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Nationalism Is Transforming the Politics of the British Isles
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Nationalism in different shapes and forms is powerfully transforming the politics of the British Isles, a development that gathered pace over the last five years and culminated in the general election this month.

National identities and the relationship between England, Scotland and Ireland are changing more radically than at any time over the last century. It is worth looking at the British archipelago as a whole on this issue because of the closely-meshed political relationship of its constituent nations.

Some of these developments are highly visible such as the rise of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) to permanent political dominance in Scotland in the three general elections since the independence referendum in 2014.

Other changes are important but little commented on, such as the enhanced national independence and political influence of the Republic of Ireland over the British Isles as a continuing member of the EU as the UK leaves. Dublin’s greater leverage when backed by the other 26 EU states was repeatedly demonstrated, often to the surprise and dismay of London, in the course of the negotiations in Brussels over the terms of the British withdrawal.

Northern Ireland saw more nationalist than unionist MPs elected in the general election for the first time since 1921. This is important because it is a further sign of the political impact of demographic change whereby Catholics/nationalists become the new majority and the Protestants/unionists the minority. The contemptuous ease with which Boris Johnson abandoned his ultra-unionist pledges to the DUP and accepted a customs border in the Irish Sea separating Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain shows how little loyalty the Conservatives feel towards the northern unionists and their distinct and abrasive brand of British nationalism.

These developments affecting four of the main national communities inhabiting the British Isles – Irish, nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland, Scots – are easy to track. Welsh nationalism is a lesser force. Much more difficult to trace and explain is the rise of English nationalism because it is much more inchoate than these other types of nationalism, has no programme, and is directly represented by no political party – though the Conservative Party has moved in that direction.

The driving force behind Brexit was always a certain type of English nationalism which did not lose its power to persuade despite being incoherent and little understood by its critics and supporters alike. In some respects, it deployed the rhetoric of any national community seeking self-determination. The famous Brexiteer slogan “take back control” is not that different in its implications from Sinn Fein – “Ourselves Alone” – though neither movement would relish the analogy.

The great power of the pro-Brexit movement, never really taken on board by its opponents, was to blame the very real sense of disempowerment and social grievances felt by a large part of the English population on Brussels and the EU. This may have been scapegoating on a grandiose scale, but nationalist movements the world over have targeted some foreign body abroad or national minority at home as the source of their ills. I asked one former Leave councillor – one of the few people I met who changed their mind on the issue after the referendum in 2016 – why people living in her deprived ward held the EU responsible for their poverty. Her reply cut through many more sophisticated explanations: “I suppose that it is always easier to blame Johnny Foreigner.”

This crude summary of the motives of many Leave voters has truth in it, but it is a mistake to caricature English nationalism as simply a toxic blend of xenophobia, racism, imperial nostalgia and overheated war memories. In the three years since the referendum the very act of voting for Brexit became part of many people’s national identity, a desire to break free, kicking back against an overmighty bureaucracy and repelling attempts by the beneficiaries of globalisation to reverse a democratic vote.

The political left in most countries is bad at dealing with nationalism and the pursuit of self-determination. It sees these as a diversion from identifying and attacking the real perpetrators of social and economic injustice. It views nationalists as mistakenly or malignly aiming at the wrong target – usually foreigners – and letting the domestic ones off the hook.

The desire by people to see themselves as a national community – even if many of the bonds binding them together are fictional – is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It can only be ignored at great political cost, as the Labour Party has just found out to its cost for the fifth time (two referendums and three elections). What Labour should have done was early on take over the slogan “take back control” and seek to show that they were better able to deliver this than the Conservatives or the Brexit Party. There is no compelling reason why achieving such national demands should be a monopoly of the right. But in 2016, 2017 and 2019 Labour made the same mistake of trying to wriggle around Brexit as the prime issue facing the English nation without taking a firm position, an evasion that discredited it with both Remainers and Leavers.

