The place and the people are the subject of a recent on-line article by Professor Eric Kaufmann analysing what the 2011 Census says about national identity. It reveals wide variation in identification across England, with Englishness concentrated, perhaps paradoxically, in the Danelaw (and some additional coastal retirement zones, mainly in Wessex). Areas around the Humber and Thames estuaries not only identify strongly as English but have supplied the English Democrats with many of their best election results.
Also evident from the first map is the outer-outer London ‘hot belt’ from Southampton and Brighton through to Peterborough and Cambridge, ‘home’ in part to a rootless population of consumers for whom any territorial identity is passé. It’s an attitude against which we continue to battle. Professor Kaufmann’s second map illustrates the attraction of the M4 corridor for those of Celtic origin.
Wessex overall is shown to occupy a mid-position, with an English majority in all areas, Oxford and Reading aside, but neither staunchly embracing an English identity nor staunchly rejecting it.