English nationalism drove Brexit and now supercharges the Tories. What about the UK?

Interesting presentation from Richard Wynne Jones at an event in Birmingham yesterday on how English nationalism is driving UK politics…

He said: “We are entering a new era in UK politics in which the traditional textbook understanding of the nature of the UK is basically wrong – and actually England [and] Englishness is coming into play in ways which we haven’t seen before.”

Prof Jones said there is now a “great deal of unhappiness as to how England is treated within the UK”. He described how voters had been hit with “devo-anxiety”.

“There’s a strong relationship [between] those who feel unhappy about the EU and those who feel unhappy about England’s place within the other union, within the UK.

“They are the same people, effectively…

“Crucially, vitally, it’s people with a stronger sense of English identity who feel strongest about both the EU and the UK and England’s place within the UK. There’s a politicisation of English identity which appears to be new.”

There’s been more than a touch of this ‘delirium’ at the Tory Party conference over the last few days. Data suggests this theme appears around 2007, when the SNP first came to power, and when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister.

What’s feeding it, Professor Jones speculates is a sense of injustice, particularly at the ‘concessions’ enjoyed by the devolved parts of the UK. It may be for that reason that devolution itself is not particularly popular.

English Votes for English Laws, seen by some as disenfranchising the votes of Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs in Westminster (which the SNP gleefully cheered as measure ensuring there will be no more Scottish PMs of the UK).

He also argues that “what’s striking about the central institutions of the UK state is they have not changed as a result of devolution” and the “lack of interest in the institutions that are meant to bind this thing together from the senior echelons of the UK state.”

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  • hgreen

    Is English nationalism a new way of saying Xenophobia?

  • murdockp

    if I was funding £2k extra for each man woman and child in Northern Ireland and doing without because of this I wold we raging too.

    the days of the union are numbered.

  • murdockp

    no. it ‘raw deal’ is a better description

  • hgreen

    Raw deal seems a strange way of saying Xenophobia as well.

  • Kevin Breslin

    So the Tories are now a loose coalition of English nationalists and British unionists … when can we expect “Peace Process TM” to kick in to ensure they get along with one another?

  • hgreen

    Nah just a coalition of closet and not so closet racists.

  • hgreen

    Good job it’s not true then.

  • Paul Hagan

    Not to be pedantic Mick but my old Prof’s name is Richard Wyn* Jones I made a similar error on here last week on different post

  • Jollyraj

    Indeed. Probably one major reason of the many reasons why the Irish seem so very lukewarm on this whole UI scenario that the Republicans keep trying to peddle.

  • murdockp

    http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN04033/SN04033.pdf

    Its your lucky day, the data is available. £8,913 per capita in England and £11,106 in Northen Ireland a difference of £2,193.

    Sounds like a raw deal to me.

  • hgreen

    Since we are all members of the UK can you give me a comparison of how much the residents of Belfast and the residents of Cumbria get per head?

  • murdockp

    of course we are all part of the UK. the question you ask is in the report. Some one in Belfast gets £2,000 more spent on them than some on in Cumbria.

  • hgreen

    You seem to be struggling with maths a bit or logic or both.

  • Katyusha

    As someone who pays the Solidarity Surcharge used to fund the absorption of the state-dominated DDR economy into what is now a unified Germany, I doubt it. It’s not as big a deal as commentators here would make it out to be. Something’s gone badly wrong if we’re able to reunify the nation but don’t care enough to pay for it.

    Still, far be it from me to take the the South can’t afford us comfort blanket away from Unionism. God forbid Northern Ireland actually became self sufficient.

  • murdockp

    how am I struggling with facts printed in Back and white in a government publication. I will say it again to hammer the point home. “more money is spent per capita on the people of Northern Ireland than the people who live in England”.

    You are going to have to lay down in response to this your own math. Remember others read these posts too do you really want people to see how you are questioning these numbers?

  • Declan Doyle

    Whilst divisive nationalism is usualky associated with the shenanigans going on in Holyrood or the Northern Dail, it seems May might have missed the growth in English nationalist sentiment which has been astirring fir some time.

    There is of course a nasty undebelly to all natiinalisms but people seem far too quick to define English nationalism as almost exclusively xenophobic and racist. However the facts do not hold this to be true.

    Are the English not as entitled as any other nation on earth to hold close their unique cultural historic and kin identity.

    England the conquerer has in many ways been counter conquered in the dead of night, a realisation that stings in the light of dawn. May has it upside down and backwards, she is trying to pull to Englands breast that which England herself is in the process of rejecting.

