The friendly face of British nationalism

Posted: January 8, 2009 in british nationalism, devolution, ethnicity, integration, national minority, race

For an exercise in state sponsored British Nationalism you can’t do much better than the –What does it mean to be British?– article from the Governance of Britain website.

The opinions of the great and the good are open for comments, so if you can be bothered…. Below is a response to comments made by contributor Hafsa on the Trevor Phillips piece who suggested that Welsh, Scottish, English and, I infer, Cornish are purely ethnic identities.

Hafsa,

You are making the mistake of thinking of Welsh, Cornish, English and Scottish identities as only ethnic and British as only civic. Given the opportunity the natural and historic territories – Cornwall, England, Scotland, Wales (perhaps some English regions too)- could also have vibrant and inclusive civic identities as you say the UK does.

This to my mind would be much preferable to the current homogenising and imperialist Britishness as it would respect the indigenous national minorities and historic identities of these isles as well as creating an open and welcoming society with devolved decision making powers much closer to the people.

Take a look at Scotland with its devolved institutions and strong civic culture, they are really leading the pack. What we see is the Scottish culture and ethnic identity respected side by side with the creation of a civic, open and welcoming society. A much better situation if, as good Europeans, we are serious about EU regionalism and subsidiarity.

If you ignore the indigenous ethno-regional identities of Britain and refuse to dote them with their own institutions and government structures, if you prevent the creation of healthy civic cultures for the home nations that both respect historic identity and new diversity, then you are asking for extreme and xenophobic forms of ethnic nationalism to take root.
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