Talk:United Kingdom/Country, Kingdom or State Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

prolegomenon

There has been much discussion (and the occasional flaming) on the subject of how to refer to the entity that is the U.K.

My personal recommendation is to rework the opening paragraph so it includes none of the terms and add a small paragraph explaining the situation (or an actual United Kindom/Country, Kingdom or State page) --NeilRickards 10:57, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Let's try it. – Kaihsu 14:20, 2005 Jun 10 (UTC)

'Neutral' wording

I would like to propose for the first sentences to read "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is located in western Europe. It is a Commonwealth Realm, and a member of the European Union and NATO." This avoids the messiness as seen in this talk page. I shall implement this unilaterally now. With respect, Chris Q claims "Though the polite notice does not prevent editing, changes should be agreed on the talk page forst." [sic], but may I please point out that no 'agreement' is possible without a vote. – Kaihsu 08:19, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

Oppose — That is politically-correct nonsense. It may well be located in western Europe, but what is it?. It is a country. To not state this and then have templates at the bottom such as 'Countries in Europe' is nonsensical at best and patronising at worst. Owain 08:24, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Oppose — It goes against normal usage -- Chris Q 10:31, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)
Oppose — I agree with Owain. The first sentence should define the subject of the article to avoid periphrasis. Rednaxela 14:23, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is not a vote. – Kaihsu 14:29, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

No, it isn't, indeed. However, 3 (make it 4, including me) people have said that your solution is unsatisfactory. Indeed, this would mean that consensus seems set implaccably against said wording, and a poll would thus be a poor idea and waste of people's time.
James F. (talk) 14:18, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Country vs Kingdom

There have been several reverts on this matter in the last couple of days. I personally feel that country is a better term in the opening paragraph than kingdom. This is for two reasons:

1) Country as a page explains the UK's status far more effectively than kingdom does.

2) Kingdom means that the country is ruled by a monarch. Yes, the UK is. However, that fact is explicitly explained in the politics section, with the link to constitutional monarchy.

I would be interested to hear the reasons for having it as "kingdom".

Smoddy | Talk 17:25, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I guess the most compelling reason for preferring "kingdom" over "country" is that it's the truth
Flipancy aside, I take your point that kingdom covers the theory better than the practice, however the British have always been fiercly proud of our traditions (and prouder still that they bear no resemblance to reality when they're patently daft).
I agree that "kingdom" doesn't belong in the opening paragraph, but whatever term we choose for the entity that is the UK, "country" is unambiguously wrong. I might try contributing to the entrenched #Country_vs_State debate below...
--NeilRickards 10:21, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

England, Scotland, and Wales are countries. Each country has its own flag, which is the first clue, and each has its own parliament. As the name 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' suggests, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of a kingdom.

And for reference, the term 'kindom' means 'a territory or state ruled by a king or queen', not a country ruled by a king or queen. I have lived in England all my life, and have only ever heard the UK refered to as a country by people who don't live here.

One more thing. The way things are heading the EU will probably become the political power over all of Europe. By some people's definition that would then make Europe a country.

jcvamp 02:34 GMT, 29th July 2005

The above strikes me as being badly thought out. A flag and a parliament do not make a country. If this were so every Spanish Autonomia would be a country (which is way off the mark) as would every United State (closer to the truth). Organisations such as th UN could even be described as countries by the same token.
I, too, have lived in the UK all my life and have heard of it being referred to as a country. Anyway, isn't saying that 'the United Kingdom of GB and NI is a kingdom' stating the obvious?
However powerful the EU may be, it is not sovereign. Every piece of legislation must be ratified by the domestic legislatures and each member state can withdraw from the union. By my reckoning this means that the EU cannot (yet) be thought of as a country.
Rednaxela 11:30, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Evidently sarcasm is lost on you. I mentioned the EU to illustrate a point, one which, though your intent seems to have been to disagree, you have actually agreed with. I also stated the obvious to show the absurdity of even trying to argue that the UK is not a kingdom.

Now, if you look in a dictionary a kingdom is defined as 'a terrority or state ruled by a king or queen' as I mentioned earlier. A country is defined as 'a nation with its own government'. Each parliament is a government system within the nations of England, Scotland and Wales. The UK has no united government system (unlike the US States, which you tried to assign the same level of definition), the only unifying factor is the royal family, whose modern status is not political.

