The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132420   Message #2996146
Posted By: Jim Dixon
29-Sep-10 - 12:04 PM
Thread Name: BS: Great Britain or United Kingdom - which?
Subject: RE: BS: Great Britain or United Kingdom - which?
Here I though I was doing a good job (for an American) to carefully distinguish between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, and now I find Brits themselves can't even agree on the use of those terms!

I must say I find some of the ideas being thrown around here rather silly.

For one thing, I think it is silly, and a bit dishonest, to try to manipulate people's political opinions by the words you use. (Yeah, I know, people do it all the time, even in the US, but that doesn't make it right.) We ought to be able to agree on a common vocabulary even if we differ in our political opinions. How else is communication possible?

It's silly to refuse to use the term "United Kingdom" simply because you disapprove of the monarchy. Like it or not, THERE IS a monarchy. Whether the monarch has any political power or is merely a symbol is beside the point. And the fact that the current incumbent is a queen makes no difference, either. Nobody, not even the staunchest monarchist, wants to call it a "queendom." That's simply a matter of language, not of politics.

And besides, there is no synonym for "United Kingdom."

Does the parliament of the United Kingdom make laws that apply on the Isle of Wight? If so, then the Isle of Wight is part of the United Kingdom. (And you could use the same rule of thumb for the Isle of Man, etc.) Since there is no such thing as an "English" parliament nowadays, it is pointless to argue that the Isle of Wight is (or is not) "independent from" England.

I will leave it to the geologists to decide whether the Isle of Wight is part of Great Britain, since an island is a geological concept. But, off the top of my head, it seems that, if the Isle of Wight is not part of Great Britain, then Manhattan is not part of North America.