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England, Miliband's England, is a lost country

Publié par Clifford Armion le 06/08/2012

Owen Jones

What does it mean to be English? I've asked strangers and friends this question a number of times, and the standard response has been a blank face. Yesterday, I posed the question on Twitter (disclaimer: not a scientific polling method), and was inundated with hundreds of replies. Barely anybody attempted to define what Englishness was: a few suggested football, queuing and tea. I can certainly identify with the last: I am never going on holiday without a bag of PG Tips ever again.
No other demographic in Britain spends more time mulling over what "Englishness" means than a well-connected coterie of think-tankers, political advisers and certain academics. Their efforts came to full fruition yesterday with Ed Miliband's much-trailed speech on Englishness. "Presidential State of the Union speeches are less worked on this one," one Labour MP told me. It is an intervention that bears the hallmarks of Jon Cruddas, the new head of Labour's policy review. Labour politicians had "been too nervous to talk of English pride and English character," Miliband argued, for fear of undermining the Union and being tarred with racist nationalism.
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"England, Miliband's England, is a lost country ", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), août 2012. Consulté le 10/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/england-miliband-s-england-is-a-lost-country-