Beyond the Constitution? Englishness in a post-devolved Britain

Published Mon 25 Feb 2008
The notion that we are currently witnessing a growing commitment to English nationalism and deeper and wider identification with Englishness, as opposed to Britishness, is becoming part of the political wisdom of the age. The suggestion that the English are beginning to think of themselves as a nation with a separate identity from the other nationalities within the United Kingdom feeds into a vexed debate among politicians and commentators about the identity and future of 'Britishness' itself. This paper argues for the adoption of a greater sense of historical proportion about these trends, and challenges the widely held presumption that the rise of Englishness signals the death-knell of values and identities associated with Britishness.

The notion that we are currently witnessing a growing commitment to English nationalism and deeper and wider identification with Englishness, as opposed to Britishness, is becoming part of the political wisdom of the age. The suggestion that the English are beginning to think of themselves as a nation with a separate identity from the other nationalities within the United Kingdom feeds into a vexed debate among politicians and commentators about the identity and future of 'Britishness' itself.

This paper argues for the adoption of a greater sense of historical proportion about these trends, and challenges the widely held presumption that the rise of Englishness signals the death-knell of values and identities associated with Britishness.

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