A special programme exploring different attitudes towards the notions of Britishness, national identity and Scottish independence. Presented by Jeremy Paxman.
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Tonight: They hacked into the mobile phone of an abducted
teenager. They deleted messages from the same phone, letting the
parents hope their daughter was still alive. And then they ran an
interview with those same parents, begging their dead child to come
home. Tonight the News of the World is accused of some of the most
odious antics in the long history of British tabloid journalism. What
is the fit punishment for commoditising the death of Milly
Dowler in a manner that could have interfered with a police murder
investigation? We're joined by the Dowler family lawyer and the MP
campaigning against News International. Also tonight, it's
lasted us 300 years but what chance is there of the union between
England and Scotland surviving? In Scotland they've a nationalist
government promising a referendum on independence. Here we have a
studio full of opinions and a poll suggesting half the English would
also like a vote on staying together. A Scotsman returns to his
roots to find out how strong is the appetite for divorce. And an
Irishman asks if an ascending English identity will soon replace
a more complex British sense of who we are. That broughtal
assertiveness, people saying we have to claim a better Englishness.
Reclaim that, but there is no answer to what it may mean. We'll
hear from an Englishman, a Scotswoman and a British man, among
For once that overworked word 'scandal' is the only appropriate
one. It's one thing to break into the private phone messages of
actors and celebrities, but another to allegedly interfere into the
police investigation into the abduction and murder of a child.
The private investigator employed by the News of the World, hacked
into the mobile phone of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler while the
police were searching for her. It was alleged that he deleted
messages, giving the parents' hope that she was still alive. The
editor of the paper was rebreb ereb, the man appointed as the Prime
Minister's spin was Andy Coulson. It is hard to imagine a more
serious case. 13-year-old Milly Dowler disappeared from her home in
Walton on Thames in March, 2002. Her plight prompted saturation news
coverage and anguished appeals from her family.
Someone, somewhere, must know something.
She is staying with a friend or someone that she must know, if she
is please phone us and let us know. Let the police know. Any
information, however small it may seem must be given to us.
We need your help. There was a glimmer of hope, it
seemed that Milly could have been alive as the contents of her mobile
phone was changing, some messages were being deleted.
Milly, darling if you are watching or listening to this, mum, dad,
Gemma, granny, all of the family want you to know that we all love
you and really miss you. We can't wait to have you back home with us.
But the hope was misplaced. The Guardian newspaper reported this
afternoon, that the News of the World had hacked Milly Dowler's
phone, deleting messages to make room for new ones to obtain
different quotes for stories, it seems.
We at the Guardian have spoken to two separate sources who have told
us independently that Scotland Yard have obtained evidence that Milly
Dowler's phone was hacked by the News of the World and they are
currently investigating that. They've been in touch with Surrey
Police, they have taken statements from them recently, filling out the
detail and that investigation continues.
The police declined to comment, but if the Guardian is right, the
timing is shockingly cynical. The paper went on to irview the family
about their hopes and fears without mentioning the phone hacking and
tampering. The editor at the News of the World
of at the time that this particular episode took place is Rebekkah
Brooks, who is now Rupert Murdoch's Chief Executive in the United
Kingdom. News International said that this case is clearly a
development of great concern and they will be conducting their own
inquiries as a result. They will obviously co-operate fully -- fully
with any police request. News International is close to
securing final Government approval for the full takeover of BSkyB.
Rebekkah Brooks is now the Chief Executive of News International.
She is also a friend of the Camerons. We don't know if she knew
about the Milly Dowler case, but the political dimensions to the
story will add fuel to the fire. Richard Watson is with us. What
have you learn bad who was in charge of this, who authorised it?
This case is shocking, but it does not tell us about who knew what at
News International or the News of the World. We don't know if
Rebekkah Brooks knew about this Milly Dowler case, specifically,
although she was the editor. I suspect that she will be under
pressure to speak publicly, but it is time to look at the history of
the changing sands of News International. Back in 2009, a
senior Chief Executive told MPs, that it was just the Royal
Correspondent who knew about the hacking and the liaisons of the
private detective, but in April of this year, they were forced to
mount a remarkable U-turn, issuing this rather embarrassing statement,
saying: It is apparent that the inquiries have failed to uncover
important evidence and acknowledged that the actions then were not
sufficiently robust. I have been speaking to a source who has given
a fascinating insight around the culture of phone hacking with is
constructive if true. He says that some senior journalists and junior
managers revelled in the title Princes of Darkness. So that all
journalists who wanted to get phone hacking commissioned would have to
get approval from the so-called Princes of Darkness. It is
important to say that all the senior managers have denied
approving this action, but if the source is correct it suggests a
wider circle of knowledge than previously admitted.
