Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quote of the day

The people responsible for asymmetric devolution have put the interests of individual UK nations above those of the UK as a whole and in my book that makes them nationalists (Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish). To wish to help limit the damage and remedy the unfairness by advocating equal constitutional rights for the people of England makes me, I now realise, not an English nationalist but a believer in, and supporter of, the United Kingdom.

Andrew, at The English Question.


Anonymous said...

" ... I now realise, not an English nationalist but a believer in, and supporter of, the United Kingdom."

so, it makes him a British nationalist then.

It's all about adherence to an imagined community/nation.

If first allegience to Wales makes you a Welsh nationalist, then first allegience to Britain/UK makes you a British nationalist.

O'Neill said...

Depends (obviously) on your definition of nationalism.

Here's something relating to that I've written before:

There are almost as many definitions of "nationalism" as there are nations, but in order to attempt to answer the above question, some working parameters of both nationalism and Unionism obviously need to be set up- this one from M Crawford Young of the UCLA International Institute is as good as any I’ve seen:

"Nationalism I would define as an ideology claiming that a given human population has a natural solidarity based on shared history and a common destiny. This collective identity as a historically constituted people crucially entails the right to constitute an independent or autonomous political community. The idea of nationalism takes form historically in tandem with the doctrine of popular sovereignty: that the ultimate source of authority lies in the people, not the ruler or government. The foregoing definition of nationalism will be found in any classic text with minor variations."

You can be a supporter and believer of the United Kingdom for many reasons other than that belief that there is amongst its people there is a "natural solidarity based on shared history and a common destiny." He's certainly a British patriot then, but without knowing more information not necessarily a British nationalist.

rag doll said...

"Nationalism I would define as an ideology claiming that a given human population has a natural solidarity based on shared history and a common destiny."

There are many examples of nationalism that do not conform to this definition. Belgium nationalists never asserted that the Flemish and the Walloons had a shared history.

Sometimes nationalism can have exclusively religious motivations: the Irish Catholic Confederates were composed of two different ethnic groups (Gaelic Irish and Old English) and had largely lived largely in isolation for 6 centuries, yet they were undoubtedly nationalist, at least under any meaningful definition. The Catholic religion in Ireland has for the last four centuries provided a seamless national unifier between even the most disparate groups, for good or for ill.

O'Neill said...

I don't know enough about Belgian nationalism to comment, although I'd guess they're believers in the centrlised state and therefore also the concept of the "shared destiny"?

Your analysis of th effect of religion on Irish nationalism is interesting and would probably not be one the majority of present day Irish nationalists would adhere to.

Catholicism since the mid 19 century has been a common factor amongst Irish nationalism (for all their supposed adherence to secular, socialist-marxist principles, it wasn't Das Kapital that the majority of the Hunger Strikers turned to on their death-beds, but the Church and a priest to deliver them their last rites)...but, still, it doesn't define Irish nationalism as such. With Irish nationalism, I'd say the quotation I listed provides a pretty accurate definition.

Toque said...

Depends very much on the definition of nationalism. To me it sounds like he's an English nationalism but not a separatist.

For me the Scottish Claim of Right (1988) was a nationalist statement because it advocated the sovereignty of the Scottish people. That was signed by Gordon Brown, so does that make him a nationalist, or just stupid. Canon Kenyon Wright is of the opinion that most MPs who signed didn't understand the constitutional implications. Brown probably did.

I'd say he was both a Scottish nationalist and a British nationalist who believes that the two can be reconciled.

The fact that he doesn't want the same for England either makes him a bigotted racist or someone who doesn't think that British nationalism and English nationalism can be reconciled.

dub said...


So you don't believe in peopular sovereignty? Could you explain why?