:: Friday, June 25, 2004 ::

And did these feet...

Euro 2004 - Altogether Now? Another comment on English nationalism, British nationalism, football and all that stuff from Andy Newman at the Socialist Unity Network. A little late admittedly following the dramatic events of last night (sales of toblerone plummet in England.)

The other thing worth remarking upon is that what is being celebrated is English and not British nationalism, and this has been a development of really just the last 15 years. This is a complex phenomenon that needs separate examination; however it is my view that English nationalism is not necessarily more reactionary than Welsh or Scottish nationalism. Certainly the myth that England supporters are more right-wing than Scottish ones needs to be punctured, I have heard Scottish fans chanting "there's only one Bomber Harris" at the Germans.

English nationalism is arguably a less virulent strain than British nationalism, and perhaps is more racially inclusive. I have been surprised to see so many young Asian men wearing England replica shirts this year. England as a concept is also strangely linked to football, rather than the imperial legacy or pre-industrial myths about Robin Hood and the "Norman Yoke". I am making no claim that it is progressive, but it is a new development that needs more than a knee-jerk reaction. Many of the people displaying England flags will be opposed to the war in Iraq, and anti-racist.

So if you like sport, enjoy the tournament. If you find the excessive show of nationalism oppressive, welcome to the club! - But it is not the return of the third Reich.

:: Alister | 2:28 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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