Letters for July

Anglo-Saxons, Clement Attlee and love for our mascot


This article is taken from the July 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

Wasp stings

I greatly enjoyed Samuel Rubinstein’s take-down of Dr Mary Rambaran-Olm and Dr Erik Wade (ANGLO-SAXON EXTREMISTS, JUNE). 

If woke American activists disapprove of the term “Anglo-Saxon” because it is an exonym (a name not much used by the people to which it refers), but also because of its association with the term “WASP” (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), they should be aware that WASP too is an exonym, having been coined in 1948 by a black writer, then popularised by an American sociologist in the 1960s, and more recently used to refer to the American hegemonic class that lasted from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. 

Similarly, the term “African-American” (with or without that hyphen) has only become fashionable of late. Progressive black intellectuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois used the term “Negro” (with a capital N) and sometimes “Abyssinian” as a term denoting African-American pride, even though many African-Americans had no historical association with Abyssinia.

Christopher Silvester


Lobby fodder

David Littlefair’s article (THE “ON BEHALF OF” LABOUR PARTY, JUNE) highlights issues of candidate selection that aren’t restricted to that one party. It is the norm among the political class — witness Nick Clegg’s career for a start. 

One of the few Labour MPs to not be part of this out-of-touch class is Carolyn Harris, the MP for Swansea East, who has a background of working-class community involvement.

The established narrative is that parties select “the best” or “excellent” candidates. For Labour, this typically means candidates drawn from the ABC1, and the same is true for the other parties. 

Such “excellent” candidates continuously endorsed the extensions of the ruinous Coronavirus Regulations and called for more stringent lockdown and with more state spending. The national calamities we’ve suffered for decades are documented all around us in the media. This is what “excellent” candidates have given us.

When she was the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman gave an eloquent speech about the natural beauty of the village in her constituency whose fair she attended. 

The details of the natural beauty of Ingleton she described in her speech didn’t apply to that village, but to another village of the same name some 70 miles away, represented by a different MP. But at least her PPE from Oxford made her eminently selectable as lobby fodder.

I know of many people with good insight, judgement, and solid principles who would make excellent MPs, but none of them would be visible to any party, even if they could be persuaded to put their names forward. Meanwhile, the same identikit and compliant candidates get selected, with the same lack of original ideas and different insight.

Richard W. Jones

Welshpool, Powys

Forget the manual

David Littlefair’s article reminded me of the late 70s novel Grass Roots in which a young steelworker elected as a Labour MP is told that he might be the last Labour MP to have done manual labour. I remember describing John Prescott as New Labour’s token worker but must admit that the most socialist prime minister was the public school-educated Clement Attlee.

Mark Taha



I was amused at Catherine Lindsay’s expression of frothing outrage (LETTERS, JUNE) at the Scotticisation (We’ve got “anglicise”, so why not?) of, er … Scotland. All symbols of Britishness have been removed from the public sphere, she says. In their place the Scottish Saltire flutters wherever it can find a flagpole. 

The impertinence — flying their national flag in their own country — don’t they know their place?

“No pro-UK Scot I know imagines this can be outsmarted by Unionists prancing down Sauchiehall Street as if they’re at the Last Night of the Proms,” she laments.

She’s right about outsmarting, but if she takes a trip west along the M8 to Glasgow on the 12th of July she’ll see enough union flags to gladden her heart. 

She’ll also see plenty of Unionists prancing down Sauchiehall Street, playing flutes and wearing Ruritarian uniforms. It won’t much resemble the Last Night of the Proms, but she’ll be in the company of like-minded people. 

Thorfinn Johnston


The intersectional fox

Thanks for Sebastian Milbank’s article (THE KIDS ARE ALT-RIGHT, MAY).

Apart from having the best headline I’ve seen so far this year, it was an objective and helpful discussion of a trend that the mainstream press seems eager to miss.

This is why as a leftie I read The Critic, despite having to wade through monetarist economists, Tory boys, ranting rich kids, arty narcissists and Peregrine Worsthorne reincarnations — these categories are not mutually exclusive, btw — as you have your own peculiar version of intersectionality.

You somehow manage to pull it all off. Very British. And I love the fox.

Douglas Hayward


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