Can I have two national identities?

Scottish nationalists argue that they and many of their fellow Scots are primarily Scottish. They see this as an exclusive identity, precluding them from happily also being British or UK citizens. Unionists in Scotland claim they are content to be Scottish and British. They wish to enjoy both identities, accepting the sovereignty of the Westminster UK Parliament with proportionate local decision making in Scotland.

Some Scottish nationalists define their Scottish nationalism in a positive and future looking way, anticipating a better tomorrow if Scotland could be more independent. Others define their nationalism in a more negative mood, rejecting the influence of England on their politics and often attacking angrily the more conservative or free enterprise politics of the south of the UK.

Until recently many people in England have thought little about our English identity. The move for more devolution to Scotland started to change that. The Scottish referendum has given it another push. Today a large majority of English voters want English votes for English laws, and some wish to go further to a separate English Parliament.

More English people today contact me to complain that the financial settlement is not fair. They want the UK national broadcaster, the BBC, to have a BBC England to promote England and our causes as BBC Scotland promotes Scottish interests. They want the suppressed identity of England to emerge more fully.

Most English people still think of themselves as British and English. The English part of our identity is becoming more important, the more the Labour and Lib Dem parties seek to deny it and the more the BBC seeks to airbrush it from our debate by trying to create artificial English regions which few want and love.

This week I will renew my demands for English votes for English issues at Westminster. Mr Clegg has still not bothered to write to me in reply to my letter, showing just how little concern he has for England and fairness.

If we have another Parliament where the majority government of the union is not the same as the majority of MPs elected for English constituencies, there will have to be new arrangements. The English will not accept Scotland deciding her own Income Tax rate in Edinburgh, but also Scottish MPs at Westminster helping the English minority there to enforce an Income tax rate on England which the majority do not accept.

Do you feel you have two national identities? Is being British or English (or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish) more important?

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135 Comments

  1. mickc
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The Union is finished and will be gone within twenty years.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      As Norman Tebbit rightly describes it, the balkanisation of the UK.

      Tad

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      “Vote Tory to keep Ukip out.” says the PM to Labour voters.

      Err… is this meant to be a democracy or not ?

      It sounds suspiciously like vote rigging to me. Denying people what they want – ignoring what should be the Tory party’s natural support and now appealing to the opposition’s support instead.

      Tories keep telling us workers how we must embrace competition to get good service. What about themselves ?

      At this sell-out rate England won’t exist in 20 years, let alone the Union. There is no point in a Conservative party where nothing is actually conserved.

      Reply Several parties offer tactical advice – UKIP told Conservative voters in Manchester to vote UKIP to stop Labour I seem to remember.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Yes, John. But at least Ukip and the Conservatives are supposed to be on the same side of the political fence !

        Do the Conservatives actually have more affinity with Labour voters then ?

        I can assure you that we ex Tory supporters have not suddenly morphed into fascists so one expects the answer to that is yes.

        Btw I happen to think that Ukip’s great weakness is its broad base of support. It will be unable to achieve a consensus on a range of issues with ex Labour and ex Tory voters in its ranks.

        I also think that there will be a lot of resistance from civil servants against Ukip MPs once elected.

        It really is a protest vote – but will people use it when it comes to the GE ? We’ll see.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 18, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Indeed “I also think that there will be a lot of resistance from civil servants against Ukip MPs once elected.” There will certainly be. They should abolish pay offs of more than 3 months and fire the half of them that do nothing useful or often far worse than nothing by obstructing the productive.

          Also there will be huge resistance from the wrong on every issue, lefty fake green, BBC loons.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        In the north it is generally UKIP who are the best “stop Labour” choice in most cases. It is the Tories splitting the vote.

        John Major seem to thing UKIP are profoundly un-British and he,does not know,what they are for.

        UKIP are for the complete opposite of Major and Cameron namely a non racist points based immigration, cheap energy, low taxes, less government, real uk based democracy, few daft regulations and to get out of the EU.
        Is
        he really so daft as not to know this? What is un-British is People like him who want to destroy UK democracy, took us into the idiotic ERM, want people to be unable to keep warm and wants to subsume the UK in the antidemocratic EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          A few years down the river from Parliament, banged up in a cold cell in the Tower of London, would have done Major some good; and I got that particular prescription from somebody who was a Tory parliamentary candidate at several general elections.

  2. DaveM
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    My nationality is – and always has been – English. To me, British has always been a collective term rather than a nationality, and it is certainly not an identity. This despite the fact that I had a Welsh grandmother.

    I want England to be administered by an English Parliament. But at the same time I want to be part of a United Kingdom.

    David Cameron has shown again by his speeches in Brisbane that he is more concerned with (and better at!) international affairs and statesmanship. Surely internal govts for the home nations would enable the UK govt to concentrate on international matters, so why is he, and others like him, so reluctant to address the issue of English home rule?

    • Hope
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      The EU wants England broke up into regions.

      • DaveM
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Which is why we need to sort out the EU business first and why the Con party needs to get subsequent plans for the administration of the UK into its manifesto, on the presumption that the EU will have no say over it (either as part of a renegotiation of treaties – which we know will never happen – or because we are not in the EU).

      • lojolondon
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I have two Scottish grandparents, one Welsh and one English. I was born abroad but lived in England for the last 17 years, and I support the English rugby, football and cricket teams. I see myself as more English than British.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I am glad you distinguish between “conservative” or “free enterprise” politics of the south of the UK. There is nothing much in the way of really “free enterprise” going on under the EU nor the Coalition. I am not surprised Clegg has failed to reply he is perhaps more concerned about losing all those deposits by being on the wrong side of nearly every single argument (high taxes, endless waste, payments to augment the feckless, over regulation, anti-English (and UK) democracy, ever more EU, the enforced equality religion etc.). Exactly like Cameron in fact.

    It is of course the existence of the EU that makes Scotland feel it can go it alone. Why have both England and the EU as masters? With both Scottish separation will surely come.

    The BBC is following the same devolution line together with Libdem/Cameron policies listed above. This is one assumes exactly what Cameron wanted when he appointed Lord Patten (why else?). Cameron is alas just John Major who can use full sentences. He is about to lose a second sitting duck election on his current idiotic path.

    • Excalibur
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I see in the Times today that CMD is to give ‘at least’ 650 million pounds to undeveloped countries to help combat quote climate change unquote. Who authorizes this ? Is there no end to the waste of taxpayers’ money ?

      • Stevie
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Especially when he is borrowing the money to do this in his own name, not mine, like you I was never consulted.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Total green religion insanity. He thinks he is a,green God perhaps?

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        An absolute waste of our money. It is bad enough we are throwing away good money for this so called threat in this country let alone giving it away to others.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    As the European tax payers paid the £1Bn for the Rossetta mission might we now be told what useful information we got for our £1Bn – was there anything at all?

    I suppose we learned that batteries do not last very long and PV cells need light but I think we knew that already.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Two things boost human technological advancement like no other:

      – space exploration

      – war

      Which would you prefer it to be ?

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish you do not need wars or space exploration to do sensible r&d just money for well directed civil r&d. Start with fusion and improved nuclear. We did not even get Velcro from space exploration just dead astronauts teachers and a huge pointless bill.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Going to war or into space is a very, very inefficient route to inventing useful things and you tend to invest totally the wrong things too. You might get some useful crumbs & spin offs. But why not make the useful the main goal of the research.

        Research is also easier if you are not being bombed or at war at the time.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Beyond earth orbit satellites that is, and perhaps something to stop major earth impacts.

        • David Price
          Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          But getting a man on the moon is a far more inspiring and motivating problem to solve for most STEM geeks than designing a new frying pan. As are jump jets, supersonic aircraft, laptops, tablets, the world wide mobile phone network, CAT scanners, 3D printers, electric vechilces …

          What may be “wrong” for you is right for someone else and vice versa.

