Britain, England, etc., redux: Here's a new one

Peter Jukes of The Daily Beast was being interviewed by Bob Garfield on WNYC’s On the Media about the Murdoch situation and this exchange took place:

Garfield: Now, you happen to be from Eng-LAND

Jukes: From “Britain,” please. There’s no such nation as England.

I was a little startled to hear this. I’ve never heard any Englander or Britisher say that “there’s no such nation as England” prior to this.

I know that “British” has become somewhat popular since the 1990s as self-identification. Are there a lot of Britons who are actually denying the existence of England as a nation?

I was thinking of starting a thread about the same thing. Maybe he’s from somewhere like Cornwall, or somewhere with a real independent streak.

No, it sounds like an affectation to me. There is a very small “English nationalist” movement, something of a reaction to nationalists in other constituent countries, who claim to identify as English rather than British, but I’ve not heard it the other way round.

There’s no nation of California, either. I’m still from California.

At least one difference is that England is generally considered a nation. It isn’t an independent sovereign state, but it is a nation.

From what I understand, the English nationalist movement is a pretty right-wing, anti-foreigner, “England for the English” thing, so I can see people not wanting to be associated with it. I can’t think of a good US analogy, but I guess it might be like a liberal from Atlanta saying “I’m not from ‘the South,’ I’m from America!” Obviously, they’re from the South, too, but they want to make it clear that they identify with the country as a whole, not with some particular part of it.

You could be right, he might be keen to distance himself from that kind of English nationalism.

Well. I’m English. I’ve never heard someone from England say that.

People from Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland will naturally object to being referred to as English. I don’t know who Peter Jukes is - is it possible he’s Welsh, Scottish, or Irish?

I don’t know where he’s from. His accent sounds like R.P. to me, so that doesn’t really tell me anything.

He’s English.

Just to note: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1706/whats-the-difference-between-the-united-kingdom-great-britain-and-england

Ooh, now you’ve got Peter Jukes mad at you…

Born in Swindon. According to his wikipedia page he was active in the labour party, so it might be some sort of PC non-nationalist thing.

Sounds like he’s just a bit of an oddball, then.

The Labor Party has an “there’s no such nation as England” streak?

I think it’s more a case that English nationalism tends to be tied to right wing politics. The concept of Britishness seems to be more inclusive of all the nations of Great Britain (and much of Northern Ireland :stuck_out_tongue: ) as well as the UK’s ethnic minorities.

Could it be a case of mild annoyance at a foreigner for calling him English instead of British?

His tone wasn’t that of someone who was annoyed. And if he is English, why would a guy born in Swindon with an English accent be annoyed at being called English?

And remember, Garfield didn’t call him “English.” He said “you happen to be from England.”

Well, Eng-LAND, at least.

I’m not entirely sure what that odd emphasis about, but he said it in a jokey manner.