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Only the English may be called British - Official.

"Singing from the same hymn sheet" may upset atheists - Telegraph
Caerphilly council in Wales has asked staff to be careful about using the phrase British, because "it implies a false sense of unity" and is upsetting to many people in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The council's written guidance to staff states: "Many would argue that one way to denote ethnic minority people in this country would be to describe them as 'British Asians', 'Chinese British' etc.

One advantage is that by referring to two ethnicities it avoids any suggestion that a person has to choose between them for identity.

However, the idea of 'British' implies a false sense of unity – many Scots, Welsh and Irish resist being called British and the land denoted by the term contains a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions."

Oi Taffy, what about English people who resent being called British, especially by the Sweaties in charge? Don't us English have the right to be called by our own nationality as well?


Apart from anything else, the words you quote are logically incoherent. The whole point about calling minorities 'British Asians', 'Chinese British' (why not 'British Chinese'?), etc. is to create an overriding 'sense of unity', as Britain is - in the words of the council - a "land [that] contains a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions". So this is a reason why 'British' should be used for the Welsh, Scots and Irish, not why it shouldn't. Equally, if people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland identify as either Welsh / Scottish / Irish or British in varying degrees, then surely it makes sense to use 'British' to - as the council would put it - "avoid[s] any suggestion that a person has to choose between them for identity". So the correct formula, on this basis, ought to be 'British Welsh', 'British Scottish' and 'British Irish', making the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish just one of the many ethnicities with their own "cultures, languages and religions" in Britain. Why give them any discriminatory preferential treatment compared with other minorities, after all?

All of which makes the English, in the logic of Caerphilly Council, the only authentic, indigenous 'British' people. Indeed, as you say, this would mean that only the English may truly be called 'British' alone. There would be no need to specify 'British English', because this would be like saying 'British British', as the two terms would be synonymous. But you could turn this on its head and say that, uniquely, the English are entitled to call themselves 'English' only (without the 'British' tag), precisely because 'English' means 'British'. Britain then becomes a land of many cultures, religions and languages, the dominant one being recognised as English.

All of which goes to show how ridiculous and self-contradictory - in logical terms - are the attempts to deny England the national and ethnic status accorded to everyone else in Britain.

"All of which makes the English, in the logic of Caerphilly Council, the only authentic, indigenous 'British' people. Indeed, as you say, this would mean that only the English may truly be called 'British' alone. There would be no need to specify 'British English'-----------------------------------"

no. You and Carphilly council are diametrically wrong. The word British derives from the original people of these isles and that means those who are now Welsh, Scots and Irish( with a lot of English blood added plus inclusions from each other plus a bit else.)
The Romans would not have agred with Caephilly council. They would have immediately identified the Welsh ie including Carphilly, as the remanants of the ancient British ie the Romanised celts who were left in the western reaches of the old province of Britannia after the Anglo-Saxon-Jutish-Friesian-Viking invasions had created England.

The Scots were another lot, of celts ie British from beyond the northern frontiers of the empire, effectively not deemed worth conquering. , again. Regarded in history by the Welsh, the Irish ,themselves and to alesser extent by the English , as Irish derivatives. Modern Scottish myths about themselves seek to deny all this but this but that how it was.

It was the English who vigorously rejected the word British until 1707, not the other way around.
And it was the Scots who were most persistent in pushing the word British , from King James down VI/1 downwards.

In reality , despite British state propaganda , it is the English who have least affection for the designation British.

John, I wasn't expressing the view that 'only the English may truly be called "British"' as my own opinion; but arguing that this is what is implied by Caerphilly Council's statement that 'British' should not be used of the Welsh, Scottish and Irish. Personally, I think people are entitled to call themselves what they want: English people can view themselves as British; and Welsh, Scottish and Irish people can refuse the designation 'British' - or vice-versa. It's just the refusal to let the English call themselves English by insisting on renaming everything English as British that I really object to.

Thanks britowatch . Agreed.

John Nov 9 2008

"The word British derives from the original people of these isles and that means those who are now Welsh, Scots and Irish..."

No! The word British DOES NOT derive fron the original people of these islands. The original people were the Beaker folk, not the so-called "celtic people". Why do you people insist on lying time and time again?

Bronze Age c. 2500 - 600 B.C.

Beaker People. About 2500 B.C. an influx of migrants settled in what is now England. These newcomers have been called the Beaker People because of the shape of the pottery vessels which are so often found in their round barrow graves. The stocky newcomers, although few at first, seem to have quickly gotten the upper hand on their Neolithic landlords, becoming a sort of nouveau aristocracy.

The Beaker folk were farmers and archers, wearing stone wrist guards to protect their arms from the sting of the bowstring. They were also the first metalsmiths in England, working first in copper and gold, and later in the bronze which has given its name to this era.

How they lived
There was a changeover during this period to round houses, echoed in the mushroom-like growth of stone circles and round barrow mounds. We can guess that huts had a low stone wall for a base which was used to brace wooden poles and rafters. On top of this would have been a roof of thatch, turf, or hides.

They made their own pottery, and eventually the first woven garments in England .They also seem to have introduced the first known alcoholic drink into England, a form of honey-based mead. The islands have never been the same since.