    • Elrond Cupboard
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      The Rosetta mission continues and will continue for several months at least. Philae, the lander, returned 90 odd percent of it’s first science data drop despite an unfortunate series of failures in its landing systems. You should probably not spend so much time opining upon subjects about which you plainly know the square root of naff all.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        So what have we discovered for our £1Bn that we did not know already and is it worth £1Bn? That is all I am asking but answer came their none.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          “there” for the pedants!

  5. John Robertson
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    It would be British then English, the the south and then the country and so on.

    The idea of regions has become even more silly. Devolution has moved on to devolving taxes, with the big disparity in economic activity around England it would devastate some areas and cause migration.

    I also get annoyed by the BBC refering to the 3 nations and regions of the UK not the 4 nations.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      On joining the Army in Edinburgh some 60 years ago we were asked our nationality.

      The choices were Brit/Scot : Brit /English : Brit /Wales :Brit / Irish.
      Seems we have regressed since then.

      Quite agree about the BBC ,they cannot bring themselves to mention England unless it is in the context of EU regions

      • John Robertson
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        The EU seems to have moved away, thankfully, from that thinking as it helped to give rise to nationalism, serves them right. This call for regionalisation I think is the political “left” trying to divide and concur the collective will of a more conservative England.

        I don’t think there is any stomach for that but the more the BBC use the phrase concerns me.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I always understood that there were only two nations England and Scotland, with Wales as a principality and Norn Iron as a province.

      • John Robertson
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Nice one though to be fair that is a bit of a mouthful to describe the UK.

  6. Timaction
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I am solely English as there is no longer a British identity. It was given up over the last 50 years by the legacy parties when they started their mass migration policy and gave away passports like confetti. The sole purpose was to reduce the the indigenous populations feelings of national identity so they could create their united states of Europe by stealth, with no opposition. How has that worked out? All the legacy parties are no longer trusted on anything and the masses are waking up to the stark choice of liblabcon = EU unelected dictatorship or a sovereign democracy under UKIP.

    • John Robertson
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      There is a big British identity, remember the Olympics, William and Catherine’s wedding, poppy field at the Tower of London, even the Band Aid song is seen as a Brit thing although has singers from outside.

    • sjb
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Two points that might surprise some readers:

      (1) Until 1948, any citizen in the British Empire could move freely from one country in the Empire to another. Imagine if cheap travel had been available just before then – etc.

      (2) It was not until Mrs Thatcher’s premiership that British – as distinct from Imperial – citizenship came to be defined: see British Nationality Act 1981.

  7. Richard1
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Well the disastrous Labour devolution policy which has been exploited by divisive politicians such as Mr Salmond has obliged us all to think of ourselves more narrowly as English / Scottish / Welsh etc rather than British. Nothing good has come of it. Nationalist politicians have promoted divisiveness and a false sense of victimhood. Its going to take a long time to recover. There should be no question of a new referendum in Scotland, at least for 50-100 years, otherwise it makes a nonsense of the last one. Now we need a proper devolution settlement which moves us more or less to a federal model.

    As part of this as someone who is now obliged to think of himself as ‘English’ (actually like many people I’m partly Scottish) I demand Justice for England – English votes for English issues. It would be intolerable for Scottish MPs to be able to speak or vote in Parliament on any issue which is devolved to Scotland. (This issue may resolve itself as Labour are wiped out by the SNP in Scotland at the next election).

    • Man of Kent
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Well said ,Richard.

      Having been schooled in Scotland, and the only English boy in the class, I became very aware of my national emotions early on .

      This was somewhat helped in a history lesson when the class generally ,but me in particular was told :

      ‘and then the wicked Queen Elizabeth did to death our own Mary,Queen of Scots’

      Funny how these little events confirm your nationality.

      I joined the Royal Engineers to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall !

      • Richard1
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        The Scottish separatists have poisoned public debate by encouraging a sense of victimhood and by insisting Scottish people choose between their Scottishness and their Britishness. Perhaps some future regional separatist will come along and insist I decide whether I’m English, a Londoner or an East Anglian.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I am afraid that I just use the words English and British interchangeably.
    My son, born in Australia, has two nationalities, as does my daughter. Both are English and Australian.
    DG Regio – I salute you!

    • Duyfken
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Mike, are you sure your son is “English”? I wish I could be so labelled but I am Australian, born there, and now also with British citizenship – they did not offer me Englishness despite my having lived here for yonks.

  9. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    English only. I admit to rejecting the Union some four or five years ago. England is a nation, Britain is a State which has acted through its government to ignore and suppress my identity for many decades. I am forced by this State to carry a British passport, I look forward to the day I can carry an English one.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Those who want Scotland to be ‘independent’ only want the country to be independent from England. They are more than happy to surrender that independence to an unelected anti-democratic foreign organisation called the EU. What kind of independence is that?
    I am happy to be British and English but will never accept an EU identity.

    • Hope
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Exactly, the same as Ireland! What on earth did they fight for?

    • DaveM
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      BT :”I am happy to be British and English but will never accept an EU identity.”

      I am happy to be English, and happy to be part of a UK (as an anglo saxon I am not ethnically “British”) provided that UK is not dictated to by the EU.

      I suspect a large number of Scots and Welsh would be content with something similar. I have said many times here that if England had its own internal parliament – as detached from the UK govt as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish ones – that the people of those proud nations would feel less disenfranchised and less as if they were ruled by an English govt in disguise.

      Total parity is the only thing nationalist people of all 4 nations will accept now I think. Some real, honest, open, serious thought needs to go into the English issue John. Maybe once the EU business is sorted out you could be the man to do it?

      Oh, and I will NEVER NEVER NEVER accept “EU UK” as a nationality!!

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      The answer of course is that it isn’t independence at all, simply a blood-and-soil nationalism motivated by simple dislike of the English. Speaking as a Scot who sees himself as British the SNP has always appalled me. I have to say they’re doing a very good job of turning the English against the union. I am also suprised that our national politicians are not more forcibly pointing out to Salmond et al that they lost the referendum so a period of silence on their part would be fitting.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        And the EU is doing a grand job of turning the English people against Parliament too.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Further to my last and to qualify my comments about British ethnicity:

      “Britain” is an island, the earliest inhabitants of which were described as “British”.
      Englaland – as it was originally named – is an area of Britain (consisting of Wessex, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia, and Northumbria. The name Englaland (now England) was coined to describe those areas as a collective (in around 900AD) – the land of the Anglecynn, or the land of the English speakers. Those areas were finally united under King Cnut thus fulfilling Alfred the Great’s dream of a united nation of English speaking peoples ruled by one king, with a common language, and a common religion – christianity – which was tolerant of pagan religions and judaism, and which promoted literacy and trade with the continent.

      In other words, the people of England became united and defined their national borders to ensure security so they could then get on with other stuff.

      The native ethnic Britons were almost extinct at this point, the Celts having almost wiped them out a few hundred years prior to the Roman invasion. Incidentally, the only British words still in use are “Eeny Meeny Miny Mo”, meaning 1, 2, 3, 4.

      So, unless the Celts (ie the Welsh, Scots, and Celtic Irish) still purport to have intermixed with the ancient Britons, there are actually no Britons left, and if there are they are definitely not English!!

      With England being a nation, likewise Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, by definition the nationality has to be English, Welsh, etc, it cannot be British – that would be like saying you are South American rather than Brazilian, etc.

      The closest comparison would be to describe the northern europeans (can’t think of another description) as Scandinavian, although they are actually Swedish, etc, and Finnish people are (ethnically and linguistically) totally different from the rest.

      So, “British” can loosely be used as a geographical description, and for want of a more concise term, can be used as an adjective for the UK. But not a nationality.

      So what about Cornwall?!! Maybe it should become like the other Crown Dependencies.

      • forthurst
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        “The native ethnic Britons were almost extinct at this point, the Celts having almost wiped them out a few hundred years prior to the Roman invasion.”

