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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

What’s in a name?

Afua Hirsch’s call to “reframe what it means to be British” (“Rainbow nation, racist backstory,” April) reminded me of a conversation I had at school in the 1960s. None of us thought that English was an identity worth having. I seized on my father’s Scottishness, a friend claimed Viking origins, the Celtic nations were OK, generic “Northern” was acceptable—but we mockpitied those who could only claim “English.” The word “British” never crossed our minds. We were pupils at a girls’ grammar school in Berkshire. I suppose others elsewhere may have known what it meant to be British. We did not.

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In Prospect’s May issue: Neal Ascherson, Simon Jenkins, John Curtice and Frances Cairncross examine the growing divide between England and Scotland. Ascherson argues that England has become Scotland’s “neurotic neighbour,” while Jenkins says we should learn from history and prepare for Scotland to leave the Union. Cairncross and Curtice debate whether Scotland could afford to break with England and whether a fresh referendum on independence is actually winnable. Also in this issue: Jason Burke questions whether the world will be a safer place after the downfall of Islamic State, Paul Hilder examines how politics got tangled in the web and Michael White reviews a new book charting the history of the Daily Mail