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England’s uncertain future. Some years back, I was driving through northern England with a friend. On a Cumbrian A-road west of Kendal, we passed a layby in which was situated a typical British roadside snack bar: a white caravan, a couple of plastic garden chairs, pink and yellow DayGlo cardboard stars advertising chips and fried breakfasts and tea. The full English. On top of the caravan was an aerial, and attached to the aerial, blowing in the wind that was coming off Morecambe Bay, was a St George’s cross, the English national flag – a common sight now across the nation, though I’m sure it never used to be when I was young. “What do you think that’s about?” My friend asked. “Why do you think you see so many of them in places like this now?” I said I hadn’t thought about it. “It’s not the same,” he said, “but it’s sort of similar, isn’t it? We’re still here. Seven years ago, I published a book called Real England.

This was not a phenomenon confined to England. Then, of course, there was immigration. Renewal | Michael Kenny | Rise now and be a nation again? The politics of Englishness. Michael Kenny Michael Kenny’s The Politics of English Nationhood (OUP, 2014) supplies the first comprehensive overview of the evidence, research and major arguments relating to the recent revival of English identity, exploring its varied, and often overlooked, political ramifications. It examines the difficulties which the major political parties have encountered in dealing with ‘the English question’ against the backdrop of the diminishing hold of established ideas of British government and national identity in the final years of the last century.

And it explores a range of factors – including insecurities generated by economic change, euro-scepticism, and a growing sense of cultural anxiety – which have helped make the renewal of Englishness appealing and imperative. Renewal gathers here some reflections on the book from Michael Kenny and four commentators. Taking Englishness seriously Michael Kenny, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London But there are differences too. UK Independence Party. UKIP: The story of the UK Independence Party's rise. With its second elected MP at Westminster in as many months, the UK Independence Party has cemented its place as the new force in British politics. But its achievements are no overnight success. The UK Independence Party has, as its name implies, one key policy - to leave the European Union.

It is a simple, understandable message, which has led to the party gaining bigger and bigger support in European elections, culminating in it topping the vote in May this year. But it is also a message which meant people often dismissed it as a single-issue party, unlikely to transfer its success to Westminster politics. It has spent considerable effort on broadening its appeal, spelling out how leaving the EU is the answer to a whole range of issues, notably controlling immigration, while also outlining plans to cut taxes for middle earners, speaking up for grammar schools and opposing gay marriage. UKIP's share of the vote in Westminster by-elections: November 2014: 42.1% October 2014: Clacton 59.75% Profile: Nigel Farage, UKIP leader. After decades on the fringes, UKIP recently found itself in the spotlight after giving the Tories and Lib Dems a rattling in three by-elections, and the party's ebullient leader Nigel Farage was cast centre stage - but who is the man in the Home Counties blazer?

Nigel Farage was never really interested in toys, says his mother Barbara. He was a good scholar, and, she reveals, his final school report from Dulwich College said the school "would be a poorer place without this boy's personality". Nigel's stockbroker father, Guy Oscar Justus Farage, was also something of a bon viveur - and, it transpired, an alcoholic. He left the family home when Nigel was 5-years-old. Born 48 years ago in Kent - where he still lives - the young Nigel bounced through school, joining everything from the cricket and rugby clubs to Army Cadets and the politics society.

"My first impression of Nigel is an unorthodox, happy, cheerful guy - outspoken and humorous," says Spencer, speaking to Radio 4's Profile. The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything review – self-pitying Nigel Farage | Politics. Being a racist is like being a snob. You are always on patrol; always noticing differences others ignore. Nigel Farage’s enemies accuse him of being obsessed with race. I assumed Farage would use this campaign autobiography to refute them. Instead he obsesses for England. He tells the standard inspirational story of triumph over adversity, physical as well as political.

Farage cannot even remember a visit to a London pub, where foreigners are hardly a rarity, without writing that the barman who handed him a pint of Kent’s Best was “a Frenchman”. He may not realise what he is revealing, or he may know all too well that his core supporters want him to reflect their obsessions. “No one dares mention,” he says at one point, “…how the NHS is so overstretched due to the massive increase in the number of people arriving at our shores.” Farage is an attack dog who poses as an underdog. A crisis in capitalism has not produced an upsurge of leftwing protest but an upsurge of nationalism. Ukip founder Alan Sked: 'The party has become a Frankenstein's monster' | Politics. The founder of Ukip is trying to prove to me that, when he was in charge, the party wasn't racist. He's also trying to demonstrate that his Ukip wouldn't have had its snout in the European parliament's expenses trough, unlike its 2014 incarnation.

