"England, with all thy faults, I love thee still."
—William Cowper, The Task, II
For the last 300 years, "England" and "Britain" have been largely synonymous. When Glasgow-born General Sir John Moore lay dying at Corunna, his last words were "I hope the people of England will be satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice." Meanwhile, Nelson's "England Expects. . ." signal is supposed to have been hoisted by a Scottish signaller.
But the specifically English component of the British body politic was bound eventually to obtrude itself into the public eye as governmental policies weakened the links between the constituent parts of Britain. Devolution has given Scottish and Welsh MPs the right to vote on matters concerning England, but not the other way around. The blatant injustice of this "West Lothian Question" understandably annoys many English people. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland is also being edged out of the United Kingdom, thanks to the postcolonial expedient of turning insurrectionists into government ministers. The 200th anniversary of the Act of Union passed in January 2001 without any government recognition.
Other factors are increasing English self-awareness. The government is steadily giving greater powers to its beloved E.U. bureaucrats, who envisage dividing England into nine regions,...