Talk:United Kingdom

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q1: Is the United Kingdom a "country"?

A1: Reliable sources support the view that the United Kingdom is a single country. This view is shared with other major reputable encyclopedias. There has been a long-standing consensus to describe the UK in this way.

Q2: Why isn't Great Britain listed as one of the names of the United Kingdom, in the lead?

A2: See the article entitled "Terminology of the British Isles". Great Britain is the name of the largest island that the UK encompasses, and is not generally used in source material as the name of the country. Indeed, Britain 2001, the "official reference book" of the United Kingdom produced by the Office for National Statistics for "British diplomatic posts" says in its foreword:

The term 'Britain' is sometimes used as a short way of expressing the full title of the country: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or more simply again, the United Kingdom or the UK). 'Great Britain' comprises England, Wales and Scotland only.

— Office for National Statistics, (2001), Britain 2001: The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom, p. vii

This view is reiterated by the Prime Minister's Office, which states:

The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 'Great Britain', however, comprises only England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles.

— Countries within a country, (archived version from April 2010)

A report submitted to the United Nations Economic and Social Council by the Permanent Committe on Geographical Names and the Ordnance Survey states:

Great Britain consists of England + Scotland + Wales. The term is exclusive of Northern Ireland and is therefore not a synonym for the term "United Kingdom".

— United Nations Economic and Social Council (2007). "Ninth United Nations Conference on the standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF).

There has been a long-standing consensus not to include Great Britain in the lead as an interchangable name of the state.

Q2b: Is Britain really one of the names of the United Kingdom?

A2b: Whether Britain should be listed as an alternative name in the lead has been discussed often, most extensively in August 2007 and April 2011; and whether the alternate name Britain should be qualified with "incorrect" in June 2006, with "informally" in September 2006, or with "mistakenly" in January 2011.

Q3: Isn't the United Kingdom a "collection of countries"?

A3: This is one of the most common questions raised on this talk page, but consistently, consensus goes against taking that approach. No major reputable source describes the UK in this way. However the history of the formation of the United Kingdom, supported by source material, highlights that England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are "countries within a country". Please also refer to Q4.

Q4: Are England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales countries?

A4: This is the most frequent question raised by visitors to this talk page, and the issue which generates the most debate. However, as a result of a lack of a formal British constitution, and owing to a convoluted history of the formation of the United Kingdom, a variety of terms exist which are used to refer to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Reliable and official sources support use of the word "countries":

As the UK has no written constitution in the usual sense, constitutional terminology is fraught with difficulties of interpretation and it is common usage nowadays to describe the four constituent parts of the UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) as “countries”.

— Scottish Parliament. "Your Scotland questions; Is Scotland a country?". Retrieved 2008-08-01.

On Wikipedia, the term has broadly won preference amongst the editing community (note, however, that a country is not the same as a sovereign state). Also commonplace is the phrase "constituent country, or countries", when referring to the countries as elements of the UK. This phrase, however, is not an actual term; ie Scotland is not a 'constituent country' in itself, but is one of the constituent countries of the UK. The community endeavours to achieve an atmosphere of neutrality and (for the sake of stability) compromise on the various UK naming issues. See also Countries of the United Kingdom for more details about the terms that have been used to describe England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Q5: Why don't we refer to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as nations, or by the term "Home Nations"?

A5: Widespread confusion surrounds the use of the word "nation". In standard British English, and in academic language, a nation is a social group of two or more people, and not a division of land. This is also the approach taken in the nation article, and across Wikipedia (for example, the English people and the Québécois are described as "nations", reflecting real world practice). The term Home Nations is generally used only in sporting contexts. It is not used in any major reputable sources outside of sport, and is not the approach taken by any other encyclopedia.

Q6: Isn't Northern Ireland a province, and Wales a principality?

A6: This view is supported by some sources, but the current consensus amongst the editing community is aligned to a greater body of work which describes both Northern Ireland and Wales as countries. However, the terms are not all mutually exclusive: a country can also be a principality or a province, and these terms are mentioned throughout Wikipedia as alternative names in afternotes.

Q7: Why isn't the flag of Northern Ireland shown in the article?

