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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Research


James Madison Trust - Identity and Governance in England Seminar Series

In the post-devolution UK, England stands out. While other UK nations now have their own political institutions, England is still governed centrally from Westminster. As the constitutional debate evolves outside England – with nationalist parties committed to dissolving or fundamentally renegotiating the UK state now involved in government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – the anomalous situation of England becomes all the more striking. This seminar series, funded by the Madison Trust, explored this English anomaly. It focused on questions of identity – who the English think they are, how they understand Englishness and Britishness – and of governance. What are the present arrangements for governing England; how sustainable are they; and what are the prospects of further reform – either in reviving the regional agenda or developing new arrangements England-wide? All these issues affect Scotland, raising questions about the relationship of English, Scottish and British identities, and about the stability of arrangements for governing Scotland and England as component parts of a changing UK. These are just some of the important questions explored throughout this seminar series, bringing together a variety of academic perspectives – political, sociological, historical – and also drawing on expertise from politics and journalism.


  • 11th October: Charlie Jeffery, Ross Bond and Michael Rosie (University of Edinburgh) ‘Introduction. England: Identity and Governance’
  • 19th October: Michael Keating (European University Institute, Florence and University of Aberdeen) ‘England: regions without regionalism?’
  • 25th October: Henry McLeish (former Scottish First Minister) ‘Scotland - The Road Divides: Perspectives on the Scottish-English Relationship’
  • 15th November: Arthur Aughey (University of Ulster) ‘Anxiety and Injustice: The Anatomy of Contemporary English Nationalism’
  • 27th November: Peter Riddell (‘The Times’) ‘Developments in Scottish Politics: the English View’


  • 24th January: Sarah Ayres, University of Bristol ‘A Whitehall Perspective on Governance Change in the English Regions’
  • 21st February: Christopher Bryant, European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford ‘Six English Questions’
  • 22nd April: Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia (USA) ‘The English and their Others: thoughts on the making of English Identity’
  • 7th May: John Curtice, University of Strathclyde ‘Is there an English backlash?’
  • 9th October: Ben Wellings, Australian National University ‘English nationalism and Euroscepticism’
  • 30th October: Susan Condor, Lancaster University ‘Devolution and National Identity: the rules of English political (dis)engagement’
  • 27th November: Varun Uberoi, University of Oxford ‘Re-imagining what it means to be British’
See Michael Rosie (ed), Themed Section on Englishness, Nations & Nationalism, 16 (2), 2010.