Flying the flag: Does it matter?

Flying the EU flag on public buildings on Europe Day (Monday, 9th May) has no impact on public attitudes to the EU. But EU symbols used in practical ways such as at airport passport controls can polarise attitudes to the EU amongst the Scots and Welsh, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, but have little impact on people in England.

The research suggests that a split in the UK Coalition on whether to fly the EU flag over public buildings in Whitehall ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13321460) would be based on unfounded beliefs that flying the EU flag affects public opinion.

Researchers in the School of Government and Public Policy at Strathclyde University, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), conducted a series of online experiments using Yougov to test the effect of exposure to implicit EU triggers including the EU flag on public buildings and EU symbols on passport controls. There was a significant difference between respondents in Scotland, Wales and England.

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