It’s increasingly unfashionable in some circles to celebrate your Britishness in England. A significant section of the Conservative Party are English Nationalists who think that it is smart to deny their Britishness – to his credit David Cameron is not one of them and he is on record as a supporter of the Union. The incipient English nationalism in some quarters is in part a response what is seen as and over-Scottishness in our governance in recent times; Gordon Brown is, of course, a Scot and the Scots educated Tony Blair was more Scottish than he often admitted. The existence of a Scottish Parliament and the fact that Scottish MPs in Westminster can vote on purely English matters is further fuel to the English Nationalist fire.

In Beijing it has been the Union Flag that has been flying high as the British team hauls in medal after medal. There are English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish in the team and the successes that they have had are truly British successes. I have yet to see a Scottish flag – even when the British competitor is from north of the border. This is a team united in its endeavours and united in its commitment. And the national anthem and the Union Flags celebrate British success – the national fervour is a truly British fervour, and commendable it is as well.

I am English and have never had a problem in celebrating my Englishness as well as my Britishness, and I see no conflict between the two. Our nation is the British nation – it has a proud history and I hope a proud future. Those who argue for the break up of the United Kingdom into its component parts deny this history and revert to an insularity that demeans them. As we watch the continuing British success in the Olympic Games I hope that all of us can relish this success and realise that it is symbolic of something bigger – a proper definition of who we are and what we stand for.

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