New England

August 2, 2009


Thanks to a discussion we’ve been having since April a good friend of ours, Wynfrið Wynn (who’s name means ‘Friend of Peace & Joy’ in Old English), has started to experiment with new, more positive, ways of looking at English culture and traditions. As Wynfrið says on his blog

Inspired by Paul Kingsnorth’s groundbreaking book, Real England, I  work to identify and promote an English cultural and political identity which is based on ‘being’ rather than ‘belonging’, or, as Paul says, “a new type of patriotism, benign and positive, based on place not race, geography not biology.”

Wynfrið is more interested in real ale than radical politics, but he does share our admiration for George Orwell as a model of English patriotism. Patriotism is a strong word, but Orwell believed it was possible to love England without loving nationalism. We think that the English left-wing in general, and anti-fascists in particular, would do well to rediscover Orwell; it’s high time that we rescued Englishness from the grubby little hands far-right. Or as Ian Bone put it…

‘Britain is shit’…….that was the statement that drew the most applause at the final session of last weekend’s Anarchist Conference in London. Last night I was watching some women  Morris Dancing outside an African boozer in South London and I thought ‘England’s great aint it’. I should add I love Morris Dancing ever since I attended the WYLAM GOOSE FAIR up the Tyne Valley many moons ago and saw a load of Morris Men clobber a load of nuisance lads who’d been taking the piss. The trouble is most anarchists don’t like theircountry and thus we hand everything that might smack of country love over to the far right and wonder why the punters look at our self hate with bemusement. Of course GEORGE ORWELL managed to combine revolutionary socialism with patriotism during the war and Billy Bragg has ploughed the same furrow  but unless we work out something a bit more positive about being English then we’re  on a loser. During  WW2 FRANK NEWBOLD produced some propaganda posters for the government which were the most un-war like propaganda posters you could ever seen –  one featuring a shepherd strolling over the South Downs with his sheep and another picturing a fairground with the slogan underneath ‘IT’S YOUR BRITAIN – FIGHT FOR IT’. It is our England – not theirs – we shouldn’t be ashamed to fight for it back. On telly this week Nick Griffin called England  ’ a slum’ – that from a privately educated Cambridge toff. Our England aint the same as yours Griffin and never will be – and it ’s our England we will fight for!



3 Responses to “New England”

  1. What bollocks is that thee spaek off we need to talk back our engalnd?

  2. Class War - Barnsdale Brigade said

    Tis probably with the advancement of our years that we suddenly find ourselves more ‘Bellowhead’ than ‘Motorhead’. But verily, there is some sense to be found in the words of Bone and Orwell.

  3. Let’s go back to a time when there was no ‘England’ and there were no ‘English’. A class of people came along and decided they wanted to rule over this place and these people but before they could rule over somewhere they needed to give it a name. And before they could govern the people who lived there they had to give them a name too. ‘England’ and ‘the English’ were a necessary construction for a governing class and remain so to this day. ‘The Lark Descending’ celebrates a few of the stories of the people who are governed and you ought not to be surprised at how rich and compelling some of the stories are. Our indigenous population have been unravelling the universe for us in music and song for millennia while the governing class have been ridiculing our folk music for only a couple of hundred years.

    There it dose not a matter from where we have come but where we are going, lets meet talk drink some this real ale your friend talks about fall down realise the dreams of the middle class need not be the apspartions of the working class and who is this more hall person i wonder there often and yet i have not met him? Just another lie i feel and no doubt told by the middle class, there is a tail some want to make-a them history but i aint at liberty to spaek i live within orwelian times, there dark and the only friend i have is my shadow but contact me by the normal means and say yes and i shall appear in thy grate town of Doncaster same time same place as allways and till then sell them products the working class have no need..

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