June 10, 2012


Recent years have seen an increased interest in issues of national identity throughout Europe. The United Kingdom is no exception, even though in that country multiculturalism may have been abandoned as government policy, but its legacy is everywhere. In this post Norman Geras enters the debate recently started by the Labour Party’s Hilary Benn and Ed Milliband, ans shows why, in his opinion (and on the basis of “general philosophical considerations”), those who think there is no such thing as “English identity” are wrong.

1 comment:

  1. More than anything else, 'Englishness', 'Scottishness', 'Irishness', 'Welshness' and the main inborn characteristic of all UK descendants, are based on its history, the pride and respect of its past (excluding its shameful past) which is mirrored in its historical traditions which even continue today in some of its ancient colonies.
    But the British Isles has also the advantage of being cut off from the continent, and having a climate where virtually everything can grow (except dates and bananas without green houses). Despite its modest size it's full of geographical diversity, and this is also culturally reflected by its inhabitants.
    If one first takes into consideration the Magna Carta (reluctantly signed by King John) then the divorce from Catholicism reluctantly undertaken by Henry VIII, which also accelerated the birth of democracy. Then Queen Elizabeth I, which set a precedent regarding the capacity of women to rule a nation, and the golden age of her reign which of course included Shakespeare, there is already a great deal to be proud of.
    Despite the enormous cultural richness of other European nations of the Renaissance epoch, they then largely consisted of Dukedoms, baronies or republics (such as Venice) or the Papacy itself, etc., at least until Napoléon came along and gave the Latin and Germanic nations more reason to become strong nations.