Originally posted by ThunderCloud
OK, let's see if I understand this... the four kingdoms of the United Kingdom -- England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland -- do
not have equal standing in the eyes of the British government? That's a difficult concept for me to wrap my American brain
- It's a historical thing. It will surely adjust and change over time.
In the U.S., the 50 States all have equal standing in the eyes of the U.S. government. All 50 States are equally autonomous, with their own
legislatures, governors, and supreme courts.
- I'm not sure these comparisons between the USA and elsewhere are too helpful.
Oh, by the way, it hasn't come up yet but Scots law is not quite the same as English/UK law. There are subtle but very definite
differences.....which unsurprisingly the Scots people jealously guard. History again.
Politically, England sounds more like a huge federal district of the U.K. government than an autonomous kingdom of the U.K. (like the District
of Colombia in the U.S.).
- You have to bear in mind that England spent several hundred years determined to 'unite' the British Isles. Edward the 1st (late 13th century)
thought it was the thing to do.
He wanted to unite the British Isles under one Crown and one church (oh yes, the Pope and religion was involved back then too! The Pope originally
'gave' Ireland to the English Crown.)
When this could not be accomplished by any other means force was used.....
.....or if it could not be sustained by other means gross froce was used. (and the echos of that sometimes ultra bloody subjugation reverberate within
the 'UK' and the British Isles to this day).
And Wales and Northern Ireland sound more like territories of the U.K. than autonomous kingdoms of the U.K. Scotland seems to get a fair shake
out of the deal, though...
- Scotland was the biggy.
Scotland wasn't quite like Wales or Northern Ireland. It was too big and the ultimate victory came too late in the day to see Scotland suffer quite
the same fate of Wales or Northern Ireland.
England needed the Scots to run Scotland and so after the final defeat of the final Jacobite rebellion in the mid 18th century England contented
herself to 'clearing' the Scots highlands (killing and/or deporting and scattering the troublesome rebellious highland clans) and the less
rebellious low-land Scots society got on with accomodating itself with the English and surviving.
Wales and Northern Ireland on the other hand were fairly small and poor in comparison to England and they were defeated so utterly and their
populations either killed, co-opted, scattered and/or driven out that English 'dominion' was ensured.
New people were brought in, given power and the best land etc etc and the ill-feeling and occassional trouble continues to this day.
(In N Ireland it broken out in 1968 - 69 into a full scale 'terrorist war' for nearly 30yrs, it has only recently stopped - with the odd attack
Much time has now passed, we all try to get on with things and live for today but there is no doubt that these 'wounds' still resonate for many.
Many English prefer to ignore them (because they and theirs never suffered them I suppose it reasonable for them to be unaware of the hurt).
The best healing of all comes from what has been quietly going on for the last few hundred years. We have been becoming each other.
There is barely a family in any of the British Isles that is (excuse the eugenics speak) 'pure' anything. There are very very few 'English',
'Scots', 'Welsh' or 'Irish' families any more.
We have mixed very well and almost all families have people from at least one of the 'home nations' in them now.
Also, the British people, being as progressive as they are, have no complaints about having a royal family, who literally gets rich by sitting
around and collecting British taxpayers' money, and are largely above the law on top of that?
- It is reckoned about one third of the British are republicans. I would not say there are no complaints, far from it.
There has been a progressive 'push' to try and modernise the UK monarchy. Many look to the continental Monarchs and their less aloof and less remote
version of Monarch as a more suitable model for the 21st century.
But for all that we are not encouraged to debate a British republic and doing away with the Crown (it is one of the few subjects that is actually an
offence for the subject to be raised in Parliament by MP's here).