Ben Wellings
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England’s dilemmas
National questions in a global era
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This chapter examines the continuing elision between England, Britain and the United Kingdom that exists in political rhetoric despite twenty years of devolution. Accordingly this chapter shows how English nationalism is simultaneously expressed by and subsumed within a defence of British sovereignty that leads to a particular framing of major political – and especially constitutional – dilemmas in British politics. From the 1990s this defence of British sovereignty led to a nationalist logic of leaving the EU and reconnecting the United Kingdom with a global-era version of the ‘English-speaking peoples’: the Anglosphere. By making English nationalism the independent variable, this chapter lays the foundations of the argument that Brexit was a moment of English nationalism.

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