Governing England: Devolution and Identity in England Tickets, Wed, 5 Jul 2017 at 09:00 | Eventbrite
Governing England: Devolution and Identity in EnglandInvitation: Governing England Conference, in association with Carnegie Trust UKWednesday 5 July 2017, 09:00-19:0010-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AHJoin academics, journalists and policy makers for this seminal conference on our flagship policy programme 'Governing England'.Devolution and Identity in England will explore developing English political identity and the impact of Brexit, the successes and failings of devolution to the English regions, the impact of devolution on Whitehall, the future of the political parties in a devolving England and the changing nature of the UK Parliament at Westminster. The conference is generously sponsored by the Carnegie UK Trust.
Some of you wondered why I did not say more on St George’s Day. The reason is I was to give a St George’s day talk on Thursday, and wanted to give it to the audience first. I would now like to share it more widely.
European leaders are preparing to recognise the potential for a “united Ireland” within the EU after confirming Northern Ireland would seamlessly rejoin the bloc after Brexit in the event of a vote for Irish reunification.In a step that may stoke concerns in Britain that Brexit could hasten the fragmentation of the United Kingdom, diplomats are planning to ask leaders of the EU’s 27 post-Brexit member countries to endorse the idea in a summit on Saturday.
People who don’t love you don’t care about you or your day or your life that much, they’re probably not especially rooting for you, and they certainly want nothing to do with your worst qualities. And you doing something purely to serve your emotional or egotistical needs really should not show up on their computer screen — it just shouldn’t.
Labour is badly adrift in England. The English electorate has become increasingly assertive (and increasingly English). The Brexit vote was most strongly endorsed by the voters who felt most intensely English. In the previous year’s general election, it was fear of Scottish National Party influence on a Labour minority government that almost certainly gave the Tories the English seats needed for an overall majority. In that same election, Labour’s support amongst "English only" voters was half its support amongst "British only" voters. The more "English" the voters, the more likely they were to vote Ukip or Conservative. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Ukip voters now go Tory. Those who think that Ukip somehow groomed Labour voters to become Tories are missing the crucial role that identity may be playing.
You might think that St George is an odd choice for the patron saint of England. As we all know, he was not English. He died in Palestine, his name means ‘farmer’ in Greek, and he may or may not have been a soldier. Add the fact that his most famous exploit is a myth – killing a dragon to save a king’s daughter from being devoured – and he starts to look about as suitable a candidate for the patron saint of England as Jerry Mouse (of Tom and Jerry), another determined campaigner against devouring beasts whose exploits are both fictitious and foreign in origin.
English devolution – the delegation of powers, responsibility, and accountability from central Whitehall/Westminster government to sub-national levels – has had a fitful and uneven history. Its inevitable comparators are the devolution processes to Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales which took place from the late 1990s onwards. All three received national devolved governments and legislatures. More recently, Scotland and Wales have been the subjects of significant fiscal devolution. England, on the other hand, appears to have been left out in the cold – having no devolved government outside London, and both fewer MPs and lower public expenditure per head of population than other parts of the UK. Professor Travers explained that historically this trade-off was seen as necessary to maintain the Union – it was felt that an assertive England would dominate any federal union, for example its budget would be significantly larger than a federal UK government’s. However, devolution to the other UK nations had stirred something of a burgeoning sense of English identity.
Labour plans for four new saints’ day bank holidays break new ground. It’s an England-only policy (because the devolved administrations decide their own bank holidays). It’s not just an English holiday for St George’s Day; everyone in England would get to celebrate all the other British saints’ days too. This would probably make England the first nation to have more national holidays for other nations than for its own.
Today’s Scottish nationalists often claim that their nationalism is civic and progressive, while the English variety is ethnic and nostalgic. There is some truth in this but all national identities are a mix of the civic and the ethnic and England can reasonably point out that it has actually been living multiculturalism (16 per cent of the English population are non-white minorities compared with 4.5 per cent of the Scottish) while the Scots have mainly just been talking about it, and have had a more deeply entrenched religious sectarianism too. And for all the SNP’s pieties about openness and wanting more immigrants, a higher proportion of Scots say you have to be white to be truly Scottish than the more mongrel English.
