“”The greatness of England is now all collective: individually small, we only appear capable of anything great by our habit of combining.
|—John Stuart Mill|
“”An American writer referred to England as a soggy, miserable little island. And he wasn't wrong.
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. The main exports of this country are independence days. It's also the birthplace of the language you're reading in, commonly spoken elsewhere in the United Kingdom (among many other parts of the world, including non-Anglophone countries where it is widely taught as a second language). For the more cynical, it is the land of casual racism, pathetic fallacy, and menial problems.
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 England (or, less correctly, its parliament) as "the mother of all parliaments". However, few international parliaments have so many daft customs as the House of Commons, and several democratic parliaments in Europe are far older. Even the one in the Isle of Man is older. The ancient Athenians also came up with democracy long before England was dreamed up.[notes 1]
Continentals referred to England as "Das Land ohne Musik", i.e., "the land without music". This is because its folk music was pretty piss poor compared to neighbouring Scotland and Ireland, and 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 and Wagner, Austria Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, and Schubert, Russia Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, and Prokofiev, Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton are considered great classical composers in England.[notes 2] Compare the opening of any Beethoven symphony with any Walton symphony - and try to wade out of the syrup of the latter.
However, England has made up for this musical deficiency in other ways. 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 music and blues, and making them their own. The British Invasion, i.e. Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tony Blair, etc., swamped the American cultural scene.
England's literature is much better than its music. It includes Shakespeare. And if you haven't heard of the playwright William Shakespeare, you probably have this read to you by someone else. Then there's Dickens. There's also the venerable English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who was the first to write a major literary work in the English vernacular and whose influence on the English language is comparable to Shakespeare's.
England also came up with the Industrial Revolution with a little help from Scotland and Wales. This is globally significant.
England in the United Kingdom
England holds a role in the United Kingdom as home to the capital city of the multinational state, London. The members of the other nations (Scotland, Wales, and both Irelands) often pretend they form a united Celtic front against the Norman bastards in England, although genetic studies show there isn't much difference between people from the north of England and Scotland, or between the west of England and Wales.[notes 3] Home Nation rivalry[notes 4] in sporting events, particularly football, often takes an anti-English guise for various reasons, the most notable being that the English football supporters are a massive embarrassment, even to the English. People say 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 united with Wales in 1538, with Scotland in 1707, and with Ireland in 1801; the majority of the island of Ireland seceded in the 20th century to form the Republic of Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining in the Union as the only country in the UK that is not on the island of Great Britain.
"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 of 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 on the island of Great Britain and the entire United Kingdom and contains London, the capital city of both England and the UK.
- The primary government building of the United Kingdom (the Palace of Westminster - the House of Commons sits in the Commons Chamber, while the Lords sit in the Lords chamber) is located in London.
- Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the reigning monarch of the UK, located in the City of Westminster, London. Windsor Castle is the official country residence, located in Windsor, Berkshire.
- English is the de facto language of the United Kingdom, though the UK has 14 indigenous languages without getting into dialects. The less said about accents, the better.
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.
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. While the other nations within the United Kingdom all have Celtic languages that are still spoken to some degree, none are left in England. Cornish in Cornwall, Cumbric in Cumbria, and Manx on the Isle of Man (which is neither in England nor part of the United Kingdom) are extinct despite some efforts at language revitalisation. Brythonic, a Celtic language ancestral to Welsh, was spoken throughout England before the Angles and Saxons came along.
Like the rest of the UK, England 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,[notes 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.
England, in particular, likes to pretend that it's an island in the mid-Atlantic, rather than 50 kilometers off the coast of France—
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. Mainly, it is manifested in such bodies as UKIP and the BNP, although these are pan-British nationalist parties that are not focused on English affairs. Expressly, English nationalism is generally limited to tiny outfits such as the English Democrats; on the fringes, 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 encouraging 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, political correctness taken to extremes, recession, the lack of a national anthem for England[notes 6] 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.
For various complex and silly reasons, many people hate the English, a sentiment felt and reciprocated by some Englanders.
- Scottish people - the acts of Union in 1707 united the Kingdom of England (which at the time included the Principality of Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland.
- Afrikaners - for actions taken during the first and second Anglo-Boer war and the use of concentration camps against Boer civilians during the latter.
- 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 into England.
- Northern English people - hate Southern English for being "fookin' suthun fairies" and having stupid regional accents.
- Southern English people - hate Northern English for being "faaking norvern monkeys" and having stupid regional accents.
- Non-English Britons - 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.
- Americans and Canadians - for colonising them, the Wars of Independence, and trying to make them consume more tea.
