Great Britain: Trivia about England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland

Some trivia and facts about England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland and their people.

The English policemen (or "bobbies" as they have also been called) are almost never armed. Even during large demonstrations, they are expected to use their minds, not a lethal weapon, to keep order.

England's greatest export for the past 400 years has been its culture. The 1st disseminators of English culture were the explorers and settlers to the New World, later the colonizers and rulers of the Empire. Today the English language is spoken throughout the world: in Europe, in the Americas, in Africa, and in Asia.

Besides its language, England has exported its religion, its morality, and its Government and laws. The U.S. is basically a white, Anglo, Protestant nation in its attitude, no matter what other races, nationalities, and religions exist there. Every nationality and race that has come to America ultimately uses English as its main language; even the Indians have had to adopt English as their 1st language. American education today still reflects this cultural bias. Although in the last 15 years, inroads have been made by other racial and national groups, especially those in urban areas, too much of American education still emphasizes white-Anglo history, literature, and culture. All American Presidents with the exception of Kennedy, who was a Catholic, have been male, white, and Protestant. The English Puritans are called the Founding Fathers, although the Spanish, the French, and certainly the Indians, were in the U.S. ahead of them. The Puritan ethic of hard work and restricted pleasure is still strong, especially in middle America. The Government and laws of the U.S. are basically modeled after those of England. Perhaps that is why the 13 Colonies broke away from England: No one was going to deny an Englishman his independence, not even another Englishman.

In other English colonies which later formed the Empire, the English took up "the white man's burden" of superimposing their morally superior culture and religion upon the "natives." This often resulted in the natives, those who wanted to get ahead, becoming more English than the English themselves. Today in countries like Kenya, Jamaica, even India, one can see the effects of English rule. The ruling class and the middle class still copy the English in dress, in forms of education, in law and government, and in the military and police forces.

The Empire is now dead; the Commonwealth members are quite independent, but the cultural effects of English rule will be felt for a long time.

Wales is poorer and more agricultural than England and, because the Welsh have their own language, they do not feel themselves nationally or culturally to be a part of the English people. Although they have the same legal rights as Englishmen, they are struggling to maintain their national identity by practicing Welsh customs, by speaking Welsh, and by securing more power in Parliament.

The Scots too seem to have received the bad part of the bargain when they dissolved their Parliament and joined England. In the late 1960s and early 1970s a deteriorating economic situation led large numbers of young Scotsmen to join the army in order to make a living, only to find themselves shipped across the North Channel to fight the Irish on behalf of the English.

One group of people has generally been excluded from mainstream British society-the 1.5 million dark-skinned immigrants who have entered the country in recent years: the West Indians, Pakistanis, and others, who drive buses, sweep floors, and work in the factories.

The English, especially the working class and the lower middle class, see the immigrants as a threat to their jobs. The colonial attitude of white supremacy is also still flourishing, and Third World people are known as "wogs," equivalent to the use of "gooks" or "niggers" in the U.S.

In comparison to her American sisters, the Englishwoman, in general, is not so well educated or so well off socially or economically. Most English girls do not go on to university or even to a 2-year polytechnical school. They get married, and/or work in shops, offices, factories, or at crafts for low wages. The true symbol for English womanhood is the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II has all the social prestige, but no political or economic power. Above all, she accepts her role as natural.

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