England

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The Cross of Saint George has been used as the flag of England since the Middle Ages, in honour of St George's victory over the dragon invasion of Libya in the late 3rd century.

England is the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom, and the largest country on the island of Great Britain. It is the home of football, Monty Python, fish and chips, and Helena Bonham Carter, and is known for being wetter than the Atlantic Ocean. It's also the birthplace of the language you're reading in, which is commonly spoken elsewhere in the United Kingdom (among many other parts of the world, including non-Anglophone countries where it is commonly taught as a second language).

Despite the House of Lords, and the monarchy, England believes it invented modern democracy. English people constantly make reference to the Magna Carta (a document securing the rights of nobles with the King), and Westminster as "the mother of all parliaments". However, few international parliaments have so many daft customs as the House of Commons, and there are several democratic parliaments in Europe which are older than it. Even the one in the Isle of Man is older. The ancient Athenians also came up with democracy, long before England was dreamed up.

Contents

[edit] Culture

Continentals used to refer to England as "Das Land ohne Musik",[1] i.e. "the land without music". This is because its folk music was pretty pisspoor compared to neighbouring Scotland and Ireland, and because its classical music is even more dismal. (That's classical music in the broadest sense.) While France boasts Debussy and Berlioz, and Germany has Beethoven & Wagner, Austria Haydn, Mozart & Schubert, Russia Stravinsky and Prokofiev... Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton are considered great classical composers in England.[2] Compare the opening of any Beethoven symphony with any Walton symphony... and try and wade out of the syrup of the latter.

However, England has more than made up for this musical deficiency in other ways. Starting in the 1950s, salty seamen used to bring over American records to England. English musicians became adept at copying American music styles, such as rock and blues, and making it their own. They also made it acceptable for white American people to listen to "black" music. And unacceptable for African Americans to continue to play in styles hijacked by Honkies. The British Invasion i.e. Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tony Blair etc swamped the American cultural scene.

England's literature is much better than its music. I mean, it includes Shakespeare. And if you haven't heard of the playwright Shakespeare, you are probably having this read to you by someone else. Then there's Dickens.

England also came up with the Industrial Revolution, with a little help from Scotland and Wales. This is globally significant.

[edit] England in the United Kingdom

England holds a role in the United Kingdom as home to the capital city of the multinational state, London. It is the only non-Celtic nation located in the British Isles, with white Englanders historically being descended from European Anglo-Saxons and Normans,[3] leading to the playful nickname for the English from neighbouring Celts as "bastard Norman offspring." Home Nation rivalry[4] in sporting events, particularly football often takes an anti-English guise for a variety of reasons, the most notable one being that English football supporters are a massive embarrassment, even to the English. Seriously, people say that St. George's cross has been tainted by the far right, but that's nothing compared to what these guys have done with it.

Despite the rivalry, which depending on one's personal views can vary from playful to "get out of my country, English, or I'll wipe the floor with your face ya filthy poncerrrrrgggrgrgrgrgrgrg", England has been united with Wales since 1538, with Scotland since 1707, and with Ireland since 1801, though the majority of the island of Ireland seceded in the 20th century to form the breakaway Republic of Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining in the Union and ending up as the only country in the UK not on the island of Great Britain.

[edit] Naming conventions

"England" is sometimes incorrectly used by some to refer to the United Kingdom, or Great Britain, which is analogous to thinking that "Massachusetts," "the United States" and "North America" are interchangeable. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all individual countries which collectively form the political entity and multinational state the United Kingdom, with none of the member nations holding any superior position over the others. Great Britain is the island on which England, Scotland and Wales (and thus most of the UK) are located. The confusion with naming conventions may have arisen from any of several factors:

  • England is the largest country both on the island of Great Britain and in the entire United Kingdom and contains London, capital city of both England and the UK
  • The primary government buildings of the United Kingdom (the Houses of Parliament, the Home and Foreign Offices) are located in London
  • The first home of the reigning monarch of the UK (currently Queen Elizabeth II) is Buckingham Palace, located in Westminster, London
  • English is the primary language of the United Kingdom
  • The British Empire arose from English colonies

If you are still in doubt as to the status of England within the UK, tell a Scots, Welsh or Irish person that they're English and see what kind of response you get.

