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English Nationalism and Euroscepticism

Losing the Peace


Ben Wellings

This book seeks out the origins of contemporary English nationalism. Whilst much academic and political attention has been given to England’s place within the United Kingdom since devolution, the author argues that recent English nationalism actually derives from Britain’s troubled relationship with European integration. Drawing on political evidence from the former Empire, the debates surrounding EEC accession and the United Kingdom’s ongoing membership in the European Union, the author identifies the foundations of contemporary English nationalism. In doing so, he adds an important corrective to the debate about nationalism in England, pulling our gaze out from the United Kingdom itself and onto a wider field. Far from being ‘absent’, English nationalism as we know it today has been driven by resistance to European integration since the end of Empire in the 1960s.

«‘English Nationalism and Euroscepticism’ is an original work, analysing an important and surprisingly neglected aspect of contemporary British politics. It is well written, well argued and enjoyable to read.» (Vernon Bogdanor, Times Higher Education 05/2012)
«‘English Nationalism and Euroscepticism’ is the best thing to appear so far on emergent Anglo-nationalism, and likely to influence furious arguments over 2013 and ’14. Though not composed mainly with the Scottish referendum in mind, it ought to figure prominently in such debates, and have some effect on the eventual vote. Wellings in Canberra and his publisher Peter Lang (...) deserve congratulations, for both readability and timing.» (Tom Nairn, Open Democracy 02/2013)
«This is a well-written and well-argued book, which will undoubtedly be a useful resource to students and scholars interested in national identity formation, British specialists, and those concerned with the interplay between Euroscepticism and domestic politics. Its publication is also quite timely given the recent debates over the future of European integration as a result of the Eurozone crisis and internal developments in the UK, following the Scottish First Minister’s and British Prime Minister’s agreement to stage an independence referendum before the end of 2014.» (Sofia Vasilopoulou, Nations and Nationalism 19, 2013/1)