And the winner is…nationalism

George Moody reflects on the outcome of May’s General Election

photo: iStock

photo: iStock

The voters have spoken. Yes, the Conservatives are back, but it is in no small part due to the rise of nationalism.

So what is nationalism? It can be defined in different ways. In one way, the emphasis is on the feeling of affection or identity with your own country. Such a sense of loyalty or pride at being a member of a particular nation is often highly visible during sporting events. For those of us lucky enough to be present at the London 2012 Olympics, it is hard to forget the pleasure of being part of a great national moment. We had put on this great show, even if we had actually done nothing more than buy a ticket. It warmed the heart of a nation.

Stronger sense of identity

Such an attachment to land and culture can also be expressed as a desire for separation, for independence, for self-direction. The rise of nationalist parties in the General Election acted as a focus for this stronger sense of identity as difference, and may redefine our political and geographical landscape. The strength of this sentiment seemed to catch the main parties by surprise, inspiring new policy promises on Scotland and Europe.

On the European stage, we can observe this drive in the growth of movements that bear little or no relation to one another in any other way. From far-right parties who narrowly define nationality in terms of ethnic origin, to moderate or right-wing parties who seek greater control over immigration, to left-wing parties who seek independence, the ambition for a more closely defined national identity seems strong and to be on the increase.

What does Scripture say?

While as Christians we often have a ready response to the injustice and inequality some of these movements can spawn, we seem less able to respond to what appears to be…(to read more click here)

George Moody is head of Religious Studies and Philosophy at a senior independent school. He was the subject of the Work in Progress column interview in the May issue of en.

This article was first published in the June issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.