Culture and roots .. not for the English

(December 29, 2017)

Is there an inner battle within the English over their own culture and roots? Do Englishmen listen to English tunes and enjoy them with as much relish as their Celtic cousins. And when did it become a 'bad thing' to proclaim English heritage through music and song?

Unfortunately, it appears the time has come when the English, so often troubled over the whole issue of their patriotism and national culture are losing their desire to promote it. Is that because of the relentless publicity to given to shaven-headed thugs that proclaim their Englishness by beating up rivals or by demanding the government send second and third generation citizens of England with African and Asian roots 'back home'? Or is it because of the national embarrassment suffered by seeing our Celtic and Continental (and especially former Colonial) cousins making so much of their heritage?

It may be 'racial regret' as a result of crushing so many cultures or treating so many races and countries so badly ... but the Americans and Australians don't seem to carry too many regrets for the Native Americans and the Aborigines. It may be that Irish, Scottish, Balkan and Breton tunes are more attractive because they are lively ... but there's hundreds of lively English tunes. It may be national embarrassment about England's jingoistic, flag waving, culture crushing, colony building, Empire. Whatever the reason, there is a definite lack of English Heritage making its way through the background noise.

So what's to be done, well for a start those folk artists that continue to expound the Englishness of their music deserve a hearing ... on each and every conceivable occasion. There's also the need to unshackle so many of the English from their cultural embarrassment ... the stiff upper lip might be laudable in times of crisis but in times of simply having fun it just gets in the way. When a singer starts up in a country pub in many parts of the world the volume of chit chat lowers and everyone listens. Try that in many pubs in England and you'll encounter a wall of stony stares and a chorus of tut tutting.

The more we embrace the music of those artists that represent the old and the new wave of Englishness, without needing to crush anyone else along the way, the more likely we are to save what went before and encourage what's coming along. To my mind everyone should be proud of their culture, accepting that along the way in less enlightened times horrible mistakes were made. However, that doesn’t mean rewriting or removing history, it just means live and let live.

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