Julia Stapleton

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations



This article explores the different interpretations of England's position within the wider unit of Britain from which all the other entanglements flowed. It then examines the deep well of patriotism that ‘England’ has engendered since at least the mid-nineteenth century, still firmly within the ‘civilizational perspective’. Additionally, the article reports the English shadow that was cast across understandings of Britain in the inter-war period, but also continuing contestation of England itself among popular writers on both the left and the right. Enoch Powell's conception of Englishness in the wake of mass immigration within well-established traditions of English Conservatism, liberalism, and patriotism is addressed. It elaborates the recent charges of shallowness, bigotry, and insularity levelled against the English people as the cracks in their imperialist and British façade have become increasingly apparent. As a result of devolution, there has been a considerable decline among the English of a primary British identity and a corresponding increase in primary English identities.

Keywords: England; Enoch Powell; English Conservatism; English liberalism; English patriotism; British identity

Article.  7484 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics

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