Nationalism, Tribalism and Unity.

What’s the difference between Nationalism and Tribalism?  What did the last election reveal about the regional differences in the UK. 

A tribe is merely a group of people who have developed a collective identity, usually by virtue of common culture, in-group marriage, and cohabitation in a defined area. Classic tribes are generally parochial. They don’t know much about the external world, they have strong prejudices in favour of their group (and sometimes, though not necessarily, prejudices against other groups), and they often resist cultural change.

An example of parochial tribalism is Wales, where the current Welsh Government sees its future in terms of Wales and the Welsh, it takes no discernible view of the wider world and the role of Wales in that context.  Indeed there is a strong prejudice in favour of their own tribe, it is defensive in nature and against other groups particularly the English who are seen as the colonial power. Hence the strong moves in favour of their own language and indifference to opening up the country by road or rail links. They are reinforcing the tribal difference. This parochial tribalism is reinforced by what is believed to be poverty imposed by the colonial power.  The loss of industry seen as a personal slight, nothing to do with value in the outside competitive world.  I.e. Mrs Thatcher deindustrialised Wales as an act of colonial angst. Certainly Westminster’s woeful response to facilitate change did not help. The Welsh certainly have a point and the tribe will hang on to it.

Perhaps on the back of this traumatic period, 20 years ago 14.6% of the electorate were persuaded to vote for devolution, and thus was born out of collective electoral apathy the most parochial government ever seen.

In the Eastern Valleys of Wales the most populous sub-tribe have little cultural affinity with the West or North, they vote almost exclusively on the grounds of deprivation, the sudden and traumatic change in world economic affairs of the mid and late 20th century.  The market and competition crept unseen into the likes of the Rhondda valleys, now many generations of underprivileged and poorly educated unemployed are mired in a parochial tribe that looks no further than the welfare state, and the enemy for ever the Tories of Shire England.

In the North where Airbus is a very big (New age technology) employer, where the English border is close at hand and open for business, where Liverpool and Cheshire are good neighbours, enough of dependence, a change is afoot.  A key thing in this formerly socialist area is its less emphasis on cultural affinity, here we have Liverpool soccer supporters and not a blind allegiance to the Welsh warriors of the National Stadium in Cardiff. This is where the socialist agenda has been, at least temporarily, abandoned.

Nationalism is a free-floating ideological version of tribalism.
All that being said, the pragmatic elements of culture, breeding, and cohabitation are not universally necessary. Collective identities can form, based entirely on mental qualities: ideas or ideals that one takes to heart and identifies with. When these mental qualities transcend the classic tribal parochialism, we have Nationalism.

 Scotland qualifies as a Nationalist state.  Interestingly, they see their future not as part of the UK (where it is large and influential) but as part of Europe (tiny member with little influence) even if this means breaking free from the Union. The Scots too, have a rump of belief that the English were uncaring and vanquishing colonisers.  The difference between the Scots and the Welsh is that the scots are wealthier, largely due to North Sea oil. The wealth has given them confidence.  They are looking to the wider world and see the EU as the best route, and part of their belief is conditioned by their collective view that the English are uncaring about Scottish Nation.

There sub groups even among the nationalists. There are unionists and independents. There seems a push for the independence predominantly in the metropolitan areas where the Labour Party is out of touch and London-centric.

In Northern Ireland, the two tribes have long been clearly defined, Catholic and nationalist, versus Protestant and Unionist.  The exit of the UK from the EU has muddied the waters sorely, so confusion rains. Stormont remains shut but the problems of the EU exit may well turn out to be the catalyst for Irish unity. Maybe a resolution to their tribal enmity is afoot!

Lastly the English who make up 85% of the wealth and population of the United Kingdom.  They have several tribes defined this time by what we call ‘the class system’

The Labour Party has long been the standard bearer for the ‘working class’. The snag, at least for the labour Party, is that the working class does not really exist, at least in its traditional form of workers oppressed by the capitalist class.  Sure, there are many who claim working class roots, but the vast majority are aspirational and feel that they need a chance to break the chains of history and move toward the more classless society where a man/woman is judged not on his roots but on his achievements. The Labour party made a huge mistake in appealing to yesterday’s working class, they have moved on.

