Why England? Why not, say, Britain? Because England is a nation, Britain is a political convenience. And, though it’s unfashionable to say so in polite company, England matters to me. Not because I am a ‘patriot’ in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Not because I think it’s better than everyone else. Not because I don’t like foreigners or have a visceral desperation to win the World Cup. Simply because it is my country. It is the place I was born and grew up in and it is the place I belong. I know its landscapes and its history, and feel connected to both. I couldn’t write about Scotland or Wales in anything like the same way, because I am not part of them and they are not part of me. For better or for worse, I am English. And I think that gives me the right to speak out.
Paul Kingsnorth in the introduction to his new book Real England. A full review will follow, but I have to read it first.