A7: Northern Ireland has not had its own unique, government sanctioned flag since its government was prorogued in 1972, and abolished in 1973 under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973. During official events, the British government uses the Union Flag — the flag of the United Kingdom — and this is the only flag used by the government in Northern Ireland. The consensus is to reflect this in the article with a note.

Q8: Why is British Isles" not mentioned in the introduction?

A8: Again, Wikipedia editors often disagree on the acceptability and suitability of various terms and phrases. This term is not favoured by a number of Wikipedia editors, and is currently not used in the introduction both to simplify the status quo, and also to discourage edit warring.

Former good articleUnited Kingdom was one of the Geography and places good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
May 3, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
July 22, 2006Good article nomineeListed
September 30, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
February 11, 2007Featured article candidateNot promoted
October 3, 2008Good article reassessmentDelisted
January 22, 2010Good article nomineeNot listed
March 6, 2015Good article nomineeNot listed
Current status: Delisted good article
WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors
WikiProject iconA version of this article was copy edited by Chaosdruid, a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, on 17 May 2011. The Guild welcomes all editors with a good grasp of English and Wikipedia's policies and guidelines to help in the drive to improve articles. Visit our project page if you're interested in joining! If you have questions, please direct them to our talk page.


Total UK government debt rose quickly from 44.4% of GDP in 2007 to 82.9% of GDP in 2011, then increased more slowly to 87.5% of GDP in 2015.[245][246]

This is factually incorrect. This is just the government's borrowing.

No. The last comment is incorrect. UK Government Debt did indeed increase from c 35% of GDP pre-crash to c 85% of GDP post-crash, at which level it has more or less stablised. Government Borrowing has fallen from c £145 billion per annum in 2010 (i.e. 10% of GDP) to c £60 billion per annum now (i.e. 3% of GDP). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 5 October 2017‎ (UTC)

External Debt: The comments re the UK's external debt are misleadingly one-sided and ignore the fact that the UK is also one of the world's largest creditors. Its "Net International Investment Position (the sum of its external borrowing and loans) is modestly negative and very much in the middle of the global rankings.

I agree with the above comments. This whole economic section seems determined to present a negative view of the UK economy. The UK's NET INVESTMENT POSITION (which is what really matters) is actually in credit. The fact that the country is both a major creditor and a major debtor reflects its large financial sector and is arguably a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness. Also, whilst it is true that UK inequality has widened since the 1970s, the situation has stabilized since the late 1990s and has in fact improved since the 2008 crash. Thus, for almost a decade now, inequality in the UK has been narrowing, not widening as this article misleadingly suggests. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 5 October 2017‎ (UTC)

For example, it owed 5,010 bn in pensions with no assets [unfunded] as of 2010. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:37, 5 January 2016‎ (UTC)

Scots rebellion was about British sovereignty, not Catholicism[edit]

The section in 'History' under "After the Acts of Union of 1707", should mention that the King George I, and the House of Hanover were German, and he barely spoke English, and that the Scottish uprising was not just about Protestantism, but that the House of Hanover were not thought of as British by almost anyone in Britain. The uprising had a lot to do with British sovereignty, not just Catholicism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:19, 3 September 2017‎ (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 October 2018[edit]

sug min kuk }} (talk) 17:16, 21 October 2018 (UTC) (talk) 17:18, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Not done No request given. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 17:37, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Why is it not mentioned that it is a Commonwealth Realm?[edit]

I read the article but it was not mentioned to be a Commonwealth Realm which, as I think, it is. I think this a rather large omission. in my opinion it should be stated in the first part of the lead, like the way it is done in the articles about other realms. Naamloze gebruiker (talk) 18:06, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