With us now are Mark Lewis, the solicitor for the Dowler family and
a Labour MP, Tom Watson. You have spoken to the family tonight, how
are they efeeling? They are obviously devastated and were
devastated. They have just gone through an ordeal, a criminal trial,
to be notified of the police of this, to know that they were
victims of crime and their daughter was a victim of another crime in
the respect of phone hacking, just next to this, the people that they
thought that they were being supported by have let them down,
both the police, the press, everybody was letting them down.
Now, we have to be careful about this, there is the question of the
deleting of messages on Milly's phone, have they been told for a
fact that was -- that happened, firstly, secondly, that it was
carried out by somebody, an investigator or somebody that they
did not know? How it works is that when people's messages are or the
voicemail box is full. The message that goes out is that the voicemail
is full, try again later. Subsequently, if people are phoning
up and messages are left, the only explanation is that the person is
wiping the messages off, so that there is room in the voicemail to
leave voicemails. Did that really give them hope?
That would have given them hope, I'm sure it did in the particular
circumstances, the parents were trying to get hold of their
daughter. Tom, what do you make of this
is a failure of political leadership. There have been many
hints to Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron that something
very murky happened with Glenn Mulcaire and the News of the World
newsroom. They have let the Dowler family down tonight by not calling
for a public inquiry. It is time that they acted. That is the
biggest scandal of the lot. Politicians are frightened of News
International, they need to act. You are talking about your own
leader there? I'm afraid that he is as guilty as David Cameron and Nick
Clegg. Politicians across the board let the Dowler family down and the
other hacking victims, Parliament needs to speak out and sort this
out. What do you think should happen now? I think that all the
party leaders should come together and declare that when the criminal
investigations are over, that there is a judge-led inquiry to get to
the facts and hopefully some goodwill come out of this evil and
that is self-regulation of the newspaper industries that works.
Do you think this is a tipping point in the way that the public
regard the way some of the tabloid newspapers work? Well I think that
the PR people at News International have done a good job of persuading
people this is just about celebrity tittle-tattle, that is dispeled.
Part of the problem is that many are just learning the story, the
other scandal is that newspapers have refused to report the facts of
the case as it is revealed through the parliamentary einquiries and
through the police inquiries. Apparently it is in none of the
tabloids tomorrow? Well, can you believe it? They were happy to put
the Dowler family on the front pages during the case.
Now, the Dowler family's relationship with the News of the
World is quite a complicated one. It seems that Milly's phone was
being hacked, messages were being deleted, that was obviously
changing the way they thought, the hope that they clung to, they also
give an interview to the News of the World? What was happening they
were amongst people that they trusted, that they thought were
getting support it is a widely-read newspaper, an organ of effectively
hope of getting in touch with the public looking for things. In fact
what we find out is that they were culpable of a gross intrusion of
privacy and perhaps people who could be trusted. What you must
remember eis that Milly Dowler would not have been someone of
interest to Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator, but for the
fact that she had been abducted. When that happened somebody at the
News of the World had to give specific instructions to say find
Milly Dowler, find her phone, listen to it. That person must be
absolutely shocked that they have been found out tonight. Why they
did that, why Glenn Mulcaire listened to the phone calls also.
Have you heard that there were five people at the newspaper, so-called
Princes of Darkness to authorise this behaviour? This phrase the
Princes of Darkness has been used to describe people. What Tom was
saying that people that put this spin on it, with celebrity sports
people, ets eets, that they were being listened to, it is something
that I have been banging my head against the wall, this is not just
about the celebrities, this is ordinary people who are victims of
a wide spread practise in the News of the World to get stories
irrespective of the harm that they might cause.
Do you have reason to believe that there are other cases out there of
a similar nature? Fortunately not that many cases, but I think that
we while see others involved in that type of thing, I know that Tom
has spoken about it in Parliament, that have been subject to hacking.
Since this inquiry, a number of whistle-blowers have talked to me
privately. There is a strong suspicion that one of the parents
murdered by Ian Huntley at Soham have been a target by the News of
the World. We would like you to stay, if not,
it may not make a difference. Our poll questioning Scottish
independence, 48% were against Scottish independence with 36 in
favour. That is about the same level of support for cutting the
tie north of the border. When we asked a similar question
four years ago 16% backed an oint Scotland. If the Scots choose to go
it alone, the glir may not be too The remainder did not know. When
The question of Scottish independence has become more urgent
since the Scots Nationalists took control of the Parliament in
Holyrood. They promise a referendum on independence. No-one is offering
the English a vote on whether 300 years of union should be chucked in
the bin. We're going to talk further about whether Britain has a
future shortly. First, we asked Allan Little what he thought was
behind the rise of Scottish nationalism.
Even they seem dumbfounded by the scale of their victory. It's game-
changing potential. 50 years ago the SNP polled less than 1% of the
popular vote. What has happened in Scotland in the course of my own
lifetime to turn them into "the" dominant force, one that is
changing the political landscape of Scotland? This party, the Scottish
party, the national party, carries your hope. We shall carry it
carefully. In the Scotland I grew up in, the British state was a very
concrete presence. It dug coal, milled steel, built ships,
manufactured motor cars. It put the gas and electricity and the phone
into your home. The state probably even owned the house you lived in.
