Anglophobia has been around the Labour Party ever since Labour shifted focus from the white working class as their core support to the groups protected by political correctness – women, gays and most importantly ethnic minorities. This switch took place gradually in the 1980s.
At first the Anglophobia was muted, but as the party moved away from support for the unions, embraced the EU and gradually converted to the worship of the market and private enterprise the anti-English bigotry grew. These changesl meant that support for the white working class became ever more implausible as anti-union laws were supported by Labour, the European single market effectively ended Britain’s immigration controls allowing hordes of foreign labour in to compete for jobs and the acceptance of globalism laid waste much of Britain’s industry. After Blair became Party leader in 1994 he completed the process of turning Labour into a Thatcherite party with political correctness grafted on.
All of this meant that Labour needed both a new creed to allow them to satisfy their natural instincts to control lives of those they rule and to provide new electoral support to replace losses amongst the white working class. To this end they embraced ever more fanatically the totalitarian creed which became political correctness and pandered to the Celts, from whom a disproportionate proportion of their MPs came, with devolved powers and assemblies and the continuation of huge English subsidies to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (currently around £15 billion pa – seehttps://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/celtic-hands-deep-in-english-taxpayers%e2%80%99-pockets/ ) . Having done this, they were forced to prevent the English having a devolved Parliament and devolved powers because they knew that if they existed it was improbable that Labour would ever hold power in England (it is historically rare for Labour to get a majority of English seats in the Commons) and exceedingly difficult for a Labour government to be able to continue sending truckloads of English taxpayers money to the Celts if they could only form a UK government with large numbers of non-English seats.
As these things will, the need to keep English dissent under wraps made Labour politicians ever more strident in their Anglophobia. Here is Jack Straw when Home Secretary:
“The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent. We have used this propensity to violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Then we used it in Europe and with our empire, so I think what you have within the UK is three small nations…who’ve been over the centuries under the cosh of the English. Those small nations have inevitably sought expression by a very explicit idea of nationhood. You have this very dominant other nation, England, 10 times bigger than the others, which is self-confident and therefore has not needed to be so explicit about its expression. I think as we move into this new century, people’s sense of Englishness will become more articulated and that’s partly because of the mirror that devolution provides us with and because we are becoming more European at the same” (BBC Radio Four’s Brits 10 January 2000 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/596703.stm )
Or take a Labour backbencher , the German Gisela Stuart
“Yet it has only been in the last five years or so that I have heard people in my constituency telling me, “I am not British – I am English”. That worries me. British identity is based on and anchored in its political and legal institutions and this enables it to take in new entrants more easily than it would be if being a member of a nation were to be defined by blood. But a democratic polity will only work if citizens’ identification is with the community as a whole, or at least with the shared process, which overrides their loyalty to a segment. (15 11 2005 http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-opening/trust_3030.jsp)
Having lost the last election Labour are in a quandary. They do not know whether to stick or twist on England and the English. Their choice is either to continue the policy of the last 25 years and hope that the electoral pendulum will swing back to them or seek renewed support for Labour from the English. The first option has its attractions especially if the referendum on AV goes through for then they could envisage a perpetual coalition with the Lib Dems. The problem with that scenario is that the Lib Dems, or at least a substantial part of the party, may decide to prefer a coalition with the Tories or the Lib Dems may lose a great deal of electoral support even under AV and represent a much less attractive proposition. Moreover, it is difficult to see the AV Bill being passed unless it (1) has the provisions to equalise constituency sizes (which would favour the Tories) and (2) can become law in time for the new constituency boundaries to be in position for the next General Election. The worst outcome for Labour would be for the AV referendum to be lost but the equalisation of constituencies made law This would put the party at a considerable disadvantage.
All of this uncertainty is bad enough, but even if there was to be no electoral change Labour would still have considerable cause for concern. Labour were in power a long time and electors since 1945 have been reluctant to toss out any party after a single Parliament. The fact that we have a coalition probably strengthens this tendency. Add to that the widespread dislike of NuLabour policies and loathing of Blair, and the economic mess Brown left and Labour can have little confidence that they will form the next government even as part of a coalition. That means that some in the party are seeing the need to appeal to the English in general and the white working class in particular. That is what the article by Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford addresses (see extract below).
As the party they represent has in the past 13 years done everything it could to enrage the English by the denial of an English parliament, continuing subsidies to the Celts , the ruthless suppression of any display of English national feeling, the public insult of the English, the export of English jobs and industry and massive immigration to Britain which has overwhelming come to England, it might be thought that they have a hopeless task, at least in the short run. However, this may be a false interpretation of present British politics. The policy may succeed by default because no other British mainstream party will take up the English baton and run with it. (Sadly, the Anglophobic line has also become part of the NuTory philosophy. Here is Willam Hague when Tory leader : “English nationalism is the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism that can arise within the United Kingdom, because England is five-sixths of the population of the UK.” ” (BBC Radio Four’s Brits 10 January 2000 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/596703.stm ). That may drive the English to Labour out of desperation, even though you can be sure that the version of Englishness and English interests will be one heavily tainted with political correctness.
Selling England by the pound
Labour has come close to being destroyed as a national force in England. Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford believe it has lost the language and culture it grew out of
In Dover the port is up for sale and the people are campaigning to buy it and create a community asset. They don’t want a foreign-owned port, they want a people’s port that is ‘forever England’. Football supporters are building community-based organisations by share purchase – in Liverpool, for example – to save our clubs from foreign corporate power. In the Forest of Dean, thousands are rallying in protest at the plans by the government to sell England’s forests which are England’s ‘green beating heart’. In London, porters at Billingsgate fish market campaigned to stop the City of London abolishing their ancient English role and making them redundant. Where is Labour in the fight for an England which belongs to the English just as they belong to the land?
Labour is no longer sure who it represents. It champions humanity in general but no-one in particular. It favours multiculturalism but suspects the symbols and iconography of Englishness. For all the good Labour did in government, it presided over the leaching away of the common meanings that bind the English in society. It did not build a common good which is the basis of an ethical life. It chose liberal market freedoms for the price of our liberty and our sense of belonging.
The open economy is England’s historic legacy. Trade is in our national DNA. But the economy has become an engine of inequality, division and dispossession. A financialised model of capitalism has redistributed wealth on a massive scale from the country to the City, from the people to the financial elite, and from the common ownership of the public sector to private business. We do not own our utilities, nor do we have control of our vital energy market. The overseas supply chains of business located here are the chief beneficiaries of our economic upswings. A flexible employment market has stripped workers of rights and security. Our soft-touch approach on corporate tax has encouraged tax evasion and transfer pricing as business relocates its profits to tax havens. It is as if we do not live in a country so much as an economic system that is owned elsewhere and over which we have no control.
Labour lost England in the 2010 May election and the cause is about more than just ‘Southern Discomfort’. Labour shares a political crisis of social democracy with its sister parties across Europe. But in England something more fundamental has been lost, and that is a Labour language and culture which belongs to the society it grew out of and which enables its immersion in the ordinary everyday life of the people. It has lost the ability to renew its political hegemony within the class which gave birth to it. It was its apparent indifference to ‘what really matters’ that incited such rage and contempt amongst constituencies which had been traditional bastions of support.