The other half of The World This Weekend was spent on that study which found that most Anglicans voted to leave the European Union - in pointed contrast to the Church's strongly pro-Remain hierarchy.
Mark Mardell duly went forth, like a Martian sending a postcard home, to talk unto the Anglicans. His particular focus was on their views of Englishness. He found that they are pro-English and profoundly patriotic. The Anglican leadership, in contrast, remains strong in believing that the Church needs to focus on being welcoming to the whole world.
Mark then interviewed former Labour minister John Denham, who, it turns out, is now Professor John Denham, Professor of English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester.
I always liked John Denham (admitting my own bias there), and, while taking a predictable pop at the present Conservative prime minister, I thought he made some sensible points here.
I will, however, quote Mark Mardell's rather 'BBC' questions to him:
- Do you think Mrs May is right to invoke the country's Christian identity?
- But there are some people who argue that Englishness, compared to Britishness, is exclusive rather than inclusive.
- But to take an example, you don't hear people...you don't tend to hear people describe themselves as "I'm Black-English". You do hear "Black-British".
If 'English' is exclusive rather than inclusive, so is 'Welsh' and 'Scottish' and 'Irish'.ReplyDelete
It's a stupid point to claim as being intellectually superior. But that's Mardell in a nutshell.
Have to say I have never heard the term 'Black British' used by anyone, especially in self description. But then I guess I don't watch the same channels Marrk does.ReplyDelete
For a long time (certainly while I was an impressionable youth) we were given the not-so-subtle impression that to state our nationality as English rather than British was tantamount to being a racist thug.ReplyDelete
I think that it's only relatively recently with Scottish Nationalism coming to the forefront that more English people are feeling they have to embrace a more specific identity than British.
Even if that continues, for a long time there are still going to be many descriptions that are British by default.