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As a Scot, to ask 'What is Englishness?

(64 Posts)
annodomini Mon 21-Oct-13 10:01:46

This question is raised in this article. I feel that the Scots, Welsh and Irish have a strong sense of national identity but who are the English?

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 10:58:58

Englishness is a pretty much global mish-mash. There. Sorted.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 10:59:09


feetlebaum Mon 21-Oct-13 11:16:41

Englishness is not having to have the country's name on the stamps... it's not having to celebrate some foreign 'saint's' day (like St George). It's not having to treat a kick-about in the park as worthy of a heated post-mortem...

merlotgran Mon 21-Oct-13 11:21:49

I have a strong sense of national identity and I'm English. I just don't feel the need to bang on about it.

wisewoman Mon 21-Oct-13 11:25:32

Could it be that for much of my growing up England was equated with Britain. Still throughout the world people say England when they mean Britain. Now that the Irish, Scots and Welsh have devolved assemblies and are becoming more aware of their identities, England is also seeking to have its' own separate identity, quite rightly so. How this is defined, as the author of the article says, can be problematic with such entities as the English Defence League showing the ugly side of Englishness. All countries have right wing groupings and I am sure they are not representative of the countries themselves. So, Englishness will be what the majority of English people want it to be. As I Scot I would be interested to know what English grans think about this.

Nelliemoser Mon 21-Oct-13 11:28:18

It's not being a Scot, Irish or Welsh and proud of it.
Ducks for cover before the Celtic hoards come after me. wink

AlieOxon Mon 21-Oct-13 11:31:20

Am I English?
Born in Cheshire, but have English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh grandparents. I'm confused!

Tegan Mon 21-Oct-13 11:33:12

It's knowing that we'll never win at penalty shoot outs sadsadsad....

Ariadne Mon 21-Oct-13 11:40:38

I too think that the English are secure enough not to make a fuss about national identity. I've said elsewhere that the Celtic members of the UK and NI are, to quote James Joyce, a "people enmeshed in their own history" - of which they cannot let go. I freely admit that there have been many, many injustices in the past, but there were nasty things done during the Civil War too. The English have moved on. (Apart from those who feel a need to reenact some of the battles...)

I am married to a Scot, who is proud of being Scottish, and that's fine by me. I love England dearly, but am also British, and equally proud of that. Pity it may not last.

petra Mon 21-Oct-13 11:42:27

I like the fact that no matter what country I go to there will be someone who speaks my language.

And it doesn't matter how many times I see The White Cliffs of Dover I feel proud. Can't put it into words.

annodomini Mon 21-Oct-13 12:02:38

I feel moved by the White Cliffs too, petra, because as well as being Scots, I am also British - and my sons are English, one with and Irish partner; one of my grannies was English. I haven't lived in Scotland for almost 50 years. Bags says Englishness is a mish-mash. So is Britishness.

Tegan Mon 21-Oct-13 12:21:01

I think the English have a greater capacity for self critiscism than any other peoples and an ability to laugh at their shortcomings [again something lacking in many other cultures]. And we're also very brave and very stoic [except when we're moaning about the weather]. And we're very very tolerant. And they are all attributes of which I am very proud. And Bill Bryson likes us so was can't be that bad.

Charleygirl Mon 21-Oct-13 12:27:51

I have spent most of my life in England but I am still Scottish and always will be. I had a Scottish father and an Irish mother.

janthea Mon 21-Oct-13 12:29:40

I am English and always put that when asked my nationality. I'm proud to be English.

Iam64 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:01:20

I feel sure we have Irish and Welsh in our family history, but a thread of England has been easier to identify from public records, and verbal family history. I identify myself as English, I love 'coming home' after holidays abroad, love the sense of irony and ability to laugh at ourselves. I value being British and part of a very small group of islands that give us our identity.
My family has been settled in the north west (and some in Yorkshire) since the 1850's. The neglect of the north west and east by a government that is based in London is a source of irritation to me. What about UDI and a northern government, based in Manchester or Leeds - ok then, based on the yorkshire/lancashire borders......

MargaretX Mon 21-Oct-13 18:33:13

I'm English but not proud of it. Why proud? it is not an achievement. I didn't have anything to do with it. I had 2 English parents who had sex and 9 months later I was born in a house in England.
I live abroad and when abroad you get to feel more English than when living in England and over the years I feel European. Particularly in the States I feel European and long for European values and food.

The Scots rather over do things I think. They are terribly sensitive, but then I don't know how a Scot feels, I presume there is some sort of inferiority complex otherwise why go on about it all the time. Compared with the worries in the world to day, climate change, hunger and war everywhere, what does it matter if you are English or a Scot when you live in a peaceful country.

Ariadne Mon 21-Oct-13 18:39:12

MargaretX Agree! A wise post.

absent Mon 21-Oct-13 18:39:16

Surely the most defining characteristic of Englishness is the wonderfully sophisticated language itself. The fact that it is spoken from Detroit to Melbourne and from Edinburgh to Bridgetown does not in any way detract from the fact that it is English.

Ariadne Mon 21-Oct-13 18:40:15

absent Hit the spot as usual.

absent Mon 21-Oct-13 18:50:00

MargaretX I was going to agree completely with you but then I thought again. The Irish are still fighting the Battle of the Boyne, the Welsh still resent the Prince of Wales's not being Welsh while perversely moaning about Elton John's "Goodbye English rose", claiming that he should have sung Welsh even though it doesn't scan, and the Scots still blame the English for outsourcing the throne to a German king. However, the English have never stopped fighting the Hundred Years War with the French and World War II with the Germans, so they're no better. wink

Flowerofthewest Mon 21-Oct-13 19:01:49

I am British and proud of it.

Granny23 Mon 21-Oct-13 19:03:17

Margaretx One of the reasons why I am a Scottish Nationalist is that I want to live in a peaceful country, instead of one with a cache of nuclear arms (controlled by the USA) just down the road and a thirst for poking its nose into foreign wars, (usually at the request of the USA) putting our troops into danger and our populace into fear of reprisals.

Had to laugh at your idea that we Scots have an inferiority complex grin. Here's tae us, wha's like us.

ffinnochio Mon 21-Oct-13 19:20:21

I have no idea what represents Englishness. I just am English. It's where I was born. I've Spanish and French genes. It's where I consider home.

I love the language and the countryside. I live in France, but always have the scent of England in my nose. It's where I like to be. I 'get' it in a way I don't with other cultures/countries.

That's just how it is.

Ariadne Mon 21-Oct-13 19:48:19

Granny23 "gey few and they're a' deid."

I have the vernacular...Theseus says "here's tae your eyes..." smile