In the '80s all that changed. Scottish industry was swept away.
Something of the shared experience of Britishness was swept away with
it. Coal mining now belongs to the museum services. It is something we
learn that our forebearers once did. This is the mining museum at knew
ton grange near Edinburgh. The miners of Fife and the Lothains
were part of a shared community with not Hampshire, Yorkshire and
South Wales. They told the same history of struggle and social
progress. They fought the same fights against the same enemies.
They shared the pantheon of folk heroes. It was a pan-British
enterprise. Their tradition was one of the bedrocks of British identity
in Scotland. And it's gone. With every year that passes, it recedes
further and further into a distant collective memory. This is not so
much the rise of a new Scottish sentiment, it's more the gradual
decay of much of what it once meant to be British. After the Second
World War, the union between Scotland and England really meant
something. It's the closest the two nations have been since the act of
union in 1707. There had been a Great War against a common enemy of
fascism. The national health service was being established, this
great creation of the post-war Labour Government. Socialism itself
was a great integrative force. Then came Thatcherism, socialism
disappears, the state is not the same as it was and the ties that
bound became gradually loosened. Loyalty to the idea of the British
union is written into the street names of Scotland. To pre-war
generations the union meant the great shared enterprise of empire.
But that's long gone too. So what is left of Britishness? The Queen
remains very important, the army and all that kiefpbd thing is
important, but -- kind of thing is important, but at the heart, the
thing that most Scots feel in the depth of their being is that
Britain, a United Kingdom, offers them economic security and I think
the experience of our two main banks collapsing has really brought
that home to people. People think, hang on, if Scotland had been
independent around that time, who would have bailed out our banks?
Would we be in the same situation as Ireland or Iceland? Pro-union
politicians should be careful with this line of argument. Many Scots
remember being warned that even devolution would bring economic
disaster. It didn't. Oil has made Aberdeen the second richest city in
Britain. Unemployment in Aberdeenshire is less than 2%.
There is evidence that many Scots no longer respond well to being
told that they couldn't possibly survive alone. Alex Salmond made a
rod for his own back when he argued that an independent Scotland would
be part of some kind of ark of prosperity that took in Ireland and
Iceland. We don't hear much of that argument now. Even so, many
Scottish people look across the North Sea to small countries,
kprobl population to Scotland, also on the northern periphery of Europe,
Finland, Norway, Denmark, which prosper. And they ask: If they can
do it, why can't we? Is there really something inherent in the
nature of Scotland that makes it uniquely unable to pay its own way?
There is a well enTrenched popular perception of the Scots as
unproductive subsidy junkies, bailed out year after year by their
southern neighbours. What do the Treasury figures reveal? In 2008/9
which is the last full numbers, in that year 59 billion was spend on
public expenditure and 43 billion came in by way of revenue. That gap
between those two figures, can you express it as a percentage of GDP.
In GDP between about 2005 and 2008, if you were to, that didn't include
North Sea oil revenues, I should caution, if you included that,
clearly that's a point for debate, then the percentage of GDP ranging
from 1.6 to 2.3%. When you include oil revenue from Scottish waters,
Scotland's budget deficit is not very different to that of the UK,
fairly normal by European standards. And when the price of oil rises,
Scotland's deficit falls below the UK's. Two things Scotland's got no
shortage of are these - wide-open spaces with almost nobody living on
them and secondly, plenty of this - wind. You just have to stand here
for a few mintoits feel the huge potential of it. Alex Salmond's
ambition is to turn Scotland carbon neutral by 2020. He talks about a
post-oil future in which an independent Scotland would be, what
he calls. The Saudi Arabia of renewable energy. Is it more
achievable inside or outside the United Kingdom? This is Macies --
mackies ice-cream, all made in Aberdeenshire and powered by the
wind on the hill, the whole process from udder to tub.
Mac Mackie is the boss. He has three wind turbines. They power his
factory and he sells excess electricity to the National Grid.
On balance over a year we produce more electricity on site than we
use. We're, from that point of view, carbon neutral. It's a huge
opportunity for Scotland. Scotland is the windiest country in Europe.