It says in the lead that the monarch is Elizabeth II and the UK is a member of the Commonwealth. By definition, that is what a commonwealth realm is. There is no reason to explain the obscure terminology of Commonwealth members in this article. TFD (talk) 19:11, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
I didn't arrive at this article directly but because I was reading about the Terminology of the British Isles. That still left me a little bit confused about the relationships between the UK, Great Britain, the overseas territories and the countries that share Elizabeth as their queen. Therefore I went to the main article about the UK but it didn't get much clearer there to the point that I couldn't find the relationship between the UK and other countries in the Commonwealth. I can understand how easy it is for someone who actually knows how it is to think that this would be clear to anyone. But it isn't.
I knew that there must be more to it because I know that there are so many countries that have the flag of the UK somewhere in their own flags. I did figure it out in the end but it would have been more helpful if the article about the UK would have at least mentioned the Commonwealth. I thank you for your explanation/clarification but I still think that the Commonwealth should be mentioned here. An encyclopedia is after all there to learn the things we don't know rather than to leave people guessing about the things they may be supposed to know but don't (I really didn't know that the Commonwealth was only about the throne). Mentioning the Commonwealth certainly wouldn't harm, neither would that be superfluous so I see no reason not to do so. Naamloze gebruiker (talk) 19:44, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Is commonwealth realm mentioned in any of the other 15 realms-in-question? GoodDay (talk) 19:48, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes it is in all except for Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and the UK. Naamloze gebruiker (talk) 19:54, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
The Commonwealth is mentioned in this article, as is the fact that 15 other countries share the same monarchy. We could mention in the "Politcs" section that members of the Commonwealth that share the monarchy are sometimes referred to as Commonwealth realms. I don't know that other articles should guide us. I thibk you will find that one or a very small number of editors added the term to all those articles. TFD (talk) 21:04, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
It would be enough, I guess, to change the sentence "The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II." into "As a Commonwealth realm, the monarch is Queen Elizabeth II." Naamloze gebruiker (talk) 21:29, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

Doesn't this just underscore the fiction that somehow places like Australia and Canada and Tuvalu have their own Monarchy of Australia when the plain fact is that HM is Queen of the UK and by that reason alone she gains the title Queen of All the Other Places? I don't see why we have to dig up the British Empire and recreate it on Wikipedia in some sort of net-existence not reflected in the physical world. --Pete (talk) 21:42, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

I added a brief mention with is the most I think is required, if it is required at all.[1] It's not a fiction that other those monarchies are separate: it was decided by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and the Law Lords and the fiction of the indivisibilty of the Crown was laid to rest. Australia btw has its own succession law, so its monarch is not determined by who becomes sovereign of the UK, although because the succession rules are identical the same person would become monarch of both countries. Anyway, this is too tangential an issue for discussion in this article. TFD (talk) 22:23, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
I reverted as we've already got commonwealth realms in there, as a redirect from commonwealth countries. GoodDay (talk) 22:26, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Linking "Commonwealth countries" to the article "Commonwealth realm" is not very helpful to readers, since most Commonwealth states are not Commonwealth realms. Why not keep my edit and move the link? TFD (talk) 22:33, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
I merely changed Commonwealth countries to Commonwealth realms, as she's not Queen & head of state of the other 37 members, which are Commonwealth republics. -- GoodDay (talk) 22:36, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Nw you have changed "Commonwealth countries" to "Commonwealth realms." But you shouldn't insert jargon and expect readers to click on the link to understand what it means when it is just as easy to use understandable language. TFD (talk) 22:41, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
I changed it to Commonwealth realms, because Commonwealth countries cover all 53 members. GoodDay (talk) 22:42, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
I think though that if we use jargon we should explain what it means. Perhaps I could have phrased my edit better. TFD (talk) 22:50, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
It appears to be resolved :) GoodDay (talk) 22:51, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

The Commonwealth Realm article says that a CR shares Elizabeth II as its head of state. Elsewhere on wp the thing shared is the monarchy. Shouldn't we clarify that first? Which is it? Roger 8 Roger (talk) 00:29, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

