Nigel Farage questions why English patriotism is criticised
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William Alcock, 82, says he identifies as “English” and not “British,” the only other relevant option he could tick on his form. And responding to an Express.co.uk story, readers have supported the man, noting Irish, Welsh and Scottish identities are able to be selected on many Government forms.
Mr Alcock, a retired police officer, went to raise his concerns at his local authority’s headquarters but claimed he was treated “terribly”.
Speaking to Stoke-on-Trent Live, Mr Alcock said: “I am a proud Englishman. I am not British, I’m English.
“The Welsh can be Welsh, the Scots can be Scottish and the Irish can be Irish, but the English can’t be English, they have got to be British and I totally disagree with that.
“My nationality is of great importance to me. I respect everybody else’s nationality. I am not racist in any way.
“I’d like the actual electoral register to mention English and not just put us all together in one.
“When I’ve been sent letters in the past, I’ve scratched the British out and written English. I was not respected as a citizen.”
Express readers have questioned why “English” was not an option on Government forms, saying Mr Alcock has a “valid point”.
One said: “If it’s not an issue then why is Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland listed, why have the English become the minority and shamed for being patriotic?”
Another added: “I am, English first, British second, nobody can ever change that!”
One more supported the retiree and said: “If you can have Welsh, Scottish and Irish then you should also include English.”
More Express.co.uk readers fired shots at the Government over the omission, calling local authorities “woke”.
One said: “The woke authorities in our country are trying to cancel the word and meaning of the word ‘English’ from our vocabulary.
“They want to erase our identity, patriotism, heritage and culture in an effort to keep others, who have chosen to live in England rather than their own countries, happy and content…”
One user also suggested that as British is the only selectable identity, “there are no Scots, Welsh, Irish or English”.
They added: “Therefore we don’t need devolved governments.”
Mr Alcock is calling for permanent changes to be made to allow ‘English’ to be his recognised identity on Government forms, but was treated “like a child” by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s civic centre when he flagged his concerns, he said.
He added: “They didn’t acknowledge my concern as an 82-year-old who feels that they have ignored my nationality. For us to be English, it’s got to be a Government decision.
“British is not my nationality. My father was an Englishman and he served 27 years in the Armed Forces. He fought during the war so I could have freedom of speech and that is what I’m doing.
“I told them down there that the man who sent the letter is hiding behind office walls. He can insult me but can’t speak to me.”
A spokesman for the authority said: “Like every other elections authority in the country, we have written to households in the city, asking for residents to confirm their elector details so that they remain able to vote. The forms are a legal requirement and the text used in them is set nationally, in line with legislation.
“We’ve spoken in detail with Mr Alcock and do understand his position. He may wish to raise this matter with the Government directly as any proposals to change the wording of the documentation is a matter for national determination.
“It is really important that residents respond to the letter and update their details if there are changes in their households, as we don’t want anyone to lose their right to vote.
“It also costs taxpayers’ money and considerable time to contact people who don’t reply to the letter – resources that we could be using to support other important services.”
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “When individuals register to vote, they must provide their nationality as defined in law.
“Under the British Nationality Act 1981, all British citizens have the nationality as British.”
“Being on the electoral register is important for so many reasons. For example, if you need a credit check, banks will check your details on the register as part of the process.”
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