Show me the government system that defines the UK as a country.

jcvamp 18:09 GMT, 31th July 2005

Okay, I see now that you didn't mean that the EU was a country, we agree on that at least. Yes the UK is a kingdom, however it is also a country. It is more useful in the article to link the United Kingdom with the other contries, rather than the other kingdoms, especially in the opening paragraph.
I would contest your definition of country, but your argument that the UK has no central government is clearly erroneous. Westminster is sovereign in its powers to raise taxes and set defence and foreign policy. And it can repeal the acts that set up the devolved bodies in the first place. Thus the uniting factor is not only the monarch, who, as you quite rightly say, has no political role. Leave the symbolic, quasi-impotent monarch aside and political sovereignty lies with the people and their representatives in Westminster. Ironically the fact thet the United Kingdom is a kingdom holds little relevance. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, however it is also the people there and the people's history. It is far more than a system of government. As I have mentioned before, 'country' is the best option.
Rednaxela 22:07, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Country vs State

The UK is a sovereign state consisting of four territories. Of these territories three (England, Wales and Scotland) are often called countries. laurelbush1952@hotmail.com 2005 Jan 25th

"country" normally implies self-governing state. Calling eg Wales a country is misleading. Rd232 16:42, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I've always found that intesely annoying on BBC Local News reports. The UK is a country. If we need lower-level groupings then "nation" is fine, as nation refers to any group of people who share common customs, origins, history, &c. "Nation" can refer to Britain as a whole, Wales, or even Cornwall and Yorkshire! :) Owain 19:31, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Those defending the use of country seem to be using it in the sense of a de facto political entity with full independence and actual, functional political institutions/territory/laws/etc. That's a pretty common usage outside of the British Isles but in Britain and Ireland its a bit more complicated.

Scotland, England and Wales are commonly referred to as 'countries' (some might prefer it if this weren't the case but that's basically irrelevant); sometimes the island of Ireland is called a country and sometimes Northern Ireland is. In these cases what people are referring to is a unique shared identity/culture/history/origins/etc--pretty much in the same way we use the term nation. Many (but by no means all) of those who use country in this way also have in mind that the relevant peoples have the right to devolved government or perhaps independence. Calling the UK a country carries connotations of it's legitimacy.

This way of using country is not a crack-pot theory or the equivalent of flat-earthism. Many, many people in the British Isles (at least outside of England) use country to refer to the constituent parts of the UK and would avoid calling the UK a country, and they are not all radical nationalists.

If we use the word country in the sense apparently employed by those supporting "the UK is a country" then the term is effectively interchangeable with state. So we loose nothing by using the unambiguously neutral term. The same logic has been applied on the Republic of Ireland article which eschews country in favour of state. Even the fact that we are having this argument is evidence that country is not NPOV. Iota 01:42, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

In the Republic of Ireland "the State" is a common way of referring to the country or its government. In the UK, country commonly refers to both the UK state and its constituent parts. Is this really so difficult to appreciate? -- Arwel 02:22, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
In criminal trials, Ireland uses the form "State v John Doe" with essentially the same meaning as "Crown v John Doe" in the UK. Its equivalent of "Queen's Counsel" is "State Counsel". So not ever so helpful!

All this is ridiculous. A small handful of people clearly attatch strong POV meanings to the words "country," "state," and "nation" — but in common parlance the words are virtually indistinguishable. True, a country has definite geographic implications (there could be an unpopulated country), a nation has definite people-based implications (there could be a landless nation), and a state definitely has governmental implications (a nation or country in anarchy wouldn't really be a state) — but these are differences in emphasis. The UK is a state, nation, country, and kingdom; trying to pin in down further is false precision. England, Scotland, and Wales (and perhaps Northern Ireland as well) are countries and nations, although one probably wouldn't call them states (England and Scotland, furthermore, can in a sense be considered kingdoms on some level). There really shouldn't be any issue of POV, just clarity — what's the simplest and most direct word for an introductory ¶? Doops 02:36, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Fully agree with you, Doops, except that no, England and Scotland can not be considered kingdoms after 1707, the two kingdoms were specifically made one in the United Kingdom. -- Arwel 03:12, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Well, that's why I said "on some level." :) Doops 07:29, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
England and Scotland can't be considered kingdoms - they have no monarch. Dmn / Դմն 10:30, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Another dimension:

In the UK Northern Ireland is often called 'the province'. This practice seems to represent a perception of the territory as Ulster and therefore as one of four provinces of Ireland, the others being entirely within the Republic, where this system of land division is now largely redundant. (Three counties of Ulster are also in the Republic.) laurelbush1952@hotmail.com 2005 Jan 26th


This whole debate and ridiculous edit war have been sparked off by NPOV. As Iota said, the fact that we are even having this debate suggests that this is an NPOV issue, one which seems to incur much strength of feeling. The terms 'country', 'state' and 'nation' are more or less interchangeable terms, however it can clearly be seen that each evokes a different magnitude of reactions as each implies a slightly different subtlety. The UK is in the odd situation of being a 'country of countries' and as someone mentioned earlier on, many people in each of the home nations tend to consider their nations as being countries in their own right – as indeed they are. The issue of which portion of the population is right or wrong is an aside in this situation; I believe that the "country vs state" issue is one of POV, purely and simply. Factual accuracy of this site is imperative, however people's emotions are also worthy of consideration. Why use a term which has potentially offensive connotations when there are plenty of equal alternatives? The "these people are wrong, this whole argument is ridiculous ... to hell with their feelings" mentality is unacceptable in a site which prides itself in its self-regulation and resulting impartiality.

Considered 15:04, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)


From laurelbush1952@hotmail.com:

The UK as a 'country of countries' tends to leave out the province Northern Ireland.
What are the 'equal alternatives'?


I notice that none of the so-called "anonymous users" see fit to add anything to this debate. Your comments would certainly be welcomed. Otherwise, there is no debate - and the "United Kingdom" page will continue to be administered as AlistairMcMillan's homepage. Considered 13:29, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'd like to remind you that Wikipedia has a policy of no personal attacks. Edward 13:58, 2005 Jan 29 (UTC)
It's not a POV issue atall. The UK is not a country. The UK us a supranational sovereign state, made up of three countries and a province, even though most of us in England just sorta think of UK as one big happy country probably coz they don't see that there's actually a difference between the two. When I was on holiday in Scotland, I realised from watching the news there that they consider Scotland a country in its own right so it's not necessarily political, it's just what they believe.

Mark Gudrunsen (mgudrunsen@hotmail.com) 17:22, 2005 Jan 29 (UTC)

Nope. The UK is a kingdom. Wales is not a country scotland is not a sovrien nation (it's exact legal position is complex). Incerdently you have failed to adress the conrnwall issue. What the Scotish people think is not relivant. All that is is the formal legal position.17:36, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the UK is a kingdom. It is also a monarchy, a constitutional monarchy; politically, it is also technically a nation, though this term seems to be avoided nowadays, as it is usually used to describe national groupings. The UK, in many circumstances, can be thought of as a country and even as a nation state, but technically, it is neither. The 1707 Act of Union, which created Great Britain, also guaranteed the continued existence of England and Scotland as countries in their own right. The UK is, to all intent and purposes, a country in many senses, but so is the European Union. I think the terms most appropriate for the UK are: "monarchy", "constitutional monarchy", "state", "suprantional state" and "union".

Also, I think it's inappropriate to mention Cornwall in the first paragraph, as it's supposed to be dealing with the "current definition", not a wish list for nationalists (not that I'm belittling their argument; it's just that the 1st paragraph really isn't the place for it).

That said, to call the UK a country is, in the strictest sense, incorrect, and is open to debate. Considered's point is valid, but I think the debate should be more about factual accuracy than point of view. The right term has to be factually accurate, appropriate and I guess, neutral in its point of view.

This debate seems a little one-sided. Why does this section contain so many qualified "anti-country" stances and no good arguments in favour of keeping the term "country"? Perhaps some of the guys/gals, who are happy to immediately revert other people's edits, would like to qualify their reasons, as opposed to the usual "because I say it is" trick. Where's the debate here?