It's both. She's monarch & head of state of the UK, as well as the other 15 realms. GoodDay (talk) 00:31, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
That's not the point. In the CR article it implies the term relates to her personally based on her coronation. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 00:34, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
We had 'monarch' & 'head of state' in the intro at the realms article, up until a week ago. There's a discussion opened up about it, there. GoodDay (talk) 00:37, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
I think the discussion belongs there. I prefer the term monarch because head of state because technically the Queen is the state and governors general as sometimes referred to as heads of state. TFD (talk) 00:40, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
There's no dispute about the terms "monarch" or "sovereign", but there is about the Queen being head of state in any nation but the UK. This is because the head of state is seen as representing the nation, and Canadians, Australians, Bermudans and so on find it hard to see an English lady as being a credible representative. The UN, for example, explicitly names governors-general as the "chief of state", though noting HM in brackets.[2] Clearly the matter is problematical. --Pete (talk) 00:58, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

A discussion at WP:POLITICS (Archie 17) was held months ago & the consensus (backed by sources) was overwhelming, that Elizabeth II was Australia's head of state as well as head of state of the United Kingdom & the rest of the commonwealth realms. GoodDay (talk) 01:03, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

Sorry if I am not explaining myself or I am missing something, but what I mean is this - in the CR lead it says "In 1952, Britain's proclamation of Elizabeth II's accession used the term Realms to describe the seven sovereign states of which she was queen", and in context it implies that this is where the term Commonwealth Realm comes from. If so it looks as though that could be a personal honour given to her, one that does not apply to the monarchy itself. I am not saying that is what I think, just that there is some ambiguity here that we should clarify. Similarly, there is a difference between the UK monarch becoming monarch of other countries by default and the other places choosing to have the UK monarch as their head of state, as is the case with Oz, as has been mentioned. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 01:07, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
This really should be discussed at Commonwealth realm, as there's no dispute over who the UK's head of state is. GoodDay (talk) 01:09, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
There is no evidence that the term "realms" was meant to refer to Commonwealth realms, which were then referred to as dominions. But it is not relevant to this article. It is not a generally known or used term. TFD (talk) 02:45, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

Is Elizabeth II 'also' head of state of the 15 other Commonwealth realms?[edit]

In relation to the preceding discussion & perhaps related to an Rfc at Monarchy of Australia, there's a dispute over Elizabeth II being head of state of the other Commonwealth realms. GoodDay (talk) 21:01, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

