How To Stop The BNP By Morris Dancing

Tom Pilston

You can’t get more English than a bunch of middle-aged bearded men with bells on their ankles, waving hankies and prancing like their piles are on fire, can you? The way to stop the BNP kidnapping notions of Englishness is by celebrating the new England. The riotous, bawdy, multi-ethnic Englishness evolving before our eyes. A piece for The Guardian

Published by Cole Moreton

Award-winning interviewer, writer and broadcaster.

2 thoughts on “How To Stop The BNP By Morris Dancing

  1. Great article Cole. Totally agree.
    But should history have any impact on current impressions of national identity? Because I suspect for most people being proud of one’s nationality is based at least in part of historical collective achievement. The BNP always use a warped litergy when eulogising the past. The Daily Mail, Telegraph etc, do the same in proclaiming the “it was better in my day” mantra. That is why we are getting a rash of “broken Britain” headlines. The past is always better than the present.
    So while I agree with you in the importance of celebrating the present and what makes England such a funky, hip place, how do you go about examining the question of how we view our past? Should it even be a factor in our sense of nationality; our sense of self?

    1. Thanks Andy. Well, I’m tempted to say, the first thing to do in terms of the question of how we view our past is to read the book! The last third explores what we are now and what we are becoming, but the sections before that look at how we moved from a position of apparent certainty only a generation – or 30 years, to be specific in this case – ago to now. I think the findings are quite surprising. But aside from making a blatant plug (again), what I’d say is that there is something very old and very us in the apparently new thing that’s happening. We know we’ve always been a mongrel nation, although the Church, the State and the Crown sold us this imperialist myth of strength and purity (so powerfully that somehow even Scots became absorbed into a Britishness that was mostly Englishness in disguise). Part of what’s going on is that the underground England, the culture of the people, who have always been ready to blow raspberries at their rulers, get pissed and shout rude names, has come to the fore. It’s a return to what we were before we learned to behave, in some people’s terms. In my view, that’s something to celebrate, because it means free thinking. And it is crucial to make people understand that the past is about invasion, assimilation, improvisation and getting energy from other cultures, so that they can see that the future lies there too.

      But anyway, ta for taking the time to comment.

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