Curiously, the political establishment made much the same mistake as Labour in underestimating and misunderstanding the nature of English nationalism. Up to the financial crisis of 2008 globalisation had been sold as a beneficial and inevitable historic process. Nationalism was old hat and national loyalties were supposedly on the wane. To the British political class, the EU obviously enhanced the political and economic strength of its national members. As beneficiaries of the status quo, they were blind to the fact that much of the country had failed to gain from these good things and felt marginalised and forgotten.

ORDER IT NOW

The advocates of supra-national organisations since the mediaeval papacy have been making such arguments and have usually been perplexed why they fail to stick. They fail to understand the strength of nationalism or religion in providing a sense of communal solidarity, even if it is based on dreams and illusions, that provides a vehicle for deeply felt needs and grievances. Arguments based on simple profit and loss usually lose out against such rivals.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, Britain 
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  1. Gordo says:

    Nationalism in different shapes and forms is powerfully transforming the politics of the British Isles,

    then cites the SNP who are hell bent on being a small province in the EU superstate.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  2. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels opposed immigration.

    I guess they just chalked it up to Johnny Foreigner.

    What a bunch of ignorant slanted bullshit.

    • Agree: getaclue
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Smith
  3. The national debate in Wales is moving forward. Depending on how you ask the question, the number who support independence runs from 10% to 40%. The shock of this year was a rally of 5000 in Merthyr Tydfil (literally hundreds left at stations en route as the trains were jammed) in favour of independence. The whole thing was promoted and delivered in English!

    Merthyr is the point of origin of UK electoral socialism and has little sympathy for the Welsh language, previously the stronghold of Welsh Nationalism. That was a second dagger pointed at the heart of Labour. Farage being the other. The term is ‘Indycurious’. It allows you to turn up without an implied committment to Plaid Cymru or the Lib Dems (Devo maxxers).

    The Northern Irish don’t need Westminster permission to hold a border poll. If they get their act together they are gone. Catholics will be a majority of the voters in 2022. The Scots need Westminster’s permission for a new Referendum. It won’t happen this side of a hung Parliament. 2025 at the earliest for the hanging. So 2027 for the referendum. Wales five years later.

    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas
  4. A123 says:

    There are two different possibilities that are similar on the surface, but are actually quite different:
    — Expressing a local identity.
    — Departing to form a nation.

    Scottish & Welsh parties espousing local values tap both groups. It seems likely that people are:
    — Positive towards a vague succession concept.
    — Would not vote for a detailed succession plan when they see the cost.

    The highly deceptive “Project Fear” campaign cannot shill for EU membership. That remains 100% permanently blocked by Spain, due to the Catalonia movement. Would either the Welsh or Scots volunteer for permanent 3rd class status via a common market deal?

    The way forward is obvious. GET BREXIT DONE. Once the U.K. jettisons Globalist/EU elites and destructive ‘German Austerity’ economics, there will be more and better paying jobs for citizens. That will quell secessionist movements.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @Eugene
  5. @A123

    EFTA membership is most of EU membership and Spain can’t block it.

    • Replies: @A123
  6. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:

    Scotland and Northern Ireland should separate and stay with the EU. They need EU subsidies to maintain their relative prosperity. They should even consider forming a new country called the Union of Northern Ireland and Scotland because they are very close culturally. England is prosperous in the south with a lot of jobs generated by a service economy but the cities in the north have lots of unemployment which hasn’t been addressed by membership in the EU.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    , @Joe Walker
  7. Miro23 says:

    Some of these developments are highly visible such as the rise of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) to permanent political dominance in Scotland in the three general elections since the independence referendum in 2014.

    This is an interesting one. The Labour party has gone from Scotland, and it’s not because of Corbyn’s ambiguity on Brexit. It looks like the growing strength of Scottish nationalism as an idea.

    The Conservative Party never got anywhere in Scotland, so there doesn’t seem to be much stopping Independence. Legally they need another Scottish referendum, but London won’t stop them leaving the UK if they vote for it.

