Nationalism has reasserted itself today as the political force of our times, remaking European politics wherever one looks. Britain is no exception, and in the midst of Brexit, it has even become a vanguard of nationalism's confident return to the mainstream. Brexit, in the course of generating a historically unique standard of sociopolitical uncertainty and constitutional intrigue, tore apart the two-party compact that had defined the parameters of political contestation for much of twentieth-century Britain. This book offers a wide-ranging picture of the different theoretical accounts relevant to addressing nationalism. It briefly repudiates the increasingly common attempts to read contemporary politics through the lens of populism. The book explores the assertion of 'muscular liberalism' and civic nationalism. It examines more traditional, conservative appeals to racialised notions of blood, territory, purity and tradition as a means of reclaiming the nation. The book also examines how neoliberalism, through its recourse to discourses of meritocracy, entrepreneurial self and individual will, alongside its exaltation of a 'points-system' approach to the ills of immigration, engineers its own unique rendition of the nationalist crisis. There are a number of important themes through which the process of liberal nationalism can be documented - what Arun Kundnani captured, simply and concisely, as the entrenchment of 'values racism'. These include the 'faux-feminist' demonisation of Muslims.
and concisely, as the entrenchment of ‘valuesracism’.52 These include the aforementioned ‘faux-feminist’ demonisation of
Muslims.53 It also involves the weaponisation of an entirely imagined endangering of free speech and secularism that the accommodation of Muslim
demands engenders. Note for instance that those decrying the putative erosion of free speech are actually decrying the excess of free speech available
to critics. Put simply, the free speech warriors are exercised primarily by the
fact that others are able to deploy the free speech affordances available
these prized liberal
virtues, virtues that are foregrounded as constitutive of the national self.
The argument of Arun Kundnani and his concept of ‘valuesracism’ is
also helpful here, certainly in relation to liberal demagoguery vis-à-vis
European Muslims.44 This is the basic postulation that Muslim culture is
said to be uniquely adversarial to a liberal value base, the base that defines
the nation. The opportunistic recourse to certain putatively feminist themes
regarding gender and sexuality in propagating an ethnically aggressive
civic nationalism becomes a