As part of the Festival of Englishness co-hosted with IPPR, British Future commissioned ICM to conduct polling about English identity to decipher how people feel about the England flag and other hallmarks of English identity. The headline figures make for interesting reading:
One of the more interesting findings is that by a factor of nearly two to one, people in England were more likely to know the date of US Independence Day than their own saint’s day: 23rd April was correctly identified as St George’s day by only 40% of people. In fact, more could identify when St Patrick’s Day is than St George’s Day and two-thirds of people felt that it was celebrated more than St George’s Day. It’s not because people don’t care about St George though: three-quarters of people polled felt that St George’s Day should be celebrated more or at least as much as St Patrick’s Day.
Alongside this there were questions on the English flag. As with St George’s Day, most people would like to see more of it, with over 80% saying it should be flown at least as much as it is now and nearly two-thirds wanting it flown more.
When asked to define English traits, there is still the feeling that a distinctive sense of humour, queuing and talking about the weather are important. Yet the idea of English people being intent on keeping up appearances and not showing emotion in public is starting to fade away. Over half of the people featured in the survey felt that the traditional stiff upper lip attitude was now an outdated stereotype.
All this information was discussed during the all-day festival in London which delved into what it means to be English today. There are further events planned in Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol, which will also explore the different regional aspects of identity and Englishness.