Melanie Philips And The Revanchist Politics Of Brexit Britain

The supremacist nature of British, or rather, Greater English nationalism is summed up in this extract from a series of oddly contradictory and counterfactual claims by the controversial right-wing newspaper columnist, Melanie Philips, writing in the Times of London:

“Britain is a nation with the right to rule itself. It is the EU which is the artificial construct, the imagined community that falsely claims for itself the hollow appurtenances of a nation. The EU therefore has no prior claim on its constituent nations which are under no obligation to remain. By contrast, the United Kingdom is a nation which is governed in accordance with its name. Scotland has no right to rip it asunder if it wants to secede from the Union…”

I believe this is called having your cake and eating it too. Of course being a unionist, that is to say, an English nationalist, Philips has a message for England’s perennial bête noire across the Irish Sea:

…the claim to unite Ireland is tenuous since Ireland itself has a tenuous claim to nationhood, having seceded from Britain as the Irish Free State only in 1922.

Britain, by contrast, is an authentic unitary nation.

In France they call this point of view revanchism or “revengism” since it often manifests itself as a political desire to reverse territorial losses or prestige incurred during war or revolution. Such as that which occurred in Ireland from 1916 to 1923. Or the rest of the British empire throughout the 20th century. It would seem that the geopolitical ambitions of the intellectual apologists of Brexit nationalism stretch far beyond the confines of the United Kingdom.

[ASF: With thanks to Marconatrix and Wee Ginger Dug]

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13 comments

  1. Phillips is just spouting the same basic canard the Irish revisionists have been peddling in disgustingly sleazy porn rags like the Sunday Independent (aka the Freemasons Journal) and that other organ of the British intelligence community in Ireland, the “Irish” Daily Mail. What baffles me is how Irish people can cheer on Irish teams in the Aviva, the Olympics, or wherever, and simultaneously buy newspapers such as the Sunday Indo and the “Irish” Daily Mail – which very explicitly seek to piss on everything Irish. Make up your mind folks -. enough of the cognitive dissonance and neurotic masochism.

  2. The British establishment appears to be going through some sort manic Brexit breakdown and they are flag waving the symptoms away with lots of cheap patriotism and a rise in hate crimes. As their own Samuel Johnson observed in 1775, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

  3. I thought I was inured to the political and historical ignorance of the British press, but Phillips article certainly
    got me going. A total classic which needs reading in its swivel eyed, foaming and barking entirety. Is there no one holding the mad dogs back these days?

    1. Well she certainly got the attention she was looking for!

      Someone has pointed out (sorry I forget quite where I read it) that her ideology is that which was current in Europe especially following the Waterloo and leading to the Deutchland Uber Alles mentality during C19th German unification. The idea being that there were ‘real’ nations like Germany, France, Russia, England (?), and the rest were just dross, oddments, leftover bits and pieces that hadn’t yet found their place in the scheme of things and were potentially troublesome. Clearly the sooner this mess and litter was tidied up the better! Nazi and Fascist ideology clearly just followed on from there.

      Odd though that a Jew should be applying this ideology to the UK+Ireland … but then looking at Israel which she strongly supports, maybe not?

      1. Be fair to Germany and Italy, their claim to unitary nationhood was far less bogus than Britain’s. In Germany, Bismarck hijacked the cause from the liberal parliamentarians. Even after the second World War, the German state remained dismembered only by the arms of the victors.

  4. Phiilips represents that intriguing and longstanding alliance between Zionism and British Whig Unionism – which is embodied in the Neoconservative movement. British Neocons like Charles Moore, Philips, Dean Godson and Michael Gove are at least as hostile to Irish nationalism as they are supportive of Israel. Northern Unionists and loyalists are also very strongly Zionist. The anomaly in all of this is the British far right, which avidly supports the Unionists/loyalists – even though in other contexts the same far right blame Zionism and the Jews for all the ills of the modern world.

    Come to think of it the same cognitive dissonance applies to Brexit. Many in the “alternative media” – e.g. David Icke, insist that Brexit was a huge blow against the “globalist establishment”, but they never get around to acknowledging, much less explaining why, so many British globalists supported leaving the EU – the Murdoch press, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and so on.

  5. It’s funny, while some may agree or disagree that Ireland should have remained neutral during the second world war, Ireland was certainly “not Britain” during matters of grave urgency. Nothing tenuous about the independence of Ireland there. There is of course the pining of a Britishness which is still concerned with the loss of empire, but I don’t see what else the can do but moan about it. The winds seem to be changing for nationalism on this island, your article on the AAA was eye opening for me in the sense of a policy toward unification which would fail by default, as it shows the same tenuous approach to nationhood displayed in this article. Shows no understanding of the wishes of the Irish people.

  6. Let’s see if I have this straight: Nations cobbled together with or without the will of those who reside within its borders are legitimate because they are authentic unitary entities, at least according to those in power. However, groups interested in self-determinism have but a tenuous claim to nationhood because … well, just because. Irish and Scots are nothing but ingrates who don’t know a good thing when they had/have it. In the case of the latter, they’re just lucky the UK has put up with them for so long, seems to be the reasoning.

    This sort of logic would get one booted from an entry level college course.

    1. Indeed. When people talk about a new nationalistic mood in Britain following the Brexit referendum, what is being satirised as “imperialism 2.0”, this is the kind of stuff it is producing. It is draws deeply on a new strand of “alternative history” in British popular culture that is getting worse with every passing month.

      1. I think the point earlier in the thread that there’s a sort of fascistic, or certainly colonialist, aspect to the analysis isn’t wide of the mark. It certainly aligns with the idea of real nations and not real nations. And the implications of that are pretty ugly. To put it mildly.

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