British Lobbyism in U.S. Politics: Myth or Reality?
Despite the common notion that the U.K. is literally the 51st state of the U.S., and no matter how close the historical, ethnic, cultural, and social ties between the two countries, there still are some organizations that portray British Americans as a minority and defend their interests in Washington.
The term British American is rather wide, often referring mostly to Americans whose ancestral origins come from the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). It might surprise you, but British Americans can be counted as a minority: An American Community Survey conducted in 2017 showed there are less than 2 million (1,891,234, or about .6% of the population) people who actually self-identify as British.
From the point of the demographics as a science, but not as a category of political debates, British American self-identification is firstly an historical research category. It’s only applied to those who have at least some ancestry from those who used to live in the British Islands centuries ago.
British American organizations seek to defend their people, whose numbers have experienced a significant drop in the past 40 years. At that time, there were no less than 49.59 million who reported some degree of English ancestry—a bit more than the just 2 million recorded in 2017.
There are various reasons for this drop—the massive growth of the non-white population and migration being just one of them. There is no official answer to the question, as professional demographers tend to see the numbers as understated, because the large proportion of Americans who have at least some British descent tend to identify simply as Americans today.
The number of those identifying as British varies by region throughout the U.S. Far more people continue to identify as British in the Upland South region, for instance, as Brits historically settled there.
Despite the small number that identify as British Americans, they have their own lobbyists and organizations that protect their rights, at least in the field of public education. For instance, there is the English-Speaking Union (ESU), founded in 1918 by journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench, which aims “to bring together and empower people of different languages and cultures, by building skills and confidence in communication, such that individuals realise their potential,” but since the people of different cultures were to speak English, it is pretty clear who the union was founded for.
With 35 branches in the United Kingdom and over 50 branches around the world, the ESU carries out a variety of activities such as debating, public speaking, and student exchange programs, runs conferences and seminars, and offers scholarships to encourage the effective use of the English language around the globe.
The aims of the ESU, as stated on its website, are as follows:
1. The mutual advancement of education of the English-speaking world, respecting the traditions and heritage of those with whom we work whilst acknowledging the current events and issues that affect them.
2. The use of English as a shared language and means of international communication of knowledge and understanding, provided always that these are at all times pursued in a non-political and non-sectarian manner.
The organization also provides numerous scholarships for the sake of education and global influence. One such project is the Lindemann Trust Fellowships, considered to be a prestigious research grant awarded to postdoctoral scientists of "exceptional promise" in the strategic spheres of potential American and British influence under the mask of pure and applied physical sciences. According to the official story, the program was designed to enable British and Commonwealth citizens resident in the U.K. to do research in the U.S.
The British American community is real and exercises influence through educational programs and facilities, and does so more effectively than those ethnic groups that are formally considered to be diasporic.