Understanding the Post-British English Nation State
A report published by policy think-tank Demos in November 2011 suggested survey respondents in England were the most patriotically British across the United Kingdom (though Northern Ireland was overlooked). Although the report readily conflated English and British cultural and political institutions, symbols, and figures, the authors concluded that ‘it is clear that English people have a weak conception of “English nationalism” ‘ (Wind-Cowie and Gregory 2011: 34). A subsequent report by the Institute for Public Policy Relations (IPPR) countered this view, arguing poll data identified an emerging ‘English political community’ underpinned by a ‘deepening sense of English identity’ which now sought recognition in response to the asymmetric (and unfair) nature of recent UK devolution settlements (Wyn Jones et al. 2012: 2). Longitudinal research suggests, however, that shifts in popular ascription to English rather than British national identity have not encouraged a more assertive English nationalism (see Ormston 2012). This might mean that the oft-noted lack of an English political ‘backlash’ cannot be attributed to some form of popular apathy or cognitive deficiency in identity recognition. Currently, anxieties about the political future of England are expressed mainly at elite levels by politicians, academics and the media. Many English people have instead ‘remained stubbornly galvanized into inaction”, appearing to interpret the process of devolution as one of rebalancing and fairness across the union which should be accommodated by the English majority (Condor 2010: 540).
KeywordsNational Identity National Representation English Nation English People British State
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