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About Mark Easton

Mark Easton | 07:45 UK time, Monday, 23 June 2008

I recently filled out a form for a visa that asked me my nationality. The choices were English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or Other. I didn't want to be an "other" but the options were forcing me to pick. So in the end 'other' it was.

I was born in a small detached house on what was then a new estate on the edge of Glasgow in 1959, first child of four. At the age of 10 my parents upped sticks and we all moved to a little village near Winchester in Hampshire. At the local primary school, my Scots accent was quickly knocked out of me and I was left dazed and confused.

My veins, so the genealogy would have it, course with mongrel blood. Saxon, Pict, Jute, and Celt almost certainly. And there's bound to be extract of Roman, Norman and Viking in there too.

Ancient Irish and Welsh ancestry mix with Scots roots and English upbringing. The whole I regard as 100% British.

Being British is not "other". It is me.

Since 2004 I have been BBC News' home editor, a title which has some strange consequences. I get sent samples of "premium quality laminate floor-coverings". I have been asked to review hammer drills. And offer opinions on Italian furniture design.

But my interest and certainly my expertise is not in the world of interiors. In a way, it is quite the reverse. I try to look at Britain from outside, endeavouring to make sense of the dramatic and rapid change affecting the UK by standing well back.

My title also implies a role as head of the BBC's UK Specialist Unit - a team of expert journalists working in radio, television and online. Thankfully, any responsibility in that regard does not extend to trying to manage the unit but I do champion its cause at every opportunity.

It is the quality of the BBC's specialist journalism that sets its news coverage apart and I believe we have some of the best in the world keeping tabs on the domestic scene.
What I want to do, (and what this blog is really about), is join some of the dots left by the dozens of stories we report each day. I want to understand our country, to see which direction we are heading in and what challenges lie ahead on our journey.

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  • 1. At 1:21pm on 23 Jun 2008, stamford05 wrote:

    Well done for being proud to be British just as I am as well. My first name is Scotish I was born in London, My father is from Shropshire close to Welsh border and my mother is S African of English and Scotish decent. I am British and proud of my mixed ancestry. . I have British passport and will say I'm British when asked.

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  • 2. At 1:36pm on 23 Jun 2008, lifegetitright wrote:

    Congrats. A much needed discussion. Being VERY old, I really am fed up with so many aspects of 'modern' life. Lack of responsibility, inability to evaluate the problems cause by irresponsible behaviour, the need to blame others for ones own shorcomings. Law will not change this attitude, it needs to come from mentors and understood by the miscreants. PLEASE

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  • 3. At 1:37pm on 23 Jun 2008, lifegetitright wrote:

    Congrats. A much needed discussion. Being VERY old, I really am fed up with so many aspects of 'modern' life. Lack of responsibility, inability to evaluate the problems cause by irresponsible behaviour, the need to blame others for ones own shorcomings. Law will not change this attitude, it needs to come from mentors and understood by the miscreants. PLEASE!

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  • 4. At 1:50pm on 23 Jun 2008, Shactype wrote:

    "British" is an important option for those of us born to expats, whether in the Armed Services, the Multinationals or plain "Brain Drain" generation, and who thus spent so much time out of the UK that we had difficulty answering "where do come from" until we settled down ourselves.

    The expectation that "Place of Birth" is an indicator of nationality is little more reliable than assuming one could tell racial origin from surnames: I recall a previous employer being delighted that my very British father was born in India because it ticked their Diversity box!

