Englishness: Who Cares?
Bywater, Michael, New Statesman (1996)
Michael Bywater cooks like a Frenchman, eats like an Italian and makes love like a Greek (or so he says). So why does he need a national identity?
I am English. And ashamed of what it means. I am ashamed to be white; ashamed to be middle-class; ashamed to have been educated at an elitist university, to speak Received Pronunciation, to be emotionally constipated. I am ashamed of my violent history, my rape of the globe, my racism, my egophalloethnocentricity. I am ashamed of the unspoken discourse of supremacy that lies at the heart of my foundation myths and my literature. I am ashamed of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of my (established) religion and the entrenched interests of my ruling class. I am ashamed that bad food, bad sex and bad weather led to my disenfranchisement of so many peoples, the enslavement of some, the obliteration of a few. I am ashamed of our stroppy proles, white-van men, thugs, oiks and geezers.
I am English. And ashamed of my political culture: the lying, the cronyism, the establishment arse-licking, the secrecy, the monarch. I am ashamed that we have let things run into such disarray that our kinfolk in Wales and Scotland have run screaming for devolutionary cover. I am ashamed that I had to elect Mr Tony because he once appeared to us to be marginally better than what went before. I am ashamed of the growth of our computer surveillance; our dislike of democracy; our dismantling of the presumption of innocence, the right to silence, and the freedom to foregather; the disintegration of the NHS. I am ashamed of Mr Tony's little plans (Mr Tony knowing better than the Christ he claims to worship) to criminalise the poor. I am ashamed of a government that conspires with the French sandwich-and-incarceration company, …
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Publication information: Article title: Englishness: Who Cares?. Contributors: Bywater, Michael - Author. Magazine title: New Statesman (1996). Volume: 129. Issue: 4480 Publication date: April 3, 2000. Page number: 11. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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