In this opinion piece, Dr Stuart Cartland examines the concept of Englishness, as distinct from British, Scottish, Welsh or Irish identity.
We have arguably arrived at a unique moment where the once largely ambiguous and unaddressed topic of English national identity, or rather Englishness, has been forced upon the national agenda. Although clearly contested and problematic as a concept, what Englishness means has, perhaps, become dominated by a conservative ideological approach which has in turn directly impacted upon manifestations and articulations of Englishness.
As a form of national identity, Englishness has become a politicised position for the English and now represents a dominant and primary national identity over Britishness. As a form of political identification it has become associated and dominated with a conservative approach characterised by a sense of grievance, anxiety and defensiveness. In terms of national politics and policy direction we have already felt its effects; from an almost complete abandonment of the British project and identity, to Brexit and to the ease with which
English Votes for English Laws was passed. Rather than representing a unique reactionary response to large political questions and debates, Englishness and the conservative dominance over what this means will have continued and further political and policy implications for many years to come and will represent a fundamental shift that requires much more engagement and attention.
Opinion: thought piece on Englishness by Stuart Cartland is available as a PDF to read or download by clicking on the front cover image below