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  • 5. At 2:36pm on 23 Jun 2008, alichatter wrote:

    Being proud of my independence of both thought and deed, I cringed at the concept of nudging. Perhaps I did so as a tacit acknowledgement that this form of social control (now I’m really wincing) is both necessary and acceptable and therefore workable.
    I cringe because the mere phrase itself “social control” like the concept of “nudging” has implications for my sense of being too abhorrent to contemplate. It stirs and anger inside me and builds the “us and them wall” in my mind in the blink of an eye. We are sheep, pawns, call us what you will and to a greater or lesser extent need herding.
    Thus said nudging has a much preferred quality, it allows the nudge the final decision and for that reason it has merit. Managed properly such systems might provide some reward for towing the social line.
    Our education system has seen such a change. The days of absolute control are certainly in the past. Pupils are pulled more than pushed, coerced and encouraged rather than directed and controlled. By and large it works. Our children are certainly taught better regardless of what some may think about the loss of discipline and it’s on going effects.
    In industry we have seen much the same change. Employees are invited to participate and encouraged to buy in to the direction of the business. We are more productive and relations more harmonious as a result.
    The common denominator here is of course vested interest. The nudged are rewarded, there are carrots by way of qualifications and bonuses. Behavioural change is rewarded.
    There are many and in some cases, urgent challenges, to be faced by society and inevitably governments will take the lead in meeting the lion’s share of these. Global poverty, climate change, soaring fuel and food prices, possible recession, the pensions gap, immigration etc... For a government to succeed in these areas it must become an artful nudger. It will need to determine and communicate a clear and workable solution but it’s the nudged who will ultimately provide them success or failure for it is they who will decide if change is tolerable. Incentives will prove key to this success and the artful nudger will find it through providing these in a timely, effective and well communicated fashion.

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  • 6. At 5:34pm on 23 Jun 2008, blackdiamond73 wrote:

    Northern Irish(Ulster)men, typically having Scottish / English blood, can describe themselves most accurately as British. Its ironic that those most in fear of losing their 'official' British identity (Ulster Unionists) are the most pro-British and the most ethnically 'British' in these islands! Good to see you're comfortable with your Britishness Mark.

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  • 7. At 7:54pm on 23 Jun 2008, julienfitz wrote:

    Well I have never been comfortable with calling myself "British" as frankly I am not. I'm English! I was born in England, my parents were English, my grandparents were English. I was born in an English hospital.

    I do not for a moment deny anyone the right to call themselves whatever Nationality they want, but for me I was born English and will die English.

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  • 8. At 8:05pm on 23 Jun 2008, subaculture wrote:

    Eh, Black Diamond, ..not sure how you came to the conclusion that Northern Irish(Ulster)men, typically having Scottish / English blood, can describe themselves most accurately as British ....... given that (1) its Northern Ireland (6 countries) where there is a very high probability there is Irish blood in almost all (no surprises there given it is on the Island of Ireland) and (2) probably the typical person would say they are Irish not British and (3) ..carry an Irish passport.

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  • 9. At 11:13pm on 23 Jun 2008, AppleJohnF wrote:

    English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or OTHER! I think that that's outrageous!

    Personally my choice would be - Nationality: British; Country of Origin: England.

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  • 10. At 02:12am on 24 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Interesting information about you...I hope that you offered your opinions on the home interior front.

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  • 11. At 07:40am on 24 Jun 2008, FunnyFezziwig wrote:

    I consider myself very lucky in that I have dual citizenship British and Canadian. I was born within the sound of Bow bells, which makes me a cockney, but I know nothing of my ancestry, however I find that strangely liberating.

    I think we all have preconceived ideas about different countries. For instance on a trip to the States we found some folk who thought that once you cross the border to Canada, it was covered in snow!

    Whilst holidaying in England we travelled to Scotland where we met people who hated the English (they thought we were Canadian!). When we asked why, they didn't know, just that they always have!

    Britain (what happened to the Great?) is such a diversified country, and I am very proud to consider myself British. The people are friendly the countryside magnificent, the only drawback is the price of petrol!

    In Canada they think of the British as an eccentric lot, who still call the RCMP 'MOUNTIES'. To be eccentric, self deprecating with tongue in cheek humour, is truly British, in fact humor is probably our best attribute.

    Saying all of the above, Canada is still the place I'd rather live. It's the land, nothing quite like it.

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  • 12. At 10:51am on 24 Jun 2008, jovialPhilip wrote:

    Hello Mark,

    Your intention to try to look at Britain from the outside is an excellent idea.

    I think it was Rudyard Kipling who asked, 'What does he of England know, who only England knows?'