A real-world dispute, it must be mentioned. Contrast the head of state entries for the United Kingdom, and the various Commonwealth Realms (such as Australia, Antigua, Canada etc.) here: [3] The point has been a matter of public dispute for decades. At one point Canada's Governor General declared that she was the head of state, and other Governors-General in other realms have done the same. --Pete (talk) 21:20, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
But you're making edits that deny Elizabeth II as head of state in those other Commonwealth realms. You're not being neutral with your deletions & changes. GoodDay (talk) 21:23, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Am I saying that HM is not head of state in the Commonwealth Realms? No. I'm saying that she is monarch there. Are you seriously saying that if the Queen is head of state somewhere, she is not also the monarch? Is she the president of New Zealand, maybe? --Pete (talk) 21:35, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
You're continuing to delete & change that she's head of state of the 15 other Commonwealth realms. Please stop it. You can at least wait for others to give their input. This habit of yours of changing things & then inviting debate, is annoying. Just because you've gotten away with it at Monarchy of Australia, doesn't mean you should try the same thing at other articles. GoodDay (talk) 21:39, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
You're continuing to reject my attempts to state the matter in a phrasing that is both accurate and complies with WP:NPV.
  1. HM is monarch and head of state of the UK.
  2. HM is monarch of the various Commonwealth Realms. Whether she is head of state in each of those places is disputed, not least by the UN.
Why are you not even discussing my various attempts at alternative wording?:
Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch and head of state of the UK. (She is also the monarch of fifteen other independent countries. These sixteen countries are sometimes referred to as "Commonwealth realms".)
Could you respond to these points, please, instead of blindly reverting without discussion? --Pete (talk) 21:51, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Why do you continue to 'delete' head of state, concerning the other realms? GoodDay (talk) 22:05, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
See above. Could you comment on my proposed wording given above, please? --Pete (talk) 22:22, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
pls see page 106.--Moxy (talk) 21:57, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
And there are sources saying the Governor-General is the head of state. The Commonwealth has itself listed the G-G as HoS from time to time. See [4] and [5], for example. The point is a matter of real world dispute. --Pete (talk) 22:21, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Having trouble finding any academic publications that really goes into detail about this.... many clarify it but no one seems to be disputing it. You know of any academic writer's that I can look up to find this? --Moxy (talk) 23:41, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
The uk monarch is head of state. When HM is not in a given realm her role as monarch is taken by a GG. Therefore, the GG is then head of state. What's the problem? When the queen is in a given country, she becomes head of state for the duration of the visit there. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 23:59, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
On the contrary, Elizabeth II is head of state of the UK, as well as the 15 other Commonwealth realms. The governors general merely represent her. FWIW, a related discussion is occurring right now, at Monarchy of Australia. GoodDay (talk) 00:05, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
The position of Australian Governor-General was created in 1901. As a matter of clarification, the position was not one of representing the monarch so much as representing the British Government, and when the Statute of Westminster came into force that role was then taken up by a High Commissioner. But in the century or so since Federation, the Governor-General was given many additional roles and powers by Parliament, ones that were not given to the monarch, but in his own right. Monarchical representation is now a minor part of the job. I imagine that this would be true for any Commonwealth Realm Governor-General - their parliament would give them powers and functions as a matter of simple convenience, that would not be given to the monarch. In 1953 when the Queen visited Australia, the then Prime Minister wished her to perform various functions such as opening Parliament and it was pointed out that she didn't actually possess the powers to do the things desired, as these had been given to the Governor-General and not the monarch. Hence the Royal Powers Act 1953, which allows the monarch when physically present in Australia to exercise the specific statutory functions of the Governor-General, in effect acting as the delegate of the Governor-General![6][7] --Pete (talk) 00:44, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
(ec)Would love to see this analysis by any scholar......find this POV fascinating....lots of 2 + 2 =5 but still interesting.--Moxy (talk) 00:52, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
It is an arcane subject. David Smith has the benefit of providing his sources, and they are worth reading. --Pete (talk) 00:54, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I believe you brought up Smith, his book & lectures at the 2016 rfc in WikiProject Politics, concerning this topic. GoodDay (talk) 00:58, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
So this is about only Australia? not the other Commonwealth realms? GoodDay (talk) 00:50, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
As I said, I cannot speak for other realms. I've been following this subject for over twenty years in Australia, through the republic referendum and so on. I am unable to devote much time to following the situation in (say) Bermuda, or Antigua or other places. Doubtless there are scholars in those places who may be approached for their views. --Pete (talk) 00:54, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
So, were you removing 'head of state' in relation to the other Commonwealth realms, because of Australia? In other words, throwing out all 15 eggs, because you didn't want the Australian egg, but couldn't get rid of it without the others? GoodDay (talk) 00:57, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, the article's wording talks about "… fifteen other independent countries." Do you think that it's appropriate to discuss constitutional arrangements in all of them individually? This is an article about the United Kingdom, and this wording is really just a minor tangent. --Pete (talk) 01:59, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Good got a name.....Smith. what do others say about Smith Peter John Boyce (2008). The Queen's Other Realms: The Crown and Its Legacy in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Federation Press. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-86287-700-9..--Moxy (talk) 01:49, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Views are divided on the point, that's all. There's no dispute that the Queen is monarch of the various Commonwealth Realms, and that she is head of state of the United Kingdom. I'd like to find accurate and non-contentious wording. --Pete (talk) 01:59, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Does Smith's declaration that the governor-general is head of state, make it so? Interesting GoodDay (talk) 02:02, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
What part of "views are divided" do you not understand? Australian legislation does not define the title of head of state, nor has any court been asked the precise question, so of course it's a matter of opinion. On that point, the High Court - composed of five justices all of whom had been active in drafting the Constitution - gave an opinion that the Governor-General was the constitutional head of the Commonwealth.[8] I refuse to make any definitive claim, but I certainly encourage others to investigate this fascinating (if somewhat arcane) matter for themselves. --Pete (talk) 02:16, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
But what does this have to do with removing 'head of state' from this article, concerning all 15 non-UK commonwealth realms? GoodDay (talk) 02:21, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
This is an article about the United Kingdom, not the realms. Do you think we should examine tha various and different constitutional arrangements of each of the fifteen non-UK realms here? It is accurate and undisputed that the Queen is monarch of them all, but we really don't need to say more than that. If you want to push a particular barrow, why not choose a more appropriate article? Commonwealth realm, for example. --Pete (talk) 04:06, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that we completely delete mention of the 15 other Commonwealth realms entirely from this article? If so, I would support that. GoodDay (talk) 04:09, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm happy with the current wording. I think it is interesting and educational for our readers to know that HM is also Queen of various other independent nations. But I don't think we need to go into nitpicking detail in this particular article. --Pete (talk) 04:16, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────And I don't think we need to deny or hide that she's head of state of the 15 other Commonwealth realms, if we're going to mention them in this article. GoodDay (talk) 04:20, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

