Friday, January 7, 2011

English people are not the cause of your problems*...

In the song "Hard Times of Old England Retold", Billy Bragg laments the death of the typical English village, an idyll killed off apparently by an unholy combination of Tescos and the "holiday homes which are left empty all day".  According to Bill, "folks from the city" have effectively colonised rural England destroying its identity and traditions. Well, yes, possibly.

But such "takeovers" happen elsewhere, changing the local landscape and, if long-term residents are to be believed, threatening or even removing their national identity:
Policies being implemented in North East Wales are threatening Welsh identity in the area. But, is anybody willing to listen and take action before the damage is done?
So begins an article by a Wrexham Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper in Wales Home.

Her argument in a nutshell is that under the guise of the West Cheshire/North East Wales sub-regional strategy, Welsh identity is under great threat.  This plan has, apparently, caused more higher value houses  to be built in the area and consequently an influx of English immigration from Cheshire and Merseyside. In effect, she believes those "immigrants" are threatening her and the region's Welshness. They are also pricing locals out of the housing market, one of the main gripes mentioned in Bragg's song earlier. Unlike Billy, however, it is obviously the threatening of the predominant national identity of the area causing her most concern here.

So... (and N.Irish readers, at least, should have an idea by now where this is going) poor "working-class people fearing that the arrival of the rich "other" will threaten their way of life and "indigenous" identity, that's her argument in a nutshell right?
I’ll end with another question that I very much hope the powers that be and our next generation of politicians take on board before it’s too late. Do we have a right to be Welsh
Of course.
But two questions following on from that:

1. Does someone have the right to claim their version of Welshness (or Britishness) is the one and only true one?

2. Does that person then have the right to prevent people from moving into their area, just because they think their perceived national "identity" may threaten their version of Welshness (or Britishness)?

Tough ones, eh?



*A play on a line from the Asian Dub Foundation's PKNB.

5 comments:

Toque said...

Being a civic nationalist doesn't mean that you are in favour of large scale immigration and multiculturalism.

Andy said...

No but a civic anybody can be English ideology does threaten English identity.

My view of immigration and civic English nationalism is that it is threatening to English identity.

If everyone is English then English is nothing more then a set of habits. English becomes based on what you eat or read or wear rather then having anything to do with identity, history and ancestry.
Civic English is cheap and transferable: today im English tomorrow im Chinese in the afternoon i will be African.
For me English is much more then that.

Maybe this Welsh lady would be OK with English buying Welsh holiday homes if they all were to say they were Welsh whilst they were in Wales, then they wouldnt really be immigrants.
But maybe she, suffering from an influx of immigrants doesnt follow the civic nationalist viewpoint.

I can understand her if she didnt.

Not the Messiah said...

Why didn't the Department of Health in England approach the Scottish Government to help out with supply of flue vaccination?

Why didn't England help Northern Ireland?

What's wrong with them?

Why are they so against the other nations in the United Kingdom?

The UK PM said the “whole country is incredibly proud”.

Which 'country' is he referring to Sm753?

He does know that this is a UNITED kingdom of different nations and that Scotland has a cricket team doesn't he?

Is this crypto imperialism or just clumsy tory little Englander syndrome?

O'Neill said...

Toque,

That's an argument you have made (convincingly) before. And with your argument there is, at least, a consistency.

However, I think that I'm right in saying that Plaid Cymru have consistently at Westminster voted against the tightening of immigration rules and regulations over the last decade or so.

In other words, certain "mass immigration" is more acceptable than others?

O'Neill said...

Not the Messiah,

Is this the thread (or even blog( you want to be at?