    You state that you are of mongrol blood - listing Saxon, Roman, Norman and Viking among other components, i.e. some German, Italian, French, and Scandinavian ancestry. That being so, to what extent do you consider yourself to be European as well as British?

    In the current debates about 'Britishness' and British values, people often cite such charater traits as fairness, decency, self-discipline, capacity to work hard, etc. as being aspects of 'Britishness'. In doing so, they seem to assume that other people in other countries do not possess these admirable characteristics. However, a closer look at the ways of life and achievements of other nations leads one to conclude that this is by no means true. What, then, are the essentail qualities of being 'British' that are exclusive to this nation and therefore not to be found elsewhere?

    Is it possible that the emphasis on being British is a defence mechanism against the fear of the outside world, and the alarming possibility that other people in other countries may possess the same admirable qualities that we have or strive for, and may even have other strong attributes that we can, as yet, barely imagine.

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  • 13. At 12:06pm on 24 Jun 2008, blackdiamond73 wrote:

    subaculture - Its interesting that you are trying to tell a Northern Irishman the truth about Northern Ireland!?!

    Due to the religious, political and cultural differences that exist between Ulster Unionists (AKA Ulster-Scots, Ulster Loyalists, Northern-Irish Protestants, the 'pro-British culture community') and Irish Nationalists (Republicans, Irish Catholics, Irish Gaels, 'pro-Irish culture community') the two communities have less intermingling of genes as would normally be expected. Nearly all Ulster Unionists have Scottish or English surnames.

    Also, the vast majority of Ulster Unionists (the largest of the two communities in N Ireland) would definitely not describe themselves as Irish. They would (according to numerous surveys) describe themselves, in order, as British, Ulster-Scots, Northern Irish...and then Irish.

    Your third comment about most N Irish people having Irish (Republic of Ireland) passports is also very wide of the mark. Practically none of the Ulster Unionist community would have them, whilst only a minority of the Irish Nationalist community would bother getting one.

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  • 14. At 7:17pm on 24 Jun 2008, jackie staniforth wrote:

    Goodness - my great granny was french my great grandfather yorkshire, on the other side my great grandfather was german. I married a half english half irish born-in-malaysia. One daughter married a scot of irish ancestry and the other married a blond italian from rome. What does that make my grandchildren ???

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  • 15. At 11:41pm on 24 Jun 2008, TexasRealtor wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 16. At 2:06pm on 27 Jun 2008, nics_jane wrote:

    blackdiamond73...
    I'm from a Protestant background. Two grandparents are of an Ulster-Scots background (can trace back to Scottish roots, plus had Scottish surnames) another two were Irish and Ulstermen.

    Ulster is made up of 9 counties. 3 of which are in the Republic of Ireland. How can it be used interchangeably with Northern Ireland?

    I have a British and an Irish passport. I only use my Irish one. I consider myself Irish, but if I could tick a 'Northern Irish' box, I would, but I see my roots in Ireland not on the Mainland.

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  • 17. At 3:56pm on 27 Jun 2008, blackdiamond73 wrote:

    jane - Sorry, but your argument doesn't make any sense. N Ireland is made up of six of the nine counties of Ulster, so the Ulster-Scots people in N Ireland are Ulster people - regardless of the fact that 3 counties of ulster are in the Republic of Ireland! Of course, there are 10-15,000 or so Ulster-Scots Protestants still left in the 3 Ulster counties in the Republic of Ireland (these people form part of the 50,000 Protestants, ie those of British descent, who are still living in the Republic - there were originally 250,000 before partition in 1922 but most quickly moved north after intimidation etc). You have a British surname, British passport, grew up with Blue Peter and Live Aid and are living on the GB mainland, so that pretty much makes you British. I don't know why you would rather have an Irish passport - being British means you were part of a people that....have not been invaded for 1000 years, had the biggest empire the world has ever seen, were at the forefront of abolishing slavery in the world, won freedom in two world wars, great scientists/artists/writers/pop music, 4th biggest economy in the world, member of the UN security council, free healthcare. The 2 million immigrants that have arrived in the last five years seem to think being British is pretty cool!