    London will then resemble Vienna (a stranded and irrelevant ex Imperial capital) – but still a good tourist attraction.

  8. Anon[387] • Disclaimer says:

    Hi Mr Cockburn.

    According to Mrs Sibel Edmonds in the video below, the ”deep state” secretly backs nationalisms (both or all sides of rival factions or political parties), so that people will fight against each other, and the bankers will maintain power through the ”divide and rule’ method.

    Divide and rule – Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divide_and_rule

    ”Divide and rule (Latin: divide et impera), or divide and conquer, in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy.”

    For example. NATO trains, arms and supports the independence of the Kurds, while also providing weapons to the Turks, a NATO allie, which is totally ridiculous.

    The Era of Pseudo-Nationalism: Paving & Smoothing the Deep State’s War Path

    • Replies: @craig
  9. England should just separate from the bloody U.K. and be its own country.

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @Joe Walker
  10. “What Labour should have done was early on take over the slogan “take back control” and seek to show that they were better able to deliver this than the Conservatives or the Brexit Party. ”
    I agree. But Labour acted with immaturity. It’s various constituencies were divided between leave & remain. It thought it could appeal to both with a kind of strategic ambiguity. Wrong!
    A lot of this is Corbyn’s fault — he couldn’t manage an unambiguous position from even before the referendum….
    It’s quite pathetic really — the Tories conducted the whole Brexit process with the competency of a “Carry On” film. And Labour couldn’t take political advantage!
    The Tories gave the PM’s job to Boris Johnson, or BJ – (double entendre is optional) a man who makes Trump look like a paragon of virtue & competency … & Labour still couldn’t take political advantage!
    I don’t really care about the share of the vote that Leave or the Tories got — neither outcome was inevitable if only Remain & Labour had been given strong policy & leadership.
    Of course, anyone may rightly suggest that both… inadequacies were symptomatic of the underlying pitiable nature of remain & labour….

    • Agree: Joe Walker
  11. The usual Paddy nonsense.

    The boring and rather petty politics of the British Isles aside, nationalism is rising across most of Europe.

    Like Brexit the common denominator is leftwing excesses especially open borders courtesy of the evil class.

  12. @Gordo

    Not all nationalists are right-wing. The catalan nationalists are also uberleftist.

    • Replies: @Just passing through
  13. A123 says:
    @Philip Owen

    EFTA membership is most of EU membership and Spain can’t block it.

    I addressed this in my original post:

    From #4 –A123: Would either the Welsh or Scots volunteer for permanent 3rd class status via a common market deal?

    PEACE 😇

  14. @Thulean Friend

    I live in Scotland and somewhat regularly get SNP leaflets through by letterbox, SNP nationalism is mostly based on anti-English grievances. The leaflets for example didn’t reall extol the virtues of Scottish nationalism but were more along the lines of “Stop Boris” or “Don’t let Westminister do X”. It is rather ironic because we in Scotland get quite a good deal, we are largely subsidised by England (by “England” I mean London) and our politicians can meddle in the British parliament (along with Welsh and Irish MPs) while only Scottish MPs make devolved decisions in the Scottish parliament. This one-sided influence pisses off a lot of English nationalists and they too want an English parliament.

  15. iffen says:

    but it is a mistake to caricature English nationalism as simply a toxic blend of xenophobia, racism, imperial nostalgia and overheated war memories.

    Let’s hope that the globalists, their fellow travellers, and their running dog lackeys don’t realize this mistake and instead double down.

  16. Anon[255] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag

    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels opposed immigration.

    I guess they just chalked it up to Johnny Foreigner.

    What a bunch of ignorant slanted bullshit.

    Ignorant of what? Violent crime rates to include rape, bastard child birthrates, STD rates, and academic achievement numbers?

    You should question your life that depends on the ethnic swamping and thus eradication of other nations, toward perhaps guiding it toward an existence that doesn’t at once depend on the proximity and subjugation of others.

