Sunday, February 20

These Green and Pleasant Isles

A week-end essay, a ramble around a theme.

The world, I recently read, is divided into 193 sovereign nations; 61 dependent areas and 6 disputed territories. The definition of a 'sovereign nation' is a controversial issue. If because of the UK's membership of the EU the question arises, is our country indeed still fully, or partly, sovereign. This is a hotly argued topic which is often confused by the misuse of terms and the accusations of 'myths'.

What is the name of our nation ?

Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles do not mean the same thing, but the two former are included in the latter. The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain - the main Island made up of England, Scotland and Wales - and Northern Ireland (Ulster) while the British Isles also includes Ireland and the Channel Islands as well as the Isle of Man.The Untied Kingdom was established on 1 January 1801.

The Channel Isles which consists of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark enjoy a somewhat complex constitutional status with the Crown. The islands known as Bailiwicks are not a part of the UK, they have their own parliaments known as 'The States' and a Governor appointed by the Crown. The channel islanders constitutional status dates back to William the Conqueror who as Duke of Normandy ruled over the Islands off, what is now the French coast.

The Isle of Man, in the North Sea has a similar status to that of the Channel Islands. Neither the Channel Islands nor the Isle of Man are member states of the EU, though because of the close practical links with the UK British Subjects in the Islands are effected by the 1,000 pages of the all expanding 'access communautaire' that plagues Her Majesty's loyal subjects in the UK.

The population of the United Kingdom according to the census of 2001 is 60,094,648 and is currently growing at the annual rate of 0.21 per cent per annum. The census is inaccurate by at least one since I returned my census questionnaire marked 'nil return' because I was unhappy about the invasion of my privacy. The warnings that I would be prosecuted unfortunately came to nothing, perhaps the civil servants are still considering my arguments regarding the breach of my human rights and a closer argued clause in the Bill of Rights of 1689.

Whilst, still just about, on the subject of names 'Europe' (named after a Phoenician princess, Europa, who was according to Greek legend - abducted by Zeus, a 'father of the gods') one must not get confused with the European Union (EU). The EU, that most audacious political project of modern times: the plan to unite the nations and people of Europe under a single centralised government should not be confused with Europe, the geographical continent.

So where does all this take us ? The dear reader of this blog may well ask, all I can offer is knowledge is beneficial. I sometimes over concern my self at the lack of basic knowledge of British Subjects. I read recently in The Independent that according to a recent servey 11 percent of the population believe that Adolph Hitler never existed and 9 per cent believe that neither did Winston Churchill. Depressing !

To the 12.1 million British Subjects that currently have access to the Internet from home I trust that a few of you have found this site and more than one has got to the end of this posting.

The 'week-end essay' will be a regular feature of this blog. Guest columnists most welcome.

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