        What is the authority for this? The Romans used the term ‘Celtae’, borrowed from the Greek, ‘Keltoi’ to describe variously the people of middle Gaul or those of Gaul, Iberia and Upper Italy, but they were not designating the same people as the Greeks, and the term was never used by the Romans to refer to the people of the British Isles. In the 18th Century, the French designated the language of the Bretons as ‘Celtic’; this designation was later transfered to the Brittonic (Brythonic) languages of the British Isles. Subsequently, those ‘Celtic’ speakers became referred to as Celts.

        There is actually no evidence that ‘Anglo-Saxons’ wiped out the ‘Celts’ who wiped out the ‘Ancient Britons’. The Western British Isles derived their neolithic culture via the Western Atlantic seaboard; those of East, from the continent, so a Germanic proto-English language may have been present well before the later Germanic languages speakers arrived after the Roman retreat. However, a genetic analysis of all the people of the British Isles (excluding those without a significant history here, obviously) demonstrates about three quarters derive from ‘Ancient British’ stock. A change in culture or political control does equate to a change in population.

  11. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Seems to me to be less an issue of identity and more a case of spending tax in the area in which it is raised which gives full control to those paying for services.

    We could go a step further and make public services payable by the user at the point of delivery. How many Scottish, Welsh and English nationalists would want that? If they are not prepared to pick up the tab they should not propose a solution that costs others.

  12. Sue Jameson
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Seems like they’ll chuck a British passport at anyone that wants one these days, so I identify myself as 100% English.

  13. Colin
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    My nationality is British, my ethnicity is English (and my race is human).

  14. Old Albion
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    An excellent piece JR.
    As for me;? I was born less than a decade after WW2. I was British, as were the vast majority of those who inhabited this island.
    In 1998 Blair unleashed devolution in his ill-fated attempt to ‘ stop Scottish nationalism in it’s tracks’
    Predictably devolution has had exactly the opposite effect. The Scots drift further away as every day goes by. There will be another referendum soon, make no mistake.
    Meanwhile England pays the price of trying to keep this doomed Union together. We pay financially, we pay democratically, we pay by being airbrushed out. Refused a political identity, refused a voice. Westminster (in general) refuses to address the blatant hypocrisy of devolution for three countries but not for the fourth and largest. Offering only to regionalise us in an attempt to totally destroy our identity and of course protect the incumbents well paid positions.
    When the cracks first began to show. I was content to accept a new UK Federation, with all four countries represented. Now as every day goes by, i find myself looking more and more to English independance.
    I was born English but accepted British identity. No more. I am English and English only.
    A significant number of British have made clear their disdain for England. I now reject Britain.
    We need an English Parliament……………….now.

  15. Bob
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Another election give away from the Prime Minister.

    “The UK is to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into a United Nations-backed fund designed to help developing countries tackle greenhouse gas emissions.”
    The Independent

    Anyone would think we didn’t have a spiraling national debt, failing health system, housing shortages and unaffordable state pension system.

  16. Antisthenes
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Having travelled outside the UK quite a lot and in all the countries I have visited the people there always ask me if I am English never if I am British . When I tell them that no I am Welsh they respond that as far as they are concerned that is just the same as being English or are completely ignorant of the fact that the UK is made of a number of separate but united countries. The significance of this I cannot say perhaps others know why foreigners equate Britain with everyone being English.

    Although I am Welsh my ancestry is English and Scottish I only happen to have been born there. I am proud to be Welsh but just as proud to be British. What I am not proud of is the way the left have manipulated politics to suit themselves and in doing so have given rise to nationalism and the creation of left wing ghettos; Scotland and Wales. For me under the circumstances I want England to have it’s own parliament so that I because of the freedom of movement within the UK do not have to settle with living under the yoke of socialism and can live in England where free enterprise is still considered to be the best way to achieve prosperity, security and civil liberties.

    Unless there is fair settlement for England either by having it’s own parliament or EVEL then England is going to be governed under the laws, policies and practices imposed by the smaller nations of the union connived at by the left.

  17. Tad Davison
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    ‘They want the UK national broadcaster, the BBC, to have a BBC England to promote England and our causes as BBC Scotland promotes Scottish interests. They want the suppressed identity of England to emerge more fully.’

    That’s a big bone of contention. A great number of people consider themselves to be English and want to be recognised as such, but they also want the BBC to be less pro-EU, and to stop peddling this failed Labour idea of regionalisation. Until we stop that mouthpiece of the left from its shameless bias, and make it report in an unbiased, even-handed way, we have a big obstacle to overcome. The BBC’s political content is deliberately slanted, and every nuance is designed to ridicule anything that goes against their pro-EU, socialist ethos. We see it every day. It must be part of their training.

    As for Nick Clegg not replying to you, he’ll become an irrelevance (even more so than he is already). Clegg has been found out. I bet there’s not very many people who agree with Nick now, and he’ll go the same way as Major with his wipe-out at the 1997 General Election. Once political credibility has gone, it rarely comes back again.

    Tad

  18. Know-Dice
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Certainly since the recent Scottish shenanigans I now always refer to myself as English- especially on official forms…

    Seems like the Libdems are in a world of their own.

    “For the fifth quarter in a row, the total membership of the Liberal Democrats has risen” –

  19. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I have no difficulty being British at all. The union is great . I am English, but could just have well been born in Wales if things had been slightly different for my ancestors. My identity is British and I applaud the way our small union is a microcosm for all other unions who share the same chunk of land.
    The British Broadcasting company is a worthy institution and compares well to the tatt some other stations put out.I do note that the concept of Britishness is changing and we do need to stop putting ourselves as an English nation down.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Perhaps I should have said ‘chunks’ plural.

  21. JooksB
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    With respect John, it’s not only Labour and the Lib Dums who have denied England’s existence. In the 17 years since Labour gerrymandered the constitution, instantly disadvantaging the people of England, and instead trying to carve our nation up into EU regions, the Tory party have stood idly by and said and done nothing. Who can forget Cameron’s near hour long speech on public services when he failed to say the word ENGLAND once despite knowing full well that 95% of what he said only applied to England. Even now all two and a half parties deliberately conflate England and Britain.

    We know why Labour and the Lib Dums deny England’s existence – out of pure naked party self interest that’s why, but why the Tories, who rely on England for their support, have done likewise is the biggest mystery of all. Yes, in recent weeks in response to the vow to Scotland, some Tory backbenchers have demanded something for England but what has taken them so long? Is England finally going to be asked if it would like the same as the rest of the UK – it’s own parliament with it’s own First Minister and Secretary of State. Is England at long last going to get an English manifesto? Of course it isn’t. The best we are offered is a sop – English votes for English laws and even that has been handed to outgoing William Hague so what’s the betting it will end up back in the long grass from whence it came.

    The final straw for me when I realised this union was no longer fit for purpose was when the Conservative party happily tripled tuition fees to £9,000 knowing this crippling burden would only apply to one part of their beloved union, stupidly on their part, the one part that actually votes for them but of course not once did the word England pass their lips. Even now, they deliberately imply the whole UK is affected by their discriminatory measures and their cuts, proving they are no different to the other UK parties in their contempt for England.

    Thanks to this contempt of England by all two and a half parties, and Labour’s dog’s dinner of a devolution act, Britain is dying and it’s final demise will be brought on by the English who will finally say they have had enough. Thanks to our self serving politicians, and despite them, I now consider myself ENGLISH first and foremost, nothing else matters.

    • Richard
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      JooksB :

      “We know why Labour and the Lib Dums deny England’s existence – out of pure naked party self interest that’s why, but why the Tories, who rely on England for their support, have done likewise is the biggest mystery of all.”

      It is no mystery at all.

      The Europhile Conservative Party leadership wishes England to be broken up into separate EU regions, one of which includes northern France.