The UK as a whole is a big electricity user. That's why
Scotland can become 1 hundred% renewable by 2020, which is the SNP
plan. I think we can do that. herein lies the problem for Alex
Salmond. Many Scots support him in his drive to carbon neutrality and
in many other things, without seeing why they need to leave the
United Kingdom to do it. When the Scottish Parliament was set up more
than a decade ago, the sky didn't fall in, businesses did not run
away to England, there was no flight of capital. It quickly
established itself as the undisputed focus of political
domestic life in Scotland. But there is something odd about this
pafrlt, -- Parliament, it's the only national legislature
responsible for spending public money but has no corresponding
money to raise it. A consensus has formed among the major parties here
that that's got to change. It's about to. Westminster is planning
to transfer some responsibility for tax to Holyrood soon. The Scottish
Parliament is getting more powerful. And an intriguing new idea is
gaining traction, something they're calling devolution Max or
independence light. The SNP has been talking about independence in
a different way to the way it's been conceived. They accept, for
the time being, Scotland would retain the pound sterling. So a lot
of economic policy would exist south of the border. There's talk
of using the UK diplomatic corps, the UK embassy as broad, perhaps a
unified command structure in the army, though they would remove
Trident and other ways in which they call a new social union would
replace the old UK. I went to an agricultural fair in Murray,
they're farming folk. In England this would be natural Tory
territory. Here they vote SNP. That doesn't mean they'll vote for
independence. I don't want to go independent. I look at Norway, the
cost of living in Norway at soared at the same population as Scotland,
but I would rather be with the United Kingdom. Did you vote for
the SNP? Yes, I did. Does that mean you want independence? No. I don't
think that would be a good thing for Scotland, no. Why not? I think
we need to be united. Stay where we are, keep in close contact to
Westminster. But remain semi- independent. Look what happens when
you go down the age demographic. What do you do? I'm a lambing
shepherd. Does the fact that you voted for the SNP mean you want
independence? Yes, I think that is the way forward tore Scotland.
-- For Scotland. The debate is no longer about whether independence
is feasible. It's about whether it's desirable. For independence no
longer means a repudiation of all that is British. It no longer means
separation in any meaningful sense and that is the real game changer.
Well with us now is the SNP's Joan McAlpine, a member of the Scottish
Parliament. Peter Davies a mayor of Doncaster and the Conservative MP,
Rory Stewart, the member for Penrith and the borders. If this
marriage fails, does it matter? matters very deeply. We'll miss it
terribly. It's very easy to imagine you can tear apart, but like any
relationship, any intertwined thing, once it's gone, we will miss it and
never forgive the governments that tore it apart. What would we lose?
It's a mistake to think we lose economics. You can make economic
arguments, political arguments. You lose an idea. An idea of union. An
idea of what was great about Britain, of England, of Scotland
and those are the things that all of us feel. Is there any benefit in
this separation to the English? there any benefit to the English?
No not that you necessarily care. care very deeply about the English.
I'm quite an Anglo-file myself. The English in your own book, the
English identity has been rather suppressed by British identity.
Whereas Scots had a dual identity through the age of the empire. The
English weren't really allowed to express many of their traditions.
It would free the English you think, in a way? I think so. Do you think
anything would be lost? No, because I think we'd continue to have a
strong social union. We would have the Queen as head of state. We
would still have a lot of cross- border cooperation. This is part of
a process. It's not a divorce. It's in the a break up. It's about
Scotland joining in. As an English Democrat, would you worry? Could I
be a Scot-ophile? Be whatever you like. Do you care if the Scots
decide to go their own way? Not now. If we turn the clock back, I would
like to go back to the status quo before the devolution settlement...
I thought you were going to the 1700s. No, the devolution affair
was a total mistake on the part of the Labour Government. It was done
to shore up their own support in Scotland and Wales. They thought
they would be in power there forever and a day. Clearly, that's
not been the case. The losers in the devolution affair were the
English. If I could intervene... got no Parliament. The reason for
the Scottish Parliament was because there had been a very, very long
campaign within Scotland for a Parliament that allowed a
democratic expression for Scotland. I think probably in the end it
reflected desires for the Scottish people. I think it would have been
dangerous to fight it forever. At the same time, Scotland and England
can be independent and confident and Scotland is more independent in
the union than it would be. Would you be in favour of further
devolution since there seems to still be an appetite for it? Giving
more taxation powers is good. But Scotland needs, I'm half Scottish,
half English, like many people in this country. It's a reckless and
unnecessary thing. People aren't going to stop breeding if the two
countries separate. It's perfectly possible. Of course it is. All of
this can be done if you want to do it. It's not going to be the cat
clix or the end of the world. It would be a crying shame and
something we would lose by. What about an English Parliament?
ahead. This is about national identity. Why have the English been
discriminated against? It's the largest of the four countries and
the other three all got their own Assembly or Parliament? You're
falling into the trap that the Scottish Nationalists are setting
you. They're trying to feel that you're discriminated against.
are. Everything they're doing is designed to feel resentful.
resentful. You can be confident and proud of being British. I want what
they've got. Do you think the English are discriminated against?
Absolutely not. The lady in the film was slightly disingenuously
from KPMG with her figures. Scotland puts more into the UK...
I'm not talking about the economy. I'm talking about the fact the
Scots have a Parliament, the Welsh and Northern Irish have an Assembly.
