Full English

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Stephanie
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Re: Full English

Post by Stephanie » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:29 pm

I think I've always felt English/British (depending on what question I'm ticking) with a bit of other. My mum is Turkish Cypriot, Irish and Canadian. She is technically (though I think she formally needs to get her ID sorted) a Turkish citizen, and has been in Cyprus now for the last 6 months. She wants me to apply for mine. My grandfather in any case, never saw me as English. So it's complicated.
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Re: Full English

Post by noggins » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:34 pm

Im British. “England” is just a football team i support.

Apart from the football im struggling to think of anything “English” which isnt aleady in the “British” file in my mind anyway.

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Re: Full English

Post by malbui » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:52 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:52 pm
The US discussion around this question is significantly different, for obvious reasons.

A white person whose family have been in the US for several generations can say "I'm Italian", "I'm Irish", "I'm German" etc. without raising the question of whether they are American. In Boston, someone can say "I'm Irish" in an Irish tinged accent without raising the question.

But if you're Jewish, Asian or Latino (who may well have been on the land longer than northern european caucasians), then the style of questions Lammy is responding to are common. Even more so for Iranian, Arab or Indian Americans. And then there's the African American experience.
I've always been interested in the whole hyphenated American thing. It's very common in my experience to hear people say that they're Italian-American or Irish-American, but to my knowledge I've never heard British-American as a claimed identity.
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Re: Full English

Post by bagpuss » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:55 pm

Stephanie wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:29 pm
I think I've always felt English/British (depending on what question I'm ticking) with a bit of other. My mum is Turkish Cypriot, Irish and Canadian. She is technically (though I think she formally needs to get her ID sorted) a Turkish citizen, and has been in Cyprus now for the last 6 months. She wants me to apply for mine. My grandfather in any case, never saw me as English. So it's complicated.
I've often wondered how it would feel to be more complicated than I am. When your Ancestry DNA profile looks like this, it's very boring:
England & Northwestern Europe 75%
.....South East England*
..........Kent*

Scotland 22%

Sweden 3%

I think we can ignore the 3% Swedish - it's just noise in the not entirely scientific world of DNA ethnicity testing. And the 22% Scottish is a little high, probably bumped up by the fact that in addition to my Scottish gt grandparent, I have a gt grandparent from Cumberland and there's probably a lot of overlap in DNA between Cumberland dwellers and lowland Scots.



*These bits mean that within the England/NW Europe chunk, I have a significant chunk of DNA that's very specific to SE England, particularly Kent. Hardly surprising given my Dad and every single boring one of his ancestors came from Kent and Sussex - almost all of them within a 10-15 mile radius of the village in Kent where my Dad was born.

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Re: Full English

Post by Martin_B » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:16 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:55 pm
Stephanie wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:29 pm
I think I've always felt English/British (depending on what question I'm ticking) with a bit of other. My mum is Turkish Cypriot, Irish and Canadian. She is technically (though I think she formally needs to get her ID sorted) a Turkish citizen, and has been in Cyprus now for the last 6 months. She wants me to apply for mine. My grandfather in any case, never saw me as English. So it's complicated.
I've often wondered how it would feel to be more complicated than I am. When your Ancestry DNA profile looks like this, it's very boring:
England & Northwestern Europe 75%
.....South East England*
..........Kent*

Scotland 22%

Sweden 3%

I think we can ignore the 3% Swedish - it's just noise in the not entirely scientific world of DNA ethnicity testing. And the 22% Scottish is a little high, probably bumped up by the fact that in addition to my Scottish gt grandparent, I have a gt grandparent from Cumberland and there's probably a lot of overlap in DNA between Cumberland dwellers and lowland Scots.



