Devolution round-up II: England, West Lothian and the World Cup

Football, rugby and cricket tournaments have all contributed to the rise in English national consciousness in recent years. asks if this phenomenon will have an impact on the burning question at Westminster:

You can’t help but feeling a bit sorry for Gordon over the timing of the World Cup. There he is in the final stages of his plan to take over the Labour leadership and along comes the contest which in the UK is the ultimate “English-fest”.

With the question mark over his appeal to the electors as a whole being the main obstacle standing in the way of the succession that he regards as his getting the World Cup right is critical – and much more important than any policy issue. (

The World Cup has also prompted Dr Anthony King of my old Alma Mater, Essex University, to reverse the usual orthodoxy on English identity:

"A potentially xenophobic British national identity expressed specifically by groups of young men in the 1970s and 80s has been replaced by a more localised English national identity, symbolised by the Cross of St George since the 1990s.

"This English identity is more inclusive, cosmopolitan and ultimately transitional than the former British identity.

"It encompasses social groups that were excluded before, going further to include women and immigrants, and is more open to other nations." (PA via

The Guardian’s Jackia Ashley considers what political recognition of this English resurgence would mean.

Helped along by the St George’s crosses fluttering from every second car and the "Ingerlands" being chanted from pub pavements, the "English question" is back on the agenda. It goes way beyond the World Cup fever though – it’s not about the strengths and weakness of the England football team. It is the old West Lothian Question rebranded – and it has still not been answered. (Commentisfree)

Ashley argues that addressing the English question could mean the end of the UK. She may be right about that, but as several commenters point out, she doesn’t present much of an argument as to why that should be the decisive consideration.

I have been working on a short essay on how see the constitutional future evolving, which I may post here over the next couple of days.



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