The Independent had a short story on what, today, it means to be English, and if there is such a thing as “Englishness”. It mentioned the Town of Ripley in Derbyshire, just next door to my home town. Apparently this is one of the most English places in England (not sure if that also means “in the world” too) so does this make me one of the most English people in the world?
I write this at the top of a hill looking over the green fields and the autumn woods – the quintessential image of England – as I try to work out what makes me English. Is it our history? It certainly plays a large part but this is always mixed up with “British” history and difficult to prise apart. Of the separate parts of Britain it is Scotland that has a very distinct identity, Wales a slightly less identity but still a recognisable culture of it’s own, England does not seem to have a clear image of its own.