The English

Seems fair enough

The pandemic has seeded the idea of a prime minister “who speaks for England alone” as relations between the four nations of the UK deteriorate amid “deep-rooted complacency”, a senior former civil servant has warned.

Given that the other three do have someone to speak for them why shouldn’t England?

After all, we did conquer them…..

You what?

Apart from the odd dog-walker, Bath’s much-loved Walcot Street

Much loved? It’s a pit of iniquity.

True, it does have a proper hat shop – one specialist enough to know the difference between a trilby and a fedora – but other than that the area is ancient hippies and their offspring.

Bah, humbug!

The Times has gone mad

This is from a list of he best places to live in the UK:

Stroud
Our overall winner

Stroud? Dear God, we’re trying to have the industrial suburb of the Forest of Dean hailed as a decent place to live? Where those too stupid for Twerton get allocated their council housing?

Bit late this, isn’t it?

Going through the motions: the rise and rise of stool-gazing
Locked down and worrying about our wellbeing, more and more of us have been looking for clues in what we leave in the toilet. Are we wasting our time?

We’ve already left. This is no time to start becoming all more German.

Bit late this, isn’t it?

Going through the motions: the rise and rise of stool-gazing
Locked down and worrying about our wellbeing, more and more of us have been looking for clues in what we leave in the toilet. Are we wasting our time?

We’ve already left. This is no time to start becoming all more German.

Bit late this, isn’t it?

Going through the motions: the rise and rise of stool-gazing
Locked down and worrying about our wellbeing, more and more of us have been looking for clues in what we leave in the toilet. Are we wasting our time?

We’ve already left. This is no time to start becoming all more German.

Bit late this, isn’t it?

Going through the motions: the rise and rise of stool-gazing
Locked down and worrying about our wellbeing, more and more of us have been looking for clues in what we leave in the toilet. Are we wasting our time?

We’ve already left. This is no time to start becoming all more German.

Partly true

He traced the unarguable connections between health and deprivation – from poverty, diet and housing to poor air quality – and interrogated the idea that structural racism might influence not only where we live and the jobs we do, but the treatment we receive from the NHS itself. “As well as a biological pandemic, there’s a racist one,” Harewood sighed wearily. “We’re battling not just one virus but two.”

That there’s a relationship between economic status and health is obvious. That that relationship works both ways – bad health can and will lead to economic downgrading – is something that Michael Marmot etc entirely ignore. That’s also not relevant here, when looking at health and race.

The BAME population in the UK is still, in large part, the result of first generation immigration. So, hands up all surprised that first generation immigrants are not top of the economic pole? That this will also be true of Poles – for example – tells us that this isn’t racism.

If second and third generation are equally distressed then that would mean that there’s something to work on. But we would actually need evidence of that before we worried about it.

Competition Time!

Unesco carries a list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage“.

England appears to have no entries. Tsk.

So, our task is to compile a list of entries to be submitted. Antonie, over in NZ and the source of this information, suggests Morris Dancing.

I’m not even sure the UK has ratified it. But if it has, what would we suggest should be added as specifically English intangible cultural heritage?

I vote for “Empire”.

And you?

Dunno really

In this sense Jack Leach — and surely no novelist could pick a more perfect name for such a determinedly rooted man of Somerset — is a heartwarming demonstration that the old ways can and do survive.

Leach appears to be more Gloucestershire than Somerset. If I were going for a proper job Somerset name I’d pick “Dando”.

One of that ilk I knew once described them as “the Jews of Somerset”. Not Hebraic, rather petit bourgeois traders and shopkeepers over the area – certainly of the north of the county.

I know it doesn’t sound particularly BBC mummerset but once primed to note it you do see it all over the area.

Could possibly be so

But a London-based reverend was criticised for “unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged” behaviour after criticising Captain Tom on social media in remarks which have prompted an internal investigation.

In a now-deleted tweet which sparked a fierce backlash, Jarel Robinson-Brown, 29, wrote: “The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism. I will offer prayers for the repose of his kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining the ‘National Clap’.”

