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On the eve of the European elections, patriotism – or at least politicians' appropriation of that condition – is much in the air. I shall refrain from any temptation to refer to scoundrelly tendencies and consider instead, the gentler, and what I believe to be the more fruitful concept of a 'sense of place.'
At the end of this month (July 2013), a small change will take place which will make not the tiniest ripple in the political fabric of our country. In fact, it will go completely unnoticed beyond my family and immediate circle of friends. That it represents a significant change in my life, is in that sense, neither here nor there.
Politicians tend to become grandiose when they are trying to sell us an idea. The rhetorical use of the concept of 'nation' to corral us together under a conveniently high-sounding label has, in recent months, tried to sign us up to being both 'one nation' and an 'aspiration nation.'