Author First name, Last name, Institution

Justin Gibbins

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Britain, Europe and National Identity

Publication Date



How is Britain seen, most recently, by its respective political leaders? Putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain has long since been a political objective of government figures, and an unabashed celebration of British history, values and achievements is not hard to find. Neither is it difficult to find common themes, images and ideas employed to project a certain representation of national identity. An example of the recent state of play can perhaps be gleaned from the party conference speeches of 2013. In the Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister David Cameron stated the following: Apparently some Russian official said: Britain is “just a small island that no-one pays any attention to.” Really? Let me just get this off my chest. When the world wanted rights, who wrote Magna Carta? When they wanted representation, who built the first Parliament? When they looked for compassion, who led the abolition of slavery? When they searched for equality, who gave women the vote? When their freedom was in peril, who offered blood, toil, tears and sweat? And today—whose music do they dance to? Whose universities do they flock to? Whose football league do they watch? Whose example of tolerance of people living together from every nation, every religion, young and old, straight and gay? (Cameron, 2013a)


Springer Nature


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access