      Reply Nonsense

      • Iain Moore
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        “Reply Nonsense”

        Please explain the Osborne Mayoral fiefdoms, that are creating West Lothian Questions across England , and setting Englishman against Englishman?

        • Hope
          Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          When the people already voted against having mayors. You are quite correct. I think JR is in denial.

      • Richard
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply :

        Is it nonsense that the Conservative Party leadership are strongly Europhilic and do not want the UK to leave the EU or that the EU want England to be broken up into separate EU regions, one of which is combined with northern France ?

        Incidentally the reason why the Conservative leadership is strangely so keen to keep the Scotland in the union when it is really in their English electoral interests for Scotland to become separated from England is because of their need of the Scottish votes to keep the UK in the EU come a referendum.

        In fact I have learned that there is a plan for each country’s votes to be counted separately in any referendum and to allow each country to have the veto over leaving the EU.

  22. Vanessa
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I think the first post is right – the United Kingdom will split up eventually. I suppose the Scots would say they already have three national identities – Scottish / British /European.
    I completely disagree with this and think we can only have one true national identity which is the country you swear allegiance to. The European Union is not a country even though it governs us. Some people choose dual nationality but I am sure there must be one of the two to which they lean more than the other.
    For a very long time in my childhood I was English although my passport said I was British but it was always to England I returned after years abroad.
    So the dilemma of the Scots is a real one.

  23. acorn
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    A lot of people mix “identity” with “ethnicity” while desperately avoiding the “R word”. The 2011 Census data illustrates the difference between these two words.

    The above “Most English people still think of themselves as British and English. The English part of our identity is becoming more important”, needs splitting up.

    (a) Most [WHITE] English people still think of themselves as English. The English part of our identity is becoming more important.

    (b) Most [NON-WHITE] English people still think of themselves as British. The English part of our identity is becoming [LESS] important.

  24. JM
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    English first then British. Never thought about it until the government started producing census forms that allowed the Scots, Welsh and Irish to tick a separate box, but left me with no other than British. I now tick White Other and write in English.

    EVEL is now a must. Otherwise, next time it might be the English voting to leave the union.

    I am fed up of hearing Nicola Sturgeon banging on about the Scots being governed by a Tory government they did not vote for. How many times have the English been governed by a Labour government they did not vote for because of the support of the Scots for that government? Why is it that no one at the BBC ever puts this point to her when she is interviewed?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Well said!

      Tad

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I’m just fed up with hearing from Salmond and Sturgeon! They have both caused nothing but trouble for the UK and will continue to do so with great glee. I am English and live in Scotland and this independence rubbish has cause many of us great distress. I hope to leave Scotland soon and feel that the English are not being represented in the UK at all. If we never hear from Clegg again it will be a bonus.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree except the English can’t vote to leave the union because the UK Government refuses to give us a vote. Compare that to the numerous votes Scotland and Wales have already had on their governance.

      I’m surprised the English haven’t taken to the streets in peaceful protest but then if they did, the anti-English Lab/Lib/Cons would only brand them as hooligans. Can’t imagine any other country in the UK or western world putting up with this blatant discrimination and affront to democracy except the English.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        It’s in our own hands. Simply vote for another party – UKIP

    • @wyrdtimes
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      The problem with EVEL is that it keeps the same proven anti England anti English UK MPs in charge of England. The same politicians proven happy with the English getting the least per person per year funding, the worst most expensive services and zero national recognition or representation.

      I think England needs its own English parliament back and working for England and the English. No we don’t want more politicians someone will say and I agree – we don’t. But a dedicated English parliament could be small 100 -200 EMPs. Once in place (in the midlands somewhere ideally) there is absolutley no need for >600 UK MPs to handle reserved matters. That’s the place to lose politicians as they are the ones content with the English getting a raw deal.

      At the very least the English should have say on England. The ~Scots have had 3 referendums. The Welsh have had 3. The NIrish have had 2. The English have NEVER had say on England, not once in our long history. Time that changed.

    • Craig
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      The English have been governed by a Labour government they didn’t vote for only twice, in the hung parliaments of ’64 and October ’74

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Technically speaking, England didn’t vote for Labour in 2005 either. Although the Tories won the popular vote, Labour ended up with 91 more English seats under the FPTP system whereas if Labour hadn’t deliberately left England out of devolution, a Tory English parliament would have been established instead under PR. England didn’t vote for this pathetic and useless coalition in 2010 either. The Tories won a 63 seat majority in England. So it’s not just a case of England being governed by Labour when they didn’t vote for them but also a case of England being the only country in the UK and western world constantly being denied the government of it’s choosing.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Great comment, JM.

      Agreeing to be governed by a government you didn’t elect yourself is an essential part of grown up democracy.

      Whenever did Tory voters smash the place up during the Blair/Brown era ?

      We had the Countryside Alliance march (which I attended) and it was the most orderly event I’ve taken part in – caps doffed at the Cenotaph, not a single piece of litter. And that was it.

      The Left on the other hand…

      Which rather proves that we’ve not had real austerity yet.

    • Vanessa
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      In the ethnicity box on all forms I have to fill in, including the Census Form I choose Black Carribean ! I refuse to have to tell someone what is perfectly obvious.
      I wonder if anyone else ever does the same; nobody checks anything.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Why is it that no English politician ever puts this point to her? Don’t ask the media to do your job for you.

  25. Chris
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, apologies for being off topic, but I feel that the news that Cameron is going to commit hundreds of millions to the Green Bank to help other countries deal with flooding and rise in sea level, while completing underfunding efforts in the UK, is really deserving of prompt comment. Would you be willing to comment?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Chris,

      Before giving our money away as some international philanthropist, Cameron ought to have listened to the debate on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire this morning regarding the over-spend by Peterborough City Council. Local people now face drastic cuts in vital services or an increase of 20% in local taxes. And now Cameron’s warning of red lights flickering on the dashboard of the world economy.

      If he can foresee another downturn in the world economy (which admittedly, is still far better than Gordon Brown), it appears to make little sense not to fix the roof whilst the sun is still shining and save money, rather than freely giving our hard-earned cash to these places, and of course, to the EU whenever they demand it.

      How on Earth do these people ever get into positions of power and authority?

      Tad

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Tad – The blame shift is already on for Ukip voters in Rochester and Strood.

        “A Ukip win risks stability in our economy” CMD

        I’m afraid this ‘recovery’ is nothing of the sort. It is a low interest/house boom credit bubble as before. It is about to pop and Mr Cameron knows it.

  26. Stephen Berry
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    National identities are more fluid than commonly thought and a look at a historical atlas will show this. People now talk as if Germany is part of the fixtures and fittings of Europe, but before 1870 it was just a collection of small states with people having local identities such as Bavarian. Now someone living in Munich may feel allegiance to both Bavaria and Germany, but this could change.

    Personally, I can feel Yorkist, English or British according to whether I am watching a cricket match or not. A small number of people feel intensely nationalistic and assume most people are the same when they are not.

    In any case, nationalism – like religion – will not solve the economic question. If nationalism results in import controls or slogans like ‘English jobs for the English’ it would actually impoverish us.

    Has Scottish Nationalism triggered a bout of national introspection throughout the UK? If so, let’s hope it is sorted out quickly, one way or t’other.

  27. Bert Young
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I rate the use of two UK nationalities the same as double standards – a degrading characteristic . I recall the time I was first issued with a red passport ; I refused the EU passport evidence by keeping it within a dark blue “British Passport” holder for several years whenever I travelled .
    The SNP voice in Scotland is bitter -they will never accept the majority evidence that Scots voted to remain in the Union ; like many fighters who hit below the belt , they betray their inability to compete within accepted rules . This factor – above all else , is what I fear most if demarcation is not sorted out before the forthcoming GE .
    Voters in England have to have evidence that a system of economic fairness will be applied to the 4 nations in the Union and the other discrepancies that exist are eliminated . England is by far the biggest constituent in the Union and its majority status must count ; without this influence democracy is dead . Queue jumping in all its forms is a disgusting sign of human behaviour .
    I heartily endorse any effort to obtain a proper and fair deal for the English and I commend the actions that Dr.JR proposes to take this week .

