Scots referendum sparked sense of English identity

The referendum debate in Scotland has sparked a growing sense of English identity, a new report has found. Picture: Greg Macvean
The referendum debate in Scotland has sparked a growing sense of English identity, a new report has found. Picture: Greg Macvean
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ENGLISH identity is on the rise thanks to perceived discontent south of the Border that Scotland has an “unfair advantage” in the way it is governed, a new survey has found.

A system of “English votes for English Laws’ is now the most popular option to address this issue among people south of the border, according to the latest Future of England survey from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

There is a “clear and growing dissatisfaction” among the UK’s biggest nation which has given rise to the emergence of Ukip as the party “most trusted” to argue England’s case.

But voters continue to place worries about the influence of the EU above the English question.

About 40 per cent support English votes for English laws, depending on how the question is asked.

Professor Charlie Jeffery of the ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC) at Edinburgh University said: “There is a clear and growing sense of English political identity.

“We found that this is driven in part by three factors: A feeling that the devolved nations, especially Scotland, have an unfair advantage over England and two, related, concerns about the influence of the EU and the impact of immigration.

“The politicisation of England appears to have found its focus, in the shape of demands for an England-wide institution to represent its views, and, may be finding its voice in the shape of Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party.”

When asked which leader best stands up for English interests, Nigel Farage was voters’ first choice (22 per cent) but his closest rival isn’t even another party leader – ‘None of the Above’ is in second place, with 21 per cent of the survey’s respondents dismissing all of the available political leaders. Mr Cameron is third on 15 per cent, just ahead of Ed Miliband on 13 per cent.