support of the 40+ Scottish MPs is, frankly incomprehensible.  Even a cursory look at the election results since the WWII show only two occasions when the Scottish MPs made a difference to the ‘colour’ of the Westminster parliament.   And if the rUK don’t want Labour in government, that is there democratic choice, is it not?
    Otherwise, an interesting slant on a rather puzzling speech.

  10. YesYesYes

    Ukania is in terminal decline. This much, Miliband understands. The Jubilee ‘celebrations’, the  artificial ‘inclusiveness’ of the Olympic torch ceremony and the Olympics itself are best seen as deathbed spasms, desperate attempts to inject some life back into the old girl.
    I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the Olympics Committee made its decision to give us the women’s fitba.
    “OK, what can we give the jocks that’ll keep them happy? Obviously track and field, swimming and cycling are out, what does that leave”?
    “What about hockey, they play that funny-named game with sticks up there, right”?
    “Hockey’s gone”.
     “Basketball, they’ll go for that”.
    “Beach volleyball”?
    “Do they have beaches up there”?
    “Beach volleyball? In Jockland in July, are you mad”?
    “Anyway, beach volleyball’s gone”.
    “Is fishing an Olympic sport”?
    “Good try, but no”.
    “Ping-pong, they’ll love that”.
    “What about cross-country skiing”?
    “That’s the winter Olympics”.
    “I’ve got it, tennis”.
    “I was thinking of the Andy Murray connection. After all, we’ve got Wimbledon”.
    “Tennis is gone, end of”.
    “Jesus Christ! There has to be something we can give them. Think”.
    “I’m out, can’t think of anything”.
    “Me too”.
    “Looks like we’ll have to settle for the torch ceremony then”.
    “Wait a minute, what about football”.
    “Football’s gone. Anyway, there’s no way we’ll send our boys up there. Can you imagine the reception they’d get if we won the Euro Championships”?
    “We might not send our boys up there but what about our women”?
    “Jeez, he’s right, it’s not on the list”.
    “But haven’t they got their own football up there? This could backfire on us”.
    “Have you seen their professional football? They won’t be able to tell the difference”.
    “He’s right. Thank Christ for that. Quick, put it in, women’s football, Jockland”.
    “Phew. That was close”.
    “Now who’s going to break it to Seb”.

  11. Kenny Campbell

    I think the guilt trip has already started a few months back, remember “A child in poverty in Bradford is as important as one in Glasgow…….”

  12. Appleby

    He claimed there was an “excellent” case for the union…yet failed to make it clearly and failed to mention anyone else making that magical positive case. There’s people almost crying out for this mythical case and yet he simply sweeps it under the carpet while making grand claims of the way he would vote (and by implication how you and any “right” thinking person would do so too). Then he makes the old sloppy claim about Scotland being burdened with the sole responsibility of saving England from the Tories by voting Labour in. Urgh.
    The Times piece didn’t impress me. Seems more like someone simply beating up an easy (albeit deserving and at times confusing) Labour target – the robotic Ed, while reinforcing the usual dangerous misinformation.

  13. Rob

    Its all very funny, but misses one blindingly obvious point. The majority of Scots quite like the Union and dont actually want to hand over Scotland to a bunch of amateur politicians from Holyrood when they can blame the professionals in Westminster.

  14. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)


    A funny post, that quite misses the point. No-one has ever actually asked the Scottish public what they like and as a result there can be no clear cut conclusion that backs up your assertion.

    And as far as “amateur politicians from Holyrood” goes, I would rather trust the people I have the ability to remove from office, than those that have power on their side and cannot be removed.

  15. charlie

    Rob, people want change, the world seems to be getting worse and the leaders and potental leaders of the UK say you have to suffer. We are rich and you have to suffer, sorry about that. I don’t buy it newcoUK is the same shite, different day
    All the best

  16. douglas clark


    The only cohort of politicians at Westminster that I have any time for whatsoever are the SNP MPs who are essentially committed to doing themselves out of a job.

    However, it seems to me that one of the consequences of independence may well be an influx of ‘professional’ politicians who are currently sitting in Westminster seats attempting to get a seat at Hollyrood.

    Assuming of course that any of them wanted to continue a career in politics, and that their electoral base stood up. Given that there would be a surfeit of politicians chasing a reduced need for politicians the fear within the unionist parties must be that the opportunities for a political career diminishes for both their MPs and MSPs. Something I do not think has been properly explored yet. There is a lot of personal investment in the ‘status quo’ for unionist politicians of a ‘professional’ bent. Perhaps they should have to declare that?

    Going with your thought expiriment that would probably mean a Scotland wide stushie equivalent to the the recent debacle in Glasgow where Labour brought in new candidates to replace the old guard.  Though it might well improve the opposition benches somewhat.

    Whether the troika of Lamont, Rennie and Davidson would continue to head up their new parties in Scotland after independence is an interesting question that I leave the reader to ponder.

  17. Appleby

    Rob is clearly utterly clueless when it comes to the reality of Westminster and its politicians. That or he is a troll / pot-stirrer who doesn’t like the idea of his own party being cut off at last.
    Typical FUD, really. FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, DOUBT. Such are the ways of unionists. They have no positive case for the union.

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