Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Glad Notes: What makes a Brit proud to be a Brit?

Marks, Sparks, and Migration: How Brits and British residents feel about the UK


Last week my Marks and Spencer slippers got a lot of loving from my readers, many of whom also received Marks and Spencer's footwear and/or sleepwear during the festive season.

Now there's demonstrable proof that M&S really does have socks appeal. This week a poll by think tank British Future revealed that M&S makes 4% of Brits feel proud to be British.

Though to be fair another UK department store, John Lewis, also allegedly makes 4% of Brits feel proud to be British, and of course these two stores pale behind other institutions that make Brits proud, ranking below the UK National Health Service, Military, and Olympics sportsfolk to name a few.

Pure socks appeal
Incidentally another recent poll, albeit run by a British bread company, claimed that Brits are most proud of their sense of humor and the lush green British countryside. Sturdy y-fronts, cosy slippers and emotive advertising didn't even get a look in (you've seen John Lewis's famous Christmas ads, and Marks and Spencer's salacious food porn, yes?).

On a different note, the British Future poll highlights Brits' unease and concern over the issue of immigration. Brits claim immigration causes the 'most division in British society as a whole today' above inequality, politics and even ethnicity. The poll also indicates Brits' general perception that immigration negatively affects housing, crime, employment and the NHS. The majority of those polled did however believe that immigration had a positive effect on football, fashion, food and entrepreneurship.

Interestingly, although six out of ten Brits wouldn't want to be citizens of another country, the poll suggests that immigrants to the UK are on the whole more positive and more optimistic about Britain and the country's future than natural-born Brits.

The UK coalition government is currently implementing new immigration reforms, with the overall aim of significantly reducing the UK's immigrant population. Regular readers of the Glad Blog will know that I have strong opinions about these latest immigration reforms.

A cross-party Parliamentary group is currently undertaking an inquiry into the new family migration rules, and individuals who have 'direct experience of the new family migration rules' are encouraged to provide written evidence by the deadline of 31st January 2013. I'm eager to see the results of this inquiry so I'll be sure keep you updated.

Finally though, I couldn't find data on the percentage of those born outside the UK that feel pride for M&S and their indoor winter clothing, but I have asked British Future and will report back to you on that too!

7 comments:

  1. I knew they were changing the Immigrations laws in the UK, but I had no idea how far they were going with it. In fact I just had a massive discussion with my French boyfriend about how he should start the process to become a British citizen now, before the two of us move back to France. I know it's unlikely he would have problems coming back (it being part of the EU and all) but you never know what could change if we are away for a couple of years. Then again, it may end up being utterly pointless if Scotland successfully leaves the UK. I think I'm probably gonna spend the rest of the day panicking about the various things that could separate us.

    And I am very proud of M&S underwear, their tights are the best and I always get my bra fittings done with them xo

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    1. I think if the UK tried to limit immigration from France it'd create a bit of a diplomatic incident, so please don't worry! The fallacy of the new immigration rules is that most immigration to the UK comes from the EU and the new rules don't change that, because there's very little the UK can do about it (except with new EU members and even those restrictions comes to an end, eg Romania and Bulgaria).

      Scottish independence could be a different matter, and that's something I'm eagerly following too - I was born in England but lived most of my life in Scotland and my parents (also English) live there now. I wonder what kind of administrative nightmare it'd create.

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  2. I'm not going to go into the current immigration laws or the reforms because I don't want to give myself a stroke, but:

    studies and polls have shown that the majority of native Brits have NO idea what's actually going on with immigration and welfare in their own country. they vastly overestimate the number of immigrants getting free hand-outs from the government, they vastly overestimate the percentage of immigrants (out of natives) in the country, they... oops, there's the blood pressure rising. must go breathe into a paper bag now.

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    Replies
    1. Apologies if I caused you to pop a blood vessel there.

      I'd be interested to see data on national perceptions of immigration vis a vis real immigration data, from various countries…

      The danger of a poll like this British Future poll, as interesting as it is, is that people could misinterpret the results as fact, rather than as an indication of how people perceive things. And that perpetuates the problem.

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  3. I really wish immigration was viewed more positively in the UK and vast stereotypical that often goes on in the low brow media that everyone is on benefits and getting everything free is just not going to help. Ah it just annoys me how people just believe that the media tells them but that is another debate for another day!

    I think i'll always miss M&S - that and jaffa cakes.

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    1. Ditto what I just said to Betsy - in some ways this poll doesn't help. There's some interesting commentary that came along with the results of the poll (available at http://britishfuture.org).

      PS - I have found a couple of places that sell jaffa cakes. Not McVities, but other brands, although Mark swears he saw McVities once…

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