mercredi 23 avril 2008

Angleterre : le retour

Dans les colonnes du Guardian, le journaliste Steven Morris rend compte de la renaissance,
toute relative pour le moment, du sentiment national anglais.

Les grandes puissances impériales perdent leur caractère national en absorbant d'autres nations. Le cas des Anglais est spectaculaire car ils ont abdiqué de leur identité pour devenir « Britanniques » afin d'accommoder sous cette étiquette les Ecossais, les Gallois et les Irlandais (sans oublier les Corniques).

Grâce au retour en force des sentiments nationaux, les Anglais ont été contraints de lâcher l'Irlande puis d'accorder une régionalisation (« Devolution ») aux Ecossais puis aux Gallois. L'influence des idées régionalistes allemandes a été décisive dans cette évolution. Raison de plus pour les « little Englanders » de détester l'Union ?

Non, car c'est l'Union européenne qui, paradoxalement, encourage le retour d'un parlement proprement anglais pour régler les affaires anglaises. On oublie souvent que le Royaume-Uni a été un pays très centralisé, concentrant les pouvoirs à Londres, sur le banc du parlement anglais. Quand celui-ci par la force des choses est devenu britannique, les affaires anglaises étaient traitées par l'ensemble des élus.

Avec la Devolution, nous en sommes arrivés au paradoxe que les élus écossais, gallois ou irlandais peuvent avoir leur mot à dire sur les questions affectant les Anglais alors que les élus anglais n'ont rien à dire sur les affaires écossaises, galloises ou irlandaises.

Il est donc à la fois démocratique et de bon sens que les Anglais aient leur propre parlement, tout en conservant, pour le moment, un parlement commun pour l'île de Grande Bretagne et pour le nord de l'Irlande.

Personnellement, je suis enchanté par cette évolution. Je fais des voeux pour que progressivement nos voisins insulaires s'appellent par leur nom et cessent de nous bassiner avec le terme « Britannique » qui est le mariage de la carpe et du lapin.

A toutes fins utiles, rappelons aux descendants des Angles et des Saxons que les seuls Britanniques, en toute justice, sont les habitants de la Bretagne.

Steven Morris looks at why this St George's day appears to be so popular

It will probably be impossible to visit a ruined castle in England this week without coming across a pretend knight setting about a fake dragon, as an increased interest in Englishness - combined with the realisation by marketing types that there is money to be made - is expected to turn today's St George's Day celebrations into the biggest in recent history.

Festivities will continue into the weekend, when archers will be taking aim, Morris dancers dusting off their bells and mummers invading town squares everywhere. Hundreds of events are being held, ranging from state of the nation debates in London to an "asparagus run" - a riposte to France's Beaujolais run - in Worcestershire.

The St George's Cross will be flown above Downing Street for the first time on St George's Day. It will take its place on the second flagpole above No 10 after a review of flag-flying ordered by the prime minister; the main pole is reserved for the union flag.

The review has concluded that the flags of the three nations in Great Britain should fly above No 10 on their national days; so the red dragon of Wales will appear on St David's Day and Scotland's blue and white saltire on St Andrew's Day. No flag will be flown for the fourth member of the UK because Northern Ireland's divided communities cannot agree on a joint flag.

The real proof that St George's Day is taking off again will be seen in the profit margins of the firms who produce themed goods, mainly for pubs. Peeks, in Dorset, one of Europe's leading suppliers of party bits and pieces, said yesterday that sales of its St George's Day packs - crammed with everything from red and white plastic bowler hats to red and white loo signs - were up by 50% this year. For the first time in the company's 60-year history they were outselling the packs they produce for St Patrick's Day.

Nick Peek said: "St George's Day has been getting bigger for a few years now. Pubs are going hell for leather at it and our stocks have been getting low."

He suggested the trend was not just due to patriotism but because pubs were using the day as a marketing tool, partly because they face losses thanks to England's failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 championships and, arguably, because of the smoking ban.

The British Beer and Pub Association is calling for a "national toast" to St George this evening. Communications manager Neil Williams admitted pubs had taken a look at the profits made from St Patrick's Day and realised they were "missing a trick" if they did not celebrate England's saint.

Marcus Stafford, from the England Society, said it was not just about making money but about ordinary people realising it was okay for them to be English. "Just four or five years ago St George's Day was not really celebrated," he said. "English was bad. But people are beginning to realise that they are living in England and not a region of the EU. Devolution has helped the cause. Scotland and Wales have their assemblies. People have started to ask: 'What about the big bit in the middle?' And the more St George is celebrated, the more the flag is taken away from the far right where it has been tainted."

The poet Brian Patten was commissioned by English Heritage to write a St George's Day poem. It includes the verse: So on this day let's celebrate/England's valleys full of light,/The green fire of the landscape/Lakes shivering with delight. He said: "There is no country more beautiful than England in April. I believe we should celebrate its landscape, and its flora and fauna, through St George's Day."

English Heritage has also produced a guide on how to celebrate, which includes recipes from beer-battered fish and cheese scones to that more modern English classic, chicken tikka masala.

Calls to make St George's Day an official holiday have been answered by some bosses. In Lancashire David Haythornthwaite, whose company supplies animal health products, is allowing 120 employees a paid extra holiday.

Indeed, companies that are not being seen to celebrate are coming under fire. In Birmingham there has been a fuss over the department store Selfridges, which bathes its premises in green for St Patrick's Day but is not illuminating it in red for St George's Day. The store says it would like to but the red lights actually turn the building pink.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend a service of thanksgiving at St George's Chapel in Windsor to mark the 660th anniversary of the founding of the Order of the Garter and the College of St George.

And in the Vale of Evesham a crop of English asparagus will be picked and the spears driven to the Commons in a Morgan Roadster, where they will be received on a Royal Worcester plate by the St George's parliamentary group and Miss England, Georgia Horsley.

Lire aussi :

A nation for the building

Forget Britishness: we need to muse on life after the union. But what will a new England look like?

Simon Heffer n'est pas en reste dans le Telegraph.

England, arise and claim self-determination!

Happily, we have moved on from the days when it was necessary to be embarrassed about being English 365 days a year. Now, since many English have awoken to the iniquities of devolution, just one day is enough: and it is today.

Pour en savoir plus, visitez le plus anglais des sites, ici.

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