England's last roar: Pankaj Mishra on nationalism and the election
Ideas of Englishness have long failed to adapt to loss of empire and national decline. Will this crucial UK election bring about a post-imperial day of reckoning?“We have got to fight against privilege,” George Orwell exhorted in 1941, “against the notion that a half-witted public schoolboy is better for command than an intelligent mechanic.” England, he wrote, is governed by an “unteachable” ruling class that too frequently escapes into “stupidity”, failing to see “that an...
Ideas of Englishness have long failed to adapt to loss of empire and national decline. Will this crucial UK election bring about a post-imperial day of reckoning?“We have got to fight against privilege,” George Orwell exhorted in 1941, “against the notion that a half-witted public schoolboy is better for command than an intelligent mechanic.” England, he wrote, is governed by an “unteachable” ruling class that too frequently escapes into “stupidity”, failing to see “that an economic system in which land, factories, mines and transport are owned privately and operated solely for profit ... does not work.”Only a socialist revolution, he continued, could unleash the “native genius of the English people”. Of course, “the bankers and the larger businessmen, the landowners and dividend-drawers, the officials with their prehensile bottoms, will obstruct for all they are worth”. But, never mind: “if the rich squeal audibly, so much the better”. Continue reading...