Saturday, 25 September 2010

Can there be an "English" Left I hope so

Miserable Old Fart has pointed me to England’s Left Forward. A valiant attempt to look at politics from an English left point of view.

Most Nationalist in Wales and Scotland, whether on the right or left have met those largely "British" socialist. who proclaim “I’m not a Nationalist but a Internationalist”, and then go on to decry Plaid and the SNP.

Of course they would then go on to express their support for indigenous people throughout the world, whilst at the same condemning any one fighting for an independent and/or Cymraig as narrow and parochial.

They would often then express support for militant Irish Nationalism backing Sinn Fein during the troubles, whilst attacking peaceful movements in Wales and Scotland.

In fact England’s Left Forward makes this error and I would argue any claim that Sinn Fein has never been on the left as we progressives would judge and reflects a romantic view of Irish nationalism. The likes of James Connolly were always in a minority and the belief that the left had a major influence in the war of independence is a trap which the anti-imperialist left have often fallen into.

This does not negate the Irish stuggle but you cannot condem Saunders Lewis for his right wing nationlism whilst prasing in any way Éamon de Valera.
However when it comes to Wales and Scotland .The old saying “cut an British socialist and you will draw Imperialist Blood”is all  too true.

But there have always been those who have tried to emphasise English Identity in a positive progressive light. The late Bernard Crick 16 December 1929 –2008 showed elements of this, perhaps learned through his extensive work on George Orwell, but it’s a pity he never passed this on to Neil Kinnock when he acted in his capacity as his advisor.

And the musician Billy Brag perhaps is the very figure of what we all would like to see of  a progressive English socialist and  now National Left welcomes England’s Left Forward to this group and we can only hope it expands throughout England.

However If you thought that expressing a Welsh or Scottish identity through socialism is hard to communicate then pity our brothers and sisters in England

Both their patron Saint and National flag have been appropriated by the far right, and when you can see the Draig Goch and Saltaire being waved at Anti War, Anti -Racism and other demonstrations. It is hard to see the appearance of the flag of St George at these events ever occurring in the near future.

But that is precisely support England’s Left Forward and others who are patriotic Englishmen and Women but are not imperialist.

Perhaps the solution is for new English flag that the left can identify with? A Red Rose for instance . But perhaps what really is needed is for the Greens in England and Wales to form separate identities as already happens in Scotland and those in England can be a focus of not only Green politics but of a progressive left English Identity. They should have much in common in any case.

This could lead to a Bloc of Members Of Parliament from The Greens and the Nationalist party working together promoting progressive ideas and opposing the Imperialist and rightward lurch and rhetoric of the British Unionist Parties


  1. Hello glynbeddau

    Many thanks for your endorsement of my blog, it is very much appreciated.

    I would just like to clarify that my only mention of Sinn Fein is in my reporduction of the article on left-wing nationalism from Wikipedia. It was not meant as an endorsement for them.

    But then maybe I should have put a disclaimer down for that at the time. Many apologies for any misunderstanding. I would view myself as holding more in common with the SDLP with regard to Northern Ireland.

    Once again, thanks for your support, any support from brothers and sisters in Wales and Scotland is very much appreciated and invaluable.


    Dave Dyke

  2. Dave,
    Carry on and let us hope others will join you.

  3. To date ALL English nationalists even the rare moderate centrist ones have had an incredibly hostile take on the Cornish question.

    Personally I think the maturity and responsibility of nationalist movement, and perhaps even a nation, is clearly demonstrated by its relationship with the national minorities that exist within what it considers its territory.

    On this count English nationalism fails miserably.

  4. Yes and I admit attitude to Cornwall are bad but the National Movements in Wales and Scotland are lacklustre when it comes recognising Cornwall and certainly they should be giving more support over the whole Devon-wall idea.
    But we mustn't dismiss progressive moves in England out of hand. Hopefully Cornwall claims will be recognised as part of anew progressive alliance.