If the US is a country ('one nation under God' and all that) then so is the UK. There you go, job done! :) Owain 19:12, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I don't think there can be any serious dispute that the UK is a country, by any reasonable objective definition; it's also all of the other descriptions applied to it in this discussion. As to the status of the 'home nations' as countries, that's certainly more context-y. Common parlance and the terminology used by the UK state itself are both worth noting in themselves, but don't necessarily correspond to generally accepted terminology. And common usage isn't necessarily self-consistent, either: NI can be referred to as "the province" and "this country" in adjacent sentences, Wales as a country, nation, principality, etc. Alai 19:24, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Owain i think you're confusing the terms nation and country. As a Cornishman i can assure other editors that although not all the Cornish populace hold such opinions, a sizable minority in Cornwall consider the Cornish a nation and Cornwall a country. From this position (similar no doubt to that of some Scots, Irish, English and Welsh posters) the UK can be viewed as a sovereign state comprised of constituent Countries / Nations, however it is not a Nation state (one nation, one state). Bretagne 44 28/2/05

Which posting of mine are you referring to? Further up the page I wrote ""Nation" can refer to Britain as a whole, Wales, or even Cornwall and Yorkshire", so I agree with you that Cornwall can be referred to as a nation, as it means any group of people that share common heritage, culture &c. The blurring of the term nation with country is unfortunate. I suppose it is possible to have countries within countries, just as we can have cities within cities; so long as we agree that the UK is a country (which is the entire point of this thread) Owain 19:30, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Owain it was the "If the US is a country ('one nation under God' and all that) then so is the UK" statement.

Yes in popular perception, to some degree, the UK is a country. However in popular perception Nation, State, Country along with nationality, ethnicity, citizenship and race are often blurred and confused issues. Therefore for the purposes of this exercise one must ask if popular public perception is the bottom line that we must refer to for this article? For example long after it was proved that the earth revolved around the sun popular public opinion maintained an opinion contrary. The UK is a sovereign state consisting of home nations and i would say it is best to avoid using the term country. "so long as we agree that the UK is a country " i neither agree nor disagree, i merely suggest that there is a more precise and accurate description for the UK and that Wikipedia can take the lead in tackling the "confused issues" i have noted above. Bretagne 44 1/3/05

Country vs Nation

A nation (as in a member of the United Nations) can be a single country, a union of countries, or a union of states - perhaps we should just use the term "nation"? --NeilRickards 10:57, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

In political science it is considered that sometimes the nation makes the state, as can be seen with Germany and Italy, othertimes the state makes the nation as is the case with the UK and its centripetal government. The people of the UK are its nation, but the nation does not define the geographical or political entity. Nation-state would be closer to the mark, but I'd still mark a cross next to 'country' given the choice.
Rednaxela 14:37, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The UN is an organisation made up of states with the common purpose of uniting nations or peoples. I have never seen nation defined as "a member of the UN". Introducing the UK as a nation without explanation gives the wrong impression as, to the extent that it is a nation, it is weak one made up of multiple strong ones.
Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 20:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Vote?

If we have a vote, what options should there be?

  1. country
  2. kingdom
  3. state
  4. 'located' ('neutral' wording)

Kaihsu 14:31, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

We shouldn't have a vote at all.
  • m:Don't vote on everything
    Wikipedia operates on discussion-driven consensus. A poll runs counter to these ends, and therefore is something that should be avoided wherever possible
  • m:Polls are evil
    The problem is that people take the results of a poll as a mandate to do something based on the numbers that turn out—which it is not
  • Wikipedia:Survey guidelines
    attempts to reach consensus are much, much, MUCH preferred, and should perhaps be followed even when it pains us most
HTH.
James F. (talk) 14:26, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What is the consensus here? I would appreciate a summary. – Kaihsu 15:11, 2005 Jun 15 (UTC)

England is not a country

England,Scotland,Wales,and Northern Ireland are not countries they ceased to exist when they joined the UK none of them sign international treaties only the government of The UK can sign treaties or make laws that effect the nation as a whole Dudtz 7/21/05 5:54 PM

Before I thought you were just ignorant of the facts, Dudtz. Now I just think you're trolling because you've posted this argument elsewhere and have been told by several people the various holes in your argument. Unless you've got a genuine opinion based on well-researched fact rather than your own version of reality, please stop posting full stop. -- Francs2000 | Talk 22:24, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I did research and besides there is no England seat at the UN they have no army,they use they are guarded by the UK military I have never seen an English embassy,cause there are none Enlgland and Scotland died on may 7th 1707 and was reborn as The United Kingdom Dudtz 7/22/05 12:55 PM EST