"I had one here not so long ago," says Alan Sked, professor of international history at the London School of Economics, as he searches for a membership application form as evidence. It's a tough task: his office, the LSE's Room E503, is a stranger to the declutterer's art – it's not so much overwhelmed with books and papers as booby-trapped by them. Room E503 is historically significant for modern British politics. It was here that Sked formed the Anti-Federalist League in 1991; here, in 1993, that the Anti-Federalist League became the UK Independence Party. It is here, too, that Sked is dreaming up his third British political party. But, first, where is that piece of paper? He hands me the form. How did Sked feel to hear such language? Ukip-backed Brexit campaign employs EU migrants to rally support | Politics.

The Ukip-backed campaign to pull Britain out of the EU has recruited EU migrants to staff its call centre despite telling voters such low-skilled workers “deprive British citizens of jobs”. Leave.EU employs four phone bank staff from EU countries including Slovakia. Their job is to rally voters across the UK to back Brexit. The appointments come despite Leave.EU claiming that “as the world’s fifth biggest economy, the UK is well placed to supply its own labour”. Arron Banks, the campaign’s major donor who oversees the call centre operation from his Bristol offices, has told the Guardian: “I don’t feel any affinity towards French, Germans and Spaniards.

I’d much rather deal with my own kith and kin.” The remain campaign accused Leave.EU of “double standards beyond parody”. Among the EU workers is Rudolph Svat, 36, from Košice in eastern Slovakia. Banks, who had not known Svat was from Slovakia, joked with him: “We’ll have you after 23 June [referendum day], don’t worry.”

UKIP and the Rise of English Nationalism. I identify as English, first and foremost. Even now, I get defensive writing this, because I also identify as left-wing. Faced with those of a similar political persuasion, I feel the need to justify myself, distancing my sense of ‘Englishness’ from the history of Empire, from tea-and-scones nostalgia, and ultimately guarding myself from accusations of racism. But English identity has never belonged to the right, and this is becoming increasingly clear as a greater proportion of this country’s population from across the political spectrum, are coming to see themselves as English rather than British.

The 2011 census showed a marked strengthening of English identity over the last decade, with 60 per cent of people in England defining themselves as solely English. Such data are often disregarded, with some cause. How much do people honestly reflect before they tick a box? What does ‘being English’ convey anymore? England’s demand for greater political recognition is nothing new. Euroscepticism in England is English not British. English believe they get a raw deal from membership of both the UK & the EU Embargoed: 00:01h Monday 8 July 2013 Euroscepticism in England is English, not British English believe they get a raw deal from membership of both the UK & the EU There is a strong relationship between Euroscepticism in England and English (rather than British) national identity, according to a new report published by the think tank IPPR and Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities. The data, taken from the Future of England Survey (FoES) run by the think tank IPPR, and Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities charts the strengthening and politicisation of English identity in recent years.

Euroscepticism is concentrated most heavily among those with a stronger sense of English national identity (a group that represents a growing proportion of the population). The report also shows a strong relationship between Euroscepticism in England and concerns about the perceived unfairness of devolution. Nick Pearce, IPPR Director, said:

UKIP didn't invent English nationalism – it's been brewing for years. One of the most striking consequences of the recent election has been the sudden shift of attention onto the spectre of a burgeoning English nationalism. Various talking heads have seen intimations of it in the strength of UKIP’s performance in England, the apparent impact of the Conservatives’ relentless focus upon the prospect of SNP involvement in a putative government on southern voters and the Tory focus on English votes for English laws. It has even been suggested that “shy English nationalists” are the explanation for why the polling companies got the election so badly wrong. So the notion of an English nationalism – one of the great bogeymen of British politics – is once again the topic of the day.

But there is a real danger that simplistic and misleading characterisations of its genesis and character take hold. This is a phenomenon that seems to lend itself, almost without exception, to the twin perils of overstatement and underestimation. Labour was no victim to nationalism. Analysis: What is the secret of UKIP's appeal? As UK Independence Party members gather in Exeter for the party's spring conference, how did it get started and what is the secret of its growing popularity? "We are delighted. This is massive progress for us. And of course, you know, if the Conservatives hadn't split our vote we would have won, wouldn't we?! " With his typically pugnacious sense of fun, the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage offered his analysis of that second place finish in the Eastleigh by election in February.

Yes, it was the party's best by election performance ever, but it was also its fourth second place finish inside two years in a race for a Westminster seat. Add to that its 11 members of the European Parliament and it is all rather a long way from an office at the London School of Economics where it all began two decades ago. With tomes about the Maastricht Treaty on the shelves, Alan Sked is reminiscing. Squabbles and defections Those at the top of the party now stridently disagree. 'Not against foreigners'