Follow the logic. If we say that she's both monarch and head of state, surely that's redundant. Or are you admitting the possibility that she might not be both at once somewhere? --Pete (talk) 04:50, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Your logic is flawed, as you wish to show that Elizabeth II is the UK's head of state, but not head of state of the other Commonwealth realms. GoodDay (talk) 04:54, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
No. That is not my intention. I reject your assertion. The monarch is explicitly defined as head of state in several of those realms. New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, for example. --Pete (talk) 05:05, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Elizabeth II is the head of state of each of the Commonwealth realms. Why are you trying to hide that? GoodDay (talk) 14:25, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
My problem with that view, coming from you, is that it doesn't seem to be based on any particular research. Others commenting here have looked into the law and the sources, and I don't mind if people come to different informed conclusions. God knows, I might learn something from their learned discourse, and that's what Wikipedia is about. Your own views - your persistent views - don't seem to be based on anything other than your own personal feelings. If you were to emulate the examples of others here, who at least provide cites to reliable sources and give their reasoning, we would all be better informed.
"Head of state" is a term coined relatively recently, and for most countries, it is obvious who the head of state is. In the UK, it is the very British Queen Elizabeth II. She embodies the national spirit in a way that few others can do. The French, Germans, Americans and so on are all equally well served. There is no dispute about their head of state. But we in the old colonies are no longer British. For many, it grates to have an Englishwoman representing the nation. She is not one of us.
In Australia, we've had a fairly bitter debate over the head of state. A majority prefer it not be the Queen, but we can't come to any workable arrangement for removing her from our affairs. Oddly enough, in the republic referendum campaigns, it was the republicans arguing that the Queen was head of state so as to promote a desire for change, and the monarchists pushing the Governor-General - who is nowadays always an Australian - so as to hold fast to the status quo. So when you say that there is no question about the matter, GoodDay, you speak from a position of ignorance. There are certainly strongly held views for the Queen and the Governor-General as head of state, and it is not so much a matter as Wikipedia picking one or the other, but recognising the divided views. I get the feeling that you and perhaps some others here are just cheering on your chosen side in the debate, rather than accepting that there is a debate. Wikipedia isn't some sort of football match; we recognise diverse views, including the fact that there is a diversity.
The reason I prefer to use the term monarch when referring to the Queen's role and position in the Commonwealth realms is because there is no question about it. Every Australian, every republican Canadian, every Jamaican accepts that. But there are a diversity of views as to the head of state. Governors-General increasingly perform the functions of the monarch, and increasingly they do so in their own name and with their own statutory powers. "Monarch" or "sovereign" is a term that is accurate and doesn't offend anybody. "Head of state", not so much. --Pete (talk) 21:24, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm happy to stand back & let others chime in, on this topic. GoodDay (talk) 21:36, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

I smell an armchair lawyer interpreting both the law and other people's comments about the law. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 03:40, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

