Gordon Brown is apparently preparing to make Britishness a theme of this week’s budget.
In an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Martha Kearney, he has denied, not very convincingly if you ask me, that this stance is intended to make it easier for him as a Scotsman to become Prime Minister.
This kind of appeal to Britishness simply doesn’t address the democratic deficit involved in a Scottish Prime Minister, sitting for a Scottish constituency, taking decisions over exclusively English matters.
I also find it interesting that, in defending the United Kingdom, Brown resorts to defending the British Empire.
Personally, I think the way to move on from apologising for the empire is not to rehabilitate it, but to move on from the institutions that were at its core, such as the union and the monarchy.
One reason why English identity is re-emerging may be because it enables that process to happen.