  • hgreen

    You do know what the word average means and how it’s calculated? There’s nothing in that report that mentions either Belfast or Cumbria.

  • hgreen

    Sorry if I fail to join the hand wringing about English nationalism. It’s these same paranoid little Englanders who repeatedly vote Tory (and Ukip) and then wonder why they’ve got queues at A&E, waits for operations and no council houses.

  • murdockp

    it would be great to see the comparison between Belfast and other cities and regions as Belfast gets the lions share of public spending in NI i am sure the figue would be higher than the NI average.

    Sadly regional data is all we have.

  • billypilgrim1

    There’s nothing necessarily wrong with English nationalism.

    There is something wrong, however, with the hypocrisy of those who decry nationalism in Irish people but suddenly become much more sympathetic when its English counterpart is under discussion.

  • hgreen

    It really depends how that nationalism manifests itself. English nationalism appears to be on a completely different and more sinister trajectory than for example Scottish nationalism.

  • billypilgrim1

    You may well be right. In which case, the only rational thing to do would be to uncouple our fate from that of England, and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.

  • Surveyor

    Have you looked at the discrepancies in wages murdock? I think you’ll find the North has the lowest wages and disposable income in the UK.

  • chrisjones2

    Well if you look at their waiting figures they are generally much better tan ours or Wales or Scotland’s. But the simple fact is that all 3 devolved administrations are bleeding them dry. Time to level the playing field

  • chrisjones2

    And it shows people here costs a lot more than elsewhere. This is because of the duplication of services, sheer waste and inefficiency in the public sector. We have more politicians, more councils , more seats and more costs than anywhere else.

    We refuse to close redundant hospitals or reform the health system. Levels of DLA are extraordinarily high. We bung former terrorists money to keep them quiet and then complain not enough is done to stop their criminal enterprises – then we subsidie them

    We need a major cut in the block grant that will force our politicians to reform how they do business

  • chrisjones2

    in what way “sinister”?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Que the Give England back to the English … Paul McCartney parody!

  • hgreen

    These are ideological decisions not because there’s any shortage of money. Then again simple folk like simple answers to complex questions.

  • hgreen

    The spike in hate crime and racist abuse following the brexit vote. Or maybe you don’t find that sinister.

  • murdockp

    agreed

    the irony in all this is public expenditure alignment will create the conditions for Irish unification a poitou sinn fein dot seem to have grasped.

    but back to the original question, issues like this are driving the rise in english nationalism.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Iain Martin the Scottish ex-Daily Telegraph staffer is putting the DT to shame with his website “Reaction” and is dead right with his article:

    Diane James’s resignation is very bad news for Labour

    http://reaction.life/diane-jamess-resignation-bad-news-labour/?utm_source=Web+Signup&utm_campaign=5ea1a692f6-Daily+3%2F10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_146710a7a1-5ea1a692f6-111050297

  • Skibo

    Interesting facts within the data, NI has always been portrayed as sponging and high welfare. NI welfare charges are 12% while Englands welfare is at 16%

  • Skibo

    England spends 24% on Health while NI spends 19%

  • Surveyor

    Using E.U. citizens as bargaining chips in negotiations for one.

    As Liam Fox said “ We would like to be able to give a reassurance to EU nationals in the UK, but that depends on reciprocation by other countries”.

  • Skibo

    Chris you mention DLA but DLA is a needs based payment. Perhaps our over payment of DLA is more a fact of under payment in England and a lack of publication of benefits there. We have more politicians and duplication of services. Where do you suggest we start cutting the hospitals?
    Everyone loves to mention cutting services till it effects their own services and then they are out on protest.

  • Reader

    Skibo: England spends 24% on Health while NI spends 19%
    We need the opposition to put the boot into the executive then. Or the executive could make some sort of an attempt to fix things without external pressures.

  • mickfealty

    Iain’s very good (he’s one of my most enduring friendships from my own Telegraph days), and that would make a good post in it’s own right Terence, but what has it to do with the post above?

  • woodkerne

    There’s nothing at all new about English nationalism or the tories’ special relationship with it, that is, in its mediation of a typically paradoxical, ‘janus faced’ pox of ruling interests – in the current conjuncture, of big-internationalist and parochial-small business – as well as anti-foreigner populism (by jingo UKIP). How it holds together and/or falls apart in the many faces and corresponding contradictions of brexit will surely shape politics in these islands over the next couple of years at least. Add in the parallel re/deformation of labour and social democracy everywhere and the cyclic, long-wave return of intervention and protection in economic management, together these forces and relations of global capitalism signal a shifting of the grounds of politics every bit as profound as the corn laws. It is doubtful however that the cause of Ireland will have as significant a part to play as it did in the era of home rule when British (and Irish) politics was last radically remade.

