Thursday, 13 December 2012

2011 census results

The 2011 census statistics have just been published.

There is lots of interesting stuff there, but also some surprising and worrying things.

Amazingly, 71% of people in England identified as English as compared with 29.2% identifying as British.  Even more amazingly, this is higher than the number of Welsh people identifying as Welsh (65.9%).

The changes in national identity over the last 20 years are truly astonishing; it is an interesting question how much of that is a consequence of devolution in other parts of the UK (quite a lot I would conjecture).  It also ought to be a wake-up call to Westminster, and the question does arise about how long our professional (and expenses hungry) politicians can keep sticking their fingers in their ears and singing la-la-la.

The effects of a two year referendum campaign in Scotland will also be interesting to observe.  There will be a fine line for the union campaign to draw in stressing the benefits that the UK (read England) bestows on Scotland on the one hand1, while keeping an eye on the reception that that message receives further south on the other.  The stupidity of our politicians forcing £30,000 of debt on students in England when they graduate while knowing that Scots were probably going to continue to receive it free is surprising also.

And Labour, if still in power, would probably have done the same (they commissioned the report which led to the fee rises).  If you can't find a home in UKIP in order to protest (and I can't) there seems nowhere to go.  I find it all quite depressing.


1. As I have pointed out before, this is a largely bogus argument that the union camp make, if you hypothecate to Scotland a geographical share of tax revenue from North Sea oil, which results in Scotland more or less being financially neutral and self-sustaining, at least while the oil lasts.  Of course, this does beg the question why London's massive tax surpluses should not also be hypothecated to London.  It is Wales and Northern Ireland which are (on a national basis) in receipt of large subsidies.

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