    In short, all of your blather amounts to “I want to have power over White people but absolutely need them to be near me so as to be able to siphon off wealth and live in civilization”.

    Its a short sighted gambit for undue control, the end of which will be in tears. Well enough alone applies more to the tense “peace” between two races living in the same nation than for any other concept.

    There isn’t a greater admission of our supremacy than requiring both numerical dominance over us as well as our presence.

    The end game is that we eliminate the democracy that you take for granted. Which is inevitable. After all, just like everything that we do that you need because no one else either can or will do it, that too is our tool.

    If God’s Chosen people are those that no other people can bear to be separated from, parallel to God’s love itself and its presence or absence that determines whether the departed are residing in Heaven or Hell, then Northwest Europeans are God’s Chosen.

    Everyone else literally wants to run away from everyone else. Its quite telling.

  17. That England subsidises Scotland is an absurd lie, created by, e.g. crediting Scotch whisky and oil exports to London because that is where the corporate HQs are located – it is an accounting fraud that would embarrass a … person with a great love of money, prone to lying and dishonesty, brazen with an unbelievable brass neck …

    – lots of pieces on “nationalism” in England, lately; most of them very confused, even by the authors – the englander’s notion of “nationalism” is in fact, empire – everyone in the world is just an englishman in denial (- and all that looting was just altruism).

    Englanders are really stupid people – they blame the EU for the “pakis” and think leaving it will mean – a return to warm beer, cricket on the village green, white flannels and whiter faces

    – they also think a “free trade agreement” with the US will be something other than a violent arse-fucking with a tennis ball rammed in its mouth; like a child invited to the paedo’s house for sweets and puppies …

    – they deserve what they get and should be given what they want; their (state) education is piss-poor and covers nothing other than the holocaust and slavery

    the UK begged to be let into the EU because they were so poor, but now the EU gets conveniently blamed for -everything- that the Thatcherite destruction, the neoliberal excess and the “bankers go wild” mentality produced – the english got a pretty good deal from the EU, some of them may notice this

    most of all, I love the Englander in Scotland …

    be english, in the south – buy a house ages ago
    ride the banker created asset bubbles to massive un-earned wealth in your early retirement
    sell up, and buy a small castle or decent mansion in the scottish highlands – “it was a bargain”
    – this increases property prices for the locals, the young need to move away
    think scotland is “wonderful”
    enjoy all the great freebies and gibs courtesy of SNP scotgov
    then vote against the SNP in elections and against Scottish Independence
    tell everyone “the SNP are ruining the country”
    – despite the ruination, you do NOT fuck off back to england
    say to people “why would anyone want to break up the UK?”
    – even though you have fled from its heart as soon as you could
    run a small B&B for some petty cash – ask native scots who stay “where are you from”
    – at no point show any signs of self awareness of WHAT A FUCKING CUNT YOU ARE, just a glowing brass neck

    one day, a local, casually refers to you as an “incomer” despite you being here for almost 3 years
    – write an angry piece for the daily mail about scots “racism” and “harassment” and “hatred of the english”

    despite which, you still DONT FUCK OFF BACK to england
    the eternal anglo, priceless and forever
    orcs in rivendell

    – not nice, is it – being flooded by foreigners you don’t want, who bring nothing other than a sneering attitude and a gibsmedat mentality.

    • Agree: Joe Walker
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  18. Miro23 says:
    @anonymous1963

    England should just separate from the bloody U.K. and be its own country.

    What you get then, is London and its commuter belt with the rest tacked on (i.e. a city state).

  19. @Philip Owen

    Plaid Cymru are too concerned with issues like the LGBTQ agenda. That might explain why their performance in the recent general election was less than inspiring.

  20. Smith says:

    Scotland and Ireland need England more than they need the EU.

    They can say all they want, but it’s the truth.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    , @Eugene
  21. Smith says:
    @obwandiyag

    No, they don’t, liar.

