This is written in response to reader Toodles bringing it up the other day but also for our other non-Brit/Englanders.
The confusion is because so many have got the wrong end of the stick or have local colouring to their view or do know or there is more than one truth at the same time, sometimes clashing.
What makes it worse is that people are so vehement about it – they’ll roll in and say bollox, it was never that, it was always this – so categorical. They’ll even be terribly offended, especially the Scots called English and the English called Brits. I am currently quite unhappy about our national anthem, Jerusalem, not being played at the football.
So, in a humble, gentle way [unusual for me], I submit the following with trepidation:
Thank goodness that company still uses miles but sadly, not furlongs.
Collins is quite clear about what Britain is – it is the larger of the two “big” islands within the British Isles – it is a geographical term and the Celts are not unhappy with that because Britons preceded the Anglo-Saxons. So the land is Briton-y [a term I just made up].
The question which must be asked before using designations is – are we talking:
4. A combination of these?
And if geographically, are we talking:
a. Big island in question;
e. Country [as in countryside area];
f. City, town, village;
g. Something else with a quaint name?
Or are we talking borough, a politico/geographical term, pertaining to local government?
Britain is primarily, geographically, the larger of the two islands, the other being Eire or Ireland. As long as we don’t argue over boundaries, it includes Scotland to the north, Wales to the west and there is dispute over Cornwall, that area roughly to the west of the Tamar River.
Britain though has come to be abused as the general name for all of these home countries, except for the nationalists in each country, of which I am one. But just as most Deplorables today are quite friendly with all the other nations and wish to trade with them, having friends in many of those countries, far from being this Little Englander thing the Remoaners try to make out we are, we get along fine, though we have digs at one another.
Many of the home countries people who are not English don’t mind being called British. We know this includes a majority in Scotland because of the plebiscite result.
Great Britain is a term I vastly prefer to the United Kingdom but alas, it cuts out Northern Ireland and I quite like the DUP [political party]. They’re so pugnaciously anti-PC, that they’re sweet. They’re ours too. The UK is of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain is the union between Scotland and England [or vice-versa], plus it includes Wales, too geographically close to be truly independent, ditto with Cornwall.
History is a major factor – my area was [the] Deira, then Northumbria, then various things, ending up in England [some say after AD878 but others dispute that dating] and most until recent times were happy enough with England as their nation, as it was the country during the greatest times, especially in literature. When we start getting into words like Albion, then we start getting into spiritual trouble.
Governments are a pain in the neck and they’ve messed with our names. For example, the area north of the Humber River was the East Riding of Yorkshire, not flipping Humberside and the area south of that river was Lincolnshire or whatever they wanted to called it – maybe Norfolk, wasn’t my area, but some communist wanted it to be Humberside.
Similarly, I do not recognize Northumberland – no such place. That is Northumbria over there. Same with Wessex – I’m fine with that and know we have some Wessex [Wessexual?] readers.
I’m not even going to start getting into Middlesex, Essex and London – the last one is a Muslim stronghold and the second last has many women of questionable reputation whom football teams seem to be fond of [see Princess Di for rugby teams and horse riders].
We’re on safer ground with the Black Country [around Brummy land], the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors [God’s own country]. Though I should be more loyal to Deira [around the West Riding], my heart is more North York/Northumbria, where I’ve spent much of my life.
Travelling past villages like Ugglebarnby is sheer pleasure and the air is so good there [no one mention Middlesbrough, by the way, satan’s own country].
Hope that’s not as clear as mud.