Lose the Delusion notices the strange relationship between three seemingly-contradictory ideologies: English — as opposed to British — nationalism, British Unionism and Euroscepticism:

One of the things that I really dislike about your typical Eurosceptic is that they appropriate a notion of ‘Britishness’ as a cover for what really amounts to parochial Englishness. While I am prepared to accept that there are Eurosceptics in both Scotland and Wales, the loudest and most vociferous opponents of the EU are most usually to be found in England. You can see this clearly in the blogosphere. Apart from the dedicated Eurosceptic sites, it is interesting that a number of the other ‘British’ blogs that rant and rave about Europe seem to have the word English prominently displayed in the title.

Anyway, I have always wondered how these English Eurosceptics, who seem to adore the British union, would respond when faced with the same arguments from Scots or Welsh nationalists as they deploy against Europe: the right to exercise national sovereignty, the right to rule themselves, the lack of democracy, the imposition of regulations from outside, etc. …

It’s a good point. It is clearly possible to oppose European integration based on an early 20th century concepts like sovereignty and national self-determination. While frequently deploying this rhetoric, the Unionist-Eurosceptic position clearly doesn’t come from this point of view, because it is committed to a supra-national statist project of its own within Britain.

While Unionist-Euroscepticism is hard to defend, English Nationalist-euroscepticism isn’t. To be hypocrites, English-nationalist eurosceptics would have to oppose Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Ireland devolution while supporting English devolution. I’m not sure all of them they do.

They might, for example, favour an English Parliament simply as a matter of institutional reform to avoid constitutional oddities like the infamous West Lothian Question.

Or you could be a pro-European British federalist supporting both devolution and European integration.

There’s clearly a lot of milage in a discussion of the relationship between the complex internal identity politics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and attitudes in that multi-national state toward the European Union and European integration.