Geez. I can't win with you. If I just provide the reference to an interesting paper, you may not read it. If I provide enough of a teaser to spark interest, suddenly I'm an armchair lawyer. For what it's worth, I think Sir David is being a little precious here, and "Constitutional Head of the Commonwealth", while a powerful view from five framers of the Constitution, is not equivalent to "head of state", which was not a term in general use in 1907, and would not have carried the same meaning as it does today. --Pete (talk) 05:05, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
No offense intended. Proved interest is always welcome in my book. I just try and take a step back to see that the idea that the queen is not head of state of Australia or any other of the 15 countries is so left field as to be not even remotely feasible. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 06:06, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
It might "be not even remotely feasible" in your mind, but as another Australian, I can assure you that the matter has been the subject of extensive debate over several decades in Australia. I have no solid view on the matter, and would be interested in what wiser minds have to say. HiLo48 (talk) 06:27, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Wiser minds have answered with silence. There is an article, the Australian head of state dispute. It seems to be pointless semantics. Why is anyone surprised that ambiguity arises considering the term was coined in the 1960s to equate monarchs and presidents and not based in English law? TFD (talk) 00:07, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
We should remember that this article is about the UK, not about its sovereign or her relationship with other states. If people are interested about the legal position of Queen Elizabeth in other countries then they can read the article about her. I don't think we should go beyond saying that she is sovereign of 15 other countries. TFD (talk) 09:20, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
If you have it in the article that's she's also the UK's head of state? then it must be shown that she's also head of state of the other Commonwealth realms. Otherwise, don't mention the other Commonwealth realms, at all. There's no splitting hairs here, if 15 other CRs are included. GoodDay (talk) 13:09, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Pete/Skyring's UN[9] red herring ("A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue: It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion."): As before stated (22:57, 2 March 2016, Who is Australia's Head of state? (Talk:WikiProject_Politics/Archive_17) , "the internal UN document is to guide the UN secretariat in protocol matters, and not determinative of the constitutional position of the monarch or any other person of a Commonwealth realm. As said by another commenter.... For the UN doc, the Queen is listed first, then GG underneath, fully consistent with all other commonwealth monarchies, including NZ where Queen is HoS in constitution." Qexigator (talk) 07:47, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

Sovereign inconsistency[edit]

