Saturday, July 07, 2018

Quote of the day

"We know who the leaders of a reactionary Englishness are. But who are their progressive equivalents? The question is no longer whether politicians should promote Englishness but rather what kind.

What one seeks, then, is patriotism without rancour and a more confident, harmonious English identity that is not inward-looking and bitter, not captured and defined by the far right or the forces of reaction, but in its diversity, openness, tolerance, rootedness, generosity and commitment to the common good reflects a country distinct from but also part of a larger multinational polity; a country that has struggled for self-definition but seems at last to be experiencing a reawakening, however inchoate it may be. Call it Gareth Southgate's England."

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley writing on Englishness and the World Cup. His point might be overstated, perhaps, but nevertheless it does seem to ring broadly true.

At the outset of the tournament, I had little time for England, but the bold and resilient mentality, calm assurance and evident harmony of the young, multiracial squad has been impressive - as has Southgate himself, a model of "thoughtfulness, articulacy and pragmatic good sense". Whatever happens this afternoon in Samara, he and his players have succeeded in reconnecting the national side with fans and helped to shape (and maybe even redefine) English national identity in the process.

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