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Opinion » How Charities, Thinktanks and the Media Manipulate You

How Charities, Thinktanks and the Media Manipulate You


Last month, the Guardian; along with other media outlets, published an article about a recent study which provided an insight into the alleged current public consensus on what it means to be English. The Guardian went with the headline “Now 90% of England agrees: being English is not about colour“. The study featured in the article was a study which had been commissioned by the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester and was conducted by market research and data analytics firm YouGov.

The study was a follow-up to a 2012 study which was also conducted by YouGov, but this time, was commissioned by charity and thinktank British Future. The 2012 version also had a section about race, which asked the question “How much does being white still matter?” It’s worth taking note of the phrasing of that question. How much does being white still matter? It’s apparent that the author doesn’t think that it should matter. Organisations such as British Future pretend to be unbiased, but they’re not. British Future is headed up by a gentleman named Sunder Katwala who is half Indian and half Irish, yet thinks he’s English. What a fantastic person to be managing surveys about English identity!


The Bias of British Future

Although British Future describe themselves as “an independent, non-partisan thinktank”, they also, under the “What We Do” section of their website, say they want to build a modern British identity, and they believe “migration has long made a positive contribution to British life.” Katwala himself also promotes integration and wants to make it easier for people to become a British citizen:

They’re not non-partisan then, are they? They are pro-immigration and pro-integration. Therefore they do not represent the majority of the British public who have always wanted immigration levels reduced.

It’s also worth noting that British Future have received funding from all the usual suspects, including George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. Why is it that every time you discover yet another organisation working to undermine English or British identity, a simple click on their funding page always brings up Soros’s name?


2012 vs 2019: The Results of Both Studies

The 2012 study reported that only 20% of people believe your skin colour has any relevance to you being English. In the 2019 study, this figure had dropped to 10%. Therefore, the number of people who believe that race is relevant to being English has halved in only 7 years.

As somebody who’s interested in English and British identity, those figures seem incredibly low to me. It was due to the fact that I don’t believe them to be true that I decided to look into them in a little more depth.

Upon reading through the Guardian article, I couldn’t find a link to the 2019 study. I spoke to Sunder Katwala about this on Twitter and he advised me that the study hadn’t been public yet. All we had to go off was the words of a Guardian journalist. Despite the fact that nobody had read actual study, the article was passed around the internet by every man and his dog. Africans with British passports were very happy to report that they’re just as English as us. Being English apparently means nothing anymore. It’s just a piece of paper and a set of ideas! And 90% of people agree.

The article, however, did provide a link to the 2012 study. And it also provided the following stats:

“The biggest change was noted among over-65s, where the importance of whiteness fell from 35% to 16%.”

These figures don’t look right to me. The elderly are usually our most culturally right-wing generation. There’s absolutely no way that those figures are correct. So I had a look at the 2012 study, and I found that 64% of over 60s think that race is relevant, and 35% of over 60s think it isn’t. The Guardian must have got their figures back to front. But this actually makes things even stranger because if we’re to believe the 2019 study (which remember, we can’t read yet), then the number of over 65s who think that race is important has dropped from 64% to 16% in 7 years. Something isn’t adding up here.

I decided to contact the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester and ask that they send me the 2019 study, which they very kindly did. Using this study, I would now like to demonstrate how charities, thinktanks and the media manipulate figures to shape public opinion.


Shaping Public Opinion

The first thing that’s worth mentioning is that this survey had a tiny sample size. Only 1462 adults took part. So when the media run with headlines like “Now 90% of England agrees…”; it’s not really 90% of England, is it? Small sample sizes of around 2000 people can give a good indication of public opinion, if they’re actually representative of the people they’re supposed to be representative of. This poll was only a survey of YouGov users, and YouGov polls typically produce left leaning results. Just to give you an example of the kind of results you get from YouGov users, in the 2012 study, which was carried out on behalf of British Future, a third of people responded that they associate the Union Jack with “racism and extremism”, 42% of people associate the St George’s flag with “racism and extremism”, and just under two-thirds of people said they associate the Union Jack with “modern, diverse Britain”.

