Linda Colley (1996) identified three key ‘glues’ for the British Union state created in 1707: extensive wars with France; a uniting sense of Protestantism; and a burgeoning commercial and military empire. This article explores how two key parts of this project – namely, ‘unionism’ and a collective sense of ‘Britishness’ – has become increasingly disconnected in different parts of the United Kingdom. In particular, it examines the extent to which, following Colley's historical argument, white and Protestant citizens remain more likely to identify with political Unionism and Britishness as compared to other ethnic and religious groups. The discussion includes an analysis of the degree to which ‘feeling British’ and ‘valuing the Union’ overlap, and whether a connected unionism can be discerned against trends which increasingly place emphasis on the sub-state nation as a key political community of attachment and identity.
- national identity