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  • 18. At 6:46pm on 28 Jun 2008, 9258710 wrote:

    [I want to understand our country, to see which direction we are heading in and what challenges lie ahead on our journey. ]

    Mark,

    You will not understand if you rely on prejudiced and heavy handed mods.

    Please email me for further information - just Ggle me.

    Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield.

    p.s. mods, I archive everything, so if this is blocked, I will communicate directly with the OP.

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  • 19. At 9:57pm on 28 Jun 2008, 9258710 wrote:

    Well done mods, you have grown some balls.

    Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield.

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  • 20. At 11:11pm on 28 Jun 2008, victimofore wrote:

    I am from a variety of "ethnic", "regional" backgrounds.

    I am an American living in the UK (for 23 years) I am very proud of who I am.


    As an American, I can say I have parents and grandparents who can tell me about and I spent loads of time with immediate relatives who are:
    British
    Irish
    Swedish
    German
    Mongolian
    South African
    Yugoslavian
    French
    Italian
    Ukrainian
    Polish
    and many more


    Example- and I rarely give personal ones: I can remember my childhood in the USA. It wasn't perfect. But until I was 14, this is how I spent my life:

    Friday night, drive to my grandparents home. Saturday morning we would go to "the jewish side of the family"- there would be at least 60 of us for dinner. I was taught yiddish, the prayers of catholism and judaism, and buddism (yes really), I would listen to my elders talk about the 'old days'- guess why I got a degree in history and economics? I would eat from a buffet of different foods. (hence my love of cooking- and I was taught how to make all the dishes) We would dance and sing and laugh at our aunt and uncle who hosted this event every saturday to keep my great grand mothe happy- we laughed because we always got paper plates. The only thing in the house off limits to touch were aunt addie's doll house and uncle abe's skull cap.

    Sunday: to Espiscopal church ( otherwise known as the American CoE) then to the other side. If you didn't learn lots of basics about languages...forget it. You would sit confused. More food, lots of languages, games, playing in my great grandfathers farming field's that he was then to old to tend. I was told about WWI and 2 in Europe- my great grandfather's medal's and citations on the wall with pride. (Once I brought my best friend for the weekend- nightmare- she couldn't keep my cousins straight!) In the summer, being taken to the lake or the ocean to be taught fishing.

    To go back to the point, inspite of that I did not have a perfect childhood. BUT...it certainly made me more tolerant of people. And more open minded. (I was the only girl at my white only school with a black doll- my aunt sidney gave it to me- and then it was treated worse because Sid and Ned were jewish!)

    I am not particularly pro the Euro Union, but I am for acceptance. I am proud of my background (and some of it is bleak) and the people who put me here and just asked, "hey, we don't agree on borders or religion, but we agree we are human". I know the experiences and lives of others who have impacted on me. I would like to think they informed me/warned me of the future.
    Here endeth my statement

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  • 21. At 1:54pm on 29 Jun 2008, jovialPhilip wrote:

    You might like to know what the French writer and journalist, Sebastien Mercier, thought about the English. In his novel set in the future, entitled "The Year 2440", his central character refers to an elderly English man whom he knows.

    (Bear in mind that Sebastien Mercier was writing this in the late 1760s and that he, like most French men, then and now, tends to confound 'English' with British')

    'I was talking late into the evening yesterday with an old English man who was very frank and open. You know how much I like a true English man. Nowhere do you find better friends; you do not meet among any other people men who are so firm of character and so generous. This spirit of freedom that animates them gives them a degree of force and constancy that is very rare among other peoples.'

    Sebastien Mercier was fascinated by England - particularly its political system, its literature, and 'all the philosophers that have produced this island - warlike, commercial, and political in character.'

    The questions is - apart from still being warlike and commercial - can we recognize ourselves in the above descriptions, and have we aged well?