I know the term "sovereign country" has been agreed for a single use in the lede, but it's led to inconsistent usage which needs to be cleared up: "...sovereign country lying off ... shares a land border with another sovereign state‍ (what was the first?) ... the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. The sovereign state (which?) is a constitutional monarchy...". It looks bad to muddle up definitions this way. If it's " sovereign country" once, it should be all the way through. Bazza (talk) 10:10, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes, it's a dog's dinner but there are some who will edit war to enforce the description of the UK to be a "country". I strongly suspect this comes from an area of the world where 13 non-sovereign states united into a federation. ;-) The two terms refer to different things. A country is essentially an area ("Indian country", "the North country"). A state refers to a governing body (originally I believe from the "King's estate"). Unfortunately US practice is to refer to the federation as a country rather than a federation and thereby conflate the land and authority. The upshot is that there has long been an insistence that the UK has to be called a country to obtain consensus. Best WP:DROPIT and let sleeping dogs lie. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 10:28, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure WP:DROPIT is the correct response to my comment as it doesn't appear to be covered by that essay. I'm not proposing any position unpopular with a number of other respondents, just pointing out that the article, as it stands, contains unhelpful inconsistencies in its introduction which should be dealt with for clarity. I may consider how to do this without treading on toes, but if anyone else has good ideas to discuss here, so much the better. (Your definitions of "country" and "state" are not ones held by all reliable sources [10], [11].) Bazza (talk) 13:23, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
The reason why country isn't used for the UK? is because it's being used for England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. I've tried (in the past) to have constituent country used for England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, with country for the United Kingdom? but to no avail. GoodDay (talk) 14:16, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, there appears to be a settled WP convention for the use of "country". It is public knowledge that the United Kingdom is not a country (clarify below* 08:47, 3 November 2018 (UTC)) and never has been: it is a state that, from 1800, has been constituted by treaty and acts of parliament, and as such is capable of making international treaties with other sovereign states such as République française, Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Repubblica Italiana, Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, and other member states of the United Nations, including the United States of America (U.S.A). An article in Wikipedia, (owned by Wikimedia Foundation located in one of the USA's constituent states), describes USA , not as a sovereign state but as "a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions." The article's template is headed "United States of America" and for "Government" writes "Federal presidential constitutional republic". The preamble to the constitution promulgated at the Federal Convention of 1787[12] reads "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, .... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Sometimes, the name of a sovereign state and of a territory are practcally the same, such as in Canada's article, that reads "Canada is a country located in the northern part of North America... a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state." Then again, "Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania.... " Qexigator (talk) 18:21, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
+ The use of "country" for articles about sovererign states has resulted in editors resolving the politically sensitive use of "Ireland" by writing in one article "Ireland also known as the Republic of Ireland is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic", while writing in another "Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic." Qexigator (talk) 15:22, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
++ Clarify* UK not a country in the sense of "town and country" or physical geography, but is one of the "countries" listed in Countries in the International Organization for Standardization. Etymologically, In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article – "a country" – through misuse and subsequent conflation is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory or "district, native land". On the question of sovereignty in Great Britain, see the section Country#Sovereignty status. Qexigator (talk) 08:47, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
So simple ...just follow the sources in the article already .......Opening should say The United Kingdom is a sovereign state consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. done!!!! --Moxy (talk) 21:28, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Let's see if links are consistent:
  • England "is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west."
  • Northern Ireland "is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region."
  • Scotland "is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain."
  • Wales "is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain.
  • Great Britain is a large island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe."
Qexigator (talk) 15:22, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Ah great, this topic is back again, and the exact same arguments which have already been discredited, if you simply took the time to read past discussions.The UK is a country by most sources, and by common knowledge. If you ask someone, what is the UK? You reckon they're going to say "a sovereign state"? No, they're going to say "it's a country". That's about as much as I have to say for now, considering the premise of your entire argument here is based on the UK not being commonly called "a country", which is preposterous. Rob984 (talk) 07:22, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
In response to the OP, no, there is no issue what so ever with using various accurate terms to refer to what the UK is. Rob984 (talk) 07:24, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
That wasn't my original question/statement. I have no trouble at all with using various terms, although reading the above it seems that some people have, ignoring my original observation: I'm not interested in that. I am interested in clarity and good writing, though, and (for example) stating the UK is a sovereign country then, a few words later, referring to it as a sovereign state is sloppy. I will work on this and other similar issues to ensure clarity as needed. Bazza (talk) 09:53, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, my apologies. You aren't questioning what the UK is called in the article. You're just asking that whatever it's called in the article, that 'term' be used throughout the article. GoodDay (talk) 17:53, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Religion in United Kingdom[edit]

I would just like to point out that the figures for religious attitudes in the UK are outdated and incorrect. The recent figures from the Pew Research Center, which has high levels of factual reporting, puts the Christian population at 73 percent and the nones at 23 percent which was reported this year. Here are the references. [1]. [2]Joetlee99 (talk) 19:23, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

I don't believe 73%, but I guess it depends on the definition. How does Pew define a Christian? HiLo48 (talk) 23:01, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

I could not find a concrete definition given, but that is not surprising due to the complex history of what one considers to be a Christian. For example, certain Christian groups label themselves as Christian, but other Christian groups would not describe them in that way. From the survey though, 73 percent labeled themselves as Christian, but this could include many different views. This reference could help. I can further investigate this issue if you need a concrete definition. This is what they state in the reference, " To measure religious identity, the Pew Research Center survey asks: “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else or nothing in particular?” The wording of this question may result in more respondents giving a religious affiliation (saying they are Christian or Muslim, for example) than previous surveys in some countries, particularly if those surveys used what researchers call a “two-step” approach to religious identification. For example, the European Social Survey (ESS) asks: “Do you consider yourself as belonging to any particular religion or denomination?” Only respondents who say “yes” to this first question are presented with a list of religions to choose from. The two-step approach tends to find smaller shares of people who say they are Christians (or belong to some other religious group) – and larger shares of people with no religion – than are found by surveys that use a one-step approach to religious identification, as Pew Research Center does. Both approaches are valid, though the results may differ." [3]. Joetlee99 (talk) 04:07, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

UN report on austerity[edit]

Some fairly hard-hitting stuff here. Is there a good reason we shouldn't use this in the article? --MarchOrDie (talk) 09:56, 19 November 2018 (UTC)