Just read the answers you've been given before on other pages. -- Francs2000 | Talk 22:25, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
See also Berwick upon Tweed, which was at War for many years (with no army of it's own, of course) against Russia without realising as it was missed out from the name of the UK by a treaty after Queen Victoria had declared war on behalf of "Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed and all British Dominions". Any part of the UK could theoretically act without the rest it seems. - JVG 12:18, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi i`m new to the argument. i Would just like to say How I regard this situation after looking through what you have all said. I feel that England, Scotland and Wales can be compared to States In America, For they can bring in there own law ect.. However, they are part of a greater nation, the United Kingdom, Which parliament rules over. User:Chickenfeed9 march 2006

Motor Racing Heritage

There is mention of tennis, football, rugby, and more besides, but not a single word on Motor Racing... that is really quite appalling.

Re-ignite debate on state/country

Now I know that this is a fairly trivial point, and it is one that has been discussed before. However, given that the article doesn't seem to be receving that much content at the mo, I don't think it would be a harm to clarify what the view is. Was a conclusion/consensus actually reached in previous debates, because to me it wasn't clear? Would an opinion poll be appropriate, if only to clarify where people think it should be? Robdurbar 10:31, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

It is, of course, both a state and a country. The difference is that "state" concentrates on the political technicalities and, important though that is, it does not do what an introductory sentence is meant to do - a general summary of what the article is about. Restricting this to its statehood is like, say, referring to the United States as a collection of ex-colonies - true and important, but insufficient. "Country" is the correct term here: The technicalities (and complexities) of its political status belong in the politics section. Having said that, I'd be inclined to promote the "subdivisions" section and revise it (and retitle it, probably) to bring out the nationhood of the constituent parts. Mucky Duck 09:28, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Now that's the impression that I had. However, the argument for using state is that 'country' is also a synonym for 'nation', as well as 'state'. By calling the UK a 'country', some people will receive the opinion that we are somehow reducing the claim of Scotland, Wales etc. as nations. Now whether or not we are, or if we think their interpretation of the use of 'coutnry' is wrong, I would argue that we can aovid this potentially pov impression by using 'state'. Robdurbar 10:29, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
But by denying the countryship of the UK then we are introducing genuine POV. Contrast with, for example, Spain. I understand the separatist tendencies - to some extent I share them. But this is not the place to express them. Mucky Duck 12:21, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
The word 'country' might imply nation, but it also implies people in general. The article includes politics, but what are politics without the people who make them and subscribe to them? As far as I'm concerned, to say that the UK is a state completely misses the wider picture.-Rednaxela 13:25, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Calling the UK a country is in political science regarded as a major faux pas. It isn't. The United Kingdom is a transnational entity created through the serial merger of three nations; Wales (in the 1500s), Scotland (1707), and Ireland (1801). A country is an entity that embodies a sense of nationhood, communal identity and civic loyalty. Most states posses that and can also be called countries. The UK certainly since the 1960s lacks those primary requisites. Three entities within the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) possess strong electoral support for either their complete independence or their existence within a confederal arrangement, with independence movements either in government within those regions (Wales, Northern Ireland before the suspension of its Executive Committee and Assembly) or the major party of opposition. While the United Kingdom as an entity did have the cultural, community and civic identity to warrant the description of the UK as a country as late as the 1960s, that has dwindled, with community and civil loyalty switching increasingly to the nations of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom as an entity has declined from a civic community to a constitutional one, in which the precise relationship between the nations within it is a matter of considerable debate and constitutional change, eg, the creation of home rule in three regions, demands for home rule within England, demands for different laws in different part of the Kingdom, a sense of cultural separateness and nationalism for each of the nations, etc. There is no comparison between the UK and Spain. Spain through the use of a federal structure has managed to a combinatory identity whereby people in the regions can accept regional and national identity. Only a small minority demand a break up of the state. That is not so in the United Kingdom, not least because the home rule entities created have no constitutional status and are merely creations of the centre which can be abolished by Act of Parliament. The UK is a unitary state with non-constitutional regional governments. Because it lacks a cohensive unitary loyalty to it, and because it consists of a number of states all of which have strong independence movements (even England now has that phenomenon) calling the United Kingdom a "country" is POV. It is giving it a definition that is no longer applicable. The accurate definition to use is the one that describes exactly what it is, a state, or to be strictly accurate, a unitary state. Nation and country are both misleading and simply pushing an agenda for a relationship between its national entities that is no longer accurate and has not been since at least the 1960s. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 21:47, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Baisically, tho im not a british nationalist, the above is v pov. Country can easily insuate state, and anyway, the UK is far more coherent than you suggest. Robdurbar 23:39, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

