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Scottish referendum: will the English now learn to speak “national”?

What does the narrow victory for preserving the Union tell us about the shifting forms of national identity in modern Britain?

By David Goodhart  


It has been widely noted that aside from its many tactical and leadership errors the “No” campaign struggled to find much meaning in the idea of Britishness. Although Britain continues to exist (just!) as a state and a set of institutions—the armed forces, the BBC and so on—fewer and fewer people regard it as a national home, it has become functional rather than emotional. For many years now the Scots and Welsh have placed their Scottish and Welsh identities before their British one, and the English have in recent years followed suit.

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