British Future’s new report This Sceptred Isle released

Posted on 20 April 2012 - 13 Comments

British Future’s new report This Sceptred Isle has now been released. In the report key questions are asked about modern British identity and sources of national pride.

To what extent do people identify as being English, Welsh and Scottish, as well as British? New findings are reported about what the public feels is most important when it comes to being accepted as English, Welsh and Scottish. Do ethnicity and parentage matter more or less than the more civic ideals of contributing to society and a sense of national identity?

It tackles the question of what makes the English, Scottish and Welsh proud of their nations, and then discusses why these sources of pride are important. It investigates each nation’s perception of their own flag and what associations, whether positive or negative, the public have with the Union Jack. Do the public associate Britain’s flags with the modern, inclusive Britain they represent, and can more be done to make it so?

This Sceptred Isle aims to open up public debate about how we could do more to create a shared and inclusive pride across the nations of Britain.

Read articles by Andrew Gimson, Alex Massie, Sunder Katwala, Peter Kellner, Rachael Jolley and Richard Miranda.

This Sceptred Isle is available for download here.

Posted in Blog, Featured



  • Comment by Philip R Hosking at 11:06 on 22.04.12

    “This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars … This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”.

    Doesn’t the conflation of ‘isle’ and ‘England’ point to everything that is wrong with this unbalanced Union and the attitude of a large majority of those who wish to promote/save it?

    • Comment by Jose at 00:29 on 26.08.13

      Mark, here in the boondocks, the whole prcesos seems very flawed. Frankly, you do too much. Everytime a Tory seat comes up around here over 200 applicants apply. We don’t have more than 70 PPC’s approved for thje whole region, a little over one per seat and many of them are no longer ‘available’. We need a lighter regime, where more attention is paid to references and recommendations, done on a more confidential basis. We need reform; something, oddly, the LD’s seem very bad at.

  • Comment by Ken Stevens at 15:43 on 23.04.12

    Part of the problem is that there is institutional confusion, as between “England” and “Britain”. Indeed, strictly speaking, “British” excludes the Northern Irish. However, whilst “UK… ish” seems to describe the present situation very aptly, it is not a very catchy all-embracing adjective!

    Sample institutional examples:

    It is still the “Bank of England”, rather than “..of UK”.

    Why doesn’t “BBC North” refer to Scotland, given that it is the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation!

    Why does our side of the British-Irish Council include UK government representatives and those of devolved administrations but no representative of England? This infers either that UK=England or that England is not represented in its own right. Actually, it’s even more anomalous because it also has reps from Channel Islands and Isle of Man, which are not part of the UK. Furthermore, Ireland is a sovereign nation and foreign affairs are a UK reserved matter, so why are there any specifically designated subordinate territories’ reps?!

    There is currently a UK Parliament panel examining the possibility of EVEL. It has representatives of the devolved areas but not of England, yet the subject is ENGLISH votes for ENGLISH laws! The other three members are participating as overall UK parliamentary experts. Of those, the chairman happens to be a distinguished Scot and, whilst one fully accepts that he will be objective as a UK expert, it adds to the perception that England isn’t getting a look-in on a topic that purports to solve its problem.

    What we’ve been seeing in recent years since devolution is random constitutional tinkerings that create as many problems as they purport to solve. We need some sort of overall review (a Royal Commission?) of what the UK is all about nowadays before we can hope to clarify perceptions of public identification as between UK and its component territories. That should be done prior to a Scottish independence referendum, so that its populace knew what it was they were voting for or against. Also, any thoughts of Lords reform should be shelved until the outcome of such a review, as maybe its structure would be part of a federal UK solution e.g. as the small overall UK parliament, co-existing with four national parliaments of equal status.

  • Comment by Alex A at 15:55 on 23.04.12

    re: The association of the Cross of St George with racism.

    Is it any wonder a large proportion of survey respondents associate England’s flag with racism? After all the British establishment media associates England’s flag with racism at every opportunity and especially come St George’s Day. UK politicians and the UK media routinely and repeatedly tell us that the English flag has been hijacked by the far right.

    However this is nothing more than anti English Brit propaganda at work. The reality is that the flag of choice for the far right of these islands is the Union Flag. See the British Union of Fascists, the National Front (the nation in question being the UK), the British National Part and now the British Freedom Party. All far right BRITISH nationalist parties who lovingly wave the Butcher’s Apron.

    The British establishment slings mud at the Cross of St George to draw attention away from their own tainted flag.

    There is of course the ‘English (and until recently Welsh) Defence League. Take a look at any photos from their demonstrations and you will see the Union Flag as much in evidence as the Cross of St George. The EDL also talks about Britain rather than England. The only thing English about the EDL is that England is in the title.

    The people of England should be doing all they can to distance themselves and their country from the discredited Union Flag. Tainted as it is not only with association with far right parties but with the British empire as well.

  • Comment by Alex A at 16:10 on 23.04.12

    @Ken Stevens

    There’s nothing wrong with there being a BBC Scotland and a BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland but there should be a BBC England too. Sadly there is only one person that I can tell that works with the idea that England is a single entity – one person.Her name is Alison Hastings and she’s the trustee for England. Below her everything is done on a regional level – despite the English never being consulted on or voting in favour of England being broken into regions. One person doing an absolutely terrible job I might add.

    The British Irish Council makes itself into a joke without England. The arrangement of course suits the UK establishment down to the ground.

    re: “There is currently a UK Parliament panel examining the possibility of EVEL”

    If you are thinking of the WLQ commission then I think you’re mistaken its remit is the WLQ and its effect on Britain’s devolved nations – not specifically England even though it’s England that’s getting done repeatedly by the WLQ. It’s not looking into the idea of EVOL or any other solution it’s just looking at the issues. It’s a toothless sop and it has England hating Clegg’s fingerprints all over it.

    Well done BF for calling for an anthem for England but an while being nice an anthem isn’t in the same league as political recognition and representation for the English. We deserve nothing less than our own parliament back and working in the English interest.

  • Comment by Ken Stevens at 16:56 on 23.04.12

    @ Alex A. 16.10

    The Commission’s TOR are indeed rather general:
    “To consider how the House of Commons might deal with legislation which affects only part of the United Kingdom, following the devolution of certain legislative powers to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assembly for Wales.”

    However, the context was that “only part of the UK” significantly referred to England. For instance, the announcement in September 2011 by the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office:
    “…The Government are clear that the commission’s primary task should be to examine how this House and Parliament as a whole can deal most effectively with business that affects England wholly or primarily, when at the same time similar matters in some or all of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are lawfully and democratically the responsibility of the separate Parliament or Assemblies…”.

    Then on 17 January 2012
    “Mr Harper made the following Written Statement:
    The Coalition Programme for Government includes a commitment to establish a Commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’. In my statement of 8 September 2011 I gave some details of the forthcoming Commission and undertook to return to the House with further detail including the terms of reference for the Commission. This statement sets out the further detail….”

    I was a bit too economical with my wording re BBC. I meant that it should be, e.g., “BBC England, North”