The essence of him that is:
For the English do have traits and tendencies, just like any other nationality.
Bottle it so as to pour it down the drain.
The entire essence of Englishness is to deny – correctly – that we have traits and or tendencies precisely because we are not like any other – or even a – nationality. We are the archetype from which Johnny Foreigner diverges in amusing or possibly disastrous ways.
England is the mother of parliaments. It is the land of Shakespeare and Dickens, Elgar and Holst, the Beatles and Stones, the Cotswolds and Cumbrian hills, London and Liverpool, Oxford and Cambridge. It is Stonehenge and St Paul’s, football and cricket, the local church and village pub, Isaac Newton and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
It is cream teas and Cheddar cheese, a pint of bitter and a cup of tea, farms and factories, honest coppers and straight judges. It is the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation, Roundheads and Cavaliers, rebellions and strikes, Industrial Revolution and a Glorious Revolution. It is the home of Magna Carta, Locke and Burke, Churchill and Attlee, and long lines of kings and queens.
And, of course, it is about so much more.
The list is promulgated to insist that there should be an English Parliament, another layer of phartstains to rule over us.
Chesterton was closer to the truth. Those rulers never have and never will listen to us. So let’s keep their number and power to a minimum.
The essence of Englishness isn’t in cheese or history. It’s in the entirely wise insistence that politics can go to fuck.