A link to why Britain’s great

In response to my mention of the endless search questions I get about why Britain’s called great, Andrew Green just posted a poem, “What Makes Britain Great.” I’d love to say it should end the discussion, but it won’t. Still, it’s a quick read and an enjoyable one, not to mention a clear and memorable answer.

35 thoughts on “A link to why Britain’s great

    • I’m about to confuse the issue more: Britain is the island containing England, Scotland, and Wales. Great Britain is that island plus a handful of small surrounding islands, including Isle of Wight, Anglesey, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides, and the island groups of Orkney and Shetland.

      Sorry. Don’t lose any sleep over this.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. He says the U.K. is the country. I also see places that say the U.K is a nation-state made up of the 4 countries. So the poem has helped me understand the U.K with 4 parts and why Great Britain is named as it is. But now I am wondering if Andrew is correct in calling the U.K. a country. And to make it worse, we have the United States which is a country of 50 states and I know that these states are not states in the same sense of a nation-state.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t you just love the English language?

      The country (as in a nation-state with its own government) is the United Kingdom, so yes, he’s correct. The nations (as in territories with definable cultures and histories) within it are England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Britain and Great Britain are geographical terms, irrelevant to government although people use Britain to mean the country. They only do that to confuse foreigners. Happily for us foreigners, they confuse themselves as well, and politicians regularly refer to the U.K. as Britain.

      Think of it (I said this elsewhere, but there’s no reason you’d have seen it, so I have an excuse to quote myself) as a massive job of overpackaging. The U.K. contains four nations, each one wrapped separately. Lots of brown paper and string were wasted in the effort, but no plastic.

      Have I confused the issue sufficiently?


      • Hi my passport says I live in ‘the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’; so four countries: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that make up one nation. It is spread geographically between the big island Great Britain and a bit of the smaller one, Ireland. Great Britain isn’t a country it’s a geographical description. ‘Team GB’ should have been ‘Team Uk’ or ‘Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland.’

        Liked by 2 people

        • And anyone who says, because they carry a British (sorry, a U.K.) passport, that they’re British should actually say they’re U-K-ish. Which just doesn’t roll off the tongue the way British does.

          I remember reading someone snarking about the politicians who suffer from the delusion that they govern Britain when what they govern is the U.K. I suspect the genie’s out of the bottle on this and there’s no way to get it back in.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ehhh, it’s great because it’s a mongrel nation. Or has been, up until now. A free influx of alien DNA promotes health, high intellect, creativity and vitality. And dissent. Lots and lots of dissent. Debate and infighting and growth.

    Inbreeding and xenophobia produces… well, look at the Windsors. Roll on Brexit! Oh what fun! Ireland, Germany, Denmark — can I have a visa and domiciliary rights documentation, please?

    Liked by 1 person

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