Building a Civic Nationalism in the wake of post Brexit Hate Crimes
As I write, civilised people feel under threat from English nationalists.
Unlike many who say they love England, and would be proud to call themselves English patriots, I voted to remain in the European Union, so it felt like I had had a part of me ripped out, as if I had been betrayed by my fellow countrymen when they voted to leave. However, while I will still campaign for a democratic mandate to rejoin, I began to look for positives. The English working class, for decades maligned, unrepresented and ignored, had finally, just like their brothers in Scotland, decided to take control of their own destiny.
That positive soon turned sour when reports of increases in hate crime came in. Constant stories of immigrants, or even those whose families have lived here for decades but just happen to be of different races, getting harassed in the name of England. Polish people in Cambridgeshire getting cards telling them to go home, and other such stories making up the 57% rise in reported hate crimes. We can make up excuses, point the blame elsewhere, but we shouldn’t, these are people with a perverse view of English nationalism and we need to work to change that.
Unlike the Scottish, who by the work of the SNP, have a form of civic nationalism, England has been ignored. It never got a parliament, and to be seen as proud of your country was abhorrent. This has allowed English nationalism to be taken by the far right. They have spread their deep intolerance, a nationalism based on hate and a faux masculinity needed to take back their country, across wide parts of England. In times many of the people felt ignored, or felt mocked by sections of society who dismissed them for being proud of their country, it seemed finally somebody was standing up for them.
Now is the time to take back English patriotism from these groups, the type who salute the foes our country once proudly fought by waving their right arms in the air. It must be based obviously on the creation of an English parliament and it must be a patriotism based on the ability to criticise one’s country because we love it and want it to improve. It would be a patriotism where the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Suffragettes & Suffragists, the veterans of World War 2 and other such people who fought for and to defend our freedoms are celebrated and where the Polish pilots in exile, who defended our nation from fascists are considered just as English as me or you. We need an England where anybody, be they English, Polish, Muslim or anybody else, can live in this great country without threat and be celebrated as being English.
Act now. Let anybody you know who might be feeling scared or unwanted because of actions of people in this country, that the majority do not feel that way and that they are wanted and they are loved. Do we let leaving the European Union go down in history, when the Scottish inevitably leave and Ireland is united, as the dying gasp of the British Empire, or do we let it go down as the birth of a tolerant, kind England, a new England if you will?