25 March 2021
Anti*Capitalist Resistance supporter John Smithee shares a warning on reactionary English nationalism.
Each morning, my neighbour two doors down raises the St George’s flag up his flagpole. My mum’s cousin is chairman of the local St George’s dinner club which pre-Covid met once a month for dinner at our local Wetherspoon’s. At the same time, my brother thinks that Nigel Farage should receive a knighthood for services to Brexit.
To understand this growth in English nationalism I have recently been reading Gavin Esler’s excellent new book: How Britain Ends – English Nationalism and the Rebirth of the Four Nations. Gavin Esler was a main presenter of the BBC current affairs show Newsnight for 12 years until 2014.
As a soft Remainer, Mr. Esler explains in his book how Brexit was an expression of English nationalism. His book is a warning to the ruling class of what could happen if that class does not take English nationalism seriously. Such nationalism was embodied in UKIP and now in the Tory Party under Boris Johnson which is now an English Nationalist Party.
Mr. Esler’s solution to “How Britain Ends” is to call for a federal United Kingdom whilst keeping the monarchy. He also calls for an English Parliament with multi-member constituencies elected by single transferable vote. At the same time, as Mr. Esler explains in his book, Brexit has done more towards the creation of a united Ireland than the IRA ever did.
Marxists must take English nationalism seriously and therefore neutralise the reactionary side of this nationalism by supporting the call for an English Parliament whilst also devolving power downwards from Whitehall to the regions and local councils. Marxists must also support the establishment of a socialist federal republic of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, as part of a Socialist United States of Europe.
How Britain Ends: English Nationalism and the Rebirth of Four Nations Paperback – 4 Feb. 2021
by Gavin Esler (Author):