Wednesday, 29 March 2017

LEAVING EUROPE - Good Bye England, we love you... ♥♥♥

The following is the edited version of "God's Englishmen" featured in  V.H. Ironside, The Willers of the Will, first published in 1996, now out of print!

“So, not understanding or no better than half understanding, I indulge myself in the dream that the world, my own world has come to meet me and will still be there when I depart. Delusion it may be, but let me keep my delusion that the British people, somehow or other, will not be parted from their right to govern themselves...”[1]

       In making these remarks, J. Enoch Powell, of considerable patriotic attainment, has the final word. It is the word of a man who has prophesied plenty and deplored it all. The bearing of his annotations, I should surmise perhaps, is a mere summing up, and not as might be supposed, in any spirit of support for an imperial philosophy of state. Nor, in the name of an idea, would it be presumptuous to assert that England is a very different nation today, or that in her case one might consider the really decisive loss to have been virtues, which are, in a quote, “something that is inborn, and subtle, and everlasting...something like a solid principle, and masterful like an instinct - a disclosure of something secret - of that hidden something, that gift of good or evil that makes racial difference, that shapes the fate of nations.”
    Joseph Conrad, who thus endeavoured to formulate the conditions, was peculiarly perceptive on this point. Unfashionable though they may sound to us today, his words nevertheless make it clear, if only for rhetorical purposes, how completely the genius of those who once took pride in the thought that they were God‘s own Englishmen has become diluted by egalitarian ideologies implying that they have ceased to be British, ceased to be the defenders of invincible Armadas, the “pugnacious and unconquerable
bulldog race.”
       There is an old biblical saying that God rejects the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humility, therefore, is doubtless a praiseworthy thing. But - to the best of my belief - if the evolution of the civilized world depended to a considerable degree on English national or racial ingredients, it is nevertheless the case that their chief and foremost contribution to it has been the long and fortuitous history of a Charmed Life, rather than the humility of those who can surrender themselves, for the sake of pity, to pacific or passive influences. For the point of the story is not our own humbleness, which is by no means admitted, nor the fact that John Bull is too congenitally self-sufficient ever to enter into states of minds other than his own, but the fact that he is beaten at last. That his prerogative has been made redundant at length by the simple and final termination of a moral contract through the historical demise of a certain kind of global purpose. There are further considerations, of course, which point in the direction of development which a country the size of Britain is not perhaps at liberty to desist, but essentially it is England and the English spirit for which we mourn. Struggling to survive the loss of her past and increasingly troubled by the problem of her own relationship to the outside world, by the need for retrenchment and the necessity to clarify her attitude towards a factious world in which England will never be England again, it seems that she has succumbed to it, or I am much mistaken.
    “A nation behaves like itself,” it has been succinctly said. And accordingly, in a contribution to the 1939 edition of The English Genius, its central doctrine could still be expressed as follows: “What pleases us we take from Europe, what displeases us we leave to Europeans; for only accidentally do we consider ourselves as such.” Few, even a short while ago, would have liked to read this differently. But we live in the age of “Confederalism” and its imperial doctrine abdicated, the new policy of this country and its discontinuity with her old traditions has become quite unmistakable. And to the extent that this is an issue, not of national polity but of the logic of events, it must clearly lead to results that are in profound contradiction with the age-old assumption that its own inherent genius is the soul and body of a nation.
       But whether we admire it or not, and regardless of whether it is no longer to be
subsumed under a confederate European ethos, this, at all events, is the very genius which conquered the world, ’Hellenised’ it and formulated the conditions under which the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number was actually going to be achieved. Justifiable or not, one might as well admit that it has brought into existence laws and rules of behaviour that we now recognize as universal; liberties not so much of Englishmen as of all men; rights that are constituent elements of our very own time. And that, in fact, is why we are compelled to say, when brought face to face with the enduring quality of certain unalterable codes of British conduct, with “that perfection”, finally, “of moral, intellectual, and professional qualities” which Trevelyan called “The Nelson Touch”, that – as once so memorably expressed by Winston Churchill - This was their finest hour...!

[1] The European November 8, 1992 – “Praise be! My world has come to its senses.” 

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