Some Further Survey Evidence on National Identities, Class and Politics

The foregoing data draw attention to how Welsh identity coexists with Britishness, as well as a not insignificant minority English identity. In the following table we examine how these national identities relate to party support in the 2015 general election (Table 6.2).

The table compares vote intention with national identity using wave 4 ofthe 2015 BES Internet Panel Survey carried out in March 2015. It must be borne in mind that the percentages do not accurately reflect the actual

Table 6.2 Intended vote in 2015 general election by chosen national identity in Wales (%)

All

Con

Lab

Plaid

UKIP

Welsh identity

Very strong

43.8

14

36.8

14.9

14

Fair

21.6

16.8

41.9

7.5

9

Weak

17.9

27.8

24.5

3.2

17.7

Not at all

15.6

32.6

22.7

2.5

15.3

British identity

Very strong

46.6

28.7

28.8

3.9

18.3

Fair

32

17.4

40.6

7.5

8.3

Weak

16.5

9.3

34.3

16.4

10.4

Not at all

3.5

5.3

15.8

47.4

8.8

English identity

Very strong

14.6

38.3

23.4

3

17

Fair

12.3

26.8

57.1

4.5

11.6

Weak

24.4

19.6

19.8

5.6

15.8

Not at all

46.2

14.9

36.5

13.6

11.8

All

20.6

33.2

9.1

13.7

Source: British Election Study, Wave 4 Internet Panel Survey, March 2015

vote shares in the general election itself and that the post-election wave (wave 6) did not include a national identity question. In addition, the data are presented as single national identity choices rather than as a relationship between national identities, as with the Moreno scale (Welsh not British, Welsh more than British, and so on). Amongst those who feel very strongly Welsh, just over a third intended to vote Labour, with the other main parties each picking up about 14 % of this group. Plaid Cymru is no more likely than UKIP or the Conservatives to pick up those identifying as strongly Welsh. But almost half of those who said they had no British identity intended to vote Plaid. Conservatives fare better amongst those with weak or no Welsh identity, and they are the most favoured party for people reporting an English identity. Both Plaid’s and Labour’s shares of support rises with Welsh identity. UKIP is more complex in that it has strength amongst both ‘English not Welsh’ identifiers in Wales and a proportion of people who feel very strongly Welsh. There is then some variation in UKIP support in Wales according to national identity. But there are also marked differences in party allegiance between social classes (Table 6.3).

As analysis of UKIP support in England has shown (Ford and Goodwin 2016), the party receives disproportionate support from working-class groups, although around half of UKIPs support continues to come from

Table 6.3 Party vote in general election 2015 by social class in Wales (%)

Con

Lab

Plaid

UKIP

Large employers and higher managerial and

24

41.5

11.7

11.2

administrative occupations

Higher professional occupations

28.5

32.3

9.5

4.5

Lower managerial, administrative and

26.3

35.6

12.3

9.3

professional occupations

Intermediate occupations

23.2

34

8.7

12.6

Small employers and own account workers

23.1

35.1

11.6

8.1

Lower supervisory and technical occupations

23.4

38.7

5.7

16.2

Semi-routine occupations

22.2

36.8

10.9

13.6

Routine occupations

14.6

47

3.7

13.4

Total

24

36.3

9.8

10.9

Source: British Election Study (BES). Wave 6 of 2014-2017 BES Internet Panel (postelection wave) http://www.britishelectionstudy.com/graph/?id=9221#.V_rD9DiQJ3U

Table 6.4 Party vote in 2015 general election by country of birth in Scotland and Wales and by Welsh language ability in Wales (%)

Con

Lab

Plaid/SNP

UKIP

Number

Scotland

Scottish born

11.4

23.7

51.9

1.4

1776

English born

19.8

30.6

21.6

5.0

386

All

13.3

24.5

45.1

2.1

2296

Wales

Welsh born

18.8

39.0

12.0

11.5

915

English born

31.4

27.3

5.1

12.2

495

All

23.4

34.5

9.5

11.6

1479

Fluent Welsh speaker

12.0

40.3

27.7

7.9

134

Welsh speaker but not fluent

20.4

32.8

13.7

11.9

385

Non-Welsh speaker

26.4

35.6

5.5

11.2

1018

All

23.6

35.2

9.4

11.1

1543

Source: British Election Study. Wave 6 of 2014-2017 BES Internet Panel (postelection wave)

middle-class groups. By contrast, support for Plaid is greater amongst middle-class groups, and the low percentage of support for Plaid in lower supervisory and routine manual occupations stands out. There is less class difference in support for Conservatives compared to the difference in national identity. We can examine this further by considering country of birth and Welsh language ability and comparing with Scotland in this regard (Table 6.4).

