For someone with a smattering of CSEs to her name, you’d be surprised at the interest I’ve got in academic research, even if Kevin Mahoney of UKIP puts his faith in reading tea leaves. And Richard Wyn Jones has been at it again, revealing wondrous insights about the English mind.
In this latest research, he uncovered that the more ‘British’ an English person feels, the more favourably inclined towards the European Union she is. But the more ‘English’ an English person feels, the less he is likely to support the European Union. What’s more – and probably hardly a shock to the system – there is a pronounced trend towards Euro-scepticism in those who support parties further to the right of the political spectrum.
But one of the other interesting findings is that the right-wing parties harbour individuals (in England) who have a preference for an English passport over a British passport. So, in order of furthest to the right (at the UK 2010 General Election):
- UKIP – 59% of supporters would prefer an English passport; 35% would prefer British passport
- Conservative – 47% preference for English passport; 49% preference British
- Labour – 35% preference for English passport; 55% preference British
- Lib Dem – 33% preference for English passport; 55% preference British
- Understandably, Plaid Cymru supporters in England were not canvassed
It’s quite a finding. The more right wing an English person is, the more likely they are both to want to withdraw from the European Union and to favour greater independence for England.
But here’s the kick. Let’s look at Wales. Here, the more right-wing you are, while you are presumably as likely as your English friends to want to withdraw from the European Union, you are more likely to refute the idea of greater independence for Wales.
So in order of most right-wing:
- UKIP – open warfare among those ‘relaxed’ about devolution and those seeing an opportunity for harvesting anti-devolution votes
- Conservative – Leader of the party in Wales has recently confessed that some members “are still fighting the battles of the devolution referendum of 1997”
- Labour – open warfare between the pro-devolutionists and anti-devolutionists
- Lib Dem – have run a ‘long campaign’ for a federal UK
- Plaid – support full independence for Wales
Why does the right wing in Wales bitterly oppose independence for Wales at the same time that their brothers in England are most fervent supporters for greater independence for England? That’s a question only the right-leaning population of Wales can answer.
What’s good for the goose is good for the right-wing gander. But not, it seems, in Wales.