*These bits mean that within the England/NW Europe chunk, I have a significant chunk of DNA that's very specific to SE England, particularly Kent. Hardly surprising given my Dad and every single boring one of his ancestors came from Kent and Sussex - almost all of them within a 10-15 mile radius of the village in Kent where my Dad was born.
3% Swedish would be 1 in 32, or one great-great-great grandparent. Enough on Who Do You Think You Are to claim that you feel affinity with the Vikings, even if you are 97% British
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Re: Full English

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:45 pm

I'm happy to be English, though I've only ever seen it as a national identity rather than being part of a people. I have an issue with just ceding the ground of national identity to nationalists, because it lets them define what that means. I'm English as much as I am Lancastrian, British and European. There's no order to it or argument about it for me, it just is what it is. My ancestry is startlingly, boringly English. As far back as I've been able to get, I'm 1/32 Northern Irish, 1/32 Welsh (borders) and the rest is completely English.

The conversation that Lammy had shocked me a lot, and reading a little more, the racist woman he was speaking to was clearly thinking of being English as being an ethnicity or being from a particular people, which I've literally never seen the English as before. I mean, wikipedia sees the English as a people and as an ethnic group, and obviously that ethnic perspective can be used to exclude immigrants and ethnic minorities. But the ubiquity of being English and living in England means that I've never thought of myself as part of a people, just a member of a country. From that perspective, David Lammy and anyone else born here or living here is welcome to define themselves that way if they want.

As others have said, I've never seen anyone described as "English-American" in the context of their ethnic background. Having a mixed heritage of Englishness ethnicity and something else tends to result in the something else being given prominence in one's identity. The thing is, English people don't really have much of a national identity per se, I don't think (other than in sports), and that leaves a natural void for the nationalists to fill. The things that English people point at as characteristic of themselves tend to be British things rather than English. When it comes to food, I think more regionally than nationally about the things England does well (cheese, parkin, puddings, etc). You hear about "British food" but rarely "English food", not least because our heritage in that regard is much more about great ingredients rather than clever recipes (and is also why that heritage was so able to be severely weakened by the double blow of World War 2 and supermarket dominance).

Being English is weird.
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Re: Full English

Post by bagpuss » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:57 pm

Martin_B wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:16 pm
bagpuss wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:55 pm
Stephanie wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:29 pm
I think I've always felt English/British (depending on what question I'm ticking) with a bit of other. My mum is Turkish Cypriot, Irish and Canadian. She is technically (though I think she formally needs to get her ID sorted) a Turkish citizen, and has been in Cyprus now for the last 6 months. She wants me to apply for mine. My grandfather in any case, never saw me as English. So it's complicated.
I've often wondered how it would feel to be more complicated than I am. When your Ancestry DNA profile looks like this, it's very boring:
England & Northwestern Europe 75%
.....South East England*
..........Kent*

Scotland 22%

Sweden 3%

I think we can ignore the 3% Swedish - it's just noise in the not entirely scientific world of DNA ethnicity testing. And the 22% Scottish is a little high, probably bumped up by the fact that in addition to my Scottish gt grandparent, I have a gt grandparent from Cumberland and there's probably a lot of overlap in DNA between Cumberland dwellers and lowland Scots.



*These bits mean that within the England/NW Europe chunk, I have a significant chunk of DNA that's very specific to SE England, particularly Kent. Hardly surprising given my Dad and every single boring one of his ancestors came from Kent and Sussex - almost all of them within a 10-15 mile radius of the village in Kent where my Dad was born.
3% Swedish would be 1 in 32, or one great-great-great grandparent. Enough on Who Do You Think You Are to claim that you feel affinity with the Vikings, even if you are 97% British
Yes, but in terms of DNA ethnicity, which is at best a weak science, it's most likely to just be noise, or at most a remnant of Viking DNA in my Scottish/Cumbrian ancestry. From what I've seen in FB groups, a small percentage of supposedly Swedish and/or Norwegian DNA is very very common among people of otherwise entirely British ancestry.

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Re: Full English

Post by individualmember » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:23 pm

Depending on the situation I’m in at the time I can be English, British or European. I don’t think there’s a particular test that works very much, I pretty much lost interest in sports when I ceased to be a teenager (cue standard joke, that’s what being an Ipswich Town supporter does to you), and to be honest I feel like I have at least as much in common with my friends who are from other parts of Europe as I do with my neighbours. If not more, that’s why they became friends and my neighbours are just nodding acquaintances.

