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Ben Fogle skewered for 'English pride' in political correctness rant: 'You mean British?'

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The TV star visits the Isle Of Rùm in tonight’s episode of the Channel 5 documentary series Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild. He rose to fame on the BBC’s Countryfile before producing a number of outdoor survival shows. The 47-year-old came under fire after he urged Englishmen to embrace their identity after Brexit. 

Fogle, who voted Remain, was concerned about the aftermath of the EU referendum, where 52 percent of the UK voted Leave.

He believed Brexit “divided society” and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if a large number of Britons decided to flee the country.

The star felt some may consider “heading off and living on an island” to escape the “fallout” after departing from the EU.

In 2019, Fogle told the Irish News: “I’m tempted. That’s part of the inspiration for our plans as a family.”

ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Ben Fogle felt ‘English pride’ and ‘identity’ was ‘most important’ after Brexit (Image: GETTY / CHANNEL 5)

ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Ben Fogle returns to Channel 5 screens tonight on Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild (Image: CHANNEL 5)

He believed the public might take tips from his survival shows and live in “the wilderness” in “tiny little structures” to be free of governance.

Fogle added: “You make your own rules, you make your own destiny and you’re your own boss.”

While he predicted mass migration to escape Brexit, the TV star also remarked that Britons were more than capable of “weathering the Brexit storm”.

Fogle urged leaders and the public to “stop whingeing and just get on with it”, during a 2017 interview with The Sun.

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ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Ben Fogle thought ‘English patriotism’ had been ‘hijacked’ by far-right groups and made ‘squeamish’ (Image: GETTY)

He claimed to have “always” been a “firm believer in a stiff upper lip” and felt the nation needed to pull together. 

Fogle said: “I just want us to pull our socks up and I know we can do well.”

During trips to different parts of the UK, he noted “parts of the nation” were “so angry about Brexit” because they longed for it “to work”.

In Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Fogle received “a round of applause” when he asked if it “was time to reclaim our national identity and take pride”.

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ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Ben Fogle believed it was vital to pull together after Brexit was voted for in the EU referendum (Image: GETTY)

He published the 2017 book, English: A Story Of Marmite, Queuing And Weather, to discuss the issues surrounding patriotism.

Fogle claimed remarks about being a “proud Englishman” had “often” been “mistaken and muddled with xenophobia, anti-immigration and racism”.

He believed the negative association with patriotism stemmed from “the British National Party (BNP) and other far-right parties”.

Fogle argued those groups had “hijacked” English pride and made “many of us feel squeamish about” it.

ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Express.co.uk explains five of the reasons that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

In one extract, he wrote: “I’m a proud Englishman! There, I said it.”

Fogle admitted being “slightly nervous” before the statement because he was sure he would “get criticism” for it. 

He described the remark as “the most un-PC I’ve ever been” but countered that it was “ridiculous” to think that way.

The star revealed that “even” his publisher “asked at one point to change the title of the book to ‘British’”.

Fogle claimed he was criticised by the public “whenever” he tried to speak about the book. 

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He continued: “Whenever I went on social media or mentioned to people I was writing a book on Englishness, I was always corrected. 

“They would say, ‘You mean Britishness?’”

Fogle described it as “sad” that English people were “not allowed to celebrate our Englishness”.

He added: “I do believe a lot of people are proud to be English!”

Fogle thought criticism from “the Scots or the Irish” about being a proud Englishman was “fascinating” because it was hypocritical.

ben fogle english pride brexit eu patriotism tv uk

Ben Fogle felt Brexit was the time for Englishmen to ’embrace’ and be ‘proud’ of their country (Image: GETTY)

He said: “Especially when… they are so big on celebrating their own identity.”

Fogle believed it was vital in a post-Brexit world to embrace what it means to be English.

He said: “Now we’re breaking free from Europe, it’s more important than ever to have a very strong identity that we should be proud of.

“I also strongly believe it’s our Englishness that will weather the Brexit storm.

“We’ve always been a nation that has batted way above our level.”

Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild airs at 9pm tonight on Channel 5.



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