Fun thought, isn’t it?

in a country where the Swedish Democrats, (Sverigedemokraterna) strongly influenced by the idea of keeping different cultures apart – as well as the idea of ethnicity as the basis for nationhood-

Anyone want to come up with alternative measures of nationhood? Sharing the same piece of geography maybe? A common culture?

Family, clan, tribe, they obviously depend upon that ethnicity. Nation maybe not so much. But what is that glue?

37 thoughts on “Fun thought, isn’t it?”

  1. The Guardian doesn’t even believe in the concept of a nation, so defining nationhood is moot.

  2. Sweden’s population comprised the fair-haired Goths in the south, the red-haired Sverige in the middle and the dark-haired Lapps in the north, so Sweden wis an example of common culture, a strong collectivist ethic as a means of surviving the little ice age plus the effect of Calvinist Christianity. My Swedish friends who are members of the Swedish Democrats are traditionalists, proud of their heritage of compromise and tolerance, but angry at the neo-colonisers and outraged at the government weakness and censorship of debate, (totally against the Swedish way of problem-solving.) The Gridiron is producing ignorant lefty-bollocks as usual.

  3. @KL: Swedes are Lutherans, not Calvinists, and the culture-building would have gone on in the days before the Reformation, when the country was Catholic.

    After the Reformation, iirc, Catholicism was banned outright, so not much compromise and tolerance there – that came much later.

  4. The idea of a Nation is an ethnic construct and the most important element is language. If you think of the history of Germany it is, from a UK perspective remarkable how many of its events take place in locations that are no longer within its borders. It is the ethnic and linguistic commonality that defines the Nation
    Until the 19th century a Country or State was fairly arbitrary and legal in much of Hapsburg Europe (France and England being somewhat exceptional) so when we consider the Westphalian Treaty tradition of sovereignty we need to remember it was not conceived along the sort of tribal lines of the 19th century revolutionary and tribal Nation. That development reached its height in the welding of socialist collectivism with the tribe which is essentially what fascism is, Brexit has some thigs in common with Fascism but more with Franco`s ultra Conservative Spain( Fascism appealed to the young)
    Our constitutional arrangements were barely mentioned during the 2016 debacle
    I have never thought identity was unimportant or that the pretence that a Nation was mere geography was reasonable “ You put a dog ins stable , it does not become a horse” , it’s a matter of priorities . Our country has chosen to permanently slow its growth exclude itself form global markets in services .It has dealt a body blow to the peace security and prosperity which ,as people forget , has only existed since the fall of the Berlin Wall . It has weakened the West and separated itself form the glorious story of Western civilisation

    It is the small mindedness I object to , can we we really not do better than this ?

  5. Funny how slowly the Eurozone is growing compared with the UK… Doesn’t that even make you pause for thought, Newmoanier

  6. When did the UK cut itself off from global markets in services?

    How well did the EU handle Kosovo?

    How well did the EU handle the rise to absolute power of Erdogan? By collaborating with him.

    How about Ukraine and Crimea? The EU record in foreign policy is a total shit show

  7. Maritime Barbarian

    “But what is that glue?”
    The Crown, in the UK.
    The Constitution, in the US.
    Blood, in Germany. (Still is.)
    Geography, in France (Rhine, Alps and Pyrenees – oh sorry, that was under Napoleon I.)

    Belgium – who knows?

  8. Ethnicity is the traditional definition of a nation but recently a common culture/ideology has started to replace it. This started with your colonial friends, of course. Being mostly English, when the revolution started they needed something to set them apart from those other English, who they wanted to separate from. So they made the basis of being American the adherence to a creed or set of values that made them different to the mother country. Some stuff like classical liberalism they stole from the English but mixed it more original stuff like the frontier spirit and thus the American was born. A side effect was that it didn’t matter if you happened to be a Swede or a German, as long as you subscribed to Life, Liberty and all that stuff you were by definition American, but maybe with a hyphen.

  9. ” This started with your colonial friends, of course. Being mostly English, when the revolution started they needed something to set them apart from those other English, ”

    Not really true. The Americans regarded themselves as Englishmen, and launched the revolution to: ” Secure the rights of Englishmen” which had been won in the English Civil War but gradually eroded after the restoration.

    The Founding Fathers believed that having a new country consisting of people of one ethnicity and language was a huge advantage, and that allowing non-English to immigrate would be a disaster.