The new UK Government under Boris ‘The Buffoon’ Johnson, may not be so buffoonish after all.  This election and the simple idea of Britain leaving Europe and starting ‘again’ tearing up the old tribal differences, maybe the way to go for change and prosperity. The rebirth of British nationalism, by creating unity in these islands, and perhaps change our place in the world.  It is yet to be resolved if those smaller nationalist and tribal groups will look to join the march for change.  I fancy the Scots will not go on to independence, the Welsh will remain in their introverted misery and Ireland will go to who knows where!

In short, Tribalism is inward looking, Nationalism more confident, Unity is another thing altogether.


Boris won by a street,of course he did!

In my blog ‘He says, she says, who cares?’  I foretold the election result almost precisely.  The Dominant and simple idea of ‘let’s get Brexit done’ won the day by a huge margin.

Now we have Johnson with a larger than expected (by most) majority, what can we expect?

Boris Johnson above all things wants to be loved.  He may be economical with the truth and a bit of a cad, but above all he wants to be loved. It’s in his nature, he adores the lime light, he enjoys being ‘jack the lad’, he enjoys a certain degree of notoriety and he certainly enjoys being Prime Minister.

At the heart of his egocentricity is I believe a quite unstructured being.  He will have very little grasp on detail and he will make thundering mistakes, who can forget Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.  Of all of Boris’s foul-ups this was surely his most shameful.  I find it very hard to forgive him for this.

However, this boisterous, intelligent buffoon has won his way to Number 10. We can only hope that his tenure in Office will show creativity, an emboldening of liberal conservatism, and a caring government.  Even if that comes to be, just so Boris can bask in the sunshine of history.

I cannot and will not forgive his arrogance and shear lack of responsibility for the Iranian debacle, and his abject failure to acknowledge his miserable failure.  This man single-handedly ruined, what prospects there were for the release from abject misery, for the Ratcliffe family. Shame be upon him until this is resolved.

Despite this stinging criticism, he’s what we’ve got as our PM.  Let us hope that he can deliver a kind and radical agenda that balances the need of a nation riven with doubt and inequality.

I hope our Scottish cousins don’t break up the union, and the Welsh show some enterprise rather than the persistent begging bowl culture.  As for Northern Ireland, let the people speak, the stalemate must not go on for ever.

So Boris has a pretty full in-tray and we haven’t bothered to mention the EU negotiations. Above all we need to see a generosity of spirit no matter what slings and arrows of outrageous fortune brings.

If Boris wants to be loved, he must earn our respect.

Vote for a clown or a halfwit – a choice.

Sad but true, the choice facing the electorate is unpalatable but fact. Yes there are other options, the Nationalists, the Greens, and of course the Raving Luny Parties.

There is no doubt either that all these parties are promising outrageous promises, many of which are clearly undeliverable.

No single person has the right to tell another how to vote. I wish us well in considering the least bad option.

What a shame that the mother of parliament’s has come to this. David Cameron has much to answer for.

It is my fond hope that following this catastrophic election that everyone will wake up and move toward proportional representation.

Change is inevitable, but I fear the future will be as chaotic as this election will prove to be.

Give a bit to receive a bit – Voting for freebees!

Vote for me – give me a handout, but why not instead, do our bit?

This elections as usual is all about what we will get if we vote for any party.  What’s in it for us?

That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s always been.  How dull!

I just wonder what would happen if one of the major parties asked the question. “What can you do to help the country thrive?”

There are lots of answers, here are a few;

 Do Not go to the A & E in the local hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary, likewise don’t go to the local surgery for trivial issues.

Work eight hours a day as best you can, even if you spend it looking for a job.

Visit neighbours who need a little company.

Demanding less plastic.

Supporting the teachers in your children’s school.

Catch a bus instead of using the car.

Help with recycling more diligently.

Waste less; food, too many textiles, paper et al.

Volunteer if you have spare time.

Support local government.

Be fit it’s your responsibility for your body.

Support local business.

Listen to other points of view – be less tribal.

Be considerate to your neighbours and fellow road users.



If we all did these things the elections would be much more relevant.  Do your bit!