Discussions around the current and future state of English and English identities now abound, but some crucial questions are not given the prominence they should: The English: who are they? Englishness: what attitudes and beliefs affect participation in the English political community? How have the English and their attitudes changed in, say, the last sixty years or so? What are the implications of these changes for the governance of England?
One part of the United Kingdom is often missing from literature and debates about governance, constitution and identity: England. In the aftermath of referendums on Scottish independence and Brexit, the identity and preferences of those who live in England and consider themselves English has become more important. Who are they and how do they want to be governed?
The British Academy’s Governing England programme was established in 2016 to explore questions about England’s governance, institutions and identity. The project was conceived to address the place of England in academic literature at a time when Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland received increased attention, but the largest member of the Union did not. Since then the 2015 General Election and the 2016 Brexit vote have brought the political preferences of those in England and those who identify as English into sharp relief.
Through this programme the Academy sought to ask questions around how England is affected by constitutional change in the light of the development of devolution settlements and the establishment if English votes for English laws (EVEL). Such as whether an emergent English political identity can be identified and what the implications of that are for the governance of England?
This paper approaches the England-UK question from the perspective of the links between territory, identity, and structures of governance.
Recent political developments have led to a greater focus on the governance of England and its place within the United Kingdom. The question of English identity has become a particular focus for debate, partly due to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Paper which sets out and explores data on how English people see themselves, especially with regards to English or British identity and the impact of age, education, social class and ethnicity.
Every country but England has devolution, and every country in the UK has elected a different party to rule it. How should the major political parties react?
Since entering office, the Conservative governments have implemented a policy of devolution accompanied by metro mayors. These have not proved universally popular, leaving open the issue of how England should be governed.
Work on devolution in practice which explores how devolution can and has impacted health, skills and infrastructure in England.
Work on how public spending is raised and distributed in England exploring current and possible future issues.
The British Academy’s policy and research work is dedicated to applying that insight to policy issues for public benefit and societal wellbeing.