  10. It’s a total package. Ethnicity, culture, language.

    The reason sikhs have fitted in so well is that ethnicity is really the only difference. Food is a little different. But in every other way, they’re actually like slightly old-fashioned British people. Rather protestant in their work ethic, more emphasis on extended family, living on benefits or abandoning your kids is shameful.

    What no-one gets about people’s problems with muslims is that they not only don’t match on skin colour, but don’t match in other ways.

  11. “The idea of a Nation is an ethnic construct”

    Wut? It is an agreement amongst Men. The idea for the United States has no ethnic component.

    “the most important element is language.”

    I’d say geography is most important.

  12. @Jonathan
    True but the colonists argued that people in England had strayed from the path, the king being a tyrant and all. Therefore the colonists were the true Englishmen, carrying on the legacy of Englishness. Hence the neccessity of separating into a new nation.
    The Fouding Fathers might have believed that but hindsight shows us that immigrants integrated nicely into the community as long as they were willing to adopt the American value system.

  13. Diogenes- When did the UK cut itself off from global markets in services?

    One of the points endlessly repeated by Leavers is that global tariffs are not high due to the WTO( sponsored chiefly by the EU and the US). That has enabled Asia to power ahead and that has created a new economic environment
    Yes good but for complex products less so, for services irrelevant
    This is why UK trade deals will do almost zero good( says the treasury and anyone else who knows anything about it )
    Like most developed economies plus more so the UK sells services . Services are very hard to create a Free Trade in as they require complex legal parity . That cannot be achieved without Political input and has been a tough nut to crack

    That is what the single market gave us and the EU and US are in the difficult process of spreading the new freedom across the Atlantic

    That is the new world of internationally traded services US China EU it will be the next big gain

    We were perfectly placed to benefit but we have chosen to become poor stupid and parochial


  14. Belgium – who knows?

    The Walloons hate the Flemish and the Flemish hate the Walloons. Common ground.

  15. Newmania produces word salad every time it comments. Indicative of cognitive dissonance It’s comments are designed to skew the conversation, muddy the water, and can therefore safely be ignored.

  16. I’d have thought any business requiring a politician on one side of a border to do a deal with a politician on the other side of that border probably has bigger problems than whether or not the pols pow-wow successfully.

  17. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Belgium reminds me a bit of that Star Trek episode “Let this be your Last Battlefield.”

    Featuring Frank “The Riddler” Gorshin, one of the few men who could out-over-act William Shatner.

    Uhura: Was hate all they ever really had ?
    Kirk : No, but is all they have left.

  18. “Belgium – who knows?”

    Mayonnaise on chips, chocolate, dark beer and paedophilia?

  19. “Mayonnaise on chips, chocolate, dark beer and paedophilia?”

    Their monks do one of these exceptionally well.

  20. Let’s not forget the peak of Belgian creativity:

    Ça plane pour moi
    Ça plane pour moi
    Ça plane pour moi moi moi moi moi
    Ça plane pour moi
    Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!
    Ça plane pour moi

  21. lets not forget that the EU also brought peace to Ireland (or that’s the claim in the Brexit documentary)
    Really beginning to wonder if I’m listening to someone pitching an alternate timeline story at times

  22. @DocBud
    Jacques Brel was Belgian (Flemish, though raised in a French-speaking family).

  23. What single market in services? Take this report from Civitas:

    “Somewhat surprisingly, the EU statistical office Eurostat does not provide a continuous, accessible data series of the ratio of intra- and extra-EU exports as a percentage of GDP to monitor the integration of the Single Market in services.

    However, in the January 2015 update of their online Statistical Yearbook they again refer to it, noting that intra-EU trade in goods as a proportion of GDP is ‘two thirds higher than exports to non-member countries’, from which they infer that the Single Market in goods is highly integrated.

    In the later section on services they observe that, by contrast, intra-EU trade is only 55.2 per cent of exports, and imply
    that there had been little change over the intervening eight years.”

    Another piece of newmoanier nonsense that fails to stand up to scrutiny. His mine is so closed that he must have to lock it up every night in case it escapes

  24. Django Reinhardt was of the Belgian flavour.

    So’s Antwerp, till the cathedral’s turned into something else.

    Almost interesting fact. The worst traffic jam of my career glistened and sparkled, this time last year, in Antwerp.

