The Corner

Is England Fictitious?

This goes back to the discussion Jonah and John were having earlier in the week.  England isn’t, and has never been, a blood-and-soil ethnostate.  It is the sum of its institutions, and those are powerful indeed.  Look at the forerunner to Magna Carta, for instance – Henry I’s Charter of Liberties, issued in 1100.  It explicitly restored the laws of King Edward (Edward the Elder – reigned 899 – 924).  The old English expression, “God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world,” sums up the attitude – as long as the institutions go on, there’s nothing much to worry about.  Simon Heffer, in the aforementioned work, puts it this way:

Not having been oppressed by a foreign power since 1066, not having had a bloody revolution, and not lately having had to fight for a say in who runs their country, the English are content to maintain their great uninterest in politics.  High constitutional questions that so vex commentators, academics and the political class seem rarely to register with the English public.

Englishness certainly exists, but until recently only an oik would point it out.

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