By Jeremy Paxman
Now not goodbye in the past, everyone knew who the English have been. They have been well mannered, unexcitable, reserved, and had hot-water bottles rather than a intercourse existence. because the dominant tradition in a rustic that ruled an empire that ruled the realm, that they had no need to ascertain themselves and ask who they have been. yet anything has occurred.
A new self-confidence turns out to have taken carry in Wales and Scotland, whereas others try and forge a brand new courting with Europe. The English are being pressured to invite what it's that makes them who they're. Is there one of these factor as an English race? Witty, stunning, affectionate, and incisive, Jeremy Paxman lines the discovery of Englishness to its present trouble and concludes that, for all their attribute gloom approximately themselves, the English could have constructed a kind of nationalism for the twenty-first century.
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Additional resources for The English: A Portrait of a People
John Major’s speech was once extra canny than he used to be given credits for, however the chasm among the ingenious England and the genuine England won’t do any further since it fails to mirror the lives of the bulk. it's time to discover the place this ‘traditional’ perfect Englishman and -woman got here from. bankruptcy 9 definitely the right ENGLISHMAN i admire a guy to be a fresh, powerful upstanding Englishman who can glance his gnu within the face and placed an oz. of lead in it P. G. WODEHOUSE, Mr Mulliner talking ‘Before the conflict Derek Vane were what's more often than not defined as a standard Englishman,’ wrote ‘Sapper’ in his tale ‘Mufti’. that's to claim, he looked his personal state … every time he thought of it … as being the splendid state on the planet. He didn’t strength his opinion down anyone’s throat; it was once just so. If the opposite fellow didn’t agree, the funeral used to be his, no longer Vane’s. He needed to the whole what the uninitiated regard as conceit; on concerns hooked up with literature, or paintings, or tune, his wisdom was once microscopic. furthermore, he appeared with suspicion someone who talked intelligently on such topics. however, he have been within the 11 at Eton, and was once a scratch golfer. He had an outstanding seat on a horse and rode immediately; he may well play a satisfactory video game of polo, and was once an exceptional shot. owning as he did enough cash to avoid the need of operating, he had now not taken the whatever he was once purported to be doing within the urban very heavily … He belonged, in reality, to the Breed; the Breed that has consistently existed in England, and should continuously exist to the world’s finish. you could meet its contributors in London and Fiji; within the lands that lie past the mountains and at Henley; within the swamps the place the stagnant plants rots and stinks; within the nice deserts the place the evening air moves chilly. they're consistently an analogous, and they're branded with the stamp of the Breed. They shake your hand as a guy shakes it; they meet your eye as a guy meets it. 1 Oh, the Breed, how we leave out them. Fearless and philistine, secure in taxis and helpful in shipwrecks, they have been the embodiment of the ruling category, males you'll ship to the ends of the earth and understand they'd dominate the natives firmly yet rather, their wishes not more than the occasional months-old replica of the days and a tin in their favorite pipe tobacco. Their easy view of the area divided into respectable chaps and the ‘Bolshevists, Anarchists and contributors of the do-no-work-and-have-all-the-money brigade’, as ‘Sapper‘ had his extra recognized hero, Bulldog Drummond, describe them. ‘Sapper’ was once Colonel Herman Cyril McNeile, who had retired from the military with an army go in 1919, and Bulldog Drummond is subtitled ‘the adventures of a demobilised officer who came upon peace dull’. It tells us all we have to understand: the Breed was once bred for motion. Drummond used to be ‘six toes in his socks … difficult muscle and fresh bone … a powerful boxer, a lightning and lethal shot with a revolver and totally lovable’. He used to be additionally highly dim, hated foreigners and used to be prodigiously grotesque: someone who had encountered this type of individual at their public university may realize him instantly, most likely with a shudder.