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Who are we?

Our sense of “Britishness” is fading, but newer forms of collective identity are emerging

By David Goodhart   June 2012

Do the British people still exist? When the Queen ascended the throne in 1952 her subjects, for all their class and regional and even national differences, thought of themselves quite consciously as forming a community and sharing a culture—a people with certain things in common and a special allegiance to one another.

The British, although an “old” people, were also busily renewing themselves in the early 1950s—the BBC and especially the NHS were both recent inventions and the welfare state and national service gave Britishness a solid grounding in everyday life.

To most of us, most of the time, national…

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