Englishness and the Union in Contemporary Conservative Thought

Richard Ludlow English, Richard Hayton, Michael Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the importance of arguments developed since 1997 by influential right-wing commentators concerning Englishness and the United Kingdom. Drawing on historical, cultural and political themes, public intellectuals and commentators of the right have variously addressed the constitutional structure of the UK, the politics of devolved government in Wales and Scotland, and the emergence of a more salient contemporary English sensibility. This article offers case studies of the arguments of Simon Heffer, Peter Hitchens and Roger Scruton, all of whom have made controversial high-profile interventions on questions of national identity, culture and history. Drawing on original interviews with these as well as other key figures, the article addresses three central questions. First, what are the detailed arguments offered by Heffer, Hitchens and Scruton in relation to Englishness and the UK? Second, what does detailed consideration of these arguments reveal about the evolution of the politics of contemporary conservatism in relation to the Union? And, third, what kinds of opportunity currently exist for intellectuals and commentators on the fringes of mainstream politics to influence the terms of debate on these issues?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-365
JournalGovernment and Opposition
Issue number4
Early online date3 Sept 2009
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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