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  • 22. At 1:58pm on 29 Jun 2008, Tony of Britain wrote:

    I am British, I was born to parents of English and Scottish origin both of which are part of Britain. I don't recognise England, Scotland etc as being different countries and never will and I do not see why we should.
    I also do not see English or Scottish embassies around the world, I see British ones.

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  • 23. At 12:00pm on 21 Jul 2008, Manx-Miss wrote:

    You showed a weather map of the British Isles - but it excluded the Isle of Man. (Sadly, this happens often) The Isle of Man may be tiny but it is at the centre of the British Isles. Although not part of UK it is part of British Isles and I suspect it has more weather than anwhere else so please don't blank us.

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  • 24. At 00:36am on 02 Sep 2008, Sauna-Nut wrote:

    Although I was born in England, my parents are both Italian. Therefore Iam a full-blood Italian but I am also a British citizen, who holds a British passport, and enter "British" in every "Nationality" box on all legal forms. So I do not consider myself English. Mr Easton, if your parents are Scottish, was born in Scotland and spent your childhood in Scotland, then you are Scottish, even if your blood-mix is complicated. There is nothing to be ashamed about this.

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  • 25. At 05:05am on 27 Sep 2008, Techip wrote:

    Twelve years ago my uncle died and my aunt gave me an old first world war 1st aid box containing the birth certificates, marriage notices and christening information of previous generations of my family. It started me on a quest to find out more about my family.

    A couple of years family history research in libraries and archives revealed almost 1,500 relatives. One was born in Northern Ireland, another was born in Dumfries and two were born in Fife, the rest were all born in Ayrshire (thats in Scotland). My family has now spread to all continents of the globe and married people from a variety of different cultures.

    I don't see myself exclusively as an Ayrshireman or Scots but like many of my countrymen I see myself as a Scottish European. Margaret Thatcher can be identifed as the primary reason why so many Scottish Europeans exist and why Britain has became an alien concept.

    I feel sorry for these Irish people who desperately want to be considered British.

    Why can we only complain about posts and not agree with them?

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  • 26. At 6:02pm on 29 Sep 2008, americananglo wrote:

    I've suggested to many Anglo Americans or UK born and having full UK passports to come to Britain to work..minimum wage is a lot more than what many US states pay and the public will be glad to see about 80 million British returning..all English speaking! Never mind a few thousand "foreigners" from other countries, let millions ..maybe even from Canada, Australia, NZ and other countries! or will someone suggest to stop British from coming back also as they will use all the services! Interesting possibility! No problem with racists or nationalists..of course the traffic will be worse when they bring their large cars over etc but at least they will all be British already! Nobody has ever mentioned this..maybe we could put Australia type ads asking for British to return to Britain for increased wages.. I'm not sure how many but we can grown the population by at least 200-300 million .. and all speaking English which everyone will be pleased with! If they read these comments they may start arriving..I'm still waiting though for the thousands of Bulgarians and Roumanians to arrive with their horses and gypsy wagons as seen on tv news a couple of years ago, maybe they couldn't get them on the channel ferries? .. actually I was waiting for the foreign landing craft to arrive that week..I had loads of English watercress sandwiches made for them but they might have got lost? All those horses.. will produce more jobs for the road sweepers though and home gardeners and food for the millions of ex-pats arriving..poor horses though! Wonder what comments I can expect if this gets published...

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  • 27. At 1:39pm on 12 Oct 2008, Keithjones1961 wrote:

    Hi Mark
    You now have an opportunity to prove your journalistic integrity! Some where in the BBC vaults is the Norfolk video. As journalist I expect it wouldn't be to hard to hunt it down and show it to the world.

    Video here:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eA5q-IE2Yxo

    Links to petition.

    I look forward to seeing it on the BBC again.
    Keith

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  • 28. At 9:10pm on 24 Nov 2008, Simonm wrote:

    Reading the above comments you all seem to have such a fascinating ancestral background. Mine.. On my paternal grandfather's side a fairly direct line to the guy that stood on Prince (soon to be King) William's right, on my paternal grandmother an equally direct line to the guy that stood on his left! Still, I've done my bit to broaden our family background, my wife has Irish blood just two generations ago!

