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No one is telling Brits if British nationalism is on the rise

largeTrifles happen On St. George’s Day. There is no bank holiday on 23 April to celebrate England’s patron saint of dragon slaying. There are very few traditions. Fortunately, the Morris Dance is an English folk dance with bells and waving handkerchiefs. Politicians can make messages against the backdrop of the England flag. Boring liberals point out that St. George is a Turk and that dragons don’t exist. Apart from that, England’s National Day passed quietly. England is absent.

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Open a book, read a broadsheet or head to an academic conference, yet England is everywhere. Britain is undergoing a “reawakening of the British national consciousness”, notes Jason Cowley in Who We Are Now: The Story of Modern England. A pair of academics, Alisa Henderson and Richard Wyn Jones, say Britishness is “the driving force behind” the recent political upheaval in the UK. Another author warned Britain “cannot survive British nationalism”. It’s a genre that loves to quote GK Chesterton’s poem: “Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but don’t quite forget / For we are Englanders who never spoke.” According to intellectuals, the people of England is screaming.

If British nationalism is on the march, no one tells the Brits. Political scientist Sir John Curtis argues that, like the life of St George, the rise of British identity is largely a myth.UK left even after devolving powers to Scotland and Wales European Unionthe rise and fall of U.K. The proportion of Britons who consider themselves mainly or only English has barely changed in the four-game winning streak for the Independents and Conservatives. If anything, it’s gone down. According to the UK Social Attitudes Survey, 31% fell into this range in 1999, the most comprehensive snapshot of opinion. In 2020, 22% did.

The chronicler of British nationalism lashed out at the 2011 census, which revealed that a whopping 58% of England’s residents thought they spoke only English. Jump forward a decade and that number plummets to 15%. What caused this shift? Poor investigation. In 2011, “English” was the first option, and “British” was the fifth option; in 2021, “United Kingdom” topped the list. If British patriotism hadn’t extended to the lower box on the census form, it might not have taken root.

New nationalism is equally hard to spot in British politics.British nationalism is often cited as the driving force behind Britain’s departure from the UK European Union. England accounts for 85% of the country’s population, and it contributed 87% of the Brexit vote. But the British vote was not enough to win the 2016 referendum. Support for furloughed Scots (38% of the Scottish electorate) is also needed. A majority of voters in Wales voted to leave. The vote of 44% of Northern Ireland residents who supported “Brexit” was as valid as the vote of Kent. Brexit is British.

England whispers during a national election. The 2015 general election, in which the Conservative Party draped the English flag, was portrayed as a breach of British nationalism. Advertisements showing then-Labour leader Ed Miliband supporting Scottish nationalists were everywhere. But Labor increased its vote share and number of seats in England at that election. It was the collapse of Scotland that broke the party.

Under Boris Johnson, by contrast, the Conservatives have presented a vision that barely mentions England. In 2019, the Conservative Party officially won its largest majority in 40 years. Oddly enough, one of the few people who noticed the shift in British patriotism was Donald Trump, idiot scholar Who said: “I asked Boris, ‘Where is England? You don’t use too much anymore.'”

Disgruntled Englishmen were said to be jealous of the devolution enjoyed by Scotland and Wales. Oddly enough, supporting the British Parliament remains a minority pursuit. Only one in five British voters support one.A system called “British Votes for British Laws” in which Britons Member of ParliamentThe s vet legislation, which only affects England, was passed in 2015 with much fanfare. In theory, the idea is popular. However, it was quietly scrapped in 2021. Few noticed; even fewer cared.

The obsession with the needs of the British electorate is understandable. A small number of flag-waving, pro-Brexit voters and committed British voters have dominated certain seats in past elections.leave European Union Upending half a century of British policy, it makes sense to delve into the motivations of Brexit’s biggest supporters. But the British electorate is huge. He contains many.

These days, if you say you’re British, you’re on TV

In fact, Britishness has had little effect on Britain. It’s not surprising when the concept is so poorly defined. In “England, Your England,” George Orwell sums up the country, eloquently describing a sight common to any industrial country (“queues beyond the exchange of labour”) and the many Values ​​shared by all human beings (“respect for the law”).The result makes Britain’s best essayist sound like Alan Partridge, a boorish fictional character television The host wrote a ridiculous poem about working-class life: “Giros, glue-sniffing, dogs on ropes / But I see people with dreams and hopes.”

If Orwell stumbled, it’s no wonder today’s writers fail. Two perspectives on British nationalism are offered. Some define it as a bitter ideology loathing its European neighbors and hating its Celtic partners. The other offers a softer version of civic nationalism, with Gareth Southgate, the eloquent and intelligent manager of the English football team, as its patron saint. British Sex is nothing more than a conspiracy by male writers desperate to combine a love of football with a degree in English Literature. Both of these photos do not match the facts.

British nationalism does not exist because it is not necessary. Nationalism thrives when people feel frustrated. But what England wants, England gets. The UK generally prefers a Conservative government, so the UK usually has one.england wants to quit European Union, the UK did leave. Having your own way is not a recipe for resentment. So on St. George’s Day, do the most British thing possible: forget about England. It hasn’t spoken yet.

Read more from our UK politics columnist Bagehot:
Rishi Sunak, a very conservative technocrat (April 13)
National Swing Man, old and new tribes of British voters (April 5)
Editing Roald Dahl’s Sensitivity Is Stupid (March 23)

Also: How the Bagehot column got its name

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