  25. @Newmania
    So the USA is not a nation? Nor is any other country in “The Americas”, nor is India, or Pakistan, or South Africa?
    I think the Swiss might choose to disagree with you, let alone Scotland which in MacBeth’s times alternated kingship between the Picts (descendants of those who kept the Romans out) and the Scots (largely descendants of immigrants from Ireland) excluding the Angles who lived in the parts of Northumbria north of the Cheviots and the handful of Normans who had pinched land from the Angles.
    Ethnicity and language are two very different discriminants as you could see if you looked at any large nation – there are scores of different ethnic groups that have adopted (usually under duress) Russian as their language and several African tribal groups that have split between French-speaking and English-speaking parts. I shall leave you to enumerate the different racial and national groups that have Arabic as a common language so that they can read the Koran, an even higher requirement than most of Christendom using Latin for church services and as a lingua franca for the nobility and traders.

  26. Diogenes- You have no idea what you have just written means have you, well try this on. Now ,( due to the passporting system ) any EEA member can offer Insurance to any other due to complex treaties creating an intern Nation equivalence of compliance.
    When the grace period finishes ( in fact the UK has unilaterally extended pass[porting in for two years) , capital in the EEA will not count in the UK and visa versa, as security
    I daresay you have no idea what Ia m talking about but take my word for it , it is a bit of problem trading in P:olicies if your security can only be domiciled in the country you are selling into
    It means you have to find the capital again… and that ends the free market in that service

  27. I like your comment John 77
    The US is in the happy position of being a league of States but the thing you notice about from a European perspective is the self-conscious effort that goes into making it a Nation. All; that flag waving and hysterical patriotism , that is trying to create a “People” without which a State is just a legal convenience.
    At the time of independence your idea of a plural Nation was somewhat ..eeerm proved wrong when bloodshed on a forgotten and vast scale erupted as a process of ethnic cleansing took place.
    I don`t deny you raise some good points but would you not say that the Pan Arabic feeling is as strong as the straight line ME States and do you not think the Kurds would like a chat about how unimportant ethnicity is within their borders
    What were the Italians and Germans Uniting , What self was the doctrine of self determination talking about ? Do you really think the Liberal and National revolutions of the 19th century were in order to create some legal rationally consenting community of disparate ethnic groups . Why do ypou think the Werlsh are so ken to revive their dead language why did the Scots invent their own Romantic Past entirely fraudulently , why does a statue of of Alfred sit quite incongruously outside Westminster given that he was defeated , why did Chaucer write in English , why was there a movenmt to elevate English in the 18th century

    I could go on

  28. @ Newmania
    At the time of whose Independence are you talking about?
    Oh, the”Boston Brahmins” of Massachusetts who adopted a policy of murdering in cold blood any local residents who were observant of their oath of loyalty to King George. Ethnic cleansing was a side-effect as most of the “Indian” native Americans wisely chose the British Crown rather than the colonists as the lesser of the evils. Most of the bloodshed by the US cavalry eliminating the people living in the prairies came deacdes later – the 13 original states are a tiny proportion of the current area of the USA.
    The Kurds have no borders and pan-Arabism is a myth cultivated (perhaps invented) by T.E. Lawrence.
    I was unaware of the Italians and Germans uniting except during the Hitler-Mussolini Axis.
    You are confused – Cornish was a dead language, Welsh was not. There is a statue of Alfred in Winchester, not Westminster – that’s Richard Coeur de Lion who won most of his fights: you could say that was incongruous because he spent most of his life in what is now France but not because he was defeated. Aquitaine remained loyal to the English throne long after most of the Angevin domains had defected to the Count of Paris, which may give support to the folk tradition that Richard was “a good king”.

  29. Ha ..No I meant India ,,,, not Indians ( or are you kidding ?) and I was referring to the genocidal slaughter accompanying partition
    Italian unification and the German Unification …o h come on seriously Bismark, Garibaldi… ?
    Welsh …well ok near dead
    The Kurds are nonetheless a Nation who place within States founded on an ethnic majority has been uncomfortable thats the point
    Richard – Fine I am referring the conscious act of Nation Building which often includes a post event back story , an invented ‘people’ and , if possible and ancient language

  30. due to the passporting system any EEA member can offer Insurance to any other due to complex treaties creating an intern Nation equivalence of compliance

    Doing my best to extract meaning from this word salad, it may be true for commercial insurance contracts (and re-insurance has always been fully international), but at a personal insurance level, it’s utter bollocks. Otherwise a Berlin motorist could legally insure themselves with Direct Line and the German insurance industry would pop like a bubble. Which is why the Germans will never permit it.

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