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Home Secretary Jack Straw
"You do not establish your dominion over a quarter of the globe without some violence"
 real 28k

Michael Howard
"There is a danger of a backlash"
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Monday, 10 January, 2000, 10:08 GMT
English 'victims of discrimination'

English nationalism seems to be on the rise


The former Conservative home secretary Michael Howard has claimed that the English are becoming victims of discrimination in the wake of how the government has implemented devolution.

Mr Howard, who warned of a "backlash" unless the situation was corrected, was speaking after the Home Secretary Jack Straw described the English as having a "propensity to violence".

Mr Straw claim that the English had used violence to "subjugate" their neighbours comes in a BBC documentary to be broadcast tonight.

But Mr Howard said that the comments exposed "the anti-English bias" at the heart of the government.

Mr Straw's comments, were he said, historically inaccurate and politically "very revealing".

Devolution had created an "intolerable situation" where Scottish MPs could vote on matters affecting English "hospitals, schools and roads" while their English counterparts could not vote on devolved matters, said Mr Howard

"The English are being discriminated against as a result of the way that devolution was implemented," Mr Howard said.

"I think there is a danger of a backlash," he added, saying that this would increase unless the government brought forward new policies.

'Under the cosh'

Speaking in the BBC Radio 4 documentary, Brits, Mr Straw will say that the English used their propensity to violence, "in Europe and with our empire".

"I think what you have within the UK is three small nations who've been over the centuries under the cosh of the English," he tells the programme.

"Those small nations have inevitably sought expression by a very explicit idea of nationhood."

In the same programme the Conservative leader William Hague noted an increase in English nationalism post devolution.

He warned: "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."

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

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National identity
Are the English naturally violent?

See also:
09 Jan 00 |  UK
English nationalism 'threat to UK'
16 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
'English votes on English laws'
10 Jan 00 |  Talking Point
Are the English violent?

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