English Nationalism and its identity issues…

face, faces, dialog

You think we are bad with identity politics until you look across the water at England. The Daily Express managed the impressive task of simultaneously criticising migrants and congratulating them on the same page. You don’t like to overshadow Emma Raducanu’s magnificent achievement with discussion around her heritage. But it is astonishing how quickly people can switch from ‘immigrants out’ to embracing new ‘British’ stars. We have been here before. When Andy Murray loses he is Scottish. When he wins …

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The great British culture crisis…

Gerald Dawe wrote in a 1994 essay that: “There are parallels that can be pursued between the Northern Protestant situation today, and what might emerge in England in, say, twenty-five years when ordinary English men and women can no longer take for granted the stability and reliability of a given history and a cultural identity based unthinkably upon the post-World War II past.” What is striking is that Dawe foresaw this identity crisis nearly to the year. On his estimate …

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Future Ireland / Loyalist Voices: A Conversation I’d Love To Have Someday

I like the idea of the conversation. I’ve always found conversations very useful. Arguments are too heated, always driven by aggression, and even debates always seem poised in an uncomfortable, adversarial way. But the conversation is good. A conversation is calm and much more likely to be geared toward understanding.  It was mid-morning in a nice bar in Northumberland Road, Dublin. My friend was across the road in Dublin and Wicklow’s Orange Hall. I’d been in there earlier and absolutely loved it, as any Loyalist anorak …

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British or Irish. When it comes to identity we are all mongrels…

We are all mongrels, to a greater or lesser degree. British-Irish-Northern Irish crossbreeds. Not to mention the fact that if we did ancestry DNA tests we’d probably be 20% African. We live in a divided society and in a contested state. So to hear Foster and O’Neill playing Punch and Judy at the Tory party conference this week was frustrating. ‘Northern Ireland is British’, ‘Oh no it’s not’. etc. etc. I was studying and teaching Northern Irish politics in University …

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The Scottish referendum. The British identity that dare not speak its name

  The best article I’ve seen about the dearth of a cultural identity debate in Scotland by Alex Linklater, son of the great Magnus. Could Scots learn a thing or two from the Irish? Or maybe not?  You’d have thought the Scottish cultural air would be thrumming with an accrued history of intellectual fighting and flyting over who we are, dating back to the unions of crowns and parliaments, through the Enlightenment and into all the scientific and artistic legacies …

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What is Britishness anyway? – latest

Stephen Moss in the Guardian adopts the least analytical approach imaginable to the identity thing, a random journey. It’s like an intro to a report that that doesn’t actually appear. A bit like Britishness itself maybe? Quite unlike our own passions. Might  uncertainty and toleration be its saving graces?  As I stood in freezing temperatures in Bradford’s Centenary Square trying unsuccessfully to get twentysomething Muslim women to tell me how they lived their lives, I started to have doubts about …

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