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In the wake of the U.K. election, which led to an overwhelming Tory majority, Britons are tweeting the phrase “Little England.”
The two words were originally coined to refer to those opposed to the British Empire, but for economic reasons rather than any moral opposition to imperialism.
Now, though, the term Little Englander has since come to refer to small-minded, bigoted English person who hate foreigners and overestimates England’s importance on the world stage.
I was going to tweet that Britain just blew its brains out today. Then I realised that to do that ,you need some in the first place...#LittleEngland— Daniel Rubinstein (@stylophobia) December 13, 2019
To the communities destroyed by Thatcher and the Tories. It breaks my heart that the common ground the Tories finally found with you has been nationalism and racism. What an awful time to be British #LittleEngland #LabourParty @TheMendozaWoman— Through the Circle Fast And Slow (@ThroughFast) December 13, 2019
For many, this election victory was built on the back of racism and xenophobia, stoked by pro-Brexit, anti-immigration politicians and media talking heads.
And they’re letting their voices be heard in the wake of the loss.
I don't know this country anymore, full of haters, racists bigots who still think we have an Empire, when in reality without our European neighbours, we barely have a pot to piss in(and that's imported from China as we manufacture nothing anymore).#littleengland #notmygovernment— angela garrod 🕷️ European girly swot (@angegarrod) December 13, 2019
Xenophobia is alive and well in my local pub. Way to go!!!! #LittleEngland— aitch aitch (@Botticelliwoman) December 13, 2019
You have voted for poverty, against the NHS, for homelessness, for racism and homophobia, against education. This is a nation of selfish, ignorant and cruel people. This morning I am ashamed to be English. Utterly sickened.#GE2019 #GeneralElection #LittleEngland #FridayThe13th— Garsa (@Garsa_music) December 13, 2019
Well-known provocateur Katie Hopkins tweeted about the return of nationalism and said that the Conservatives are “our party now” in response to commentary from a Muslim Conservative.
Given that many British citizens are also Muslim, it seems likely that her statement of “our party” and “British people first” refers to ethnic background and not citizenship.
And so it starts.— Larry Mogridge 🇪🇺 (@Larry_Mogridge) December 13, 2019
The far right is never be satisfied, they always want more.
Brexit merely the start, using democracy to get the Europeans out - who is next on their list ?
Let's see - oh, yes those so-called "British" Muslims.....#ConservativeWin#LittleEngland #NotMyPM pic.twitter.com/TdTGsVXo9E
People are especially upset about the effects of another five years of Tory rule on the NHS, labor rights and the welfare state.
Conservative immigration policies are likely to devastate the NHS, which relies heavily on foreign workers from both the EU and outside of it.
There are fears that the Tories intend to sell it off entirely, creating an American-style, private system instead.
Absolutely embarrassed to call myself British. We've just signed up for more homelessness, a privatised NHS, less employer rights, isolation etc, etc, and becoming the USA's puppy. I don't want a sodding blue passport. I mourn my children's future 😢🌹 #LittleEngland— 🇪🇺💜𝑯𝒂𝒚𝒍𝒆𝒚💜🇪🇺 (@LilacRaindrops) December 13, 2019
You didn't just vote to #GetBrexitDone— Hope (@313Nour) December 13, 2019
You also voted for:
Privatising the NHS
The rich and corporations
Intolerance and hate
Well played (you were). #LittleEngland#GeneralElectionResults
When all the EU Drs and nurses, the physio, the radiographer etc, all move back home. Or to a kinder more inclusive country. What will all you brexiteer lovers do then? I really want to know. #LittleEngland— michelle (@zacfred) December 13, 2019
Many feel that Tory voters should be banned from complaining about the state of social services in future, given their votes were the ones that paved the way to its destruction.
So you voted for BoJo. Here continues fund cuts: NHS/ Education/Mental Health/Disability Funding. Shame on you. Welcome to Little England - don't complain when you can't get a hosp bed or there's no NHS staff. It's your own doing! #LittleEngland #FridayThe13th #NotMyPrimeMinister— The Lizard Queen (@theelizardqueen) December 13, 2019
Tory voters should be given reality checks everywhere they go, every time they whinge about public services. When they've been waiting on hospital trollies for 3 days, let them be told it's what they voted for. When police don't turn up in time -it's their fault. #LittleEngland— Nikki Clarke (@NikkiClarkejb) December 13, 2019
The Tory victory is the largest for the party since the days of Margaret Thatcher.
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org