    Karl and his buttbuddy didn’t support in nations or border, and supported free trade just for that.

    https://www.panarchy.org/engels/freetrade.html
    >But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.

    To hell with free trade, to hell with coomies.

    • Replies: @Galan
    , @obwandiyag
  22. Sinn Fein does not mean “Ourselves Alone”. It means “We Ourselves”.

  23. @Smith

    Ireland was a poor nation under English rule. The Irish economy only took off after Ireland became a member of the European Union.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  24. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Walker

    It always sounds very antiquated to hear the UK referred to as “England”, considering there is no English parliament or country called England recognised by the UN.

    The ROI was run by the UK, not England. Two completely different things, most of the British elites would not refer to themselves as English.

  25. Eugene says:
    @A123

    The highly deceptive “Project Fear” campaign cannot shill for EU membership. That remains 100% permanently blocked by Spain, due to the Catalonia movement. Would either the Welsh or Scots volunteer for permanent 3rd class status via a common market deal?

    That doesn’t apply post Brexit, as the Scots and the Welsh won’t be leaving a nation within the EU in the hope of rejoining the EU; instead they will a new nation outside the EU having left another country which was outside the EU, asking to get in. Spain won’t care.

    The way forward is obvious. GET BREXIT DONE. Once the U.K. jettisons Globalist/EU elites and destructive ‘German Austerity’ economics, there will be more and better paying jobs for citizens. That will quell secessionist movements.

    One thing the UK is not abandoning is globalist elites. The Conservative party is full of them, while masquerading as a one nation Tory party. In fact the entire rush to get treaties is about abandoning whatever social protection and tariffs that are left. A quick glance at the Telegraph or Evening standard will prove that. The UK will have to be even more globalist post the EU, in fact, and target its commonwealth for exports and migration. The EU is a protectionist block, according to many free market brexiters.

    As for German austerity, that is indeed a destructive ideology, but it was one that was fully embraced by Conservative party until about 3 weeks ago.

    • Agree: Miro23
  26. Eugene says:
    @Smith

    Scotland and Ireland need England more than they need the EU.

    They can say all they want, but it’s the truth.

    Not really, the EU is bigger. Ireland’s trade with the UK is fairly small these days in comparison to the EU.

    11% of exports, and 20% of imports or so.

    • Replies: @Smith
  27. bro3886 says:

    The political left in most countries is bad at dealing with nationalism and the pursuit of self-determination. It sees these as a diversion from identifying and attacking the real perpetrators of social and economic injustice.

    The modern political left in the West became a white-hating racist movement decades ago. That’s its chief identifying characteristic – genocidal white-hating racism. Antifa, for example, never goes after the capitalists, never goes after the upper-middle class that administers the “racist, fascist, sexist” system these capitalists own, it reserves its ire for middle and lower class whites. The left became a racist movement when it was taken over by the university trained upper-middle class. They are defending their class status and interests by attacking the white classes below them. It is a coalition of the top and the bottom (minorities) against the middle. The left long ago dumped economic injustice as a prime issue, because they have no interest in helping their enemies, the white working class, and supports “social injustice” only to the degree that it favors minorities, including sexual minorities, and is an attack on traditional white society (in the U.S. the phrase “Civil Rights” has become synonymous with black privilege, whether those privileges are actual rights or not) . Bottom line: the Western left has no real problem with nationalism as long as it doesn’t help the existence of whites in any way.

    This is all played out starkly in the Brexit soap opera. The left’s transition to the upper-middle class party was finalized with the election of Tony Blair. Corbyn may be an old time leftist but his party is driven by the screeching harridans who come out of “wymins studies” department and its like. (Thus he identifies as he/him.)

