UpRisers tell Ed Miliband their views on Englishness, Britishness and the Scottish independence debate
UpRisers met with the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, and offered their views on his landmark ‘Defending the Union’ speech, which was delivered on Thursday 7 June at the Royal Festival Hall. Miliband, who is one of our patrons, sought to open up the debate around Scotland’s independence stressing that the whole of the United Kingdom should be involved in the conversation.
He argued that Britishness and particularly Englishness are topics that people, especially politicians, have to address more openly. Multiple identities amongst individuals and communities do exist but promoting one does now negate the other.
Around the table UpRisers voiced their opinions on how they felt about identifying themselves as English, British or Londoners.
“Identity is fluid not static and contingent on present circumstances: I might consider myself English during Euro 2012 but might have been Indian had England not beaten India 4-0 in the cricket last summer. We choose the identity that best suits us and which is in our interests at different times.” said current UpRiser Aaron D’Souza.
In his speech, Ed argued that multiple identities are reshaped and improved by each other providing a sharing of cultures. The United Kingdom has traditionally provided a shelter to many refugees escaping persecution and waves from migrants from all over the world. This has provided us with a plurality of identities adding to what is uniquely English or British.
In our experience at UpRising identity is much more changeable than traditionally discussed in political spheres or elsewhere. In our view, we need to start capturing what modern Britishness or Progressive Patriotism, as Ed has coined it, actually means. UpRisers will continue to take part in this debate.
UpRisers also discussed with Ed their views on education and social mobility, and the need for a serious commitment on these issues by the Labour Leader and the rest of the political sphere.
To read Ed Miliband’s speech in full visit: http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2012/06/07/ed-miliband-s-englishness-speech-in-full