British national branding

I think Stephen Moss is wrong to suggest that the British have only recently become patriotic–I think they probably always were to a much greater degree than BBC programming suggested. Some kind of shift in perceptions of Britain has, however, taken place. Whereas the Union Jack used to associated with the European far right, now you often see normal kids here wearing t-shirts with it printed large. A similar shift has taken place in the opinions of third world immigrants who I talk to: 10 years ago, the UK was still regarded as something of a soft touch, but now the unambitious talk of staying in Spain while guys who run businesses and want to make serious money without state interference tend to regard it as a mere staging post on the way to a British residence permit. I loathe linguistic and racial patriotism, but, as a British passport-holder, that makes me feel fairly cheerful.

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