To The Australian Greg Sheridan states truly that if Brexit is defeated "the very idea of Britain will be humiliated" ("British poll is truly an election for the ages, a hinge of history", 2-3/11). It is worth asking what that idea is. A triumphalist answer in 2019 that ignores the many failings of the British in their long history will not do. More modestly, it is possible to find an answer in the institution of the English monarchy and the pledges made by the Sovereign at the time of coronation. In simple terms British tradition honours the sacred and recognises its primacy in the affairs of state. Secondly, it upholds an idea of service and an ideal of chivalry drawn from Christian teaching. Thirdly, it recognises the dignity of the person and the crucial importance of political freedom in the life of the nation. Fourthly, it possesses a magnificent legal tradition that, properly wielded, offers the people protections from power-mongers and selfish elites. Incorporation into the EU threatens the British with the loss of all of these benefits and the effective end of their national story.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic