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Britain for Americans
February 26, 2007 2:26 AM   Subscribe

Use this guide to help you become familar with the many complex, sometimes strange customs of the British People.
posted by sluglicker (80 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
These "toffs" often put on a coarse accent after a glass or two of beer; do not be intimidated, they are resting their throats after talking "posh" all day.

Oh Lord, that's actually true.
posted by chrismear at 2:37 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, I'd like to travel to the UK in the near future. This website's tips and tricks will a handy heads-up before I go.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 3:07 AM on February 26, 2007


So what he's really trying to say is "If you come to Britain, I will do everything in my power to get you killed, or at least severely beaten."

hmm. says just as much about him as it does about Americans.
posted by tehloki at 3:08 AM on February 26, 2007


It is common to find pool tables in pubs. Beware, they are not playing to American rules! To join a game of pool already in progress, simply pick up one of the cues provided, walk to the table, and quickly cue the black ball into the nearest pocket. You are now in the game. The object is to pot all your balls as quickly as possible without disturbing the white. Don't be disheartened if you miss a shot; quickly move on to the next. You score extra points for "blocking" your opponent's attempts to shoot, using your hands.

bwahaha!
posted by derbs at 3:15 AM on February 26, 2007


By George, what a delightful web-site you've managed to unearth, filled to the brim with the sort of wonderfully exquisite humour that reduces our expatriates across the pond to a quivering mass of befuddlement! Good show indeed, old chap!

Someone here once posted a Venn Diagram explaining the terms English and British. Where is that?
posted by fandango_matt at 3:20 AM on February 26, 2007


this one?

(though the longer than the UK has existed is bullshit, as least for internationals)
posted by cillit bang at 3:27 AM on February 26, 2007


This one?
posted by chrismear at 3:28 AM on February 26, 2007


I win with my correct capitalisation.
posted by chrismear at 3:29 AM on February 26, 2007


Here, fandango_matt.
posted by matthewr at 3:29 AM on February 26, 2007


I totally lose.
posted by matthewr at 3:29 AM on February 26, 2007


Meh, as my name says I am a London-based Yank and I tried out some of the tips laid out herein.

I have been asked to leave.

Bollocks!
posted by LondonYank at 3:34 AM on February 26, 2007


No hard feelings, eh, matthewr? Fancy a game of darts?
posted by chrismear at 3:35 AM on February 26, 2007


Yes, I believe that's the one. Thanky!

Okay, so (almost) everyone from the UK is British, but only those from England are English. Do English people refer to themselves as British?
posted by fandango_matt at 3:38 AM on February 26, 2007



We find that your songs, like "Throw Out Your Gold Teeth And See How They Roll" by Mr Steely Dan...


What an odd reference.
posted by logicpunk at 3:47 AM on February 26, 2007


Okay, so (almost) everyone from the UK is British, but only those from England are English. Do English people refer to themselves as British?

Well, everyone in the UK is British, in the sense that we're all British citizens, although some Northern Irish Catholics/Republicans would refer to themselves as Irish instead. English people often refer to themselves as British, more often than Scots do.

Quite fancy a game of Shrovetide Football, or even the Ba' game, at the next meetup, chrismear.
posted by matthewr at 3:50 AM on February 26, 2007


" English people often refer to themselves as British, more often than Scots do."

Although I've been corrected by some of my colleagues (bankers), who take pride in telling me they are "definitely English".
posted by Mutant at 3:58 AM on February 26, 2007


everyone in the UK is British

Not according to the diagram, or my understanding, as a Northern Irish protestant. Despite all of Ian Paisley's rantings to the contrary, Ulster is not British.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 4:22 AM on February 26, 2007


aye it is.
posted by the cuban at 4:28 AM on February 26, 2007


The word British is used to mean something related to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not just to Great Britain. Hence British citizenship, British overseas territories (which are a lot further away from Great Britain than N.I. is!), etc.
posted by grouse at 4:39 AM on February 26, 2007


Right, yes, that I understand: "English" is a subset of "British": that is, all English people are British, but not all British people are English. What I want to know is whether English people refer to themselves as English, or if (for English people) English and British are synonymous/interchangable. More specifically, how do you refer to someone with an obvious English/British accent? English, or British until corrected?
posted by fandango_matt at 4:45 AM on February 26, 2007


Hmm. I'll generally write "British Citizen" on a form if I'm asked my nationality, but in speech I don't think I've ever said "I'm British" or "I'm English". I think I've said "I'm from England", which feels subtly different.
posted by chrismear at 4:49 AM on February 26, 2007


More specifically, how do you refer to someone with an obvious English/British accent? English, or British until corrected?

British. I doubt you could identify a Welsh accent from an English one. And someone saying that they are English is actually just being more specific, not a correction. They are still British. Although some people really get antsy and claim not to be British for political reasons.
posted by grouse at 4:51 AM on February 26, 2007


I prefer to give my postal address to Americans as being in England rather than Great Britain or the United Kingdom, per the recommendations in Frank's Compulsive Guide to Postal Addressses.
posted by grouse at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2007


if (for English people) English and British are synonymous/interchangable.

Someone from England is technically British, but almost no one would say that, just like almost no one ever flies a Union Jack flag. It's best to think of "British" as a collective term for the interlrelalted cultures/peoples of its constituent parts, not a culture/people itself.

More specifically, how do you refer to someone with an obvious English/British accent? English, or British until corrected?

For most Americans, what they think of as a "British accent" is actually an English accent. So as long as you're sure they're not Welsh/Scottish/Irish, English is the correct term, and British is incorrect.
posted by cillit bang at 4:58 AM on February 26, 2007


More specifically, how do you refer to someone with an obvious English/British accent? English, or British until corrected?

I use the generic 'Cunt'. If there are children around I go with 'Cunts'.
posted by srboisvert at 4:59 AM on February 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


One genuine tip:

You expect left-hand turns to be long, languid, obvious things.

Here, they are quick and sharp. Trucks or 'lorries' making them will kill you while you cross the street, if you aren't careful.
posted by sindark at 5:09 AM on February 26, 2007


Slightly dated but still pretty accurate anthropological study of the British pub
posted by TrashyRambo at 5:12 AM on February 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


My Mum's Welsh, my Dad's Scottish, I was born and raised in England. I'm British ;)

Not everyone agrees with me.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:21 AM on February 26, 2007


I really wish there was a serious version of that website (just in case there are anymore Mefites out there who think this is a cynical excercise to get you beaten up in Britain). The website is a fairly typical example of English humour.

But there are so many subtle differences I do sometimes find myself mystified 5 years on. Years of receiving BBC and ITV in Ireland did NOT prepare me for these subtle differences.

Also everyone it applies to has told me they are English, others have identified themselves as Welsh or Scottish as the case may be.

One Tip: If you want to make an English person truly squirm with discomfort offer to do something nice, with no expectation of a return. By the time they've stopped responding like you offered them the virginity of your first-born child, they'll start to think you have some hidden agenda. The expression on their faces while this is ongoing is priceless!
posted by Wilder at 5:22 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not really, how you say, 'funny.'
posted by Otis at 5:25 AM on February 26, 2007


all English people are British, but not all British people are English.

Sport can complicate matters when reported in the news:

1. Should an Englishman be playing sport and be successful, they will be referred to as English.

2. If a Scotsman is playing sport and is successful, they will be referred to as British.

3. If an Englishman is playing sport and is unsuccessful, they will be referred to as British.

4. If a Scotsman is playing sport and is unsuccessful, they will be referred to as Scottish.

Make sense? Thought not..
posted by Nugget at 5:26 AM on February 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, forgot to add, when you do finally get the message through that no, it really is no excessive burden to drop them to the station/shops/home as you are driving and its only 5 miles out of the way, they fall all over themselves trying to find some way of paying you back, and they will not be comfortable until they have done so.

In my experience English people seem to be forever running a kind of mental balance that must be equalised.

Much funnier than that website was Idries Shah's book In Darkest England
posted by Wilder at 5:31 AM on February 26, 2007


Very lame page.
posted by homodigitalis at 5:34 AM on February 26, 2007


Agreed. So lame. I'm Scottish btw.
posted by brautigan at 5:51 AM on February 26, 2007


Nugget, that is mostly true if you are watching/reading English news. Flip that all around if you're in Scotland. :D

And to add to that, from my recent experience of watching the 6 Nations Rugby Championship with a few Scots, if Scotland had beat England it would have been a deserved triumph but when they lost soundly, everyone around the table agreed that "rugby doesn't count". ;)

Self-link but I just recently made a blog post about some differences I've personally had to adjust to since my move to England about 6 months ago. It was made in response to a number of friends back in California who are interested in making the move as well.
posted by like_neon at 5:52 AM on February 26, 2007


Slightly dated but still pretty accurate anthropological study of the British pub

Of course, one that may have been paid for by the British pub industry.

I really wish there was a serious version of that website

Kate Fox, of the same SIRC that produced the anthropological study of the pub, wrote a book called Watching the English, which is pretty good, despite my ambivalence about all things SIRC-related.
posted by grouse at 5:59 AM on February 26, 2007


The best thing Americans moving to Britain can do is read anthropologist Kate Fox's book "Watching the English."

"I don't see why anthropologists feel they have to travel to remote corners of the world and get dysentery in order to study strange tribal cultures with bizarre beliefs and mysterious customs, when the weirdest, most puzzling tribe of all is right here on our doorstep."

The tribes in Scotland and Wales are even more puzzling.
posted by three blind mice at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2007


grouse beat me to it!
posted by three blind mice at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2007


Lame humour for sure, but not to be taken seriously at all (I'm looking at you here, tehloki)

Surely, while the nomenclature is many layered and contradictory, the history behind the English in Ireland is straightforward and well-known: the English established direct colonies in Ireland whilst it was already a tribute state of disunited clans.

The colonists could not - after a generation or two - accurately describe themselves as English, and luckily by then politics in London had advanced to the stage where a new term - 'British' - was available.

Originally the term British described an inhabitant of England and Wales or Scotland (as the island was called Britannia). This was especially so around the time of the 1707 Act of Union (of England & Wales with Scotland). When the 1801 Act of Union (of England, Wales and Scotland) with Ireland occurred, the inhabitants of all the island of Ireland, as well as the inhabitants of England, Wales and Scotland, were legitimately describable as British. The term British Isles was attached to the set of islands off northern europe that contained the English, Scots Welsh & Irish nations and the smaller islands nearby (like the Isle of Man, but not the Isle of Wight - that is England - nor the Orkneys, Shetlands and Hebrides - all Scotland).

Now, for about 100 years or so that situation pertained (much to the disgruntlement of many Irish, Scots and Welsh, I have to add: those absorbed by the Union weren't always enamoured of it, though their representatives in Westminster no doubt saw some advantages). Many of the Irish achieved independence between 1916-1922, no longer being described by anyone in their right mind as 'British'. However, some of the Irish did not achieve independence (those in the 6 of 9 counties in Ulster not granted independence), and some of them continued to call themselves British (many of course maintained they never were British or English: they always self-identified as Irish).

So I do understand why americans get confused, when even some Brits aren't clear whether or nt they have one or multiple IDs.

Disclosure:
I am English (born and raised in the UK), whose parents were both Irish. I am entitled to an Irish passport, as well as the one I currently hold (UK/British). My brother was also born in the UK and considers himself Irish. Go figure.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:20 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not funny.
posted by mr. strange at 6:22 AM on February 26, 2007


While we are on the subject, never, NEVER ask a drunken table of Irish Army guys if they are English, even if you are in the US at the time.

(They did let me live but it was touch-and-go for a bit.)
posted by konolia at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2007


"But there are so many subtle differences I do sometimes find myself mystified 5 years on."

I've been here ten years and still regularly come across cultural differences that confuse me. I know the Investment Banking culture in London fairly well, however that's hardly representative of British culture on the whole.

I'm always amused when someone who spent a year or so living here proclaims upon returning to their native country that they "know" England. They clearly didn't venture very far outside their comfort zone.
posted by Mutant at 7:18 AM on February 26, 2007


There is an hilarious page to be written about British customs. But this is not it.
posted by rhymer at 7:27 AM on February 26, 2007


A serious version of that site I can't offer, but I just went to england for the first time last weekend and here are the things I've learned about the british.

1. They are much better dressed than you. You'll feel like a slob, but that's okay as its obvious that you're a tourist.

2. There are cameras everywhere. Its unnerving, but that's okay because you don't live there.

3. That 3 pound latte is actually 6 dollars. Yes, you're drinking a six dollar coffee like an idiot. So is everyone else.

4. Its actually very difficult to get beaten up there. Trust me on this.

5. The famous jack the ripper tours take place in slummy areas that only add to the fun.

6. Everyone assumes American = Bush supporter, which is a shame.

7. The British Museum is full of wonderful things that shouldnt belong to the British like rooms full of amazing Greek and Roman artifacts. The only thing British in the British museum are the employees.

8. You may have a short 2 minute interaction with someone in which that person will use the word "cheers" over six times.

9. The entire train system is automated with lots of signs and Logan's Run-like voiceovers. There is one guy employed for every five stops, but he's usually very helpful.

10. Everyone understands you, but you will not be able to understand everyone. Why they dont just put on an american accent to talk to americans is beyond me.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:29 AM on February 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've lived here for six-and-some-change years, and, man, I really wished Kate Fox's book had been around when I first moved. It really would've gotten me through so much, especially when I started working. (I found it impossible to "read" people and their intentions, although that might be just as much my problem as it was a cultural thing.)

I made the mistake of loaning it to a coworker (another American who was finding it impossible to understand so much of the culture she had landed in), but I hope that, since she kept it, she's actually getting some use out of it.

A website that's a bit more factual: Oi! Yanks! No!
(Disclaimer: friend of mine, and it says I helped out on it, but I honestly can't remember how.)
posted by Katemonkey at 7:33 AM on February 26, 2007


Oh almost forgot:

11. The Buckingham guards are funny to poke fun at until you get a close look and realize that theyre actually angry young soldiers holding a loaded SA80 assult rifle. Everytime some tourist tries to annoy them you begin to think. "Surely, he's going to crack now and shoot into the crowd. I wouldnt blame him if he did." Luckily English soldiers are well-disciplined.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:33 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Its actually very difficult to get beaten up there.

No, it's not. You come back, I guarantee I can get you beaten up within hours. Violent crime is higher in the UK than in the U.S. and most of this involves young men.

Everyone assumes American = Bush supporter, which is a shame.

No, they don't. Not even if you are from Texas. People do like "taking the piss" (i.e. teasing) though.

The entire train system is automated with lots of signs and Logan's Run-like voiceovers.

The entire train system is not automated. Far from it.
posted by grouse at 7:45 AM on February 26, 2007


The entire train system is automated antiquated

Fixed that for you.
posted by chrismear at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2007


Or alternatively:

The entire train system is has been automated antiquated decimated by years of underinvestment

(decimated in its non-classical sense, of course, before the pedants leap on me)
posted by greycap at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2007


Katemonkey - thanks for the link! I actually related to most of it and I'll be sure to pass that onto my friends.
posted by like_neon at 8:31 AM on February 26, 2007


Yeah, but what's up with those motorcyle drill teams?
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:38 AM on February 26, 2007


I'm not sure who should be more offended by that site: Americans for the site's inherent assumption that we're all *that* ignorant of other cultures, or the English, for whom that site is one more drop in the Insufferably Smug bucket.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 8:38 AM on February 26, 2007


grouse: "Violent crime is higher in the UK than in the U.S. and most of this involves young men."

Bwaha! Wait, wait, I've got one -

"Gravity is actually caused by moonbeams holding people against the surface of the Earth!"
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2007


The question of nationality if fairly easy - the country I am from is the UK. I am British. That diagram is spot on. The only exception is The Republic of Ireland, which is a completely different country. The fact that it is part of the British Isles is irrelevant.

However, the issue of cultural identity is a little different. I am English because I grew up (and still live) in England. I have an English accent and would (if anyone bothered) celebrate St George's Day. People from Scotland and Wales consider themselves Scottish and Welsh respectively. This is important, more so than the shared nationality. Hence the different flags and patron saints. For some strange reason, the Welsh, Scottish and Norther Irish can be really quite rude and derogatory about the English, but the reverse is much less acceptable. Except when discussing football. This could be something to do with a small amount of repression and killing a while back in history. Or just that we're better at football ...

I had an interesting discussion with a British friend of mine. Her family is originally from Pakistan, but she has lived here almost all her life and has a slightly-posh London accent. She considers herself British with a cultural identity of Pakistani. English doesn't even enter into it. Confused yet?

Wilder just made me laugh. This is absolutely true - I have experienced exactly the same bemusement myself. We're not an unfriendly lot, I think, but open niceness simply is not tolerated. If you're going to do something kind, then at least take the piss a little while doing it!

As far as this website goes - I think rhymer sums it up best. This is not as funny as it could be. The only advice I would have for Americans coming here is that you are likely to experience a certain amount of abuse, especially if you have a strong accent. Unfortunately, anti-Americanism has risen in the last 5 or 6 years to quite a shocking level. Not to put you off though, the nice ones amongst us will still be friendly :)
posted by iso_bars at 8:55 AM on February 26, 2007


Lessee...England, Wales, Scotland, and a teeny bit of disputed dirt way up north in Ireland, right? Plus some other islands further away, and various embassies?
posted by pax digita at 9:12 AM on February 26, 2007


Wilder is absolutely right. It's taken me years to even try to get out of this mind-set.

As for Brits being insufferably smug, you say it like it's a bad thing...
posted by ob at 10:19 AM on February 26, 2007


From TrashyRambo's link:

A bored regular will often deliberately spark off an argument by making an outrageous or extreme statement, and then sit back and wait for the inevitable cries of "Rubbish!" - or something less polite. The initiator will then hotly defend his assertion (which he secretly knows to be indefensible), and counter-attack by accusing his opponents of stupidity, ignorance or worse. The exchange may continue in this fashion for some time, although the attacks and counter-attacks will often drift away from the original issue, moving on to other contentious subjects and eventually focusing almost entirely on the personal qualities of the participants. [...] By the end, everyone may have forgotten what the argument was supposed to be about. No-one ever wins, no-one ever surrenders. When participants become bored or tired, the accepted formula for terminating the argument is to finish a sentence with " - and anyway, it’s your round". Opponents remain the best of mates, and a good time has been had by all.

That's not a pub, that's Metafilter.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:19 AM on February 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


GNFTI: I read that on the pub guide ages ago, and it suddenly explained my and my friends behavior over the past decade and a half. Something that I had never thought about or even questioned.
posted by ob at 10:26 AM on February 26, 2007


That's not a pub, that's Metafilter.

Rubbish!
posted by keswick at 10:53 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Then there's the English who are Cornish, and had it not died out, would be speaking a British language rather than German like the other English.
posted by Abiezer at 11:09 AM on February 26, 2007


That's not a pub, that's Metafilter.

And the eternal problem with this place is that there is no online equivalent to "anyway, it's your round".
posted by chrismear at 11:12 AM on February 26, 2007


And the eternal problem with this place is that there is no online equivalent to "anyway, it's your round".

Rubbish - sure there is! Anyway, it's your round.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:29 AM on February 26, 2007


1. They are much better dressed than you. You'll feel like a slob, but that's okay as its obvious that you're a tourist.

That was......not my experience while I was there. Well, the being obviously not-British was true, but I was pretty surprised at how badly (or just strangely, to my American eyes) dressed many people seemed to be.
posted by katemonster at 12:34 PM on February 26, 2007


grouse: Violent crime is higher in the UK than in the U.S. and most of this involves young men.

Baby_Balrog: Bwaha!

No, really. But on the other side, the homicide rate in the U.S. is higher.
posted by grouse at 12:45 PM on February 26, 2007


On my last day on the train in london, everyone was reading one of two or three free newspapers. The huge banner headline was something line "Caged behind bars like the animals there are!!!" accompanied by a photo of a few not so rough looking teens in hoodies. I read the article waiting to hear about some nastly killings but it turns out they were all robberies with some beatings. One guy adminited to thinking about killing another guy. Amazing. Where I'm from you dont usually get in the paper, let alone the headline, unless you've killed someone.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:02 PM on February 26, 2007


1. They are much better dressed than you. You'll feel like a slob, but that's okay as its obvious that you're a tourist.

That was not my experience either. Then again, I make an effort to dress here at home.
posted by dame at 1:02 PM on February 26, 2007


They are much better dressed than you. You'll feel like a slob, but that's okay as its obvious that you're a tourist.