The Beaker Folk introduced a pastoral pattern to the agricultural lifestyle of Neolithic times. As population grew, more marginal land was brought into cultivation, and was farmed successfully for hundreds of years, until climate changes forced its abandonment. The Beaker Folk were a patriarchal society, and it is during the Bronze Age that the individual warrior-chief or king gained importance, contrasting with the community orientation of the Neolithic times.

Towards the end of the Bronze Age the climate changed drastically. According to tree ring evidence, a major volcanic eruption in Iceland may have caused a significant temperature drop in just one year. At this time the settlements on Dartmoor were abandoned, for example, and peat started to form in many places over what were once farms, houses, and their field systems. It seems likely that warfare and banditry erupted as the starving survivors fought over land that could no longer support them.

We've already mentioned the round barrows. They were often clustered in groups which suggest family cemeteries, sometimes very close to earlier Neolithic henges and monuments, as if taking advantage of sites already felt to be sacred. The barrow graves were generally filled with grave goods, indicating the importance of the dead person and a belief in some kind of afterlife. Some of the goods included in barrows were: pottery jars, golden buckles, bronze daggers, cups, necklaces, and sceptres in various stones and precious materials.

Both men and women were accorded barrow burials. A curious fact was noted in studying these Bronze Age burials; in many cases the corpses were carefully laid with the head to the south, men facing east, women facing west. We can only guess that this was to allow the corpse to see the sun at a particular time of day. Many of the best barrow burials found today are the Iron Age or even Saxon/Norse type barrows rather than Bronze Age.

The other main area of Bronze Age focus was stone circles. Although circles may have been erected as early as 3400 B.C., the major circle building era was during the Bronze Age. This suggests (don't you just love the way historians will never commit themselves?) that The Beaker Folk and their descendants took over or adopted many of the beliefs and customs of the earlier Neolithic inhabitants. Certainly they had a go at improving the most famous of all stone circles, Stonehenge.

Of course M Anderson you are right but it depends how far back you go.

For instance neolithic settlers to Britain were here before the Beaker people.

Modern historians even regard the Beaker people as being absorbed into the 'indigenous' anyway.

For instance, the New Penguin History of Scotland talks about Beaker influence on Scotland:

"The manifest continuity in virtually all aspects of society other than burial practice renders it much more likely that what spread was not 'a people' but a set of ideas"

The word British was originally in the form Pretannic and it did refer to the Celtic peoples of the land before the Roman invasion.

When the Romans invaded, the British were subjugated in England and Wales, but on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the early 5th century, the peoples became free again. However without having any military expertise, the Angles and Saxons were 'invited' to settle. They did so from the east, and the British heartlands were left in Cornwall, Wales and especially the Kingdom of Strathclyde stretching from the Lennox down to Cumbria (capital Dunbarton; the fort of the Britons). I say especially because it never subjugated to Rome and maintained its military strength throughout. It was from this kingdom that expansion of the Anglo-Saxons were checked.

John is right in his supposition that British used in this context should refer to Cornish, Welsh and Southern Scots.

But being British merely refers to being an inhabitant of these isles.

Politically the Westminster Government has been trying to promote it as a nationality for 300 years.

Incidentally John although when James VI of Scotland became James I of Great Britain, the Scots weren't keen on being British. They weren't at the Union of the Crowns, and they hated the Treaty of Union in 1707; there was rioting in the streets and the Scottish Parliamentarians who voted for it were in fear for their lives. There was a variety of reasons why they voted for the Union but the most memorable line comes from Robert Burns: they were 'bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel or rogues in a nation'.

I would argue that the construct nationality that is now 'British' is a failing one.

It has never replaced the nationalities of the Scots or Welsh, and it is increasing failing to replace the English nationality.

Britologywatch, you point out that the designation British Asians is inclusive.

The terms of Asian Scots etc. are well known to those in Scotland, and it has been successfully promoting its 'One Scotland. Many Cultures' slogan for years. In fact, I don't know any of any ethnic minority settled in Scotland who describes themselves as British; they all define themselves as Scots. The large ethnic minority support in Scotland for the SNP underlines this.

I do not see why the English national identity can be similarly inclusive.

What is wrong with English Asians or Asian English?

Interesting argument. The article on the beaker people was interesting but they were a very small group of incomers; a warrior aristocracy who spread their ideas more than their genes! They of course were preceded by the neolithic farmers,who began the first huge monuments, and by hunter gatherers before that. These two very early peoples are the prime ancestors of the native British--INCLUDING the English.Genetically, the similarities are greater than the differences.
Yes, there was a saxon invasion but a max of 200,000 saxons (including women presumably) were unlikely to eradicate 3 million natives. The archaeology and the genetics both do not support it. they,too, were a ruling aristocracy who imposed their ways and language on the natives. Their dna is strongest,as expected in eastern and central England,while most of the west from Wiltshire to Cornwall is native.(Devon and Dorset even have celtic names--from the land of the Dobunni and the land of the Durotriges.)
And what of the celts? Well, it doesn't seem there was any celtic invasion at all, certainly not from central Europe in the Iron Age.Again, dna and archaeology doesn't support it. the celtic languages probably arrived here in some form in the neolithic, no later than the bronze age, maybe indeed with those beaker invaders....

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