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  #41  
Old Today, 08:55 AM
John Whitworth's Avatar
John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
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The Michael Farfrae effect, for those of you who have never read The Mayor of Casterbridge is the passionate Scots who will do anything for their country but live in it. Sean Connery comes at once to mind and the actor Alan Cummings And James Boswell of course, as Johnson often remarked.

Te Polls could be wrong, but not THAT wrong.
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  #42  
Old Today, 10:03 AM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
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The figures I've given, John, are assuming that the current polls are correct. As to Michael Farfrae, not Hardy's cleverest name - though that was something at which he generally excelled, what on earth do you mean to suggest? Unlike you, I live here and know my country well. (Oh, and you may not yet have heard, but the latest debate in Shetland on secession was against the proposal by 24 to 1.)
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  #43  
Old Today, 10:31 AM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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As a minor sidelight on the debate on this thread springing from the forthcoming General Election in the UK, here is the first paragraph of an essay of mine (published in Able Muse in 2008) about the poet, Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917). Thomas was killed in the fighting at Arras. Identity-politics can seem disarmingly simple, but is – as Thomas, who did not know the term, seems to have realized – often highly complex. (In my father’s family I have a Welsh grandfather and, in my father’s mother’s family, a Welsh great-great-grandfather. I have lived only in England, for much of my life in Yorkshire, where, in fact, I was born. I feel, mostly, British and European. In one sense, I am a Yorkshireman, British and European only by accident.)

Clive Watkins

from The Elusive Persistence of Edward Thomas

In his 1966 collection American Scenes and Other Poems, the British poet Charles Tomlinson (1927 – 1915) has an engaging poem entitled “Mr. Brodsky”, in which he tells how he “had heard / before, of an / American who would have preferred / to be an Indian; / but not / until Mr. Brodsky, of one / whose professed and long / pondered-on passion / was to become a Scot”. On a visit to Tomlinson’s house, Mr. Brodsky stands in his “neo-New Mexican parlour” and plays his bagpipes, “lost in the gorse / and heather or whatever / six thousand / miles and more / from the infection’s source”. No doubt many of us have met people like Mr. Brodsky. The question of what it means to be Scottish – or Welsh or (Northern) Irish – has gained urgency since the devolution of aspects of government to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast in recent years. The concept of “Englishness” is particularly vexed. One recalls John Major’s vision, in 1993, of a Britain fixed beyond change, a “country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pool fillers and, as George Orwell said, ‘old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist’”. Major’s vexed and highly selective idea of “England” has swallowed up the equally vexed idea of “Britain”. Major misquotes Orwell here and takes him out of context, but Orwell in 1941 was well aware of such creative obfuscations. So, long before, was Edward Thomas, who observed in 1909, “What with Great Britain, the British Empire, Britons, Britishers, and the English-speaking world, the choice offered to whomsoever would be patriotic is embarrassing” (The South Country).
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