But here’s the thing:

is being investigated by Church of England officials.

The CoE is rather supposed to be the voice of that British nationalism……

What an interesting concept

Which means that in that case Labour is flying a Union flag in the cause of English nationalism.

And that won’t just alienate Scotland and Wales even more; it is also true that nothing is more certain to alienate many in England. We do not still wish to be seen as a colonial power, which is exactly what Labour by doing this is answering that England still is.

And those it will alienate are on the left, not the right. And they might vote for others, just as those who once voted for Labour in Scotland now do.

And why might they do that? Because they really do not like this appeasement by the party of new-fascism.

If Labour wants a policy talk jobs, the NHS, housing and the Green New Deal.

Promise decent benefits.

Justify what it is going to do.

Explain how to pay for it, as I can do.

And then talk delivery, endlessly.

Hammer home that the NHS was not ready for the current crisis because of a failure of government preparedness that the Tories can never supply , but which is what Labour would be about.

But the Union Jack? Are we really all to succumb to the outright nastiness of the small-minded nationalist outlook now? Really?

Given that Scotland is, absolutely, allowed to fly the saltire in P³ world, so too are the ~Welsh to fly whatever they call that dragon thing then we English, well, what can we do?

The Union flag is that of an English imperialism. So, guess it’ll have to be the cross of St George then. I assume that’ll make Ritchie happy…..

Whippet or wippet?

Some folks here are opening a new pub. Which they’re calling “The Wippet”.

Now you and I know that it’s really “whippet” for the dog breed. But before I go and jeer at them (they are not native English speakers) is wippet an allowable spelling or are they just wrong?

Err, no Telegraph, really, just no

The nearby town of Bruton was already beginning to draw artists, musicians and designers as a weekend retreat when Hauser & Wirth opened the showroom, along with holiday rentals and an artists’ residence at Durslade Farmhouse, in 2014.

Soon, Bruton found itself described as the “new Notting Hill” in the pages of British Vogue, no less, with luminaries such as theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, fashion designers Alice Temperley and Phoebe Philo, filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson and legendary photographer Don McCullin setting up home there.

Six years on, the picturesque town at the western end of the Cotswolds has become the most searched-for destination for prospective property buyers. Searches for property in the area leapt by 72 per cent this year, according to new data from Rightmove, the UK’s biggest property website.

Bruton? Cotswolds?

No. Blimey, it’s only one over from Shepton Mallet. Lordy be, it’s close to Frome. We might say it’s by Cranbourne Chase, or even the Dorset Downs, but the Cotswolds stop well north, up by Bradford on Avon at the very latest.

A little image of England’s class divide

Two obituaries today, one of Nobby Stiles, one of JJ Williams. The second being a sporting generation younger than the first but equally dominant in his chosen game.

But the conjunction of the two leads to an observation. I’ve never actually seen film of Nobby playing. Not knowingly at least, although I’m sure I’ve seen a clip of the ’66 final at some point. Whereas JJ was one of those that I spent the 70s watching. Sitting on the sofa, father in his armchair, us both twitching in excitement and bemoaning the English inability to hold a pass.

This isn’t just about a function of decades though. Rugby was and is, in England, a middle class game, among players and watchers. There are regions where this is not so – Cornwall for example – but it is largely true across the country. Football, until the late 90s at least when it became reverse fashionable, was a working class game.

Wales is very different in this, or at least used to be in the period I’m talking about.

Of course, all the English – and most of the Welsh – know this already as it’s rather in the bone. For outsiders though. It would be entirely common that if Nobby hadn’t been in that World Cup Final then generations of an entire layer of society would have no idea who he was or even have known of his existence. Despite being a European Cup winner, League etc. Equally, there are generations of a very much larger layer of society who didn’t – and don’t – know who JJ Williams was even as that Nobby ignorant layer regards him as one of the greats.

Of course, this is normal in that followers of one sport will know the players in that sport and etc. The point being made here being that in England, until recently, those mapped so closely over class backgrounds. Indeed, which sport you followed was one of the definers of class……