  • Ryan A

    Interesting they can add up what we ‘cost’ yet they still can’t add the real balance of the tax receipts we put in.

  • terence patrick hewett

    English Nationalism Mick. The whole of the UK and RoI are going through a profound political and constitutional re-alignment and no-one can see the end of it.

    The world is changing Mick and the nature of employment is changing: we have:

    World’s second largest sports industry behind the US: an industry worth £23.8 billion and one of the fastest expanding sectors in the UK employing 450,000 people: 10,000 students graduate in sports science annually and the number is rising. The Olympics/Paralympics are the shop window of the industry: we did quite well at London and Rio. Sport now ranks among the top 15 mainstream sectors in the economy.

    World’s second largest arts industry behind the US: commonly called the Creative Industries – worth £10 million an hour – every hour – every day of 365 days of the year: worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy: projected to be worth £100 billion by 2018: it grew by 8.9 per cent in 2014 and it employs 2.8 million people. In many respects it is difficult to separate the UK industry from the US/Oz/Éire/Kiwi/Canuck/South African/Indian/Anglosphere creative industries. Think Lord of the Rings: think Harry Potter: think Shakespeare: think Sherlock Holmes – big names – big turnover – big cultural clout.

    But I think that English Nationalism is rather overblown: it is more that the extraordinariness of the ordinary are flexing their muscles.

  • mickfealty

    Those aren’t the politically interesting people. It’s the switchers that matter. They killed the Lib Dems in the SW last year and the Tories are hoping they’ll do the same to a divided Labour in the Midlands and the North in the next election.

  • mickfealty

    You do talk b@lls sometimes Chris.

  • Reader

    Ciaran O’Connor: I wonder when we’ll have to start wearing arm bands?
    The Irish won’t count as foreign workers. Even in England.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/12-13-14/41

  • Reader

    Ciaran, the law actually exists, and has been applied consistently for 67 years. Everyone with any influence in the matter has offered assurances about the CTA and all related issues. No-one has any interest in changing anything for the worse.
    But if you insist on believing the absolute worst about stuff that hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen then I am not qualified to help you.

  • Reader

    Ciaran O’Connor: Firms are apparently going to have to provide lists of ‘foreign workers’, so says the tomorrows Times.
    Not a new idea.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jun/21/change-rules-migrant-workers-miliband

  • Reader

    Skibo: Chris you mention DLA but DLA is a needs based payment.
    And the large numbers of salaried community workers is *entirely* down to the fact that our communities need a lot of work. Everything here works exactly as it should…

  • Reader

    Surveyor: Using E.U. citizens as bargaining chips in negotiations for one.
    Since you can absolutely count on the EU to do the decent thing then there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
    Has anyone bothered to ask EU ministers the same question? What answer would you expect?

  • Reader

    hgreen: The spike in hate crime and racist abuse following the brexit vote.
    The tiny number of idiots responsible for the attacks view Brexit in exactly the same way as you do. The vast majority of people don’t see it that way, and don’t join in all the hate and suspicion.

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Anglo-Irish
  • Reader

    The key phrse in the article being “A spokesperson for the UK Government reportedy refused to exempt Irish people from the measure.”
    Which might as well have said “A spokesperson for the UK Government reportedy refused to include Irish people in the measure.” – since the spokesperson didn’t actually say anything either way. Under the circumstances, the headline for the article is ridiculous. The 1949 Act is far too hard to unpick for the sake of a stunt like this.

  • Reader

    Ciaran, that’s where *you* are.
    However, it does seem strange that you think she should have the best interests of the Irish people in mind, since she is the UK PM, not the Taoiseach. The good news is that from the UK government point of view the best interests of the people of the RoI comes as a freebie with the government’s actual job of looking after the best interests of the people of the UK.
    That’s because the 1949 Act exists & the CTA exists. Our friends from the south will be just fine.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I sincerely hope that you are correct, however, it has to be asked if you are, why has the spokesperson over complicated the question?

    The whole thing could have been put to bed, resolved and ended by simply referring to the 1949 Act and pointing out that it was written in stone and couldn’t be altered.

    Refusing to exempt Irish workers from the measure leaves it wide open doesn’t it?

    So, two choices, either the spokesperson is incompetent or Irish workers aren’t exempt.

    Hopefully it’s the former.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    “always” is the word.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    I’ll drink to that.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Ditto Scottish.

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