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5.2 odd thought of the day

So, more work to be putting off, and I’ve started thinking again. It seems I live in a country that doesn’t have a name. The United Kingdom, that’s not a name, it’s a description. And not a very accurate one. We don’t have a king, haven’t for a long time, and we aren’t even the only united kingdom either, just A United Kingdom.

Or on full, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Now, that might seem a little better, but truth is, I have never been to Ireland, and never spent more than a few days anywhere in Great Britain*. I am one of half a million people that the country doesn’t even seem to recognise, even in such a long rambling description (though they do still expect us to pay taxes and everything (if I actually earnt or spent enough to have to pay tax, that is)).

And then of course, what are the people here called? British, perhaps? Except that originally that refered to the population here when the Romans and such like arrived, whilst us English turned up only later to take over a part of the islands. So, whilst the Welsh, for example, now call themselves Welsh (which actually literally means foreign), us English are expected to call outselves British, which we aren’t, in order to pretend to be part of the same population. The distinctions between the Welsh and Cornish, the Scots and Irish are small and quite new divisions, made, so far as I can tell, by the English in order to divide our enemies into smaller, more manageable groups. Whereas English relates only to the Angles, a population that moved almost entirely to the north of the country. And England was already a united kingdom a long time before that name came into use, but noone cares about that.

So, I was born on the island of Thanet, on the edge of an area named after a group of people that lived hundreds of miles away, and hundreds of years ago, but that only people born outside that area are supposed to refer to, and in a country without a name, and with a description that refers to another group of people, with no connection to myself other than that they used to live here before we invaded. So, I am a native born Cantwara, or person from Kent, as we were called in our old Juto-Frisian manner.

Meanwhile, noone knows what to call anyone else, foreign people are wary of calling anyone British, English, Welsh, Scottish or whatever, knowing that if they say the wrong thing people will take offense. But then, the truth is, it seems we don’t know what the right thing is ourselves.

Still, it could be worse, I could be have been born in the US, there the country doesn’t have anything approaching a name, and neither do the people. The United States of America, which is far from the only set of United States within America. Whilst the people have to call themselves just Americans, even though they are far from the only people in the Americas, because they have nothing else (whilst the other people of the Americas now dislike being called that because it seemingly suggests they are from the US). Perhaps they could borrow one of our names, we seem to have too many.

*Perhaps I should explain this point, a little known fact is that Great Britain refers only to the largest of the ‘British Isles’, after which the British people (who no longer like to be called that) were named.

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