[edit] Language

It's the Germanic language with the most speakers. You're using it right now, and as mentioned above it's used in parts of the UK other than England. It's also used in several completely different countries, of which there are too many to list here and which tend to have multiple dialects within themselves. Not much else to say about it since you know enough about spelling, grammar, and the like to be able to read and edit this site.

[edit] Politics

England, like the rest of the UK, is presided over by the government of the United Kingdom. There are 532 voting constituencies in England, out of the total 650 in the UK. In a general election, each of these constituencies elects a Member of Parliament to the House of Commons,[5] and the party with an absolute majority (taking into account votes from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) forms a government. However, unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England has no parliament or assembly of its own. Coincidentally, however, while the parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Ireland were all abolished and moved to London, the British Parliament just happens to sit where the old English parliament did, and follows the same rules.

[edit] Nationalism

While nationalism in other parts of the UK tends to be left of centre, and social democrat in nature, nationalism in England tends to be right wing. For the most part it is manifested in such bodies as UKIP and the BNP, although these are pan-British nationalist parties which are not focused on English affairs. Specifically English nationalism is generally limited to small outfits such as the English Democrats; on the fringes, meanwhile, groups such as the Steadfast Trust pursue a racialised English nationalism based on the idea that only those of Anglo-Saxon descent can be classed as English. Musician Billy Bragg has tried to encourage left-wing nationalism in England, but it hasn't taken off yet.

Self-government in other parts of the UK, along with factors such as immigration, the West Lothian question,[6] political correctness taken to extremes, recession, the lack of a national anthem for England[7] and careful race baiting by British tabloids such as The Sun, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mail, has seen a significant rise in English nationalism in the 21st century.[8]

[edit] Anglophobia

For a variety of complex and largely silly reasons, a lot of people hate the English, a sentiment felt and reciprocated by some Englanders.

  • Scottish people - the acts of Union in 1707 which united the Kingdom of England (which at the time included the Principality of Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland.
  • Welsh people - for incorporating Wales into England and repressing the Welsh language.
  • Irish people - for hundreds of years of political and religious repression on behalf of the British state.
  • Cornish people - for not being Celtic but nonetheless incorporating Cornwall in England.
  • Northern English people - hate Southern English people for being "fookin' suthun fairies" and having stupid regional accents.[9]
  • Southern English people - hate Northern English people for being "faaking norvern monkeys" and having stupid regional accents.[9]
  • Non-English Britons in general - for complaining about a lack of self-government rights, for not being Celtic, and for being shit at football while still flying the St George's Cross at every World Cup and Euro tournament.
  • North Americans - for colonising them, the Wars of Independence, and for not being American.
  • French people - for laughing at them in WWII.[10]
  • German people - for English obsession with British victory in both World Wars and the 1966 World Cup, as demonstrated in the football chant "Two World Wars and One World Cup."[11]
  • Argentine people - for the Falklands War, the 1986 World Cup, and later football rivalries in general.
  • Australians - not sure why, perhaps beer envy or something.
  • Croats - for always siding with Serbia.
  • Serbs - for always siding with Croatia.
  • Reptilians - because England's greatest and sanest son, David Icke, revealed their plans to the planet.