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
  28. A small point, this, but not without a certain importance. I have no idea why the Gaelic words “Sinn Fein” are constantly rendered as “Ourselves Alone”. That is emphatically NOT what it means. Just as “Me Fein” means “Myself” so “Sinn Fein” simply means “Ourselves”. There is no implication of inward-looking backwardness in the title. The suggestion it carries is that we, in Ireland, should stand forth in the world, on our own two feet and by our own honest effort, for what we are and can yet be.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  29. Galan says:
    @Smith

    But, it seems the opposite is happening now. Free trade is reinvigorating nationalism. It is possible it does both at once engender nationalism and internationalism. But on balance….I am not sure.

  30. craig says:
    @Anon

    “…the ”deep state” secretly backs nationalisms (both or all sides of rival factions or political parties), so that people will fight against each other…. NATO trains, arms and supports the independence of the Kurds, while also providing weapons to the Turks, a NATO ally, which is totally ridiculous.”

    If a thing can be explained either by grand conspiracy or by mere stupidity, stupidity is almost always the truth. Occam’s Razor.

    NATO is a relic. Having outlived its purpose, it now exists as a sinecure for European political climbers (typically female these days, with matching policies) and a platform from which to carry out virtue-signalling demonstrations that don’t affect the Euro elites’ priorities.

    Having put Syria and ISIS both into the bin of Bad People, NATO extends aid to the Kurds who, being opposed to them, must therefore be Good People (as a child would reason). The same anti-realpolitik was on display in the 1990s when Serbia was cast in the role of Bad and Bosnia as Good. Had NATO been paying attention to the actual defense of Europe both times, it would have recognized that none of the warring parties could be counted as friendly to Europe and concentrated on preventing the conflict (and the populace) from spilling over. Instead, Europe decided to better America’s “invade the world, invite the world” by bypassing most of the military expense and skipping straight to “Welcome Refugees!”.

    Turkey stopped being an ally about the time the Cold War ended, but NATO would break apart if it noticed this shift, therefore it steadfastly avoids noticing.

  31. “Nationalism Is Transforming the Politics of the British Isles”

    I think Patrick Cockburn is right about that, and I much regret the fact.

    I do not see nationalism as a positive force in human affairs, even when it is not extreme. I am taking “nationalism” as something a little more serious than just reasonable affection for your country. It is an organizing principle, a motive for laws and policies, something associated with sets of loyalties and disloyalties, and can be even more.

    Apart from other unhelpful tendencies, nationalism represents a kind of atomizing force in international affairs. At its most extreme, it represents fear and even hatred, organized fear and hatred.

    I know it is highly idealistic, but I’ve always been fond of the H. G. Wells quote, “Our true nationality is mankind.”

    There is a tendency for many people to treat nationalism as a kind of secular religion, one with its own tenets, rituals and demands and sacred texts.

    In the United States, where it is called Patriotism – yes, it is often capitalized – we see that to an extraordinary degree.

    There are a number of biblical texts scholars pore over – including the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, Washington’s Farewell Address, etc. – a host of rituals, including various salutes and recitations, some saint-like figures, including a martyr in Nathan Hale, and even a Judas Iscariot figure in Benedict Arnold. We find scholars using terms like ”present at the creation” when discussing the Constitutional Convention. The term “original intent” is used often to discuss the Supreme Court interpreting Constitutional law.

    I do think the American experience with nationalism offers powerful warnings about how poisonous it can be. The country is on a new international crusade to enforce its will over others. It insists that America’s rules and laws are more important than anyone else’s rules and laws, whether those of other countries or of international organizations and treaties. All the great wars and horrors of the past reflect exactly that kind of thinking.

    We are all somewhat immunized, or believe we are, through our popular culture, against the darkest extremes of nationalism Europe experienced in the 1930s. But in Ukraine today we see such extreme political organizations as the Azov Battalion and the Right Sector, resembling 1930s Brownshirts in a frightening number of details. And we should reflect on the fact that such gangs were supported by none other than the United States for its coup against an elected government in Ukraine.

