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National anxieties

Issues of security and identity have been unexpectedly prominent since 1997. On this terrain, New Labour has found itself squeezed between its liberal supporters and its anxious ones. The two can be reconciled in a politics of liberal realism, based on a robust defence of national citizenship

By David Goodhart   June 2006

This essay is based on the pamphlet “Progressive Nationalism,” published by Demos in May 2006. To read the full pamphlet text, click here, and to read replies from Neal Ascherson, David Blunkett and others, click here.

The foreign prisoner debacle that cast a shadow over the recent local elections, and the government reshuffle that followed, marked one of the lowest points in the long New Labour hegemony. They were also a reminder of the unexpected dominance, since 1997, of the “security and identity” issues: crime, terror, asylum and immigration, race and national identity, hostility to free-riders, rising incivility and so…

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