With Scottish independence looming, the left must find a space for a vision of England based on our complex identities
For too long, one version of Englishness has dominated British politics. Proud, white, both confident and defensive, often xenophobic, always anti-Europe, this Englishness has changed as little as the tabloid front pages that have bellowed it out for decades. Brexit is one of its greatest victories. The continuing Conservative ascendancy is another.
Even formidable politicians of other parties have struggled to popularise a different national identity. Gordon Brown got lost in well-meaning but unconvincing generalities about the British national character: in 2007, he praised our “tolerance”, “decency”, and love of “fair play” and “liberty”.