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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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