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Pushing Boundaries Seminar Series
Snakes in Iceland? The contemporary politics of the English Question

presented by
Professor Arthur Aughey

William Morris jokingly referred in News from Nowhere that the people of England ‘are very well off as to politics – because we have none’. A century later, in Politics in England, Richard Rose proposed that England is a state of mind, not a consciously organised political entity - though he argued that English interests were never overlooked at Westminster. If formerly that appeared to be the solution there is now a strong argument that it is part of the problem. For this condition appears no longer so comfortable and present arrangements, for some, mean that English interests are indeed overlooked. One could say: snakes there now be. The English Question is not like it used to be, according to Malcolm Rifkind, but in what way? This paper considers the present politics of the ‘English Question’ and its constitutional significance.

Arthur Aughey is Professor of Politics at the University of Ulster and Senior Fellow at the Centre for British Politics at the University of Hull. He was an undergraduate at Queen’s University Belfast and a graduate student at the University of Hull. He has worked on a number of collaborative projects (the English Question and UK constitution futures) with the Constitution Unit at University College, London. From 2008 to 2011 he held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship and was until recently a member of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and the British Council (Northern Ireland Committee). He also sat on the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure Working Group on the Bicentenary of the Irish Act of Union (2000-1). He has published widely on Northern Ireland politics, British Conservatism and constitutional change in the United Kingdom.

Event info

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Wednesday 18 February

12.30pm to 1.30pm


Zoe Lennon