Lots about this on the CEP News Blog - here and here.
One of the basic findings is that whilst "Britishness" is on the decline in England, only 22% of the general population would favour an English Parliament. We don't have all the stats, but apparently "regions" were also amongst the options given, unlike the question asked in the Scots referendum.
Surely the survey shouldn’t be asking about “regions” - the only people polled in England voted 78% against them. Democratically, they should not exist. The people of the North East, said NO very loudly. And yet the Government has gone ahead anyway and the Natcen people are still flogging the question in the BSA survey! Never give up. One day the electorate might agree to what has already been foisted on it!
The problem with the BSA questions on how England is governed is lack of information. The good old NULabour ploy of smoke and mirrors and muddy waters. Many people we speak to confuse region with “county” - this is rampant even amongst the journalists (a kind description) on the Cambridge Evening News, our local rag. They write articles beginning with such gems as: “Police in the Cambridgeshire region…”
The fact that the "regions" question is on the BSA Survey at all smells rather strongly of something not quite right. Either the Government explains the regional concept clearly and gives a referendum for the WHOLE of England, or the BSA leaves them out of the equation.
So many people don’t know what’s going on devolution-wise, even now. We quizzed a woman assistant at our local post office today about why there was a Union Jack on her name badge. Turned out she'd taken it from a pear she’d had for lunch and stuck it on. When we talked to her about devolution issues, she looked at us as if we were potty. The West Lothian Question, health apartheid? They didn’t exist in her universe.
The problem here seems to be a lack of information via the Press in England, apathy, sheep-like tendancies, and a continuing over-identification with the “British pride” thing.
Until the people of England are clearly informed of all the devolutionary facts, the BSA Survey should not go placing any importance whatsoever on its findings in the area of English governance. Recent polls have shown much higher support for an EP than the BSA findings.
The facts and a referendum are what the electorate needs.
As far as the BSA survey goes, we smell corruption. But then we often do nowadays. Of course, we'll be dismissed as ignorant, paranoid idiots... but don't hold your breath waiting for us to be proved wrong.
Drew & Fiona