The BBC commissioned a poll to look into ‘The English Question’ and the results are interesting, well I think so anyway. This is also interesting from the point of view that, as recently as yesterday, I was accused of being anti-English and anti-England for being anti-Westminster. It was from Jill Stephenson so you can’t read anything into it given her past record on social media, it was illuminating though and is maybe a blog for another day but it did get me thinking about Englishness and Britishness being rolled into one and the many, or it feels that way, seem to have real difficulty in differentiating between the two. So what do English people think?
The project found that 80% of people in England identify themselves as strongly English, and 72% of those over 65 are proud to be English but only 45% of those under 24 felt the same way. 82% felt equally British which is really interesting as only 29% of Scots in 2016 felt the same way.
53% felt that England was the best country in the world or better than most other countries. 72% felt that the English have a sense of fair play, yeah really I’m not joking. 79% felt that being born in England makes you English, it was higher in Scotland with 87% saying born in Scotland. 38% felt that if a person consider themselves English it’s fine but only 31% in Scotland felt the same way. Does that make England slightly more inclusive. I have always felt personally that anyone deciding to live, work, raise a family and die in Scotland, no matter where they are from, are Scottish but most others don’t.
Only 41% support there being an English Parliament and that does not surprise me as I have always felt that Westminster is the English Parliament and even more so when Cameron brought in English Votes for English Laws. 38% felt it is more important to them that the Union between England,Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is maintained, even if it means putting it before the interests of England. Roughly 46% of voters in Scotland support Scottish independence, 54% no with 18% don’t knows from the total amount. 50% of English and Welsh people opposed Scottish independence in 2017 which was down from 66% in 2014.
There are some differences in the views of English and Scottish voters, and some similarities as we should expect. I have no issue with Englishness or England at all, no matter how many unionists try to equate a belief in Scottish Independence with being anti-English, my problem with England is Westminster and while I don’t like how English voters vote that is their choice as is how I vote mine. In 2015 a Sunday Times Poll found that 22% of English people had a very negative or negative view of Scots and likewise only 7% of Scots felt the same way, rather dispels the unionist mantra of the anti English Scottish voters.