This Wednesday 20th November I am going to the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The reason for the visit is to explore Englishness in the north at an event hosted by British Future and IPPR North. As a student of anthropology and a born-and-bred Midlander living in the north, I am fascinated to hear thoughts on whether a national identity pervades across England’s regions, writes Sarah Dickson.
The English see themselves as a nation of charming chancers battling against the odds, misusing French to sound ‘posh’ and sipping cocktails in the local boozer, but certainly no longer snobs. At least that is what our latest polling says ahead of today’s festival of Englishness – with Derek Trotter of “Only Fools and Horses” named as the comedy character that best represents Englishness, writes Steve Ballinger .
On Saturday 19th October British Future and IPPR are co-hosting a “Festival of Englishness” to address a question which is becoming increasingly central to the Britain’s national conversation: who defines themselves as English and what does it mean when they do? Featuring top political thinkers and figures from English culture, sport and comedy, “England, my England: A festival of Englishness” will examine exactly what English identity means today and what its implications are for people in this country.
England and Arsenal footballer Jack Wilshere this week suggested that only English-born players should be eligible to play for England, pitching into a media debate about which national team the young Manchester United player Adnan Jaznan should play for. His views are out of step with most of the country’s sports fans, writes Sunder Katwala.
St Patrick’s Day has firmly established itself on the annual calendar in England, with the help of a certain brand of stout, but England’s own patron saint’s day, St George’s Day, is a much more sedate affair. Why isn’t it bigger? What is stopping those in England from celebrating Englishness?
English identity has become a much more inclusive and welcoming identity, but different attitudes towards Europe now form one of the major differences between English and Scottish nationalism, said Conservative MP John Redwood at today’s Englishness festival.
One of the most pressing issues today is the sheer amount of young people in need of employment. Since the recession, the rate of people aged 16 to 25 not in work has been steadily increasing, with over 979,000 young people unemployed nationwide between December 2012 and February 2013. The north-east has the highest rates of youth unemployment. What then can be done to help today’s youth, asks Next Generation thinker Matilda Neill.
“Bradford needs more than just one cup final. It needs more winners. People are desperate; people want change.” These words, articulated by one member of the audience at British Future’s Beyond Wembley: What can bring Bradford together? event, struck a chord with many.