The vast majority of Scottish people say they want full economic
power, they want job creating power in their Parliament. All that is in
London. If the coalition were serious about respect for Scotland,
they would give us a Scotland act to allow us the levers over the
economy. Do you think, do you feel discriminated against? I've never
felt discriminated as English. Supposing that the Scots do decide
that they are going to have a referendum on independence, do you
think the English should be allowed a voice? I think. So it's natural...
They couldn't force the Scots to stay if there were a majority of
England who said, we don't want it Sorry, can you repeat the question.
If you hear some of the poll results that we talked about in the
video, the way that things are going over time. You have got even
the amount of English people that are saying Scotland should get on
and do their own thing, it is increasing. Whereas you ask the
Scots, they are inclined to say "no", independence is maybe a
little too far. They vote for the SNP but don't want to be an
independent country. Are there Scots here who feel that
they should be independent? I don't think that the English should have
a say. It is a purely Scottish matter.
You don't think they should have a say? Not really.
I think it is probably a good thing for Rory and his party. I don't
think that life will change too much. I think that the Scots and
the English get on well. We eget on well now with the
pseudoindependence, so what would change? That point is clearly
typical of many English, who are not that fussed about it? It is
true that we get on well. It has been a very, very difficult period
learning to get on well, we didn't before we had a union. We are in
danger of opening up rivalries, crisis of identities that none of
us need or want and are not going to enfit us. The British Empire
used to have Canada, Australia, Ireland. We have great contacts
with them, family ties, social ties, economic ties.
You have not been at Murrayfield when they are playing? I come from
a Scottish family. I don't think that you speak for
Scotland when you say that. You mentioned the monarchy, you
can't to keep the Queen? That's correct, yes.
In the way that Canada does? Exactly. What about the army?
the army it is the army that markets itself, there is a Scottish
army. Scotland does not have a great deal of union dividend.
Deefence spending is cut by 36%. Would you expect to take control of
the Scottish regiments in the army? Yes.
They would be e be sent into action by Alex Salmond? Not into legal --
illegal wars. What you deem legal wars, they
would be under a separate command? Of course.
What about Scottish banks? Will you take those back too? Scottish
banks? Yes, the ones bailed out by the British taxpayers! Well, the
Scottish banks cost �6 billion to bail out Scottish GDP at that time
was �14 of 6 million, so Scotland was able to bail out its own.
If you take the English bankers out of the Scottish bank, they would
anybody better shape. A cheap point! Now, supposing this
happens, as seems probably now, what would be the consequences for
England in your ideal word? would get our own Parliament, which
we have not had since devolution started. They rule themselves, the
Welsh do, the Irish do, we are ruled by Scots, Welsh, Irish and
Europeans, the cradle of democracy has lots its democracy in the House
of Commons. So we would get the ability to rule ourselves back. I
also thing that we would be able to get out of the European Union as
most of the support for it comes from the Scots and the Welsh.
You, sir? I think that Westminster has got itself into a serious
muddle. I think, I would ask you to consider this, Rory, the fact that
Scottish MPs can vote on English matters, is clearly completely
And the Westminster model. That is the model, as an Australian it
seems bizarre and eccentric that the English have allowed that
wonderful model of Parliament to be completely... Go on? I think you
have a point. There$$NEWLINE There are big problems, but there is a
bigger game. What is happening is that we are
coming in on ourselves. We are becoming narrow minded. There are
big things that the union have given us over 300 years and will
continue to do so. England produces the industrial revolution, Scotland
the Scottish enlightenment and yes there will be adjustments, this
devolution raises lots of issue, but I'm sure in the world we face
it will be better to be a bigger, more confident country, not to fall
in ourselves. Look at the pros perity index, not
only on economy, but well being and health, the countries at the top
are Norway, Finland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand. The
supernational states like the UK and the US are far down. The UK is
a very unequal country. It has one of the highest levels of unequality
in Europe. We have been trying to move away from that. Moving to
independence will be allowing us to go further down that road.
I want to move on if I may. Politicallentities in the end,
although in the beginning are built on a shared sense of purpose and
identity, if, Haas been suggested, that the purpose is wobbly, what of
the identity north of the border? The nationalist are building a
Scottish officialer identity, but have the English a comparable sense
to set against it? Fergal Keane is Irish, we asked him to look at the
whole question of what being English means now.
This is the landscape of the imagined England, the heartland of
the Anglo-Saxons. From this land of marsh and wood, came a man we might
call the Father of English Nationalism.
Hereward the Wake. The celebrated here in Victorian art as the
essence of English marshal vigour. Never mind ehe had partly Danish
roots. Hereward the Wake harried the Norman conquerers, he struck
and then vanished into the Fenland wilderness. Later, generations of
writers would myth ol guise him as the symbol of defiance, but it was
English pragmatism that triumphed. Accepting Norman rule and
ultimately building the world's mightiest empire. A nation founded
on the monarchy, the chump and Parliament. In Shakespeare's world,
an England never did lie at the proud foot of a conquerer. That
stability is really part of the problem for English nationalism.