  28. Iain Moore
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    In reference to your bit about the BBC, I took umbrage at what I felt was the BBC seeking to load the English devolution debate to one of a presumption of English regionalisation . They have staged ‘debates’ in Cornwall, Yorkshire, and others, and so sought to set area against area, they have not offered English people a national debate.

    The BBC’s response to my complaint was…..

    The claim about an anti-English bias in the BBC, or that the Corporation cannot perceive an English identity is without foundation.

    People making this claim, sometimes, as an example, cite the fact there is no England Politics section on the website.

    We have separate politics sections for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland because they have their own law-making bodies. If there was an English Parliament, we would have a separate English politics section. As it is, the UK Parliament in Westminster is where England’s legislation is debated and decided. The only other layer of politics in England is local/regional and these are covered by our network of regional websites, our England news index and our network of regional political editors. We seek to ensure that we make clear in all our stories whether legislation covers the whole of the UK or just one or two nations.

    In relation to the coverage of the debate, this reflects the likelihood of the possibility of an English parliament becoming a reality. The Prime Minister Cameron told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “I don’t think we’re remotely at that stage”.

    The issue was, however discussed on various news programmes, and was looked at in a series of reportages entitled Do the English want their own parliament? – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29884765“………

    As arguments go it is a Catch 22, where the BBC claims it only gives representation when there is political representation, which as arguments go is one full of holes, for not having a law making body has not stopped the BBC from ever giving groups representation. After all there was a BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with their own programs long before there was devolution, and I think they might have trouble explaining away the BBC’s Asian Network.

    The hurdle the BBC claims to have come up against giving English people representation is a load of baloney. It is a policy they have dreamt up to excuse their discrimination against England. For even in the BBC’s policy document ‘Devolution , The BBC’s program response 1998′ states on the Executive summary ……..’ the BBC will take action to ensure the differences , political, institutional, legislative, and cultural between the four nations of the UK are fully and fairly reflected in BBC programs’. …. note all four nations. Not the one then which had devolution, Scotland, but all four. I have pointed this out to the BBC currently wait for their response to my follow up complaint.

    PS the irony of the BBC barefacedly claiming no anti English bias when I pointed out to them that there was no BBC England, was a bit gob-smacking.

    • David Price
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      The charter of the BBC trust states clearly and unambiguously the following under “Composition of the Trust”;

      14. Trust members for the nations
      (1)Four ordinary members of the Trust shall respectively be designated—
      (a)the Trust member for England;
      (b)the Trust member for Scotland;
      (c)the Trust member for Wales;
      and(d)the Trust member for Northern Ireland.

      Prior to that, the charter states;
      12. Trust
      The word “trust” is used in the name of the BBC Trust in a colloquial sense, to suggest a body which discharges a public trust as guardian of the public interest.

      So perhaps the tack to take now is to address concerns to the designated trust member for England.

      As far as I can tell from very recent information (the November 2014 BBC Trust Register of Interests) there is no designated Trustee for England, despite what the “Royal Charter for the continuing of the British Broadcasting Corporation” clearly mandates.

      On the website they inbdicate vacant trustee posts, but there are no positions labelled as the designated trustee for England despite there being such for Scotland, Wales and NI.

      IANAL but the BBC Trust appears to be in material breach of it’s constitution

      • Iain Moore
        Posted November 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, an interesting situation you have exposed there.

        You might have thought one of our Parliamentary representatives would have been onto this.

        Over to you John Redwood.

  29. Sandra Cox
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I suppose I always thought of myself as English first, and British in the larger context – Olympics, official forms, Eurovision Song Contest! I’ve always been proud to call myself either, with the exception of some of the UK foreign policy decisions.

    However, since witnessing first hand the intense and often hateful nationalism amongst highly educated Scottish youngsters working in England, and seeing so much of it reflected in the recent referendum, I have become even more English.

    Therefore, a comment yesterday struck a cord:

    “Devolution in the first place was wrong; the result of it today is a disunited United Kingdom and a deep feeling of mistrust – bordering on hate.”

    The trouble is that many of the usual suspects – politicians, institutions, outside influences – who pushed devolution are still around and are now pushing for devolution to English regions!

    John, it’s probably too late to turn back the clock on splintering the UK, but the English have to be aware of the malign influences behind any attempt to do to England what they have done to the United Kingdom.

    Let’s expose these malign influences! Let’s shout their names out loud at every opportunity, Let’s wake the English from their sleep!

    John, I know I can often sound like a bit of a drama queen, so one final warning, courtesy of that well-known English playwright William Shakespeare:

    “The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.”

  30. bluedog
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    This is where it all falls down, when the vanity of slight differences becomes the over-riding factor in the identification of the individual.

    Me? I’m a mongrel. English born and bred but ethnically Franco-Scottish with a bit of Spanish if you look closely; if (foreigners ed) begin at Calais I could get in that queue. Yet I’m told I look like a German. So throughout my life I have been British, it saves many, many tedious arguments.

    The irony in this debate is profound. On the one hand we laud and magnify multiculturalism but on the other hand, thanks to Tony Blair’s devolution, we are encouraged think divisively. The Scots are in danger of proving that Scottish nationalism as chauvinistically defined by Alex Salmond can legitimately trump the sacred tenets of multiculturalism.

    So what to do? If the British state is to survive, and its demise is unthinkable, there is a clear need for promotion of British values, history and achievements, culturally insensitive though this maybe. Now why has no-one thought of that before?

  31. Atlas
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    For me a combination of the increasing power grab by the EU plus the logical arguments of the SNP on the advantages of Independence have made me English first and British a very distant second.

    P.S. The fact that the SNP wants to jump out of the UK frying pan into the EU fire demonstrates that their logic is rather like Logic Lane in Oxford – crooked !

    • John Robertson
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      The SNP are conning the Scots by always criticising “Westminster” for things that include EU directives whilst holding up the EU as a xanadu. The more that is devolved the more they will be directly dictated to by the EU. Just as the SNP complain that too many decisions are made in “Westminster” so they will change to say too many decisions are made in “Brussels” and be like the other nationalists.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      There are many within the SNP that would trade with the devil rather than do anything with England. Basically many of them hate us.

  32. Iain Moore
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    English people’s problems aren’t just with Clegg and the Labour party, the Cameron Conservatives , notably Cameron and Osborne, are as big a problem to England getting representation.

    Cameron and Osborne rather than sorting out the mess of the UK’s constitution, and find an answer to the West Lothian Question , have moved on and seem to be intent on creating a constitutional mess and inequality within England as well.

    English civic governance was one of parishes, councils and Parliamentary representation. When Labour and the Libdems sought to unpick the fabric of England through regionalisation it was rejected, as were Cameron’s city mayors . But no does not seem to have meant no to the British political establishment, and now we have that constitutional expert, Mr Osborne, seek to create a class of representation under city mayoral fiefdoms. Of course tossing a few fiscal crumbs from the Treasury’s table is bound to get a bite from council leaders attracted to the money and additional power, and applauded by Labour and the Libdems, who have always been antagonistic towards England as an entity. Unfortunately these council leaders in pursing their narrow interest are being used to unpick the fabric of England in a way that the British establishment couldn’t achieve through the ballot box.

    Mr Osborne in his ill thought out constitutional ‘plans’ is setting Englishman against Englishman as people scrabble to get themselves a few fiscal crumbs as well, in doing so a lot of English people are going to be severely disadvantaged, for if not suborned into city mayoral fiefdoms they will get no representation, that is not fair and it is not right.

