The Joe Public Guide Series


The Joe Public Guide to Being English


Introduction                   Contents


‘To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain always a child.’

‘If you don’t have a story to reflect your values you will soon begin to lose them forever.’
H G Wells

‘Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility. Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on its own dunghill.’
G. F. Lawrence

‘To call it the United Kingdom is an interesting nomenclature. The component parts have spent hundreds of years fighting like ferrets in a sack.’
A G P Ibotson

The dilemma

The English have an identity crisis. We are not encouraged to be English. We are only encouraged to be British.

The English admire the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish for being both knowledgeable about, and proud of, their national heritage. They admire them for so passionately striving to successfully retain their national identity. Surely the English should be inspired by these role models?

The idea of this publication is to make the English themselves a little more knowledgeable about, and rather more proud of, their identity.

It aims to provide a general ‘rough guide’ to being English, and to whet people’s appetite for further information.

What is being English?

By the author’s definition, an English man or English woman is anyone who can put their hand on their heart and claim to be English first and foremost.

Usually this means being English before being British. This in turn means that an Englishman or Englishwoman can be from any ethnic origin.

To be English is a state of mind rather than a matter of ethnicity. This supposition is supported by the following examples.

  • A gentleman of Italian parents who insists that HE is English although his son insists that HE is Italian.
  • Two Sisters, one of whom insists that she is English, while the other insists that she is Irish.
  • A lady of Afro-Caribbean parents who was born in England and passionately insists that she is English.
  • Three brothers of Welsh parents who have represented England at sport, and insist that they are English.