For nationalism to thrive and to become a mass movement it needs an
existential threat. The Scots Scots, the Irish and the Welsh had all
conquering England as the maligned kol osus against which they found
their national identities, but the English have not had a conerr on
their own soil in over 1,000 years. Englishness became the dominant
identity of the British imperial project.
Here in the Fenland town of March, as in so much of the rest of
England, English and Britishness are hard to disentangle.
We have different sorts of English people talked about in the country
from Yorkshire, Wales, with different accents, but really, it
is one group of people I'm English, I'm British, I don't care. I'm
happy. I always welcomed the concept of
Britain with Scotland, Wales and Ireland, but they don't seem to be
happy about being a part of the union. That is fine by me.
Does it make you resent the Scots? Not at all. As long as they have a
passport to come down here for a visit! LAUGHTER! We let ethem in!
We're got going to stand for that. You can't push people around like
sacks of potatoes. Henry Cornelius's classic, Passport
To Pimlico, celebrates an English identity untouched by the
insecurities that can afflict the conquered or the colonised.
What is the idea of this? But in the age of departing certainties,
how should England respond to Scots nationalism? I'm in no doubt that
you cannot stand in the way of a distinct people, or a distinct
national identity who wish through constitutional change to express
that identity. The English have to realise that.
The English need to think about the need, the democratic need for an
English Parliament. I hope I live and see the day when
the flag of St George is flying over the Victoria at Westminster.
Throughout modern history, England's political main stream has
committed itself to union. Now the task of articulating a
definitively English response to the fraying of the union is largely
taking place outside of politics. Here at Newcastle, the Scots once
laid siege to the city, after taking up arms against the king.
Within 50 years of that siege, the two nations were bound together in
an act of union which endures still. In many ways this city came to
symbolise a British working-class experience shared with men on the
collide to the north with ship builders in Belfast, coal miners in
Wales. I've come to Newcastle to see if
the changes in Scotland might lead to a re-awakening of an English
nationalism in those who up until now, were happy to calls themselves
British. This region has always had a very
delicate relationship with Scotland. In that this region is covered in
calfs, built to defend it against Scotland. I'm not sure that people
in Northumbria are at a more Northumbrian now because of the
existence of skarbl nationalism. I think there is a general English
awakenings in the new nationalism of British ness.
What does this mean to the people here now? I don't think that it has
the intensity of the Welsh, or the Scottish or an Irish identity, but
it is about core values that people believe are English. Things like
fair play, individualism, about being decent. It is the local or
the working-class or ordinary person's view of the values that we
see, that all over the world people see as timeless, as being connect
the to Britain. As an outsider, I have been struck
by the pragmat itch -- pragmatism of English.
Like people such as George Orwell, who whom hate had no attraction.
Assertism is a more Anglican quality. Ironically, it really
characterises what Englishness should be. How-do reenvent that?
your congregation, there are those who perceive themselves as proudly
British. Do you think that they are reassessing themselves as British?
It does make them say, what does it leave for us, who are we? So there
is that process. We have seen that, really with efforts to suddenly
bring St George's Day back to life and the St George's flag and who
owns the flag, there has been a lot of that going on, I think. England
till I die! I'm English till I die! This is part of the problem, for
what we might call a thinking man's nationalism! The attempt by the
far-right to pro Pre-Budget Report -- prooperate Englishness.
The signs over that very brutal, rather British assertiveness in the
right-wing organisations, something that really scares people, so
people are saying we have to claim a better kind of Englishness,
reclaim that, but have not yet the answer to what it might mean.
But national identity has never been static. How could it be on an
island that over centuries absorbed waves of migration? In 40 years 20%
of the English population will be made up of ethnic minorities.
There was a time when I was in the Midlands, walking past the pub and
a series of thugs, basically, swathed in with the George flag
started to do seek heil salutes. I was petrified, but even having that
experience, I don't think that they have a territorial claim over a
national flag, why should they? you had arn ideal of English
definition, what would it be? just us. Not them and us. Just us.
We need not be apologetic about The Scots aren't about to vanish in
a blaze, nor are the English going to succumb the xenophobic
nationalism. But the rise of the Scots Nationalist is, at least,
nudging the English towards thinking of a -- a world after the
union. Nothing less than re-imagining
England. Joan McAlpine of the SNP is still
here. We're also joined by Owen Jones author of the book Chavs: The
Demonisation of the Working Class, Don Letts, the author and film
maker who famously introduced the clash to reggae and Michael
Portillo, the former Conservative Cabinet minister.
What do you think is happening to our sense of identity? I think
English initialism in particular is filling a vacuum. There's a crisis
of identity in many of our communities. That's to do with
class, that idea of being working class in many communities, is a
sense that's something you could be proud of. That's come under attack.
