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Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 21:13 GMT
English nationalism 'threat to UK'

Graphic Jack Straw and William Hague warn of nationalism

Cross-party politicians have warned of growing English nationalism following devolution, airing their views in a BBC programme.

Home Secretary Jack Straw says the English had used their "propensity to violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland" on the Radio 4 programme Brits. The broadcast is examining what it now means to be British.

Mr Straw will describe the English as "potentially very aggressive, very violent" and will "increasingly articulate their Englishness following devolution."

shayler Football hooliganism - the ugly face of nationalism
Also appearing on the programme is Conservative leader William Hague.

Mr Hague will say: "English nationalism is the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism that can arise within the United Kingdom, because England is five-sixths of the population of the UK."

The two politicians are appearing on the second of a three-part series.

The programme's producer Martin Rosenbaum said: "For years people in Wales and Scotland have been thinking about their individual political identity but the English haven't.

"Many politicians are now having to think hard about it and we are trying to provoke debate."

Straw Jack Straw: English are potentially 'very violent'
He told BBC News Online: "This is an important issue which hasn't been properly covered.

"What we show is there is an English backlash but also self-doubt about England's identity.

"Jack Straw is worried that nationalism will manifest itself in violence and wants a positive English identity created which will beat off the unpleasant side.

"Many left wing politicians are frightened of the topic of nationalism because of its associations with the far right - but the issue needs to be discussed."

Hague William Hague: English nationalism 'most dangerous'
Mr Straw will tell the programme: "As we move into this new century, people's sense of Englishness will become more articulated and that's partly because of the mirror that devolution provides us with and because we're becoming more European at the same time."

The Tory leader will add that he believes there has been a "rise of an English political consciousness".

"Once a part of a united country or kingdom that is so predominant in size becomes nationalistic, then really the whole thing is under threat," he will say.

BBC Radio Four's Brits will be broadcast on Monday at 8pm.

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See also:
16 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
'English votes on English laws'
24 May 99 |  UK Politics
MPs meet devolution with evolution
09 Sep 99 |  Wales
Stereophonics 'flirt' with nationalism - NME
09 Jan 00 |  Talking Point
Are the English violent?

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