If it has to be asked, there’s no answer: What is Britishness anyway? What has made someone British has not been a single quality or small set of qualities that distinguishes him from foreigners. No such bright line was ever needed, because until very recently there hadn’t been demographically significant immigration to Britain for over a thousand years. To be British was to be a member by inheritance in some part of a very diverse, complex and localized social world.
Try to turn that into something large communities of new third-world immigrants can sign on to and what you get will be as silly as the suggestions in the sidebar of the article. The best that could be hoped for would be something like what Lord Tebbit suggests, an approach pioneered in America by Abraham Lincoln and accepted here until the 60s: replace other particular attachments by nationality, and treat nationality as a matter of attachment to the history that led to the present society of ordered liberty. That understanding of social connectedness had a rather successful hundred-year run. In the end, however, it proved too thin to stand up. Even with a particular history behind it the conception of ordered liberty is not a self-sustaining basis for social order, and in the long run such conceptual problems are socially decisive. Why think the approach will work better in today’s Britain than in the former America?