- Available in: Print and PDF
- Published: January 1, 2007
Edited by Nick Johnson.
Published 2007 (ISBN: 1 905370 18 0) Price £9.95
The aim of this pamphlet is to look at the ways in which issues of diversity and equality interact with the notion of a positively stated and recognisable understanding of “Britishness”. Many contemporary political speeches across the political spectrum deal with Britishness. For example, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has sought to argue for a common ground of progressive policy that reflects a range of “enduring British values”. However, there are clearly potential tensions between the desire to celebrate common values, and the notion of Britain as a nation that is welcoming and accommodating of a wide range of cultures and belief systems. The essays in this collection offer stimulating and thought-provoking accounts of what a progressive national feeling might encompass, and how it might be encouraged and shaped in the coming years. Over the course of their contributions, the authors address a wide range of questions germane to this debate: Is it possible to develop a statement of Britishness that transcends the wide range of beliefs and values that exist within the population? Can public institutions really claim to be difference-blind, or is it a matter of supporting and bolstering the public validity of group identities? How can the internally fluid and contested nature of “group identity” be recognised and taken into account when developing policies and shaping the requirements of British citizenship? What are the best ways to understand and respond progressively to the patterns of mass migration and the appearance of new cultures and communities within the British population? Can “Britishness” be understood in terms of the way we approach issues of difference within our borders?