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“I’m an Englishman.”

From a BBC’s 2001  NCS Manhunt:a speech by a man called Laurence Bright, played by the excellent Marc Warren.

[Transcript] “I’m an Englishman. I’m from Bermondsey, South-East London. My father was called George. He was also from Bermondsey. His father, another Bermondsey man, was called George too. And his father, my great-grandfather, is from the same place. He was called Edward.

“These three generations of my family, were in the fish trade. I’m the first member of my family not to work at the market in Billingsgate. My great-grandfather had eleven brothers and sisters. I dont know exactly how many of his generation married or exactly how many children they produced. I’ve so far tracked over two-hundred of them.
Many still live in Bermondsey. Some are still in the fish trade.

“There are seven called George, and five called Victoria. I stand here, in front of you, as a representative of all of them. And I ask in their name the great question put by our patron, Mr Powell. What do they know of England, who only England know? Or, what can my family, who come from England, who lived in England, who know only England, say of this, our country?

“Mr Powell once spoke of the destruction of ancient Athens and the miraculous survival in the blackened ruins of that city of the sacred olive tree; the symbol of Greece, their country. And he also spoke of us, the English, at the heart of a vanished empire, seeming to find within ourselves that one of our own oak trees, the sap rising from our ancient roots, and he said perhaps, after all, we who have inhabited this island fortress for an unbroken thousand years, brought up, as he said, within the sound of English bird song under the English oak, in the English meadow, beneath the red cross of St. George, it is us who know most of England.

“And I appreciated him for saying that, because it was as if he spoke for my family, who understand well their own country. Who understand even better their own capital, London town, as we used to call her. As we strolled in her parks, as we marveled at her palaces, as we did buisness in the city, went west for a dance, took a boat on the river. The pale ale and eel pie of old London. The London of my family for as many generations as I know. The London that will in less than fifteen years will be less than fifty percent white. London, where in fifteen years a white person will be in the minority.

“Am I racist? No. Do I have anything against people of other races? No. So what then is my gripe?

“My gripe, and I speak on behalf of seven men called George and five women called Victoiria, my gripe is quite simple.

“My gripe is that we were never asked. My gripe is that we were told, not asked, and everyday we are told again and again how we are to be and how our country is to be. We are told by them, and we know who they are, they’re English too. They are the class that has always set themselves apart, they are the class that has always taken what they wanted for themselves, and now they are the class that is giving England away.
They have never asked us, and they never will.

“Do we allow them to sell our heritage? Or is it time for us to speak?

“To speak, to refuse them the right to give away our holy, or bountiful, our only England that has, that has nurtured us, naked, grown us as the oak. Is it time for us that England know to come yet again and defend our country? With our fire, our fists?

“Is it time for us sons to rise again?

“I say yes.

“I say yes.I say… Yes.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gordon July 22, 2017, 11:20 AM

    I’d like to think there are enough Englishmen like that, but I wonder. A few years back I was in Scotland, talking to a small business owner and his wife. They had complained about all of the rules and regulations they had to live with. I pointed out that they had finally gotten their own regional Scottish parliament, and the first thing that they passed was a ban on smoking in pubs. I pointed out that they had finally gotten the freedom to make their own rules, and that parliament was busy taking away their rights. But they didn’t make the connection. They didn’t see that the choices they made in their leaders affected all of those rules and regulations.

  • uglykidmoe July 22, 2017, 1:30 PM

    i feel so bad about what is happening in europe, but even more so in England. it would be my wish that British citizens who care about their nation and more importantly their culture take a stand before it’s too late. maybe brexit was a start, i don’t know. regardless, best wishes from an American compatriot.

  • Millie_woods July 22, 2017, 2:05 PM

    They traded their love of God for a love of government. Hardly anyone is making the connection.

  • GoneWithTheWind July 22, 2017, 2:20 PM

    Change “England” to America in his post and it is still just as true. This is an intentional invasion/immigration takeover of power by the elite and special interests. How does a great country like America get destroyed? Slowly at first and then very quickly. We are about to enter the “very quickly” phase and it is almost too late to stop it or reverse it. But worse there seems to be no effort to stop or reverse it. Certainly not by Republicans and even the tea party and other conservatives seem unaware of the extent of immigration these last 50 years or so and the effects it is and has had on citizens. By the time it is obvious to a majority of voters it will be too late to stop it.

  • RKV July 22, 2017, 6:59 PM

    You let them take your guns. Now they don’t have to listen to you.

  • Casey Klahn July 22, 2017, 9:45 PM

    Note: Marc Warren was excellent in BOB, wasn’t he? Great monologue. Perhaps the English can marshall their language once again to save their bacon. Guns would surely be a help, as well.
    Race. You love race, you cultured masses. I mean you love the idea of race; race as a bludgeon. A political point to be made. You bludgeon the masses with “race,” and take power and influence. Better to actually respect the races. And, please shut up about racial prejudice. We get it. It’s the 21st Century, FFS.
    The truncheon of race will soon be changed into the truncheon of speech. Race don’t enter into it, as the English say.

  • itor July 22, 2017, 10:29 PM

    Of course you were not asked.

    You were not even told.

    You, with the powers of observation informed yourself.

    Then were told you were hateful to notice such things.


  • rabbit tobacco July 22, 2017, 10:30 PM

    ‘The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.’ Plato

  • Bill in Tennessee July 23, 2017, 10:25 AM

    Hallelujah and Amen! This could be said of America too.

  • Stephen July 23, 2017, 10:49 AM

    It was the Labour Party that threw open the floodgates b/c they knew they could use the cudgel of ‘race’ to silence any conservative protest. So the character implies that it was aristocrats, or conservatives who made this profound change, and “you didn’t ask us.” The Conservative Party did not stand in the way either, of course, but they did not initiate this change.

  • Jewel July 23, 2017, 10:58 AM

    I would imagine that the BBC aired this with the intent of making this monologue repulsive to those who have come to hate themselves for being English. Back then. But now. It is the unspoken litany, the credo. Believed by all but the Cloud People Tribe.

  • Christopher S. Johns July 25, 2017, 10:57 AM

    A new kind of protest folk song:

    Stiff Upper Lip (The UK in the 21st Century)


  • Jayne July 26, 2017, 6:15 AM

    Broken hearted watching that ‘I am an Englishman’ video. As an American woman, I always had a strongly romantic fantasy of the all powerful ruling class and soldiers of the British Empire. Wow! How the mighty have fallen!

    To Christopher S Johns, an incredible song! It reminds me of the power in the protest songs of the 60s and 70s. What is the name of that band?

  • Christopher S. Johns July 26, 2017, 9:27 AM

    Jayne, Byron de la Vandal is the name of the artist.

  • John Q. Citizen August 3, 2017, 12:20 PM

    How dare you insult Her Majesty’s Government! Who do you think you are Sir? You are merely a Subject of Her Majesty and Her Government and will bow before Her and obey Her commands. How dare you forget your station in life! Her Majesty and Her Ruling Class and Privy Councils decide what is right and do not bend at the will of an insolent commoner and never will.

    That is all…Carry on.

  • Gary D. August 3, 2017, 12:36 PM

    Make England Great Again.

  • albatler@verizon.net August 3, 2017, 3:53 PM

    too late …america was given away to: the Irish/Germans/Greeks/Italians/swiz/Russians/Asians/etc..
    decades ago