As far back as I know, which is only to great grandparents (and one strand of great great grandparents), I’m descended from people who lived in some part of the UK (from Scotland to Cornwall), but I’m not sure what importance that has nowadays.

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Re: Full English

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm

At the risk of making myself unpopular ...

I think that statements that Englishness as a cultural identity that isn't strong or doesn't exist would be seen as ridiculous by many people from outside England. As far as identities go, the symbols of Englishness are very strong. They cover things like language, literature, film, TV, sport, clothing, food, music, buildings and monuments. The list is endless.

The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries. We've exported our culture and imposed it on others round the world. Close to home Welsh and Irish people who were punished in school for speaking in their mother tongue. Further afield kids in Africa today go to school dressed up in copies of public school uniforms that were worn by the children of colonial administrators.

Yes, English culture has imported and assimilated lot, but crucially only what we wanted. People don't think that their English cultural identity is very strong because they hardly ever have to think about it. In thousands of ways the world is built around their cultural identity. Englishness is just assumed to be the natural state of humanity and therefore not worth thinking about. People who say that they don't recognize their Englishness resemble millionaires who like to say that money isn't important to them.

If English culture were ever to be as threatened as the English have threatened other cultures, it would probably be far more important to people.

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Re: Full English

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:43 pm

That's a fair point, and I was going to say myself that Englishness has never been under threat in the same way that other European countries have seen in the last 107 years, which will mean we've not spent that much effort trying to define exactly what it means.

I'll chime in with a northern gripe though, which is that southerners tend to see Englishness as a lot of things which I don't identify with. There's a lot of power dynamics at play, which mean different people have different levels of rights to contribute to that conversation.
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Re: Full English

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:46 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries. We've exported our culture and imposed it on others round the world. Close to home Welsh and Irish people who were punished in school for speaking in their mother tongue. Further afield kids in Africa today go to school dressed up in copies of public school uniforms that were worn by the children of colonial administrators.

The whole post makes a very good point but this bit in particular stood out as well worth a closer examination. I remember talking to an Irish guy who felt that English people who call themselves British was as an attempt to distance and dissociate themselves from the Empire. It's an argument I have difficulty arguing against but I think it's more complex than just a way of pretending our history didn't happen.

English identity is intrinsically tied up with our empire, but the ones who seem to want to proclaim it as their identity seem to be the ones most desperate to recreate that empire. And I just don't want anything to do with that. Calling myself British instead my small protest against nationalism. It's meaningless and entirely symbolic but it's about all I have right now. So, for me, it's not about wanting to pretend our empire didn't happen but recognising that it did and it was horrific and isn't something we should be celebrating or lamenting the end of.
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Re: Full English

Post by jimbob » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:19 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:46 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries. We've exported our culture and imposed it on others round the world. Close to home Welsh and Irish people who were punished in school for speaking in their mother tongue. Further afield kids in Africa today go to school dressed up in copies of public school uniforms that were worn by the children of colonial administrators.

The whole post makes a very good point but this bit in particular stood out as well worth a closer examination. I remember talking to an Irish guy who felt that English people who call themselves British was as an attempt to distance and dissociate themselves from the Empire. It's an argument I have difficulty arguing against but I think it's more complex than just a way of pretending our history didn't happen.

English identity is intrinsically tied up with our empire, but the ones who seem to want to proclaim it as their identity seem to be the ones most desperate to recreate that empire. And I just don't want anything to do with that. Calling myself British instead my small protest against nationalism. It's meaningless and entirely symbolic but it's about all I have right now. So, for me, it's not about wanting to pretend our empire didn't happen but recognising that it did and it was horrific and isn't something we should be celebrating or lamenting the end of.
Exactly - even if half my ancestry is only because of the Empire (mum was a white New Zealander)
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Re: Full English

Post by bolo » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:25 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries.
That dominance in the United States is perhaps why nobody speaks of English-Americans.
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:46 pm
English identity is intrinsically tied up with our empire, but the ones who seem to want to proclaim it as their identity seem to be the ones most desperate to recreate that empire.
I'm not entirely sure I understand this. Surely it was the British Empire, not the English Empire? And at least among my ancestors (not necessarily a statistically valid sample) the ones involved in colonial exploits in India etc. were mostly Scottish. What am I missing?

