British nationalism asserts that the British are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of the British, in a definition of Britishness that may include people of English, Scottish, Welsh, Ulster Scots and Irish descent. British nationalism is closely associated with British unionism, which seeks to uphold the political union that is the United Kingdom, or strengthen the links between the countries of the United Kingdom.
British nationalism's unifying identity descends from the ancient Britons who dwelt on the island of Great Britain. British nationalism grew to include people outside Great Britain, in Ireland, because of the 1542 Crown of Ireland Act, which declared that the crown of Ireland was to be held by the ruling monarch of England as well as Anglo-Irish calls for unity with Britain.
It is characterised as a "powerful but ambivalent force in British politics". In its moderate form, British nationalism has been a civic nationalism, emphasizing both cohesion and diversity of the people of the United Kingdom, its dependencies, and its former colonies. Recently however, nativist nationalism has arisen based on fear of Britain being swamped by immigrants; this anti-immigrant nativist nationalism has manifested politically in the British National Party and other nativist nationalist movements. Politicians, such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron of the Conservative Party, have sought to promote British nationalism as a progressive cause.
Nationalism and unionism
Nowadays, as in the past, unionist movements exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These movements seek specifically to retain the ties between those areas and the rest of the UK, in opposition to civic nationalist movements. Such unionist movements include the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party and the Scottish Unionist Party. In Scotland and Wales the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and UKIP support the Union. British nationalists are generally supportive of unionism.
History of British nationalism
In the 21 century
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List of British nationalist parties
- British National Party
- Liberty GB
- Britain First
- British Democratic Party (2013)
- Democratic Unionist Party
- Traditional Unionist Voice
- Pegida UK
- English Defence League
- British unionism
- Cornish nationalism
- English nationalism
- Irish nationalism
- Scottish nationalism
- Welsh nationalism
- Ulster nationalism
- Motyl 2001, pp. 62-63.
- Guntram H. Herb, David H. Kaplan. Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview: A Global Historical Overview. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2008.
- Motyl 2001, pp. 62-64.
- Miller 2005, p. 133.
- Brendan Bradshaw, Peter Roberts. British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707. P. 302.
- Smith, Smith & White 1988, p. 61.
- Motyl 2001, pp. 64.
- Conservative Party leader David Cameron advocates liberal or civic British nationalism: "Being British is one of the most successful examples of inclusive civic nationalism in the world." http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2006/09/Cameron_I_will_never_take_Scotland_for_granted.aspx www.conservatives.com Official party site (26 September 2006)
- Miller, William Lockley (2005), "Anglo-Scottish Relations from 1900 to Devolution and Beyond", Proceedings of the British Academy, Oxford University Press, 128, ISBN 978-0-19-726331-0
- Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). Encyclopedia of Nationalism, Volume II. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-227230-7.
- Smith, Michael; Smith, Steve; White, Brian (1988), British foreign policy: tradition, change, and transformation, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-04-327081-3