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  • 29. At 7:57pm on 26 Nov 2008, emanday wrote:

    Both my daughter and son regard themselves as British first, English second. Surprising really, as I was born and raised in Scotland of parents of Scots and Irish descent.

    My late husband, born in Turkey, was the son of a Greek/French/Italian mother who worked for the American Embassy in Turkey and a father, who worked for the British Consulate in Turkey, and whose British nationality was based on the fact that HIS great grandfather was born in Malta!

    Oh. By the way - both my husband and his brother served 24+ years in the British armed forces.

    My kids are the best example of the success of NATO and its allies you're likely to come across!

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  • 30. At 2:11pm on 02 Feb 2009, bigfishguy wrote:

    Hi Mark
    Great to read about a big hearted Brit still on a quest. It is a remarkable country of huge diversity and big hearted to all nations and walks of life. Great to read of your love for it as well as your reporting of it. Your accent has changed little from the time I knew you at six form college, a beautiful blend.

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  • 31. At 7:48pm on 02 Feb 2009, logica_sine_vanitate wrote:

    Re: "I want to understand our country, to see which direction we are heading in and what challenges lie ahead on our journey."

    I was born in the north of England in a town in which I never lived, and with which I feel no affinity. Because of my father's job I have lived in a number of places within England, both north and south. My mother is Irish, and I also have some Scottish ancestry on my father's side. Although I have only been to the Republic of Ireland once in my life, I hold an Irish passport due to my mother's Irish citizenship (as well as, of course, having a British passport).

    I feel no sense of divided loyalty in holding dual citizenship, because I see nationhood as transcending politics. I have travelled and worked in Africa and have seen how international borders bisect clearly defined ethnic groups, and a particular tribe may feel more affinity with their neighbours over the border than with another tribe within their artificially constructed political entity (such as Uganda or Kenya). Ethnicity, language and culture are more powerful influences than politics, and in fact political arrangements often create ethnic divisions which lead to the kind of carnage we saw in Kenya not long ago (and which has been evident in the Balkans).

    The challenge that lies ahead of us as a nation is to ensure that we make a clear distinction in our minds between ethnicity, language and culture on the one hand and politics on the other.

    Those who play on ethnic differences to further political agendas are sowing the seeds of future pain and suffering and are betrayers of our future well-being. For example, if one day Scotland should achieve independence from the UK, it would be wonderful to believe that such an arrangment had been won without any exploitation of ethnic differences within the island of Great Britain (a naive hope of course). The same is true of any political arrangements within the island of Ireland. Frankly I am sick of the petty animosities that are expressed at times between the indigenous peoples of these islands. It is a childishness we need to outgrow.

    So many of us (in fact all of us) are from mixed backgrounds if we look back far enough into our family tree. I am proud to be both English and Irish (with a touch of Scottish - sorry, no Welsh, but I love Wales), and I relate to this region - this archipelago - more than I relate to a chunk of territory delineated by a black line on a map. Why should I feel exclusive loyalty to an imposed artificial political entity called the UK?

    Our friends over the pond may champion an idea of patriotism centred around a flag with a pledge of allegiance drummed in from an early age. Fair enough. But in Europe we have a different arrangement with a different history, and who's to say that we can't understand patriotism in a broader sense?

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  • 32. At 09:58am on 05 Feb 2009, David Moss wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 33. At 12:26pm on 05 Feb 2009, dmarkeaston wrote:

    I'm also known as Mark Easton although officially I am a David Mark.

    I'd like to moan about our powerful bankers and economists who still expect us to listen to their professional opinions! I was reading one on this site earlier, saying interest rates should drop to 0% and then quantitative easing could take place!
    I think that means print more dosh! Strangely, some months ago, my 14 year old daughter asked me why we couldn't print more money when she heard about the looming recession on radio.
    I know they can't look into the future, however nor can the "mysterious meg" type characters but they likewisem they do try! They get £10 a session, not like these Wealthy Bankers and other experts that have got us in this fine mess! Thing is they say they couldn't have foreseen this, I would therefore counter it with why have them then!
    Oh yes, I did try and get my daughter to listen to more of this debate on the radio, alas she had had enough and preferred to listen to rapper musc or whatever it is. Come to think of it maybe she has got a point...!