In both Scotland and Wales, country of birth makes a considerable difference. A similar pattern of Conservative support is higher amongst the English born as well. However, there is a contrast between Labour voters in the two nations: in Scotland, Labour support is also proportionally higher amongst the English born, whilst in Wales, Labour support is proportionally higher amongst the Welsh born. Being Scottish or Welsh born also makes a big difference in support for the SNP and Plaid respectively. In Scotland, most of the very small support for UKIP comes from those born in England. In Wales, there is actually a similar proportion of UKIP support amongst the English and Welsh born. The table shows that the largest party for fluent Welsh speakers is actually Labour. That said, the reliance of Plaid Cymru on the votes of people with a Welsh language ability is clear, and the party also appears to continue to struggle to gain the support of people who report themselves as not a Welsh speaker. Welsh language ability also makes a difference in terms of people’s support for Conservatives and UKIP, and both parties are less likely to pick up the vote of fluent Welsh speakers compared to Labour and Plaid. We should note that the percentage of Welsh speakers (fluent and not fluent) in the BES Welsh sample is 34 %, whereas the 2011 Census reported Welsh speakers at only 19 %. The option of ‘Welsh speaker but not fluent’ widens the net and may include those who have learnt some Welsh in school or in the workplace but who would not otherwise define themselves as Welsh speakers. Being English born also makes some difference in attitudes towards devolved Welsh powers, but the difference is slight. Thus, 36 % of Welsh born would like to see more powers for the Welsh government, compared to 29 % for English-born people (Table 6.5).

Age is not shown here but also makes a significant difference in these figures. Amongst Welsh-born eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds, as few as 4.2 % say they want no devolved government, whilst 41.1 % would

Table 6.5 Preferences for Welsh Assembly powers by country of birth

Welsh born

English born

Total

No devolved government

17.5

22.2

19

Fewer powers

5.9

6.1

6.1

Leaves things as they are

23.8

31.1

26.1

More powers

35.8

29.3

33.6

Independent

7.6

3.5

6.3

All

453

898

1418

Source: British Election Study. Wave 6 of the 2014-2017 BES Internet Panel (postelection wave) http://www.britishelectionstudy.com/graph/?id=8114&cb=ODExN

DE0NjI1NDc2NTY=#.Vyy0KjgUV3U like to see more powers. Amongst eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds the proportion wanting no devolved government is also lower, at 10.1 %. However, the highest proportion wanting to see no devolved government, 29.1 %, is found amongst those English born who are 66 and older. The following table considers attitudes towards Europe and immigration in Wales, again through comparison with Scotland.

In Table 6.6 we see a higher proportion of Welsh people wishing to leave the EU and additionally wishing to see immigration reduced by ‘quite a lot’ compared to comparable groups in Scotland. This is not unexpected given the greater support for Conservative and UKIP parties in Wales. We also see that the majority of both Plaid and SNP voters favour remaining in the EU and hold more favourable attitudes towards keeping immigration levels as they are. However, there are notable differences amongst Labour and Conservative voters in the two nations. Just under half of Labour voters in Wales would vote in favour of remaining in the EU compared to Labour voters in Scotland, where a clear majority would vote in favour of remaining. In addition, opposition to EU membership amongst Conservative voters is much stronger in Wales than

Table 6.6 EU referendum and immigration by party, country of birth and Welsh language ability

EU Referendum

Immigration

Stay

Leave

Decrease by a lot

Decrease by a little

Remain the same

Wales

Con

19.5

33.8

54.8

31.6

7.9

Lab

47.7

21.6

30.7

29.6

26.3

UKIP

7

86.6

81.9

7.6

3.5

Plaid

66.9

18.6

28.3

22.8

37.9

English born

50

35

42.6

23.4

23.4

Welsh born

48.9

31.9

44.4

24.4

19.6

Fluent Welsh speaker

69.4

19.4

38.8

26.9

23.9

All

Scotland

Con

39.6

43.3

48

32.3

13.1

Lab

61.2

23.9

35.6

11.5

28.5

SNP

63.3

24.2

26.4

10.8

31.6

English born

59

28.3

35.2

21.5

27.2

Scottish born

57.4

28.4

34

22.1

27

All

Source: British Election Study. Wave 6 of the 2014-2017 BES Internet Panel (post-election wave) it is in Scotland. Being a fluent Welsh speaker is also strongly associated with favourable attitudes towards EU membership and immigration. But in both nations, country of birth makes little difference. If anything, in Wales, those born in England are marginally more in favour of remaining in the EU than are those born in Wales.

 
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