Derek J Taylor
To be published on August 16th 2017
So for instance, the English place the highest value on their democracy, but took centuries to give everyone the vote. They’ve been seen as tolerant, even though at times in their history they’ve persecuted minorities. They’ve loved political stability yet have fought among themselves.
The English – as you’d expect from a race 1600 years in the making – are a funny lot. They’ve often behaved in contradictory ways.
They’ve been eccentric and funny on the one hand, and conformist and straight-laced on the other. They’ve revered the rule of law, but put a military dictator’s statue outside parliament. They’ve fought like lions in wartime, while making hatred of war respectable.
The English have managed to be both self-centred and outward looking, puritanical and permissive, arrogant and benevolent. And for much of their story, the English have been divided by a snobbish class-system, yet united against all foes.
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Who do the English think they are?