It is encyclopaedic accuracy. Using any term that is open to misinterpretation as carrying with it implications as to the nature of the entity is by definition POV. State is a 100% accurate definition of what the UK is. Country is a disputed term no longer used generally in academia because it is seen as no longer reflective of the evolving nature of the relationship between the British states and its three constituent nations. The UK does not any longer have the shared cultural and civic community implied by the word country. Countries and states evolve. Spain in the 15th and 16th century was not a country but a state. France in the mediaeval period was not a country but a state. But evolved consistently into countries. The United States at its foundation, certainly under its first constitution, was not in any way a country. It now is. The Kingdom of Great Britain was not a country but a state. But over the years as GB and as the UK it evolved a communal and civil identity that made it a country. That process is in reverse. How far it goes, or whether the reverse will itself reverse, we do not know. Calling it a country is inherently POV because it carries with it presumptions that in the British case, unlike in Spain, or France, or the US, are no longer universally accepted. But State is 100% NPOV because it remains a constitutionally-ordered governmental entity with a head of state and a government with legal authority. No amount of ambiguous understandings of terminology, simplistic application of definitions, or as some of the comments suggest, a complete lack of concern for both NPOV and encyclopaedic accuracy, will change the fact that calling the UK a country is POV. Calling it a state is NPOV. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 00:57, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

You continue to concentrate on the restrictive political science terminology. This is covered in the second paragraph of the introduction and, where it should be, under politics. To deny its wider countryship is far from NPOV, it is very much your POV that the UK is no longer coherent. The existence of separatist organisations does not change that. A "Spanish" culture is not "universally accepted" by all Basques, Catalans or Galicians - this does not mean that the country of Spain does not exist. Mucky Duck 12:58, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I mis-read your post (I was drunk); I agree that it should be called a state. I DO think that it should be considered a country though. You need to decide whether you want to use 'country' to mean either nation, state or nation-state, as above you use it for all. Also, your argument contains a lot of fallacies. Spain was not a state in the C15th, neither was France; there was no real concept of state in them thar days, such as we have now. BUT I agree that because the word country can be (mis)understood to have the sort of connotations that you appear to have given it, that the use should be state. Robdurbar 11:15, 29 January 2006 (UTC)


Some wallies decided to have another edit war over "country"/"state"... so in the interests of my watchlist, I have simply put them both in. Everybody wins. or loses. But either way everyone's the same. Anglo-Indian identity.svg Deano (Talk) 23:03, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
What he said. They're SYNONYMS! Robdurbar 23:52, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Country Status

There is an attempt going on, with what motive I cannot be sure, to deny the countryship of the UK. To state that the UK is a state is true but insufficient. One might just as well say that, for example, Russia is a gas producer. This would be perfectly and undeniably true but a long way short of a definition and this aspect is therefore discussed under "economy". Likewise the UK's political status is not a definition of the UK any more than it is of any other country, and it belongs under politics. Mucky Duck 22:45, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

See the subpage for extensive discussion. In short, this is the most pointless revert war I can possibly imagine - you are both right, so just put both in. Which is what I have done. Now please stop wasting time and server cache memory and start making some proper edits. :) Anglo-Indian identity.svg Deano (Talk) 23:05, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I notice that Russia is also described as a country, and I have to agree that it is a more appropriate word for the introduction despite the UK also being a state, political union, monarchy, etc. It would be better when you are having your revert wars if you could use that as an edit summary instead of pretending that you are not, by using equally accurate yet misleading summaries such as Remove retrictive PoV; correct link; correct inadequate terminology; rv unencyclopaedic vagueness; Remove inaccurate specificty; remove single aspect definition; rv inaccuracy; and so on. It would be even better if you could just discuss it here like reasonable people. It would save the other editors a lot of time. Thanks. -- zzuuzz (talk) 23:07, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Support deano and Zzuzz. Country and state mean the same thing. Get over it Robdurbar 23:50, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Accepted. Well, not the bit about them being synonymous but I take everything else Deano says and accept the rebuke. Actually was thinking along similar lines to put an end to it: I won't do it because I don't want to fan any flames but this is what I was thinking of changing it to. I put it here as a proposal because I think it might read more comfortably:
"The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (usually shortened to the United Kingdom, or the UK) is a country of north-western Europe; one of two sovereign states of the British Isles, the other being the Republic of Ireland. It shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland and is otherwise surrounded by the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean." Mucky Duck 16:28, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I think that would work, and it does read better than the current version - give it a day or two for any objections here first I think though Robdurbar 17:08, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I like it. -Rednaxela 18:42, 10 February 2006 (UTC) -But this compromise is evidently unacceptable to some of our fellow wikipedians and the reverts have restarted. Please stop the reverts and explain your objections. 14:09, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