    • Replies: @craig
    , @Digital Samizdat
  32. Smith says:
    @Eugene

    The relationship between Ireland, Scotland and England are far more than trade.

    If it’s just trade, the UK as a whole can always trade with the EU.

    It’s a matter of military and geopolitics.

  33. craig says:
    @John Chuckman

    “I do not see nationalism as a positive force in human affairs, even when it is not extreme. I am taking “nationalism” as something a little more serious than just reasonable affection for your country. It is an organizing principle, a motive for laws and policies, something associated with sets of loyalties and disloyalties, and can be even more. Apart from other unhelpful tendencies, nationalism represents a kind of atomizing force in international affairs.”

    I’d say the exact opposite: globalism is the atomizing force which leaves the individual naked and isolated against the overweening power of the State. Loyalties — to family, clan, country, and God — are how the world continues to function. The absence of loyalty is indifference.

    Nationalism is merely the political manifestation of declaring a particular people “my people” and a culture “my culture”. You are not tied to family by the bonds of affection and mutual obligation because your family is superior to all others in all (or any) respects, but because it is your own. You love and educate your child because he is yours, feed your dog because it is yours, fix your house because it is yours, help your neighbor in trouble because he is yours.

    The absence of this is a society of gibsmedats. A “citizen of the world” is a free rider with no loyalties, a consumer of the fruits of civilization. A cosmopolitan society eventually devours itself and is replaced.

    … And we should reflect on the fact that such gangs were supported by none other than the United States for its coup against an elected government in Ukraine.

    If outsiders deposing an elected government is a bad thing, then it must be that nationalism is a good thing. Why else would one expect a nation’s leaders to be selected by her own citizens?

    • Agree: Miro23, YetAnotherAnon
  34. I asked one former Leave councillor – one of the few people I met who changed their mind on the issue after the referendum in 2016 – why people living in her deprived ward held the EU responsible for their poverty. Her reply cut through many more sophisticated explanations: “I suppose that it is always easier to blame Johnny Foreigner.”

    Blair’s opening of the borders in 2005 to Eastern European immigration was a huge blow against workers and homebuyers and a huge gift to landlords and employers. The people in her ward were right, although the blame should be directed at the traitors in power at the time.

    Since May 1997, when the first Blair government was elected

    a) real median male wages have fallen slightly (a couple of percent)
    b) real house prices have gone up 250%
    c) personal debt has doubled

    Notice how no media talking heads talk about “standard of living” any more.

  35. Anon[112] • Disclaimer says:

    The desire by people to see themselves as a national community – even if many of the bonds binding them together are fictional – is one of the most powerful forces in the world. ……
    They fail to understand the strength of nationalism or religion in providing a sense of communal solidarity, even if it is based on dreams and illusions, that provides a vehicle for deeply felt needs and grievances.

    The pluralists love to harp on this idea that national unity is a fiction. Eric Kaufman says it often; they love to deconstruct their enemy’s categories and insist that they are irrational. I actually don’t know what their argument is. I guess they are referencing the fact that there are different classes in society that do not intermarry, and that people from different regions of the country do not intermarry. (I say this because the only physically/scientifically real form of unity among people is biological. And it seems the ancients felt this way, as the root of Nation translates to “birth.”)

    So I think the argument is that all nations are actually broken into many “peoples,” even though nationalism tells the “lie” that there is “one nation.”

    However, they are just foolishly misunderstanding. It goes without saying that in any large society, some of the people are not closely related. Many of them, you will never know or interact with.

    But the meaning of the “fiction” national solidarity is that you could intermarry and become kin, given certain likely events. A white person from Michigan could, very easily, marry a white person from California, given some relatively easily obtainable events. It happens all of the time in our current world. A poor goy could (and should, in a nationalist world) marry a rich goy. It has happened many times, and only in a terribly divided society does the upper class resist this.

    Any person’s belief regarding unity between people is based in a person’s mental explorations of counterfactuals, and their conclusions regarding which people in the world they could share genes with. Usually, when it comes to issues like this, what could happen, does happen, in the fullness of time.