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Re: Full English

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:39 pm

I wonder how tied up with empire the French get with their national identity, or the Spanish or Portuguese, or even the Belgians.
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Re: Full English

Post by Lew Dolby » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:50 pm

Seems to me though that most of what gets listed under "english culture" (or even "British culture") isn't uniqely English or British.

Most of the people I come across frequently down the local who bang on about "preserving English culture, innit" are the very ones I'd expect to see outside, pint inhand, jeering at morris dancers or a folk singer.
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Re: Full English

Post by Grumble » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:00 pm

I think of myself as British because my mum’s from NI. Both her parents were from NW England but going further back that side of the family have been hopping to and fro over the Irish Sea for generations, with the occasional bit of Scottish in there too. So, definitely have a claim of British even if I’m majority English heritage.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: Full English

Post by Grumble » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:15 pm

Grumble wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:00 pm
I think of myself as British because my mum’s from NI. Both her parents were from NW England but going further back that side of the family have been hopping to and fro over the Irish Sea for generations, with the occasional bit of Scottish in there too. So, definitely have a claim of British even if I’m majority English heritage.
Missed the edit window.

...
I also therefore qualify for an Irish passport, as do my kids. Maybe at some point I’ll bother to get one, my kids haven’t ever had passports yet so the question hasn’t arisen.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: Full English

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:32 pm

discovolante wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:18 am
sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:09 am
I find it interesting to see Scots of Asian descent identifying with Scottish nationalism, which is mostly defined (ISTM) by a historical dislike of the English. I can imagine a meeting between Hamza Yousaf and Nadhim Zahawi where they argue about Culloden could be quite funny.
It's Humza.
Darn. I actually looked it up because I wasn't sure if his second name was spelt Yousuf, and found he didn't, but I was apparently convinced that I already had his first name right.

I'm never sure if these differences arise because of historically different ways of anglicizing, or if there are substantial differences in the underlying Urdu/Arabic/etc orthography, like Geoffrey/Jeffrey. In France, the standard way of spelling the boy's name that corresponds to the prophet is Mohammed, but for some (presumably historical) reason the prophet himself is called Mahomet, complete with silent French "t" at the end.
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Re: Full English

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:34 pm

Lew Dolby wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:50 pm
Seems to me though that most of what gets listed under "english culture" (or even "British culture") isn't uniqely English or British.

Most of the people I come across frequently down the local who bang on about "preserving English culture, innit" are the very ones I'd expect to see outside, pint inhand, jeering at morris dancers or a folk singer.
For the rest of the world a bloke standing in a pub with a pint is about as quintessentially English as it gets. There's no point trying to distinguish between what's English and British. The English have always been by far the dominant partner in the Union.

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Re: Full English

Post by monkey » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:37 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
At the risk of making myself unpopular ...

I think that statements that Englishness as a cultural identity that isn't strong or doesn't exist would be seen as ridiculous by many people from outside England. As far as identities go, the symbols of Englishness are very strong. They cover things like language, literature, film, TV, sport, clothing, food, music, buildings and monuments. The list is endless.

The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries. We've exported our culture and imposed it on others round the world. Close to home Welsh and Irish people who were punished in school for speaking in their mother tongue. Further afield kids in Africa today go to school dressed up in copies of public school uniforms that were worn by the children of colonial administrators.

Yes, English culture has imported and assimilated lot, but crucially only what we wanted. People don't think that their English cultural identity is very strong because they hardly ever have to think about it. In thousands of ways the world is built around their cultural identity. Englishness is just assumed to be the natural state of humanity and therefore not worth thinking about. People who say that they don't recognize their Englishness resemble millionaires who like to say that money isn't important to them.

If English culture were ever to be as threatened as the English have threatened other cultures, it would probably be far more important to people.
I read this thread earlier, but didn't have time to post. I would have written something similar to this, especially the bolded bit.