    I can only presume the object of Osborne’s constitutional meddling is to create many West Lothian Questions through out England so that they don’t have to answer the original question. We should not allow them to do this.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    JR, you seem to have omitted “European” as an alternative identity, one which core SNP supporters would put on their lists in place of “British”; and which party not only made that alternative more readily available to disaffected British citizens through the Treaty of Rome establishing the EEC, but legally imposed it on the rest of us as well through the Maastricht Treaty establishing the EU?

  34. formula57
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Before the rise of aggressive Scottish nationalism I always considered myself British and also English but with the latter being a sub-set and so the distinctions between the two were immaterial. In recent years the aggressive nationalism in north Britain, with its divisive, corrosive attitudes, has modified my view only to the extent that I think being considered British should be confined to those who want to be and those who do not ought to be required to leave us in peace. Shorn of Scotland, I do not consider we necessarily become less British and those of us who are also English can continue to be both.

  35. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I am British.

    I am also English, and I see that as, for want of a better word, a sub-category of being British.

    Some foreigners, even those speaking good English, have a difficulty with our nationality, saying “English” when the clearly mean “British”. One of the joys, or otherwise, of the English language is it vagaries. I recall a story from WW1 of German troops shouting from their trenches to the enemy, addressing them as “United Kingdomers”, which while this has a certain logic is something I hope never becomes a common usage.

    Scotland seems to have an inherent difficulty with its own nationality. For instance, people who by any reasonable definition would be classes as Scotts were denied a vote as to Scottish independence because they did not happen to be living in Scotland. Or was this more to do with politics rather than nationality?!!!

  36. Peter A
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    English first, British second.

    The George Cross has not been hijacked by rascists as the BBC constantly complains. It is the ex Guardian journalists at the BBC who are uncomfortable with the concept of English identity, because it comes with the presumption of strength. It’s ok for little subjugated counties to fight for freedom against their imperial oppressors, who should pay a guilt tax. But quite another thing for Englishmen and woman to puff their chest with pride about a glorious past and the opportunity to forge a new place in the world; outside the EU.

    Clegg carps on about being party of electoral reform. He refused boundary changes and refused to back a reduction in MPs. EVEL would wipe the Lib Dems out and punish labour. They are fighting from a position of self interest, something the Tories should do!

    It is quite astonishing that such important things as foundation hospitals can be, rightly, vetoed by MSPs yet forced on England by MPs with Scottish constituents.

    This must be made a prime issue whether the BBC like it or not, as a Labour govt in coalition with MSPs holding sway over England is plainly unacceptable. Where are we with Hague’s November deadline John? Is it going like the airports, into the long grass?!

  37. Mike Stanley
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have always felt British as opposed to English, my own roots being Anglo-Irish. If the present trend in Scotland continues then perhaps my perception of my nationality will change.

  38. oldtimer
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    My father was English, my mother was Welsh, I was born in Canada and carry a British passport. Does this count as a four way split?

    So far as UK politics is concerned, EVEL must be an essential, non-negotiable part of the overall devolution settlement now under discussion. Politicians who oppose it should be exposed and thrown out of office by the electorate. The next GE provides a perfect opportunity for transparency on this issue and voter action as appropriate. The position taken by Clegg and Miliband on this issue deserves especially close attention. In itself it is a good reason for it to be put to the HoC, in the way you have previously described, well before the next GE.

    Otherwise I take equal pleasure in the winning performances of both the English and Welsh rugby teams, and commiserate when they lose. And when they play each other the best team (usually) wins.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Oldtimer sir,

      Most of your comment was spot on. but as an Englishman and as a lifelong rugby fanatic, I cannot for the life of me fathom your last paragraph!!!

      • DaveM
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        PS. In relation to this post (and sport):

        Whereas I am absolutely gutted when England lose to Wales in the 6 Nations, when we lose the Ashes, or get knocked out of the football World Cup, I have literally NO emotional reaction to the B&I Lions losing 3 tests to the All Blacks.

      • oldtimer
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Sorry to hear that you are confused. I shall try again.

        I happily support both the English and Welsh rugby teams. When they play against each other, I support the winning team and commiserate with the loser so that I do not feel too conflicted about the result.

        PS My son in law invited me to join him to watch England play South Africa on Saturday. It is a long time since I last attended a top flight rugby match. Apart from short spell at the start of the second half, England did not impress me at all. South Africa were somewhat better but I was surprised to read that they are ranked No 2 in the world behind NZ. Perhaps the defences are too strong these days for much of the match was uninspiring viewing.

        • Davem
          Posted November 18, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          No, you’re right – England were rubbish!!

  39. English Pensioner
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I regard myself and my family as being English as the majority of our ancestors were born in England. It also distinguishes me from those who do not have their ancestory in this country and are British by naturalisaton.
    It particularly annoys me when one gets a form requiring one’s ethnic origins, the minority groups are given a choice of declaring their origins as being in further sub-groups within those groups (which are not ethnically different), whereas the majority population is often only allowed just two choices, “White, British” and “White, Other”. Indeed, one might also ask why, in the majority of one’s dealings with officialdom and in particular local councils, they demand to know one’s ethnic origin. What relevance did my ethnic origins have when I phoned to local council to report that a street light was not working?
    The other this that annoys me is that it seems perfectly in order for the Scots, Irish and Welsh to declare their identity as being such, but those declaring their identity as English as frequently regarded as being racist!

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    By putting their signatures on the October 2012 Edinburgh Agreement Salmond and Sturgeon implicitly acknowledged that under the existing devolution settlement the Scottish Parliament created by the sovereign UK Parliament through its Scotland Act 1998 did not have the legal power to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should separate from the rest of the UK unless the UK Parliament approved a special grant of power under that Act:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Government/concordats/Referendum-on-independence

    “The governments have agreed to promote an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 in the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments to allow a single-question referendum on Scottish independence to be held before the end of 2014.”

    And that special grant of power was made, but for just the one referendum which has been held, not for any other referendum in the future.

    Yet now I hear both Salmond and Sturgeon claiming that it would be sufficient if the Scottish Parliament legislated for another independence referendum, with or without approval from the UK Parliament.

    The UK government and Parliament can continue to ignore this claim and wait to see how events unfold over the next six months up to the UK general election, and then the following year to the Scottish general election, perhaps hoping that somehow support for the SNP will collapse without any action on their part – which I doubt will happen – but would it not be better to act now to disabuse Scottish voters of this SNP delusion about the legal position by seeking a declaration from the UK Supreme Court?

    I read on page 6 here:

    https://www.supremecourt.uk/docs/a-guide-to-bringing-a-case-to-the-uksc.pdf

    “Devolution Issues

    1.18 Devolution issues raise issues of constitutional importance as to the exercise of a function by a member of the Scottish Executive, a Minister in Northern Ireland or a Northern Ireland department or by the Welsh Ministers or as to the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Assembly under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and the Welsh Assembly under the Government of Wales Act 2006. Under these Acts, The Supreme court has both appellate jurisdiction and special statutory powers to consider referred questions, including questions by the relevant law officer or Ministers.”

    Surely it would be far better for voters in Scotland to know well before polling day that a referendum pledge contained in the SNP manifesto could not be implemented without the Scottish Parliament and government breaking the law, so they can decide whether they want to follow the SNP down that road?

    Reply Of course legally they need the consent and actions of the UK Parliament to a binding independence referendum. However, if the SNP get into a position where they clearly speak for a large majority of the Scottish people on this matter and insist on a referendum to reflect the new will of the Scottish people it would be wrong for Westminster to refuse, and embarrassing if having refused they held one which showed very strong support for independence. These matters are not ultimately matters of law but matters of public opinion and political will.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, let’s hope they get the chance to leave this time then!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Firstly, it may be “of course” for you and me but unless the UK authorities get off their backsides and robustly challenge and defeat the false claims of the SNP they will come to be widely accepted in Scotland purely by default. If people want to vote for a party with illegal proposals in its election manifesto then that is their choice, but they should at least be very clear that the proposals are illegal.