    Consider a scenario of economic collapse, and subsequent mass migration of people from the collapsed economy. These things happen often at the regional level, and they drive people to move far away and intermarry with more distantly related people than they had previously been doing. Would a South Englander be OK if there was a mass migration of people from Northern England, which would result in many intermarriages? Sure. Would they be OK with a mass migration of Iraqis? Probably not, but they would not admit something so un-PC. Would they be OK with a mass migration of whites from the American South? Hell no, and they would not hesitate to say it.

    Would a white from Massachusetts marry a Southerner? Very unlikely. It is most fair to consider these to be different peoples. Would a Jewish person marry a Christian? Most certainly not. It is outside the scope of possibilities that any sane person could imagine. They are not one “nation,” and never could be.

    Is “the nation” a fiction? All possible futures are fictions until they are obtained, but some possible futures are worse than fictional, they are damned implausible. It is rational to portray unity that is plausible (Michigan x New Jersey), given that a biological unification could very easily occur in the fullness of time, but not to portray unity when it is impossible or very unlikely that the peoples would actually intermarry and become “one people” in a physical/biological sense (as this counterfactual could only obtain if the world fundamentally changes is some way).

    The “fiction” of “the nation” is a plausible picture of actual and potential biological unity of humans. A Nationalism that insists that there exists unity where there is none is an irrational nationalism (Nick Fuentes, we are looking at you), but most Nationalists, whether they were liberals in the early 1800’s or reactionaries in the 2000’s, are in the business of trying to increase and legally codify unity among potentially compatible peoples and draw lines in the sand to keep out the incompatible, so that you do not have to lie constantly in everyday life to incompatible peoples that you love them and see them as your equals. It gets exhausting to always pretend to love and support the foreigners in your midst. This is especially so, as intermarriage has implications regarding wealth accumulation and distribution, as families act as wealth sinks. This can be seen in the phenomena of “white privilege” and “assortative mating.”

    Now that the USA is more divided than ever, we should not be surprised that it needs to import thousands of teachers. We should also not be surprised that historically, minorities have been underrepresented in teaching. Few want to serve the general population, when that entails serving the Other.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  36. @Iron Felix

    The redefinition of words is not limited to gaelic. It’s been a long time since “Liberal” was deformed by
    big government control freaks and the use of the word Gay for sodomites: 4 times more likely to commit suicide, be addicted to psychoactive drugs and carriers of incurable venereal disease still amuses.

  37. @Anon

    National unity is a matter of paying taxes to the same government.

  38. @John Chuckman

    I do think the American experience with nationalism offers powerful warnings about how poisonous it can be. The country is on a new international crusade to enforce its will over others.

    That’s imperialism, not nationalism. A true nationalist simply wants his country to be sovereign and live by its own rules, not impose those rules on the rest of world, which is what the globalists are presently seeking to do.

  39. But in 2016, 2017 and 2019 Labour made the same mistake of trying to wriggle around Brexit as the prime issue facing the English nation without taking a firm position, an evasion that discredited it with both Remainers and Leavers.

    Not in 2017. During that election, Corbyn simply pledged to honor the the result of previous year’s Brexit referendum, no ifs, ands or buts. And you know what? Labour picked up no less than 30 seats! This lead to a hung parliament and forced Theresa May into a humiliating (and first-ever) coalition with the DUP of N. Ireland.

  40. @anonymous

    Scotland doesn’t want Northern Ireland. The sensible solution is for Northern Ireland to join the Irish Republic and form a united Ireland.

  41. @anonymous

    The reason why the economic problems of northern England haven’t been addressed by the EU is because Westminster doesn’t care about the region’s problems. The EU can only address the economic problems of a region with the cooperation of the local government. Westminster only cares about southeast England.

  42. @anonymous1963

    Westminster already behaves as if southeast England is a separate country.

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