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Interesting to see that the poll results from yesterday largely match my own reactions. 94% of people who replied felt that their nationality was British, not UK. (Even people who feel that they live in the United Kingdom tend to regard their nationality as British)

(But I should have included boxes for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish)

A strong majority of non-Scots/Welsh thought of themselves as living in England, not 'United Kingdom' or 'Great Britain'.

I first noticed that other people didn't understand my nationality when I visited the USA several years ago (before I gave up flying). On entering the country, I filled in a form stating my nationality as British and was told that this was incorrect and that I had to put UK.

It was MY damn nationality, not theirs. It really pissed me off.

I find the same problem with drop down menus that want my address. 'England' is not an option. 'United Kingdom' is the only choice I have.

Thinking about it, I realise that I consider my nationality to be British, but my ethnic identity to be English. That must have shifted at some point as I'm sure I used to think of my ethnicity as British. That may relate to my interest in folk traditions, as I'm aware of distinct different traditions in different parts of the British Isles.

So, to conclude, we're an odd bunch. Most of us live in England, have British nationality and our monarch is ruler of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

(If you really want to go crazy, try the same questions for the Channel Islands... They're not part of the United Kingdom, but are still under the British crown - they're actually the remnant of the Dutchy of Normandy. I wonder what nationality they have to tick when they enter America...)


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Judith Proctor


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