I think it sums up me. I never identified as being English or British, but I could do that because British or English was the norm. It was only after moving abroad where I was suddenly the outsider that I noticed that I have a national identity*. I should have realised it sooner though. A similar thing happened when I was young (about 10). I didn't know I was Northern until I moved down south and the other kids at school started taking the piss out of my accent.

I think this is a problem. If good people like me don't recognise their cultural identity, it's going to make it harder for us to notice when that identity gets in the way of being inclusive. And it sets things up nicely for nationalists and other cultural exclusives to do their thing - the lack of acknowledgement of an English culture gives them the space to define what that culture is.

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Re: Full English

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:43 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:39 pm
I wonder how tied up with empire the French get with their national identity, or the Spanish or Portuguese, or even the Belgians.
It seems to be different in each case. Many Belgians are aware that King Leopold would have been in the top three of all-time murderous maniacs if not for the heroic later efforts of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao; and in any case their national identity is rather tenuous as it involved acknowledging the equality of the clearly inferior other side of the linguistic divide. Most French people think they got rid of their empire entirely peacefully because nobody talks about Algeria, and I think the Spanish had lost most of their empire by the mid-19th century.

The woman calling in to be awful to David Lammy probably didn't realise that when his parents moved to the UK, they may very well not have had to go through any immigration process at all, because IIRC until some time after WW2, all Empire citizens had the right to live in any part of the Empire. The poorest person from a slum in Delhi could set up home in London without extra formalities, if they could get there.
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Re: Full English

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:44 pm

bolo wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:25 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries.
That dominance in the United States is perhaps why nobody speaks of English-Americans.
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:46 pm
English identity is intrinsically tied up with our empire, but the ones who seem to want to proclaim it as their identity seem to be the ones most desperate to recreate that empire.
I'm not entirely sure I understand this. Surely it was the British Empire, not the English Empire? And at least among my ancestors (not necessarily a statistically valid sample) the ones involved in colonial exploits in India etc. were mostly Scottish. What am I missing?
Good point. During the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries the Empire was very much associated with Britain. The cross of St George was hardly seen and the Union flag flew over colonial outposts. The notion that British is not imperial is pretty recent.

Its odd as Scottish and Welsh nationalism can be seen in part as a post-imperial phenomenon. After the decline of the empire an important rationale for them to remain in the Union was no longer important. English nationalism is something different.

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Re: Full English

Post by monkey » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:51 pm

bolo wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:25 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:26 pm
The thing is, English culture has been dominant in the British Isles and much of the rest of the world for centuries.
That dominance in the United States is perhaps why nobody speaks of English-Americans.
I reckon that becoming independent of Britain/England helped with that. I imagine in the early days of the USA, they were very keen on not being British or English anymore, which would have carried over.

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Re: Full English

Post by MartinDurkin » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:51 pm

warumich wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:34 am
In rugby I support France, obv. since I value having a relatively peaceful household. The German rugby team is somewhere near the German cricket team in competence.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you mean rugby union?
Are you aware of the French Rugby Unions collaboration with the Nazis?
From Wiki (other sources are available, I don't think this is seriously disputed).
Some of the French Rugby Union's senior administrators took advantage of their close relationship with the new regime to have rugby league outlawed as a "corrupter" of French youth.[6] All funds as well as grounds and equipment belonging to the French Rugby League Federation were confiscated and handed over to rugby union. The figure of assets stripped has been estimated at two million 1940 French francs, none of which was ever returned.

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Re: Full English

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:54 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:37 pm
I think this is a problem. If good people like me don't recognise their cultural identity, it's going to make it harder for us to notice when that identity gets in the way of being inclusive. And it sets things up nicely for nationalists and other cultural exclusives to do their thing - the lack of acknowledgement of an English culture gives them the space to define what that culture is.
Yes, I agree. Ultimately its not very healthy for people to act as if they don't have the cultural identity that they actually do have. If someone is English they can embrace their Englishness. But everyone gets to define what that means to them, and collectively they shape it overall. People can choose their own symbols and heroes.

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