Discover Society, Issue 45, June 2017
The results of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom came just in time to add some comments to our newly published book, Nation Class and Resentment: the politics of national identity in England Scotland and Wales. In these comments, we claimed the results tended to confirm some principal arguments we had advanced. We wrote of Scotland and Wales too, but on England we argued that a certain “resentful nationalism” was growing in strength and playing a new part in English and British politics. It was grounded partly in the discontents of the working class population, and embraced opposition to immigration, a dislike of multiculturalism and political correctness, as well as a distrust of politics and politicians. There is a matching, if less strident, English nationalism in sections of the middle and upper classes, and some of these voices were heard during the campaign. Since sending off our typescript and the present we have had time to think more about class, English national identity and resentment – and its relationship to new populist discourses, and the Leave vote in the EU referendum.