With the spectre of a selfish nationalism on the rise around the world, in this important new book former Prime Minister Gordon Brown looks at why it has grown in influence and what we can do about it. This is vital not only to maintain the cohesion of the four nations of the United Kingdom but to ensure that its worst aspects do not lead to future conflict.
In the book, Brown shows how the roots of nationalism often lie in economic insecurity, a sense of cultural loss, a disquiet about social standing and a breakdown in trust in political elites. Modern nationalist movements have weaponised these complaints and framed them as a modern form of cultural discrimination, political exclusion and economic exploitation. Of course, wherever they exist, they have to be fought, and he shares a range of measures that can achieve this.
He also assesses how nationalism is impacting the UK, with a particular focus on Scotland. Only by addressing the underlying causes that nationalism taps into, can we combat an over-assertive Scottishness that forces a choice with Britishness, or an over-aggressive Britishness that attempts to diminish people's Scottishness. We cannot ignore the importance of identity, people's need for recognition and their need to belong, nor can we forget a series of pressing issues that have for too long been ignored and yet undermine national unity.
Failure to tackle these issues will mean Britain falling apart. But if we address them, we have the opportunity to create a United Kingdom that is united by more than its name. It will be brought together by finding common ground around shared objectives and shared values.
Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer, a role he held for more than a decade, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his leadership at the 2009 London G20 summit where he mobilised global leaders to walk the world back from the financial brink. Today he is fully engaged in international development work serving as the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, spearheading efforts to deliver a quality and inclusive education for all of the world's children, and as the World Health Organization's Ambassador for Global Health Finance. Brown has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. A Member of Parliament between 1983 and 2015, he lives in Fife, Scotland, and is married to Sarah, and the couple have two teenagers.
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