X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Coffee House

Modern Britain: little islanders who love the Queen and Richard Branson

14 April 2014

3:03 PM

14 April 2014

3:03 PM

Who and what represents Britain today? Our country has changed significantly in the last few decades; but, a batch of YouGov polls published this weekend suggest that traditional notions of what is British remain remarkably unchanged. The public was asked to choose which prominent people they think reflect Britain today. Members of the Royal Family occupy four of the top five positions — the Queen, Prince William, Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge — while fifth spot is represented by the nouveau riche Richard Branson:

David Beckham is the only mega celebrity to have made this list. There are plenty of actors present (Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley), but it’s great to see ‘Britishness’ embodied by a variety of characters from Stephen Hawking, JK Rowling to former Spectator editor Boris Johnson. The only other politicians who feature are Nigel Farage and David Cameron – both of whom appear way down the list.

[Alt-Text]


We also still love our institutions. When asked what is seen as important to Britishness and being British, the monarchy and United Kingdom are still ranked very highly. Even the beleaguered House of Commons and BBC are seen as important by a significant majority:

What about our individual characteristics? In a separate YouGov poll, English people still appear to be suspicious of foreigners. But they also keep a stiff upper lip between bouts of patriotism and drunken hooliganism:

On this evidence, it would be hard to differentiate the Englishman of 2014 from Basil Fawlty of forty years ago. Both have a great respect for institutions and establishment figures, yet apparently dislike foreigners. Perhaps these attitudes explain the rapid rise of Ukip, the only party who dream of a Britain long ago. But I’m sure that Farage and co will be surprised to see how people feel about our green and pleasant land.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close