Devolution and national identity: the rules of English (dis)engagement

2014-07-18T10:06:23Z (GMT) by Susan Condor
In this article I consider why the expected English backlash to the asymmetric UK devolution settlement has not yet materialised. Using a corpus of conversational interviews, I discuss the various ways in which people in England currently understand the relationship between national identity and political entitlement. I conclude that English political quiescence, far from constituting an enigma, is comprehensible in the light of the fact that members of the general public do not usually base their assessments of political legitimacy on calculations of English national self-interest defined in contrast to Scotland. Rather, political issues tend to be judged with reference to principles of equity and procedural justice. English identity is rarely considered legitimate grounds for political voice. Rather, people are inclined to demonstrate a concern to balance the recognition of Scottish rights to national self-determination, with a display of public reason, civility and civic responsibility understood to be normatively incumbent upon the English majority.