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England arise

If the Conservatives win the next election, the Scots may end up leaving the union. How can England take a political form without hastening the Scots to the exit?

By David Goodhart   July 2008

For reasons of history and national temperament, the British (especially the English) have worn their national citizenship lightly. Such insouciance is now positively embraced by leftists, post-nationalists and even some free-marketeers, but it did not derive from a generous or progressive sentiment. On the contrary, it was if anything the result of a missionary-imperial idea of Britain in which it was not necessary to draw clear lines around the political community. As Krishan Kumar has explained in his book The Making of English National Identity, such fuzziness also helped to veil the overwhelming dominance of the English within the British…

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