Today is the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments. The indefatigable Mark Perryman is marking the occasion with the launch of a new anthology of essays Breaking Up Britain : Four Nations after a Union.
Most Observer readers would probably feel a little uncomfortable holding up bits of paper to form a flag of St George at a gig. Kitty Empire, Observer
Billy Bragg opened the second half of his 2008 St George’s Day celebration at London’s Barbican theatre with Jerusalem. And, as Kitty Empire put it in her review, the audience responded ‘coyly’ when Billy invited them to join in by holding above their heads the carefully laid out sheets of red and white paper distributed on the auditorium’s seats to form one huge St George Cross. Hardly an exercise of Leni Riefenstahl proportions, but more than enough, apparently, to get Observer readers searching for any excuse not to join in.(A Jigsaw State (pdf))
In a previous collection of essays, 2008's Imagined Nation, Perryman explored the possibilities for English national identity in the wake of devolution. A session on English nationalism at last year's Compass conference provided the inspiration for the new volume, which broadens the debate to look at the prospects for all of the nations in the UK.