The enigma of Englishness: The English have debated their national nature for centuries (Luca Johnson, 23 April, 2024, The Critic)

[I]t is curious just how in sync the “severest critics” of Kipling’s times are with those of our own. “We are a nation of immigrants” and “Diversity is our strength” are now ubiquitous slogans in the multicultural and multiracial landscape of modern England. Yet there exists evidence that such notions were prevalent even at a time when English society was far more homogeneous. The ideological ancestors of this theory existed many centuries before even Kipling, as he goes on to show, reciting a passage from Daniel Defoe’s poem The True-born Englishman:

A true-born Englishman’s a contradiction,

In speech an irony, in fact a fiction,

A metaphor intended to express,

A man a-kin to all the universe.

Defoe wrote the poem in the late 17th Century as a means of ridiculing what he perceived as the xenophobic reaction to King William III’s accession to the English throne, during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It was Defoe’s observation that an Englishman has no true grounds to refuse having a Dutchman on our throne, as those who criticise it may well have had a Huguenot father or a Viking ancestor. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The Judds are English, the name deriving from Danish invaders originating in Jutland and the family moving to America in 1632. Englishness is capacious.