Over recent decades, more and more English residents have described being ‘English’ as the main or an important part of their identity. Over the same period, many writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers have explored the idea of Englishness and interest in and the study of English history have grown.
The rise in English identity is shaping and being shaped by politics. Devolution to cities and counties, procedures in the House of Commons, the English debate about the European Union, responses to Welsh and Scottish devolution, and the organisation of political parties in England are all reflecting English concerns. As yet, there is no settled English identity; it is still being shaped. The Centre for English Identity and Politics, led by former MP John Denham, is developing a cross-disciplinary programme of lectures, seminars, conferences and cultural events. These will increase our understanding of the forces driving English identity and develop ideas for how it can be inclusive and forward-looking.
20 June 2017
Prof. John Denham makes powerful plea for positive outlook
Can 'let's take back control’ become ‘let’s take responsibility for our own future’? The University's Professor John Denham believes a new national self-confidence is possible. Read his powerful plea for a positive outlook and a can-do attitude in the face of Brexit.
2 March 2017
New CEIP research shows Tory activists are sanguine about break-up of the Union
Fewer than a third of Conservative activists believe that the loss of Scotland would cause 'serious damage' to the rest of the UK, while over two-thirds would not want Theresa May to offer any new financial or policy powers to the Scottish government in the event of a second referendum. Read more.
27 April 2017: Prof. Meg Russell: Options for an English Parliament
Meg Russell is Professor of British and Comparative Politics at University College London, where she is also Director of the Constitution Unit. A well-known expert on the British parliament, she is author or editor of five books, most recently Developments in British Politics (2016. Her next book, Legislation at Westminster (with Daniel Gover) will be published this summer. Find out more about Prof. Russell.
Friday 31 March 2017: An Englishness open to all?
A day-long seminar held at Winchester Cathedral, featuring academics from several UK universities, including the University of Winchester, as well as representatives from British Future, the Policy Exchange and the Labour Party, and comedian, author and Winchester alumna Shappi Khorsandi. This important seminar explored barriers to and opportunities for an inclusive Englishness that is equally accessible to all parts of England and its diverse population. Find out more.
Thursday 9 March 2017: The future of the English County Council, with Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council
The government's big local government agenda revolves around devolution to city and county regions, but devolution deals have been much harder to agree in English shire counties. Many have chosen not to get involved or say that too little is on offer. Other voices have suggested radical changes in the shire counties, abolishing district councils and forming smaller, single-tier councils. Are we on the verge of the death of the English county council, or is there a bright future ahead?
28 February 2017: Five hundred years of Englishness, with Simon Heffer
A talk by British journalist, author and political commentator Simon Heffer as he explores what it is in English history that might help us define and understand England's distinctive identity and values, at a time when England is (once again) looking away from the Continent.
18 January 2017: Cllr Judith Blake (Leader, Leeds Council): English devolution: Devo-revolution?
Devolution deals have been agreed with ten 'combined authorities' across England. More are proposed, including in southern England. Does this represent a fundamental change in the way England is governed? Or is there too little money and power to allow local authorities to make a real difference in their area? Is it 'power to the people' or a cosy deal between ministers and council leaders in which the public has no say? And where do mayors fit in?
Councillor Judith Blake is leader of Leeds City Council and leader of the Leeds Labour group. She is a key player in the establishment of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the negotiation of the Leeds City Region Deal. Read the transcript of Judith's talk.
For information on previous CEIP events, please see the Archive links below.