[edit] Religion

England has one of the largest atheist populations in Europe and North America at nearly 40% of the population, [12] and there are valid arguments that atheists may make up the majority in the next 25 years.[13] . England has an official established church, the Church of England, and roughly 71% of the population of England claim to be Christian, however less than 14% attend Church "regularly". Fundamentalist Christianity is becoming more vocal, and may possibly be growing, but it remains a very small % of the population. Muslims makes up roughly 4% of the population. Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist groups have cropped up in recent years, and were responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

The results of the 2011 census show Christianity in England and Wales down from 72% in 2011 to 59% And within ten years there could be more Non-Christians than Christians. [14] The proportion without religion has nearly doubled from 14.8% in 2001 to 25.1% now. Muslims rose from 3% to 4.8% during the same time. [15] A range of minor faiths are also present. [16] The British Humanist Association claims the census question was framed unscientifically and encouraged respondents to state a religion. In the opinion of the BHA the real proportion of non-believers is 30% to 40% [17]

[edit] London

The Goat in Boots pub sign, Chelsea. (Long-eared Jerboa in exciting underwear not pictured)

London is the largest city (by population) in the European Union, and is the political and financial capital of the United Kingdom and its affiliated colonies, and England itself, indeed.

The city is some 2 millennia old, being first definitively referred to (as Londinium) in about 50 CE. Though it was abandoned for a few hundred years after the Romans left.

The city is located at the historically lowest crossing point on the River Thames.

The Mayor of London (not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of the City of London, who presides only over the city itself and not over the outlying townships) as an elected position is relatively new (2000 CE). Up until the last election, only the leftist Ken Livingstone held this position. "Red Ken" was considered to be too left for the rebranded Labour Party (which ironically is now a right wing party). The current Mayor is the Tory buffoon Boris Johnson (who couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, though he frequently gives the impression of having recently attended one) after beating out Labour rival Ken Livingstone after the May 2008 election. Livingstone had previously held the post since its creation in 2000. With Boris now in power it may be surprising that London has not collapsed into chaos, but only to people who can't see past his carefully constructed amiable-upper-class-twit image.

The city is home to the London underground mosquito.

[edit] See also

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about England.
  • English Defence League: A more horrible version of the BNP, or a bunch of football hooligans looking for a punch-up?
  • English Democrats: A less horrible version of the BNP, or a legit political party that just wants an English parliament?
  • Northern Ireland: on a different island from England, but, like the three countries of Great Britain, part of the United Kingdom.
  • Scotland: Borders England to the north.
  • United Kingdom: Has its capital in England.
  • United States: The home of New England, which is, um, newer than England. (Many towns there are named after English towns. To list them all would be tiresome.)
    • New Hampshire: A state in the United States named after an English county. Guess which region it's a part of?[18]
  • Wales: Borders England to the west.
  • Fun:Really embarrassing Brits, of all political stripes.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://www.musicweb-international.com/dasland.htm
  2. There's also Elgar and Holst, not to mention Benjamin Britten, but England's contribution to classical music, especially opera and symphonies is just... dismal. Handel lived in England, but he wasn't actually English.
  3. although given that the Normans arrived in South East Britannia a millennia ago, and the Angles and Saxons several centuries before that, it is basically impossible for the average white Englander to know if they are really descended from these groups, or rather other white immigrants.
  4. "Home Nations" referring to England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and sometimes the Republic of Ireland.
  5. The lower house of Parliament, the upper house being the unelected House of Lords.
  6. in which Scottish and Welsh MPs are allowed to vote on matters affecting England only, with English MPs holding no equivalent right. English nationalism 'threat to UK' - www.bbc.co.uk
  7. England uses the British national anthem, while Wales has its own (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau), Scotland unofficially uses Flower of Scotland and Scotland the Brave as de facto anthems, and Northern Ireland uses Londonderry Air.
  8. "Britain wants UK break up, poll shows" - Telegraph, Nov '06
  9. 9.0 9.1 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  10. Although almost every other country involved in that War are also guilty of this.
  11. Two World Wars and One World Cup - www.spiegel.de
  12. Some people self identify as their nominal religion and also as atheists, therefore numbers can add up to more than 100%.
  13. Atheists likely to outnumber Christians in England in 20 years
  14. Census 2011: Religion Declining
  15. At-a-glance: Census 2011 findings
  16. 2011 census data - key points
  17. Census 2011 The Census Campaign
  18. Note that New York and New Jersey, despite their names, are part of the Mid-Atlantic region and not New England, though that region is often combined with New England to form the Northeast.
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