If we think of industries, you can get Dewey eyed about this, they
were often back breaking jobs, there was pride in work. These were
the industries which were the backbone of communities. Unions
provided a sense of identity. English nationalism has filled the
vacuum. You like Englishness don't snu It's worked for me for 55 years.
I describe myself as British born black. A term that rolls off the
tongue now. Growing up through the 70s that was a very confuegz
concept. It waents until the late 80s that being black and British
seemed to make some kind of sense. Now in the 21st century you're
asking me to decide whether I'm British or English. That's
disturbing. I never heard this conversation during more prosperous
times. I have to wonder how much is related to the economic climate.
may have to do, with respect, your age. It was interesting in the film
there, ethnic minority considers himself English. You know, I saw
the struggles that my parents' generation went through trying to
become angli sized and the soul destroying process it was. Was down
to my generation to reclaim a sense of identity and understand what we
had to bring to the party, so to speak. You're reassessing
everything, aren't you? No, I'm not actually. I think Britishness is
and has been for a long time, defined as being anti-fanaticism.
It goes back to Elizabeth I, the understanding that fanaticism of
Catholics or Protestants would tear the kingdom apart. That is still a
characteristic of the British. It is a characteristic shared by
Scottish and English people to almost equal degrees. Very strong
contributions to Britishness, the enlightenment figures of Scotland,
for example. Now, there is a feeling in Scotland that amongst
some people they want to distance themselves from England or change
their constitutional arrangement. There are some Scots who are anti-
English. That doesn't make them non-British. I think the sense of
Britishness is still very, very strong. The other characteristic is
the sovereignty of the individual and the distrust of the state.
don't you like Britishness? didn't say I disliked Britishness.
You prefer Scottishness. Britishness is a political
construct. I disagree that it's about tolerance. Britishness was
first constructed as an emblem of Protestantism. Then it changed
again because it's a construct. It changed at the time of empire, it
represented empire. For me, Britishness, I don't want to impose
identities on anyone else, but for me, it was about the empire and
about colonies and about jingoism. Don is perfectly happy with it.
am now. But it's been a painful process. It's taken a long time to
get here. I can totally see the point that you're making, but I
think other people have made the point that it's quite interesting
that it's easier for people from a non-white background in Scotland to
feel Scottish and Pakistani or Scottish and west Indian than it is
for them to say that they're English and Pakistani or English
and west Indian. You've gone back to the notion of it being black and
white. But it's more complex than it is now. I'm not imposing
identity on other people. I can only speak for, for example, in the
SNP, we have a lot of members from a Pakistani background. We have
members from a Scottish Italian background. They are happy with the
dual identity of being Scottish and also the identity of their parents
and grandparents' country. thing about Britishness is you can
basically define it how you want much that's the problem. One idea
of Britishness... That's its strength, surely. One idea is
empire, king and empire. You could claim another Britishness of
British people throughout the centuries fighting for their rights
against absolute monarchy, the chartist, the working class
movement, the suffragettes, the NHS, all these things were collective
strugzles which people fought for as Scottish, as English and Welsh
people. Its plyability is surely its strength. Of course. You could
claim another Britishness about those struggles being proud of
those fights for democracy. Let's see if anyone here has a clear
sense of what Britishness is. Does anybody... Yes, you Sir.
Britishness will come of its own again later in this century, it
will become the federalism by which each of our individual nations
survives. What is it? collectivism, the collective spirit
of peoples who are united and working together. What is
Britishness? It's aspiration. We're a small country, but we're also a
great country. I come from a working class background. I now
work in finance. Adam Smith is an inspiration to anybody in finance.
People may laugh at that, but you know, innovation, entrepreneurship,
technological development, that's what it means to be British.
think a main quality of Britishness is a comfortableness with multiple
identities. That's a very subtle point. I was
going to sate essence of Britishness is, I believe,
stability and fair mindedness. As for the previous conversation that
we had, I believe that the Scots and the Welsh are more
Nationalistic than the English. I think the English are fairly
apathetic about nationalism. It's rather odd that we haven't
addressed great swathes of recent history. If you accept the point
that Britishness is about being anti-fanatical, one of the features
of fanaticism has propped up on the European continent, whether it was
Napoleon or Hitler, in that respect, there's no difference in the
reaction of the Welsh, the Scots or the English. The British reaction
to the responsibility of dealing with that has been identical.
Britain is not a fair union. It's not an equal union. You're making
another point now. It's not. I don't think the point has been made.
You've made it many times. can't have an equal union with 10%
of the population in Scotland... We're trying to define Britishness.
