British, where and who

British what is it and who are they?

'Union Jack' Flag of United Kingdom, Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/
‘Union Jack’ Flag of United Kingdom, Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/
Welsh Flag fluttering ‘The Red Dragon’

British is defined by ‘The Free Dictionary as


a. Of or relating to Great Britain or its people, language, or culture.
b. Of or relating to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations.
2. Of or relating to the ancient Britons.
Great Britain is relating to England, Scotland and Wales, whereas United Kingdom is the common name for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Generally, today Great Britain is generally known as just Britain
The persons born in Great Britain or United Kingdom are known as British, but this depends on the cultural identity that each persons wishes to be known by, that being Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish. Irish generally refers to persons born in Southern Ireland or more correctly, now referred to as Ireland. However, in Northern Ireland depending on a persons religious identity, Protestants  may refer to themselves as British or Catholics as Irish.
With regards to the Commonwealth of Nations, before each of the individual countries gained their own independence, the populations of these countries did have a right to claim to be British and as such could claim to apply for a British passport. However, from the date of their country’s independence only persons born in that country before its independence could claim to have British Nationality.

Sottish flag, Image courtesy of Darren Robertson/FreeDigitalPhotos. net
Sottish flag, ‘St Andrew’ Image courtesy of Darren Robertson/FreeDigitalPhotos. net
AGF5X3 St George cross national flag of England
English Flag ‘St George’
St Patrick’s Saltire
Flag_of_Ireland from 1916-present.svg
Flag of Ireland from 1916-present

The official flag of the United Kingdom is the ‘Union Jack‘ which comprises of three elements: the cross of St. George (red on white) for England, the cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal on blue) for Scotland, and the so-called cross of St. Patrick (red diagonal on white) for Ireland and was created in 1801. As Wales was not a Kingdom, but a  Principality, it was not included on the flag, although the official flag of Wales is ‘The Red Dragon. The official flag of Northern Ireland is the ‘Union Jack’. While the ‘Union Jack’ is recognised as the official flag of Northern Ireland, this will , mainly depend on which community you aspire to be from. Should you be Protestant then you would normally accept the ‘Union Jack’, while if Catholic you would normally accept the official flag of Ireland, which it has been since 1916. Prior to 1916 is was the Saint Patrick’s Saltire also known  ‘Cross of St Patrick. This being the flag which was incorporated to form the ‘Union Jack’. Over the years there have been many flags associated with Ireland and also Northern Ireland. Some were the same, while others were not

While there are the flags associated with the United Kingdom, what do the rest of the world view as a typical Briton, however, this may be better considering how they see a typical person for English, Welsh, Scottish and the Northern Irish. But what is a typical person from any of the individual countries within the United Kingdom.. In fact the concept of these nationalities Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman, with occasionally a Welshman have created many jokes, one being ‘An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman are sitting in a bar. Suddenly, a fly dives into each of their beers. The Englishman says, “Barman, a fly just dived into my beer. Bring me another one.” The Englishman got another beer. The Irishman says, “Ah, to hell with it,” and empties his pint, fly and all. The Scotsman pulls the fly out of his beer, shakes it up and down, and screams, “Spit it out, damn you! Spit it out!’. These jokes tend to feed off the assumed general characteristics of each nationality, if being in England the punchline is usually based around the Irishman being stupid, the Scotsman being mean or frugal, and the Englishman being posh or a snob but ultimately not the butt of the joke, whereas in Scotland and Ireland, the Englishman will typically be the butt of the joke. Sometimes, when the joke requires four people, a Welshman is brought into the joke.

But that is an aside, how do others generally see these nationalities, for the English,

Bowler hatted Englishman
Bowler hatted Englishman
Whisky drinking Scotsman
Whisky drinking Scotsman

could be, The most common picture depicting a typical Englishman is a man wearing a bowler hat and holding an umbrella or reading the Times newspaper. Then for the Scottish is it a man wearing a kilt and either playing the bagpipes or drinking whisky or both. The Welsh is it a male who is forever singing in a choir. Then finally the Northern Irish are there any separation between those in Northern Ireland and those in Ireland, for many away from those lands, there may be not.

Are these how others see them? In fact, is it at all possible to have a typical view of any person with regards to their nationality. If there is a recognised national dress, as there is in Scotland, then the wearing of the kilt could be seen as typical, but the drinking of whisky and playing the bagpipes, may be not so.  But for England there is no recognised national dress and the bowler hat and umbrella would have been, in the past, the assumed accessories of a person in business, more than likely to do with finance.

So can the British be defined, so that they can be seen to be of a nationality, perhaps not. But the allegiance to a flag, could still be so for some.

However, the relationship to be being British could be changing for some. In this respect, the forthcoming referendum on Scottish Independence on 18th September 2014 and the resulting outcome, will it be Yes or No. The BBC Scottish Referendum Poll Tracker, as of 29th August 2014 is saying No 48%, Yes 42% with Don’t Knows 11%. So on this we will have to wait the outcome on the 19th September 2014, to see whether there will be any change to the definition of British or perhaps more, United Kingdom.

Assuming a ‘Yes’ vote will the UK require a new flag?

Scottish Independence Referendum 2014, result so it was ‘No’ to independence by 55.3% to ‘Yes’ by 44.7% with a 84.6% turnout. But that is not the status quo as David Cameron has promised changes. However these are, he says, not only for Scotland, but the whole of the UK, one being that only MP’s of a specific country should be allowed to vote on matters pertaining to that country. This would mean that if the issue was only relating to England, Scottish MP’s would not be allowed to vote. This would appear to be not acceptable to Ed Miliband or not in the short-term. But if there is slippage to the timetable originally put forward, draft before the 2015 election, would this result in no change? To not proceed would not be acceptable to many and certainly not to the people of Scotland.

2 thoughts on “British, where and who

  1. Most of us outside the isle of British see the British as being as cold as their weather, their noses in the air and as penny pinching as possible…but getting to know them, one finds out that is not true, every people in the world have a dose of ‘stuff up people with their noses high up in the air’, conservatives and penny pinchers… I think the British are one cool bunch but I have a weakness for the Scottish…


  2. Many of the residents of Britain are proud to be British, but the Scots are even more so to be Scottish, which may result in a ‘Yes’ vote on the 18th September 2014. But then so are the Welsh, while Northern Ireland is different, depending to some extent on the faith of the persons.

    The Scots are extremingly proud of their heritage and of their ‘clans’.

    But all these are generalisations and there will be some of each part of Britain who are not within the generalisations.

    You say you have a weakness for the Scottish, is this for their culture, the scenery of Scotland or the people of Scotland or even a mixture of all. I too love Scotland, but I am even more proud to be a Yorkshireman, born and bred.


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