I den svenska valrörelsen kan det vara lämpligt att påminna om vad det är att vara en del av ett land.
Monologen ”I am an Englishman” grep mig när jag hörde den för första gången för många år sedan. Den handlar om nationell identitet och tillhörighet, om familj och tradition. Om stoltheten över att vara en del av sitt land. Den kunde lika gärna heta ”Jag är svensk”.
Den brittiske skådespelaren Marc Warren framför monologen ur BBC’s 2001 NCS Manhunt, ett tal av en man vid namn Laurence Bright. Jag beklagar ett svagt surrande biljud i ljudupptagningen, men det är innehållet som räknas. Texten följer här.
I’m an Englishman.
I’m from Bermondsey, SouthEast 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; they all married except one.
They had fortythree children – of these thirtyseven married.
And between them they had a further a hundred and fiftynine children.
One of those was my father.
I don’t know exactly how many of his generation married or exactly how many children they produced…
I’ve so far tracked over twohundred 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
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 like 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, so we did business 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 within 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! Would I prevent them from coming into my home? No!
So what then is my gripe? My gripe, and I speak on behalf of seven men called George and five women called Victoria, 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’re told by them and we know who they are–they’re English, too!
They’re the class that has always set themselves apart,
they’re the class that has always taken whatever 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, our 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 our suns to rise again?
I say yes.
I say yes.
I say yes.