Philip Dodd, Jesse Norman MP, Lord Maurice Glasman, the author Paul Kingsnorth, theatre director Lisa Goldman, Dr Joanne Parker of the English Department of Exeter University and the broadcaster and historian Michael Wood discuss the enigma of Englishness and its uses as an identity.

Whether it's Nelson and Wellington entombed in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, or John Bunyan and William Blake in an East London graveyard, so many towns across the country losing their centres, closing pubs , schools, post offices there are Englands to suit the optimists and pessimists conformists and non-conformists. In fact so many different Englands that it can almost seem like a case of pick your own and the devil take the rest.

Yesterday was Shakespeare's birthday and St George's Day - the day when the English celebrate their own identity - yet it is always a more muted affair than St Patrick's or St Andrew's Day. Why? The Scots are talking separation - if there is a confident Scottishness, perhaps defined by the idea of separation, what is a confident Englishness that can include all of us?

Night Waves devotes the whole of this evening's programme to England and Englishness - more its uses than abuses.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Wed 24 Apr 2013 22:00

Free Thinking

Free Thinking

Radio 3’s new home for arts and ideas.