Perhaps you are thinking of Cuba?
posted by asok at 1:46 PM on February 26, 2007


/stumbles back with 50,000 pints of beer and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
posted by chrismear at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where's me pork scratchings?
posted by Abiezer at 2:24 PM on February 26, 2007


It's fascinating, isn't it? You think you speak the same language; but actually you're a bit different.
You should see my hilarious site that explains Flanders to the Dutch.
posted by jouke at 2:35 PM on February 26, 2007


3. That 3 pound latte is actually 6 dollars. Yes, you're drinking a six dollar coffee like an idiot. So is everyone else.

This is true. I was back in the UK* this past summer and was shocked to discover that the only thing different about the prices at Starbucks was the symbol preceeding the numbers. Of course, everything else was expensive there (fucking exchange rate) so there were lots of other little shocks in store for me during that trip.

I forget sometimes that the UK/British/Insert other countries terminology can be a little confusing to people who aren't familiar with it.


*My dad and I went to visit our relatives on his side of the family. I was born in Scotland and moved to America as a kid and for the longest time refered to myself as Scottish. But I gave that up a while ago, seeing as how I've been living here much longer and lost the accent years ago (something that the relatives will not stop marveling at, btw). So there's no real way for someone to tell that I'm not a born America unless I say so, though I have been told that I sometimes phrase or say something in a way that sounds British, whatever that means. I usually only refer to myself as British when talking specifically about my citizenship or passport. Lastly, the reason I used UK above is because while my whole family is Scottish, they don't all live in there anymore, so my Dad and I spent sometime staying with one of his brothers who lives near Manchester.

/ramble

posted by kosher_jenny at 2:56 PM on February 26, 2007


Hm, I was taking the piss out of you Brits and US-ians (actually afzeiken which is interestingly equally urinary), gazing at each other, fascinated by your tiny differences.

But clearly I was too subtle. Or I'm not drunk enough.
Anyhow; good night.
posted by jouke at 3:08 PM on February 26, 2007


jouke: You should see my hilarious site that explains Flanders to the Dutch.

Afzeikerij or no, I actually really want to see that site now. Allez - get to work, zotteling.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:38 PM on February 26, 2007


Well, everyone in the UK is British, in the sense that we're all British citizens, although some Northern Irish Catholics/Republicans would refer to themselves as Irish instead. English people often refer to themselves as British, more often than Scots do.

A few years ago I called a Scottish friend of mine "British" and she reacted with complete horror and said she was certainly NOT British. Ever since then I have assumed that Scots are not British. Was she just weird? Any Scots out there have thought on this?
posted by naoko at 5:26 PM on February 26, 2007


naoko: It's like an American overseas who denies that they are American since they are from California. Not really true, but it makes some kind of a statement.
posted by grouse at 5:31 PM on February 26, 2007


grouse: The comparison with California is unfair.

A sizeable proportion of Scots feel subjugated by three hundred years of unjust English rule. They remember the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath:
"as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule."

Three hundred years of English rule (technically a union, of course) may seem like a long time to foreigners, but when you consider Scotland can trace its line of kings back twelve centuries, and successfully avoided the Roman subjugation England had, it's not unreasonable to consider English rule an unfortunate aberration in a long history of independence.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 5:45 PM on February 26, 2007


English rule, eh? Is that by the Prime Minister (born in Scotland)? The next Prime Minister (Scottish)? The Home Anyway, you're right, the comparison with California is unfair—maybe I should have used a part of the U.S. that had been unwillingly subjugated by the Union in battle like Virginia.

In any case, your argument underscores my original point—for a Scot to deny being British is really a political statement.
posted by grouse at 6:16 PM on February 26, 2007


In some ways it's weirder for the English to claim Britishness. Your ancient Briton (cf. with the Welsh 'Prydain') was a Celt, not a Saxon, Angle or Jute.
Wasn't the whole idea of 'Britain' got up, or revived rather, around the time of the Union - as opposed to the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland? (IIRC Wales had been subsumed into England at that point). I know Linda Colley's written on this, and I see recently Krishnan Kumar, but only seen references in other works.
posted by Abiezer at 6:57 PM on February 26, 2007


Here's an article by Kumar that discusses that.
posted by Abiezer at 7:00 PM on February 26, 2007


This URL works better for the Kumar article. Intersting article, thanks.
posted by grouse at 7:22 PM on February 26, 2007


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