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  • 34. At 7:01pm on 19 Feb 2009, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    strange i went to a registrars office the other day to start marriage proceeding, and the only option for me to pick was British or other, no English/welsh Scots or N Irish

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  • 35. At 3:43pm on 20 Feb 2009, MonkeyBot 5000 wrote:

    Why does the British Broadcasting Company need a team of UK specialists?

    I'd have thought the ability to report on events in the UK would be the default.

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  • 36. At 3:32pm on 27 Mar 2009, jeanneroman wrote:

    This reminds me of something Peter Wimsey says in one of Dorothy Sayers' books. In the course of a conversation about compromise, Lord Peter pretends to be shocked and says something along the lines of "to think I would live to hear someone English disdain compromise."

    To which his companion retorts, "Oh but I'm not all English; I've got bits of Scottish and Welsh tucked in there somewhere."
    "Which proves you're English." And then something about no other race proud of being mongrel, or something like that.

    Bravo to pointing out a serious over-sight on the form. Made me smile.

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  • 37. At 07:35am on 08 Apr 2009, Shashlik wrote:

    Great comments and though I have a lot of good Scottish friends I must say that most of the ones I know refer to their nationality as Scottish, not British, which I find a bit strange. Passionate about their football enough to say that most will support Scotland and anyone who plays against England, that I find rather disturbing especially when it's said with passion.

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  • 38. At 12:08pm on 09 Apr 2009, Kneegood wrote:

    This was sent to me by a friend, i'd be interested in your comments on how we British should be reacting to the everyday changes to our national way of life. Should we do as the Australian politician says and publicly stand up for our way of life or sit by and let all our traditions be eroded by the do gooders.

    No Islamic Sharia Law for Australia! Don't like it? LEAVE!

    A Bit Old.

    Lets Hear it for Australia!

    This is an excellent policy adopted by Australia and one I thought we used to have in this country, but perhaps I am just getting senile as I age! We certainly wouldn't want to offend anyone in the UK-oh yeah, except us.

    Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

    A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

    Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular State and its laws were made by parliament.

    "If those are not your values, if you want a country that has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on national television.

    "Immigrants, not Australians must adapt. Take it or leave it. I am tired of this Nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.

    However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia.

    However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some who were born here, need to understand. The idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.

    This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

    We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese or Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you want to become part of our society,...learn the language.

    Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

    We will accept your beliefs and will not question why, all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. If the Southern Cross offends you or you don't like a "Fair Go"
    then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

    We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture but do not force it on others.

    This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining and griping about our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great Australian freedom: THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

    If you are not happy here then LEAVE. We did not force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.

    "I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another - the Islamic law. That is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option" Costello said.

    Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country.

    Education minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who do not want to accept local values should " clear off "

    "Basically, people who don't want to be Australians and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off" he said. Separately Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nations mosques.

    USA, EUROPE and CANADA....ARE YOU LISTENING??

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  • 39. At 5:09pm on 14 May 2009, southg8lad wrote:

    Very interesting read

    And can i just say... your absolutely gorgeous!

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  • 40. At 1:14pm on 02 Jun 2009, UKantiPC wrote:

    I was born in Leicester, my father was Polish and my mother English. My father, who had escaped from the Soviet controlled socialist tyranny that prevailed in Poland after the second world war, taught me to be proud of my Polish ancestry - and I am. However, my primary allegiance is to the United Kingdom. I am a British citizen and proud of it. I do not flaunt my Polishness as I do not believe in overt cultural statements and I do not believe that imposed multiculturalism by the proponents of political correctness and diversity will actually result in the enhancement of personal liberty in this or any other democracy.

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  • 41. At 1:13pm on 04 Jun 2009, romec1701 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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