Sunday Herald: What is English nationalism … and is it on the rise?


By Vicky Allan

ON St George’s Day in the run-up to the election, George Osborne stood with a St George’s Cross flag and launched the Conservative English manifesto.

It’s not a flag I feel any attachment to, nor one that I can remember ever having waved. I have never once celebrated St George’s Day. But I am English. I say that to people from time to time, not really sure any longer what it means, feeling that it’s just some loose label, a random bit of my history, and not really who I am.

In recent weeks there seems to have been a rise in English national feeling. Perhaps it is wrong to call it nationalist, though at times a fevered xenophobia has seemed to bubble to the surface. Many said that David Cameron and the Conservative Party were stoking it. According to Paul Kingsnorth, author of Real England, the Prime Minister has “done very well at harnessing a belligerent Englishness that is scared of the SNP and is scared of Europe”.

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Picture courtesy of crabchick