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Western Europe's national identities started to form in the 15th century and were fully formed by the end of the 17th century.

Belgian, German, Norwegian? Breton, gascogne, Sicilian, maybe even English?

Yes, I think I would stand by that, more or less. I did say national identities, not nation states. Sicily, for instance, has a distinct identity from the rest of Italy partly because it was part of the Spanish crown (along with Naples) until the 19th century.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I too meant national identities.

The Belgian one only formed in the 18th century, and the ones now poised to replace it are still forming. The German one was not indifferent from Panslavism in the 18th and most of even the 19th century, it transformed a lot in the process of unification and swallowing of local identities (which was still ongoing in the first half of the 20th century), and, say, would have been a lot different had Austria unified the rest, not Prussia. (Or, if both had unified a part, creating a big Northern and a big Southern Germany, divided by the Weißwurst-Äquator. Or, if Hitler's Anschluss, then supported by an Austrian majority, hadn't been undone.) To my knowledge, Gascogne identity, which was strong even at the time of the French Revolution, almost completely died out, while the Breton one is fading strongly lately. (Tho' I did see signs of Breton nationalism when I was in Brittany.) English was rather underdeveloped due to the British identity, and still is.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By George! I think you underestimate the strength of English identity. After all, they have their own international Football, Rugby and Cricket teams.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you can tell if they're English by the fact that they care about the cricket team. You can tell they're not English if they support whoever the English are playing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whenever I see someone reading the daily express I know they are English.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is some truth to what you say, but the England cricket team does represent England and Wales not just England.

For historical reasons the England and Wales Cricket Board calls its representative team England, but Welsh players take part in it. For example Simon Jones of Glamorgan played an important part in the Ashes series with Australia last year.

by Gary J on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 12:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, no demands for self-determination, for keeping taxes, no Estatut (or, at least, only mumblings). England is less developed in that respect than the Faroer Islands, another sports-nation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You also underestimate the importance of international sports teams. If you have that, who needs taxes, police, or statutes? Did you follow the controversy over the Catalan National Hockey Team?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think I unterestimate them - nowadays in Western Europe, nations are most strongly sports nations. (This is even recognised by some Euro-identity-boosterist EU types, who would like to see an EU football team beating Brazil.) I haven't heard of the Catalan Hockey Team, but it doesn't surprise me at all :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Catalan Hockey Team kicks ass. They were allowed to play in the international "B" division as a one-off and routed every single one of their opponents. Then when the issue came before the international federation, the Spanish government lobbied heavily to defeat the vote to allow a Catalan team.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't count England out.  There's all ready been some talk about devolving powers to the English regions, and there are areas like Cornwall that do have strong regional identities.  I think as a general rule that once nations accept the devolution of power to historic regions a general devolution into a federal system is likely.  Federalism is a viable alternative to regionalism.  By creating a general system for local autonomy, this new power base is tied to notions of subsidarity and not to romantic nationalisms.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 11:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe referenda to create english regions have failed, but on the other hand the restoration of the Mayor of London has been quite successful.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 06:59:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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