- French people - for laughing at them in World War II.[notes 7]
- German people - for English obsession with the British victory in both World Wars and the 1966 World Cup, as demonstrated in the football chant "Two World Wars and One World Cup." This is despite the English royal family being of German descent.
- Argentine people - for the Falklands War, the 1986 World Cup, and later football rivalries.
- Australians - "How can you tell when a plane-load of pommies just landed at Sydney International?" "The whining doesn't stop when they turn off the engines."
- Kiwis - for being looked down upon. As a well-balanced nation with chips on both shoulders, they feel the same about Australians.
- Croats - for always siding with Serbia.
- Serbs - for always siding with Croatia.
- Continental Europe in general, for the Euroskepticism that is mainstream politics in England and for the silly assumption that Great Britain is still - in any real sense - a major power
- Reptilians - because England's greatest and sanest son, David Icke, revealed their plans to the planet.
England has one of the largest atheist populations in Europe and North America, at nearly 40% of the population,[notes 8] and there are valid arguments that atheists may make up the majority in the next 25 years. 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 be growing, but it remains a tiny percentage of the population. Muslims make up roughly 4% of the population. Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist groups have cropped up recently 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 2001 to 59%, and within ten years, there could be more non-Christians than Christians. The proportion without religion nearly doubled from 14.8% in 2001 to 25.1% in 2011. Muslims rose from 3% to 4.8% during the same time. A range of minor faiths is also present. 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%.
London, aka "Londonistan" to the alt-right,
is was the largest city (by population) in the European Union and is the political and financial capital of the United Kingdom, its affiliated colonies, and England itself. England is often referred to as a "London-centric" country – meaning that without London, England would be a non-entity on the world stage - however, while certainly true for London as a political and financial centre, this simplistic view ignores the enormous technological, scientific, and historical prestige of the rest of the country, much to the annoyance of those who live outside of London. It is no surprise, therefore, that the city is frequently derided by those who live in the UK's other major cities as over-hyped and over-priced - whether this is true for any one person largely falls down to personal experience and the limit on their credit card.
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 tiny quasi-independent city-state itself (population: a few thousand) and not over the outlying townships (population: several million) as an elected position is relatively new (2000 CE). Leftist Ken Livingstone was the first to hold this position. "Red Ken" was considered too left for the rebranded Labour Party (which ironically is now a right-wing party). From 2008-16 the mayor was the Tory dipshit and future prime minister 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 Livingstone in the May 2008 election. With Johnson in power, it seemed surprising that London did not collapse into chaos, but only to people who couldn't see past his carefully constructed amiable upper-class-twit image. The new mayor is - shock, horror! - a Muslim, Labour's Sadiq Khan.
The city is home to the London underground mosquito.
|For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about England.|
- English Defense 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?[notes 9]
- Wales: Borders England to the west.
- Fun:Really embarrassing Brits, of all political stripes.
- King Arthur: The mythical greatest king of all of England.
- ↑ Ancient Athens practised a form of direct democracy or mobocracy, which in practice was highly chaotic, and the tyranny of the majority was a real problem there. Only around 10% of Athens's actual population could vote since most of the people were enslaved, and even freeborn women couldn't vote since that women weren't "citizens" of Ancient Athens, which was highly sexist even for its day and age.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Given that the Normans arrived in South East Britannia a millennia ago and the Angles and Saxons several centuries before, it is basically impossible for the average white Englander to know if they are really descended from these groups or rather other white immigrants. And everybody in Britain and Ireland spoke Celtic languages before the waves of Germanic and Norse invaders from c. 500-1100 CE.
- ↑ "Home Nations" refers to England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and sometimes the Republic of Ireland.
- ↑ The lower house of Parliament, the upper house being the unelected House of Lords.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Although almost every other country involved in that War is also guilty of this.
- ↑ Some people self-identify as their nominal religion and also as atheists, therefore numbers can add up to more than 100%.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on The mother of parliaments (expression).
- ↑ The High Court of Tynwald
- ↑ http://www.musicweb-international.com/dasland.htm
- ↑ DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group, Pallab Ghosh, BBC, 18 Mar 2015
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Languages of the United Kingdom.
- ↑ 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
- ↑ "Britain wants UK break up, poll shows" - Daily Telegraph, November 1906
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 http://www.kernowtgg.co.uk/
- ↑ Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
- ↑ Two World Wars and One World Cup - www.spiegel.de
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on House of Windsor.
- ↑ Atheists likely to outnumber Christians in England in 20 years
- ↑ Census 2011: Religion Declining
- ↑ At-a-glance: Census 2011 findings
- ↑ 2011 census data - key points
- ↑ Census 2011 The Census Campaign
- ↑ Still confused, here's a video.