It might seem like St George’s Day is the often forgotten celebration of English identity.But crowds poured on to the streets of a warmer than expected England today to march and wave flags to mark the occasion.
If the UK were to break up then how might a post-UK England relate to the rest of the British Isles, Europe, and the wider world? Will the end of the UK produce a reduced and angry ‘Little England’ or might continuity prevail and the world find itself dealing with a ‘Little Britain’? On St George’s Day, Tim Oliver considers some of the issues that may one day help answer the question of ‘who speaks for England?’.
A Labour government would seek to create four new UK-wide bank holidays, Jeremy Corbyn says.The holidays would be on each nation's patron saint day - St David's Day on 1 March, St Patrick's Day on 17 March, St George's Day on 23 April and St Andrew's Day on 30 November.
Shaun Kavanagh: Unrequited love - how unionists now occupy the 'curious middle place' in Scotia | CommonSpace
Deep-rooted changes to English feelings about their own interests and identity are an important factor for explaining Brexit. This was not new. During the 2015 General Election campaign, the then prime minister, David Cameron, and the Tory party indulged in a scorched earth policy that campaigned hard to portray the SNP as home-wreckers in the event of a Labour minority government. The point was not lost on spectators that there was a distinctive tinge to this tactic which placed the interests of English voters over Scots.English nationalism seems unwilling even to articulate itself. This new nationalism, of English Votes for English Laws and Brexit, is much more appropriate to an English nation state than to a more diverse United Kingdom.
Why are celebrations in England so muted? Historian Diarmaid Macculloch tells the Huffington Post that English apathy towards St George's Day may be a consequence of the reformation. "The English, being Protestants for nearly five centuries, have never had much time for saints' days – same with the Scots," Macculloch said. "Neither really need their patron saints to celebrate nationhood."
The left has to embrace an inclusive, social democratic patriotism if they hope to win in England and form a government again, argues Joe Jervis
Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out any post-election coalition with the Scottish National Party.The SNP has said it would be prepared to work with other parties to keep the Tories out of power.
Soon St George’s Day will come, and thence will promptly pass unceremoniously by. The feast day of England’s patron saint is an occasion marked by a paucity of pomp and barely any traditions. This is excepting, of course, the annual array of newspaper columns fascinating over the endemic ‘crisis of Englishness’, another installment of the wild-eyed fumble in the dark for some cultural definition for the English people. The Guardian has already got a flippant piece in early, offering a scathing profile of so-called ‘Deep England’ packed with pastoral tones and bucolic imagery.
To talk about ‘England’ is considered ‘just not cricket’ by most of the ‘Left’ who actually live in England. Reluctantly, when the penny drops, people, express support for Irish Unity and Scottish Independence as justified Democratic demands although the idea of organising solidarity with these demands in England is rarely seen as necessary. The strange thing is the lack of any serious consideration of the implications of Democratic demands in and for England itself. In a peculiar twist of the dialectic to speak of "England" is considered by many politically active socialists to be 'beyond the pale'.
Being the anti-England is not about being anti-English. Irish Anglophobia is dead and if it ever stirs again we should place another stake through its heart, just in case. What’s at play is something different: a way of thinking about Irish identity that was summed up with typical pithiness by Samuel Beckett when he was asked “Vous êtes anglais?”: “Au contraire.” Irishness, in one deep stream of thought and feeling, was the opposite of Englishness.
The Empire—now yes, that was “British.” But soon after the Second World War, the idea spread that there was something a bit coarse, a bit hurtful to Welsh or Scottish feelings, to talk about stuff being “English” (except for football, of course). Very sportingly, the English brought themselves to do what seemed “inclusive” and, as it wasn’t yet called, “politically correct”; they began to talk about their own country as “Britain” and about “Britishness” instead.There were two problems with this. One was ironic: the word-change caught on “down South” just as the Scots were discovering that they felt less and less British. The other is much more serious. The change has made talking about the English nation and Englishness seem “inappropriate,” even faintly racist, and this has helped to distort and stunt political expression in England to a frightening degree. The very reasonable movement for an English parliament is drowned out by cranky outfits like the English Democrats: “Give us back Monmouthshire!”
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