• May 17, 2017

    Samuel Johnson's epithet does not mean that all patriots are scoundrels.

  • February 1, 2015

    At the recent Churchill commemorations David Cameron said the quality he admired most about the war time leader was his patriotism. Mr Cameron frequently talks about patriotism, but it is sometimes difficult to understand what his idea of being patriotic is.

  • May 21, 2014

    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.'

  • January 6, 2014

    It is an instantly recognised and powerful image which has endured for over a century. The foreshortened pointing finger, extravagant moustaches and braided military cap of Lord Kitchener have been utilised across a wide range of advertising since they were first employed to tell young men that their country needed them.

  • October 16, 2012

    Writing in the Observer on 14 October, the paper's chief political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley presented readers with a composite of the speeches given by the leaders of the three main parties at their recent conferences. It is an amusing swipe at the banalities and dog-whistles of political rhetoric, which you can read here: but it is also a reminder of something ugly and delusional which underlies that rhetoric.

  • June 4, 2012

    Almost thirty years ago, I went to the Yorkshire Dales with a group of friends to undertake an ascent of the Three Peaks. Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough make for a stiff day's walking. But we were very young and the challenge of quantity was more significant to us than the quality of more leisured ascent.

  • March 14, 2011

    That senior US politician Newt Gingrich tried to be forgiven for his infidelities while using “patriotism” and “overworking” excuses is what leads many to see a usually serious act turning out to have been rather comic, says Martin Marty, reporting on the media response in North America.

  • June 26, 2010

    As hundreds of local events and a massive media campaign get underway for the second Armed Forces Day, peace-building NGOs are urging government to invest in conflict transformation.

  • April 23, 2010
  • April 2, 2010

    A leading Mennonite college in the USA has started to play a version of the national anthem. Student David Jost is one of the objectors. He argues that loyalty to the God of Jesus Christ precludes endorsing nationalism and state violence.