The survey also says that it was taken by “English adults” but it’s unclear as to whether that means actual English people or other ethnicities living in England. Obviously if non-ethnically English people, and in particular non-European people, were asked these questions, we can expect a high percentage of them to say that you don’t have to be white to be English.

Now on to the questions. The respondents were asked:

“How important, if at all, would you say each of the following qualities are for someone to be regarded as English?”

They were then given a list of questions. These included things such as their parents were born in England, they were born in England, they pay their taxes in England and they contribute to English society. There was also this rather unusual question: “They speak English with a local accent”. As nice as these things are, none of them determine whether you’re English or not. What has where you pay your taxes got to do with anything? And your mother could give birth to you in any country in the world, it wouldn’t change who you are. If I was born in the sea, I wouldn’t be a mermaid.

Towards the bottom of the survey, respondents were then given the question: “They are White”. There’s a couple of things worth mentioning here. If they’d have asked “They are white” first, before all these other questions, I suspect that the percentage of people who said that it was important would have been higher. But because they first speak to the respondent about things such as customs, values, language and paying taxes, the respondent is then left wondering whether all those things are relevant. Why would they have been listed if they weren’t? By the time the respondent reaches the bottom of the survey where it says, rather abruptly, I might add, “They are white”, their opinion has already been influenced on the journey to that question. In addition, the topic of race is a very sensitive topic and people don’t want to get things wrong.

The use of the word ‘white’ also needs mentioning. If they’d have written “is ethnically English” or even “is European”, the answers could’ve been very different. It pains me to say this, but the word “white” is also a very dirty word. It’s a word that people are scared to be associated with.

If we look at the results of the “They are white” question, it isn’t actually 90% of people who think that being White is irrelevant, which is the narrative the mainstream media have tried to paint. 63% of people said being White is “Not at all important”. If we add up the percentage of people who said that being white is relevant, that’s 6% + 6% + 19%; that’s 31% of people who said being White had some relevance, whether they think it’s very important or not that important. 6% of people said they did not know.

The media added the 6% who think it’s very important to the 6% who think it’s fairly important, to get 12%. They then took 12% away from 100%, to get 88%. They then decided to add 2% to the 88% figure and rounded it up to 90%, and this is the headline that the media went with: 90% of people think that your skin colour has nothing to do with being English. That’s incredibly manipulative.

Another thing to mention is that the fixation on skin colour is infantile and irresponsible. As a nationalist, I’m not all that interested in skin colour. I don’t know any nationalists who are. If I got a tan, I wouldn’t stop being English. If an African bleached their skin, they’d still be African. But these organisations are incredibly myopic in the way that they reduce your ethnicity down to the shade of your skin, ignoring all the other genetic characteristics that are also relevant. Some people are scared of talking about skin colour, and some people know it’s silly to reduce your ethnicity to skin colour, so it shouldn’t be a shock to us that when asked a question like “They are white”, it gets a bizarre response. And talking of people being scared of being called racist, in the 2012 study, they actually said in the results that the only way to be “fully non-racist” is to say that being White is ‘not at all important’. And then they wonder why more people tick that box next time.

The final thing I’d like to mention is that there was another poll done by YouGov; this time in 2016, and the results were published in 2017. This poll is far from perfect. For a start, they use the words “English nationality”, when English isn’t a nationality, it’s an ethnicity. The nationality of English people is British. But it does ask the questions a little better than the above studies we’ve looked at.

In this study, we got the above response. 80% of people said having “two English parents” determines whether you’re English. 81% of people said “born in England” does, but obviously 81 + 80 = 161, so people must have been able to tick more than one box. So the majority of people who ticked “born in England”, also ticked “two English parents”.

We can argue about what they mean by ‘English parents’. Does it mean somebody who is ethnically English, or just somebody else who was just born here? I think this poll is slightly fairer, however.



Despite the many issues with the above studies, the media picked their headlines and they ran with them. They’re not interested in questioning the authenticity of the results, just as they’re not interested in being impartial. They simply want to shape public opinion. They know that if they tell you that nobody cares about skin colour and that everybody thinks anybody can be English, then people are scared to go against the mainstream narrative, and they’ll start to parrot those talking points themselves. Allowing anybody to identify as English or British is necessary. The English aren’t becoming a minority in our own country, if everybody here is English.

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