      Secondly, you write about the will of the Scottish people but say nothing about the will of the much greater number of UK citizens outside Scotland. The acts mentioned in that Supreme Court document were Acts of the UK Parliament which is supposedly the representative of all citizens across the UK, and they were specifically intended to allow delegation of certain powers but not others, including the power to secede or even use public resources to hold a referendum on whether or not to secede. Moreover there has only just been a referendum in which voters in Scotland endorsed devolution rather than secession.

      Thirdly, the referendum which has just been held was conceded by Cameron on the basis that the SNP had won a small majority in the elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament, but that small majority was achieved with the support of only one fifth of the registered electors, some of whom were not even UK citizens but were allowed to vote not only in the elections but also in the referendum on whether to break up the UK. Are we to have another independence referendum every time that the SNP manages to win a majority in the Scottish Parliament?

  41. ChrisS
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Rightly or wrongly, as the English people make up 54m of the 64m citizens of the UK, like most of us, I rarely gave it a thought, assuming that the principles of fairness and honesty were UK traits as much as English ones.

    Since the Scottish Referendum campaign really took off and in the aftermath, I have come to realise that this is probably not the case.

    For a large number of Scots, headed up by the SNP, honesty went out the window in their campaign and they are certainly not being fair to those that voted No as well the rest of the UK when they stated categorically that the referendum would settle the matter “for a generation” yet now Sturgeon is determined to continue to push for Independence ASAP.

    My belief is that, one way or another the Scots are going to contrive another vote and, even though the Westminster parties are determined to stick to their pledge, and will do so, the SNP will tell downright lies in an attempt to turn the general election into another referendum.

    As Scotland is inevitably going to go its own way and become a vassel state of the EU, we should stop pandering to them in the hope that it will appease them ( it won’t ) and immediately take a hard line on all matters :

    It seems that both Scottish Labour and the SNP want the Nuclear Submarine force removed from Faslane. We should therefore start planning the move of those jobs and benefits to Devon. In the long run that will be better for the English economy.

    Similarly, the MOD are currently planning the long term project to build the Type 26 and 27. Scots politicians need to be warned that either they commit to staying as members of the UK for the duration of that program or arrangements will be made to build every one of those ships in England and not on the Clyde.

    The Scots brand of Socialism is not compatible with what English people want and there is no way now that we will tolerate it being foisted on us by a Miliband Government relying on Scottish MPs, either their own or SNP ones.

  42. DaveM
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    With what’s going on at the minute, and particularly reading the comments above, do you not find the irony hilarious, when the initial intention of devolution was to keep the union intact and to keep English nationalism down?

    As I have said before, if the govt tells anyone from the UK that they have to wear black, the shops will run out of white clothes in an hour!!!

    The problem is that “devolution” has become “secession”. Ask the Americans about that one – they still have repercussions 150 years after their little episode.

  43. Eddie Hill
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Do you feel you have two national identities?

    No, not at all. The United Kingdom is a union of nation states, not a country, and in that regard, it is analogous to the Commonwealth, albeit somewhat stronger, with the obvious exception that we don’t have Australian or Canadian MPs voting on English laws! Yet, that is.

    Is being British or English (or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish) more important?

    Being English is much more important to me than being British, to the extent that six months ago, I acquired a long flagpole and the large English flag that now adorns the front of my house!

    In my approaching old age, and given the movements and events currently going on in our society, I have felt an almost overwhelming need to be recognised as English.

  44. Terry
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m not surprised you have been ignored by the fatuous DPM, John. Master Clegg is only interested in his pet policies and HIS future. He has demonstrated very clearly that he cares nothing for democracy neither does he have a sense of honour. In fact HE has two Nationalities. British and Brussels but his main desire is to merge the two into one single body called the Federation of Europe.
    He does this because his sole remaining ambition and plan, is to be President of the EU. Much like Blair who despicably and effectively gave away so much of our country, hoping to galvanise favour amongst the other European Leaders in his personal crusade to be appointed President. With dreams of a personal EU ‘Air Force One’ to top that! Yuk! These Socialists stick together eh? Even in dreams.

    I do find the ability within the UK to hold dual nationality, abhorrent. What happens in the future if there were conflict between the two respective countries? Would one be a friend or a foe? I do believe the UK is the only country in the World to permit such a status and it is silly.
    I lived in Singapore -our daughter was born there and issued with a Singaporean Birth Certificate. However, when she reached 18 she had to decide whether she was to be a Singaporean or British. They did not permit dual nationalities but we had returned to the UK so that was her final choice. Given the current state of our Nation she now regrets that decision. If such a small Nation does not allow Gual Nationality why do we?
    The same principle must apply here to the British Isles if independence is ever attained.

    Now the collective term “British” used to mean something. Until quite recently, too.
    Alas, in 2014, it means very little as anyone and their dog can become ‘British’ merely by signing a piece of paper. So, WE revert to being English, for there is no alternative way to secure our very precious heritage. ‘Rule Britannia’ of course but she has long gone.

  45. agricola
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I feel 100% English. Being British only comes into play for Defence, Foreign policy and the odd Lions tour.

    No need for an English Parliament, we already have one, but distorted by Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish who already have their own dedicated Parliaments. Only invite members of these three fringe Parliaments when there are British matters to discuss or when Westminster has to decide on matters specific to any one of them that falls outside the remit of their own Parliament.

    Within England only devolve powers to existing local authorities where they are deemed competent. Many over the past twenty years have proved they are not fit to run a chip shop. Bare this in mind before getting overenthusiastic about devolution within England.

    Halt and reverse powers given to Quangoes. Existing Quangoes should be reduced to the level of middle management while executive power and accountable responsibility is returned to Parliament.

    Finally bring back the powers you have so wantonly thrown to Brussels by leaving the political EU via Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. I accept that this cannot be done until after May 2015 and then only with a re-managed Conservative Party in cooperation with UKIP.

  46. Iain Moore
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    With Brent Crude falling below 80$ a barrel from $110 , a 30% fall. I presume that Scotland is no longer paying its way, and can no longer justify the additional spending it is getting.

    I note the SNP have fallen quite over this, more perplexing is the British political class’s silence, who you might have thought would be ramming home the lesson to the Nats, that to rely on Oil to pay their bills is a risky business. The failure of the British class to drive home a few home truths to the Scots on this , explains why Nats always manage to run rigs around them.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, nobody stands up to them and brings the whole debacle out into the open. The Scottish all think Westminster is unfair of them when in fact many English feel it is the other way around. They get what they want and we get nothing in return. Just more promises and no action.

  47. Daniel
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I have always seen myself as a Yorkshireman first and an Englishman second. I am, also, proud to be British, I only wish more Scots and Welsh were too!

  48. @wyrdtimes
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Not only is the BBC not reporting English issues properly it is actively engaged in promoting the break up of England into the hated “regions”. Anyone doubting this should look at the latest posts made by Mark Easton their Scottish “home affairs” person.

    I made an image which sums up the BBC’s attitude to England perfectly – please feel free to share. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2mOk0uCUAAnaJj.jpg:large

    there is no BBC England, no Radio England, no English homepage even, no English history pages etc. While there is BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC NI – England is arranged on the BBC’s own regional lines. It is institutionally anti-English.

    I’m glad John Redwood has noticed and I hope he will take this all the way.

  49. Amanda
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I am English first, that is my identity – the one I am most proud of.

    I was happy to be British as well, until all and sundry became British, including terrorist committing murder and mayhem in the Middle East. Who wants to be associated with some of the ‘terrible’ things ‘British’ people do these days – people I do not consider to be my countrymen, or have my values, and who would not see themselves as such either.

    I will also say, that within these Islands, I am also a Yorkshire woman (ie the old counties). And if I was in Asia, I would also consider myself to be European (please note that is nothing to do with the EU, which is an even worse badge of shame than the ‘British’ tag)

  50. James Winfield
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I feel 3 identities. In order:

    1. English
    2. British
    3. European

    The whinging of the Scots (and Welsh) is making feel less British, the moaning of the anti-EU brigade is making me feel more European.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      James Winfield ,

      No true European could support the EU .

