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Not so long ago, the idea of a progressive or liberal nationalism would have seemed like an oxymoron to most people on the left. But as memories of nationalism’s ugly excesses fade, at least in western Europe, and worries grow about the withering of any sense of collective identity and purpose, a reassessment is underway. And Gordon Brown has placed himself at the head of it. As the first Scot since devolution to aspire to be prime minister of the English, he has a personal motive for talking up British values. And as a centre-left political leader at a time…

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