I'm not sure how important it is to go round with a label. I'm half
Welsh. I'm watching rugby, if I'm at Lord's I might feel English. If
I'm in France I might feel British and if I'm in Vietnam I feel
European. If you're watching brave heart you hate the English. What do
you make of the way there's an attempt now by the right to create
an English identity, which many people in your position and of your
persuasion find pretty disturbing. Very much so. There's racial
dimensions in particular. A lot of it is to do with insecurities. It's
to do with economic insecurities over housing, jobs, which a lot of
mainstream politicians have failed to tackle. It's been easy for the
far right in particular to say look, people like you aren't getting a
house, you're not getting a job, why is it going to this "other",
you know back in the day, those were black men, then Asians and
today more often than not it's Muslim. That racial aislesed
nationalism is very concerning and something which people should be
very guarded about. A movement based on hate and intolerance is by
its very definition not British. That's the irony. People claiming
to be British Nationalists are not British and they demonstrate it by
themselves -- their behaviour. do they fly the Union Flag at their
rallies. If you have an understanding of Britishness it
excludes hate and intolerance. don't think Indians would have said
that in the 19th century. But I'm talking about Britain today and I'm
talking about the way that has evolved. All countries have evolved.
What the United States is now is not what it was between 1860-1865
when it fought a Civil War. What Britain has arrived at today, after
centuries of experience,... Perhaps you're speaking as an Englishman,
very comfortable with the arrangement. I'm talking as someone
who is half Scottish actually. Scottish with Spanish parents.
Spanish parent. You're British I'd say aren't you? Who do you think
are you? I think I'm British and English, with a Spanish father and
Scottish mother. You were trying to make a point. One of the problems
with these definition that's we hear are that it's so often defined
by what it's not. We're against this or anti- that. If you spoke to
these far-right people in the English Defence League and said
what do you stand for, not what you stand against, personally I think
they'd be hard pushed to answer the question. Were you trying to make a
similar point? I think that the point that defining British spbs
what it's not is not strong enough. That's part of this problem. You
can be a chameleon and say we're going to be about evolved
Britishness. But the English need to focus in on... I'm not defining
it by what it's not. To be anti- fanatical is to take a strong
position. The British position in history of opposing fanaticism
around the world is just one of the boldest and most magnificent
positions taken. That's a very fanatical position. We had the
first great European revolution. We overthrew our monarchy in the 17th
century about 150 years before the French. Why did we do that? Because
we thought it was fanatical. That's the point. These were radical ideas.
What you regard as fanatical, but they were very English. When we
thought James II was a Catholic, because he was, we overthrew them
both. After Cromwell who was a very fanatical Protestant, after he died
we got rid of that. We have always owe polesed fanaticism. Throughout
history these radical struggles... One of the first acts of the
British state, if you like, was a pogrom in the Highlands of Scotland.
We're not going back... You're talking about history. But this is
an example of tolerance. I want to look forward. If two nations as
close in history and in geography and Scotland and England cannot get
along in a single political entity, it makes you ask all sorts of
questions about the future of Europe, doesn't it? I've been
asking those questions for a number of decades, yeah. We just caught up
with you. What do you think? Look, it's very worrying at a time when
globalisation is at a greater speed than ever. Nationalism is partly a
backlash towards that. I'm northern and proud of that. That doesn't
mean I want to break England into ever smaller units. I can deal with
the term being British, but there's something worrying about a trend
towards defining Englishness that, to me, wreaks of something stuck
between hunkering down, an old boys network and running scared and
looking for somebody to blame. It's a worrying trend. It seems to me to
be a step backwards. Thank you all very much. Now tomorrow morning's
front pages. The tabloids do not have any of the Milly Dowler story
on the front page. The Sun has news of Ashley and Cheryl Cole
apparently about to get married again.
A soldier has been killed in Afghanistan in the Mirror. You'll
have to pay for your care after you retire on the Daily Mail front page.
Ieb profin a Daily Express health care. And Milly Dowler is on the
front of the Guardian, the paper which has pursued this campaign
pretty relentlessly. In the Times, the main story is about the case
for adoption, with photographs of various people who were adopted and
the Daily Telegraph has news of the Milly Dowler phone hacking by the
News of the World. And the European Central Bank, according to the
Financial Times is ready to reject a downgrading of the rating of
Greece. That's enough for now. I'm back
Hello there. I hope you enjoyed the fine and warm start to the week.
The weather is on the change. We will see rain through the rest of
this week. For one more day across eastern parts of England, it stays
fine and warm before that weather front arrives. Rain pushing into
the Midlands through the afternoon. For East Anglia and the south-east,
it should be pleasant with sunshine. Temperatures into the mid20s,
though rain arrives heading towards evening time. Wetter out west.
There will be brightness developing through the afternoon, across
south-west England and Wales. The chance of showers pushing in on a
gusty wind and temperatures lower than recently. After a wet start
across Northern Ireland, we'll see sunshine and heavy showers through
the afternoon. Maybe some thunder mixed in too. For Scotland, we'll
see patchy rain extending its way west to east during the course of
the day. Now then looking further ahead, it's much more unsettled.
There will be rain around. Temperatures lower than recently.
Held in the midteens across northern areas. Sunshine further
south, but the risk of further, heavy rain at times and gusty wind