by Elias Blum
Britishness was always an imperial thing. It was an identity built for and by empire. Britishness as an idea and an ideal was not forged on the banks of the rivers Tweed and the Severn, but on the banks of the Ganges and the Nile.
All the institutions, the values, the habits, that made up the British state and the British establishment were, in their essence, imperial institutions – not designed for ruling a nation, but for ruling a whole imperial civilisation.
Unlike many on the left, I’m willing to see the good as well as the bad that the British empire did, and on balance I almost mourn its passing. But, good, bad, and indifferent, that empire died a long time ago, and the British state that gave rise to it, and the British institutions that sustained it, suddenly became redundant and absurd.
Today, it makes no sense to feel British as a political identity. One might as well feel Roman. I’m left with a certain nostalgia, with a certain strange longing, perhaps, for a Commonwealth that might have been, but it’s over.
Scotland’s future is European.
So is England’s but they don’t know that yet.