IPPR event on public attitudes about Englishness and English devolution

I’ve mentioned previously that IPPR have been leading some very interesting survey work about public attitudes to devolution and self-government in England.  The report based on that work is going to be published toward the end of January, titled ‘The English dog that finally barked: Understanding the new politics of Englishness’.  To mark the launch, there will be an event at IPPR’s offices on Buckingham Street, London WC2, with speakers including Richard Wyn Jones from Cardiff University and Mike Kenny from QMUL.  It will be at 2 pm on Thursday 26 January.

Further details about the seminar are available here, and those interested in attending should contact Guy Lodge at g.lodge@ippr.org to book a place.

UPDATE: I understand that John Denham MP and David Davis MP have also been invited to speak.

FURTHER UPDATE, 23 January: Those looking for the IPPR report on attitudes in England can download it from here.


Filed under English questions, Events, Public opinion

2 responses to “IPPR event on public attitudes about Englishness and English devolution

  1. Ted Harvey

    I was much taken by David Marquand’s assertions on BBC Radio Scotland’s Newsweek Scotland last weekend (much of which I suspect was in his preceding piece in the Gruniad?). Newsweek is a programme always worth listening to just to hear the, by turns, censorious, lugubrious and bemused tones of Angus MacLeod’s (of TheTimes) in his weekly review of the newspapers.

    In an eclectic and roaming discussion, Marquand saw a real and growing identity problem for the English. He attributed that to their lack of any previous notion of a ‘shared’ or ‘double’ national identity. He pointed out that the Scots and the Welsh have long lived with a sense of being a) Welsh or Scottish and at the same time being b) British.

    For the English, as the senior and overwhelmingly dominant partner in the Union, there was a comfortable default assumption/conflation of ‘English’ being ‘British’ and vice versa (Hence the ‘English’ beat Napoleon at Waterloo, notwithstanding that it was United Kingdom army, and that the Allies on the ‘English’ side would not have won without the steadfast and impenetrable Scottish Highland squares).

    That means, in the Marquand assertion, that the current questioning of the Union, and the European Union adventure, ramps up the issue of ‘what is ‘English’ or ‘what is the English identity’. I was intrigued by how Marquand suggested that the Welsh and Scottish modern histories of shared or twin identities is why these groupings are more comfortable within the EU than the English ever have been… or are likely to ever be.

    Incidentally, I think that much of the continuing work on ‘Englishness’ is still missing important elements (partly because much of that work is carried out by or for metro-London based entities). For example, I have found that an informal discussion around the theme can have very different nuances and even overt outcomes dependent on whether the conversation is held in Northern England or in Greater London geographies. I also sense that the complexities of ethnicity within the resident populations within geographical England are still barely understood.

    On that latter point, and to make a wholly subjective observation, I was surprised to read ‘research findings’ earlier in 2011 that ethnic minorities of the black or Asian ilk were more prone to describe themselves as English than British. I think that was possibly a JRF or DEMOS publication? That was at total variance with my own exchanges with persons from such minorities in England over many years – either faulty findings in the research or an indication that things are indeed a-changing?

  2. Home Rule for England

    I don’t think it’s being English that is an identity problem. It is British that is the problem! This is because British has tended to be subsumed within English because English is the stronger identity. British could be lost and we English would hardly notice.
    As for the Scottish and Welsh. It remains to beseen how strong their identity is. Following independence I believe the differences within Scotland will become more evident. The people of Lewis speak gaelic. Will the identify with Edinburgh? Maybe the Shetlands will look to Norway? What about the sectarian differences which exist in Scotland?
    With regard to an independent Wales, will Welsh speaking North Wales be comfortable with power being wielded exclusively by English speaking Cardiff. Maybe there will be a demand for a North Wales and a South Wales Assembly?
    With regard to the so called ethnic minorities. I have a number of ‘Asian’ friends and they all regard themselves as English. Similarly with those of West Indian origin.

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