The Bulldog That Didn’t Bark: Nationalism and Political Identity in England
This chapter considers why English nationalism has been absent for so long, achieved by taking an historical approach to consider how English national identity has been constructed, and the role it played alongside a cosmopolitan British identity. It examines the development of an English political identity in the 1990s, and how this has shaped British politics in the decades since. It makes the case that the conflation of English and British identities contributed to the absence of English nationalism, and whilst no political party has fully embraced English nationalism yet, there is clear evidence that the Conservatives have played on English political grievances to great effect. It also examines nationalist terrorists who have committed acts of violence in England (such as David Copeland and Thomas Mair) but makes the case that they conceive of their nation as Britain rather than England. The chapter finishes with a discussion of Cornish nationalism and the limited terrorist violence that was witnessed in Cornwall. As with Scotland and Wales, it is shown that a handful of actors have gained publicity far beyond others in the national movement for carrying out low-level act of violence.