  51. Tony Houghton
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I am and feel, British and English.

    As you have said John, in a previous blog, devolution was started by Tony Blair to get Labour out of a difficulty and the result is dangerous and could lead to the break up of the Union. More devolution will result in more unrest with more people asking for more devolution. We should shelve the idea!

  52. Mark Pullen
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Growing up in Essex I always identified myself as British. My English identity has come to the fore more recently and I attribute this to devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and N Ireland. The rhetoric used by politians in devolved lands is anti Westminster, anti Tory and as far as Scotland is concerned, anti English.

    When devolution started there was not much difference between the countries of the union. But now I feel there are very big differences, especially between England and Scotland. I feel politians in Scotland use every opportunity to send Scotland and England on different paths, irrespective of popular consensus or policy consequences.

    The constant putting down of the Tories and Westminster by SNP members has put my nose out of joint. The referendum highlighted the many ways an English voter looses out in the democratic process. I only have one vote in the general election. People in Scotland and Wales get an extra vote for their devolved governments. Give the English a parliament and an extra vote so we can decide the future of England by ourselves, it’s the very least that needs to be done. From there I feel we can start to address other issues such as Barnett formula etc.

    In an ideal world I’d like all the parliaments of the union to join up when it comes to UK matters, maybe something like a mass conference call could be set up between them so the could all communicate with each other. Close HoC and reopen as a tourist attraction.

  53. Robert Eve
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m English first and foremost.

  54. libertarian
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m English, always have been always will be.

    I don’t want to be British, a UK citizen or god forbid an EUist . I just want to be what I am which is English.

  55. Alte Fritz
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I never thought that there was any distinction between being English and British, which, I guess, is what the Celtic fringe finds objectionable, and not without reason. The distinction was brought home by some friends who had been born in the UK to Polish parents. They all felt British, but not English.

    The point is that there is no necessary tension between a feeling of being British and something else, maybe not anything else. Those who form opinion have been fixated for many years on saying that the EU was the only post Imperial destiny for us.

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      “They all felt British, but not English.” Born in the UK where? I’m guessing England. Poles born in Scotland are more likely to identify as Scottish than British, if only for reasons of personal safety. In England we have taken social tolerance to a more self-destructive level.

      When the Union breaks up, as it almost certainly will, they will have to get used to being English (and not before time).

  56. REPay
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I am English, British and European – though the latter identity is cultural rather than as a result of being an “EU citizen”. I see no contradiction between these identities. I am afraid that the Union requires a lot of help if it is to survive. The idea that the English will pay up for people who do nothing but carp about them will test their patience to destruction. Your piece on party politics and the devolution was spot on. Short term political advantage for long term destruction of a successful nation state.

    Twenty years ago I was in Oxford at a Bow Group conference on British identity. David Starkey chaired the second day and started proceedings by saying, about the Union “It is over, let it go, I don’t know why we are discussing this – first speaker.” How we laughed…Wouldn’t laugh now.

  57. trevor thomas
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Well I am proud to be British first then welsh in my case second, let me explain. we all live on this Island called Britain, but there are three parts to this Island called wales , england, scotland,. that all live and belong to the Island of Britain you cannot change that fact, We are English living in Britain ,welsh living in Britain Scottish living in Britain and Northern Ireland part of Britain So that is the right Order British first

  58. Gina Dean
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I am English, my husband is a Scot, he was most upset to see all of the Romanians being able to vote for the president of their country. He on the other hand will never beable to vote on the independence issue in Scotland. His vote would be a NO as would be many of our friends who are also in the same boat.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    There are nations, which can be purely cultural. And there are nation States, which additionally have a defence, a foreign policy and sovereignty. You cannot identify with two nation States.

    Me? I am Glasgow born but left a four years old and have lived south of the border or overseas ever since. I am British; how could it be otherwise? And I haven’t seen anything yet to make me think that devolution is anything other than an abomination.

  60. Mockbeggar
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    In answer to your question, I regard myself as English in much the same way as I support Hampshire for cricket (because it is the county of my birth) and Southampton for association football because it was the first major town I lived in. I support England at all the major sports and teams such as the Barbarians when they play. If watching a game between Scotland and, say, Italy I support Scotland; if its is Wales against France, I support Wales and so on. I am pleased to see an Australian swimmer beat an American – don’t ask me why. I believe I have Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English and even some French ancestry and I regard myself as a loyal British subject of Her Majesty and not as a citizen of anywhere.
    I now support Iden Cricket Club against all comers.
    What a nonsense this petty nationalitybusiness is.

  61. James Matthews
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Until 1997 I thought of myself as British first and English second. Scottish and Welsh voters then demonstrated that I was sadly deluded and the positions were reversed. After 17 years of denial of political recognition for England, the British part is increasingly vestigial.

    So please keep at it Mr Redwood. EVoEL is not enough, but it’s a start.

  62. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    A little off topic , but your speciality: how frightened should we be of the threatened next global recession in the light of Japan’s plight?

    Reply I do not expect a world recession yet, but the Euro area is performing badly and Japan needs another stimulus.

  63. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure how anyone could claim two “national” identities John. People born in the UK are presumably either Welsh, English, Irish or Scottish, while their “international” identity as far as the rest of the world is concerned is surely British.

    I am British and I am Welsh. I have no problem with the “two identities”. However, to be described as “European” (while accurate geographically) fills me with revulsion.

  64. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat off topic, JR, do you support the contention by your party’s candidate that house prices will fall in Rochester and Strood if the UKIP candidate Mark Reckless is elected on Thursday? If so, do you think that would be a good or a bad thing for young people wanting to get onto the housing ladder? Just asking.

  65. John Robertson
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Reading a number of comments here one might think these Isles were made up of people solely with English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish lineage. Putting aside the immigrant sector over the last 70 years I imagine most in particular, like me, have a lineage that comes from all these Isles. I think Britishness will prevail. Not least with the implications of devolved taxes panning out for real rather than the land of plenty being touted by certain politicians.

  66. Michael
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I agree with John Redwoods comments and used to regard myself as British, but increasingly, as English.

  67. Oscar De Ville
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Your (as ever) learned article and its deeply-felt responses show how complex, emotive – and beguiling – the idea of “devolution” has become.

    Our Government, under the unifying figure of the Queen, has the primary duty to defend the realm. Dangers can be as great, or greater, from within as from without, as the decline of past empires can show. Treason was once readily recognised – and punished, perhaps over-harshly. But Blairite clever appeasement that inevitably leads to a splintering of the realm, to an emphasis on “nationalities” and to vitriol – so-called “devolution” – is not a satisfactory alternative.

    I am surprised at your own readiness to foster “Englishness” or to accept that the will of a so-called democratic referendum by any grouping should prevail. We already have an accountable Parliament, have had it for centuries, and have shown that it can be adapted and fought for when necessary.

    It seems to me that time can be more fruitfully spent now, ahead of need, to spell out far more firm, Parliament-approved, conditions for any future referendum, so avoiding the stupidly narrow recent Scottish brief. If the likely effect of a vote is to splinter our realm, then each and every one of us should have a say !

  68. grumy goat
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m British European and then Scottish

  69. Iain Gill
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    This country is in deep trouble. Its ongoing ever increasing national debt. The politicians conspiring to interchange the words debt and deficit to confuse the public. They clearly plan to rob private savers even more at some point either by devaluation, interest rate manipulation, or just taking it a la Cyprus. Throwing money away on nonsense like aid to countries which are richer than we are. We don’t need an international crisis we are rushing headlong into our own created debt disaster.

  70. Ben
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I see myself as English only. I used to identify as being British too but that diminished over the years as I started to realise how England was being disadvantaged in the UK and how its identity was being dismantled and derided.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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