It is patently simple. The UK is a state. It is made up of a number of countries. It is not a country itself. It is all about accurate encyclopaedia terminology. Calling a state made up of countries a country itself is like calling the US president a king or a prime minister a president. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 22:31, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Its a country made up of countries. And a country made up of nations. And a nation made up of countries. And a state maade up of nations. They MEAN THE SAME THING IN EVEYRDAY USE. IN TECHNICAL USE THE WORD COUNTRY IS NEVER USED AS IT IS TOO VAGUE. NATION IS INAPPROPRIATE DUE TO OFFENCE. IF PEOPLE INSIST ON COUNTRY LET THEM HAVE IT AS IT MEANS SATE. AND STOP MOANING ABOUT SYNONMYS. I am fed up to the back teeth of people failing to read the various articles that explain the meanings of these terms before coming to moan here. Robdurbar 22:45, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I totally agree with Robdurbar. You are all getting your knickers in a twist over the most irrelevant detail in this entire article. DJR (Talk) 22:47, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Its mindboggling how someone who knows one iota of what the words mean could write such nonense. It should be quoted on BJAODN as evidence of the appalling level of knowledge of elemetary facts. You may think tabloid misunderstanding is adequate for here. Others however expect an encyclopaedia to reach encyclopaediac standard, not comic book. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 22:51, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, okay, lets just calm down here. There's no need to get personal about this - it is just a fundemental difference in opinion. Jtdirl, on what basis are you claiming that they are not the same? The wikipedia articles for both suggest they are, as does the wiktionary and the Oxford Dictionary. Please explain your thinking. DJR (Talk) 22:55, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Well I apologise for losing my temper there. For what its worth, I would use the term 'state' rather than coutnry, for the technical accuracy. However, it is not wrong to call the uk a country. On what basis do you claim that it is? How do you define the word 'country'? And I stand by the current version of the page as it uses both terms.Robdurbar 22:55, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
No worries: I hark of R. and other comments. In both Oxford and Merriam Webster's dictionaries, "country" is used; hell: Random House uses the titular "kingdom". That being said (and coming from an international relations background), the term "state" is generally used (my preference) due to the varying defs and meanings of other terms. Whether we use state, country, kingdom, nation, nation-state, realm, domain, or territory (and all are not synonymous), we neend't throw the kitchen sink into the introduction. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 22:57, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry (its amazing how much response bold text and shouty capitals get!), I do understand that the terms are not synonymous (though I would argue that country might be with both state and nation, as it is used so rarely in a technical manner), but in daily use they are (Which is where the confusion arises I guess). I quite like the intro 'The United Kingdom is a kingdom' jsut for comedy reasons though :) Robdurbar 23:00, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Understood. Let's put this another way: the more terms introduced upfront (internecine wrangling aside), the more likely a visitor will be confused by them. The current version seems wordy for not what, hence my prior edits. Let's just choose one!  :) Apropos, use of the term "country" later on to describe constituents of the UK still makes "(sovereign) state" my preference: it isn't ambiguous (wikified, that is) and is a top-level notion that includes all the others, including the UK's constituent countries. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 23:06, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

State is the crystal clear, NPOV descriptor for the UK. "Country" is full of ambiguities and problems, and inevitably (if often subconsciously) exhibits the writer's POV. That the UK is a state is uncontestable. That the UK is a "country" is highly debatable.--Mais oui! 23:09, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

A state is a governmental entity created in law possessing governmental institutions. A country involves a cultural community sharing a sense of identification, loyalty and various other attributes. Some states are also countries, but not all. Some states are made up of a collection of countries. Similarly a nation and a state are not the same. However where they are coterminus they are referred to nation-states. The UK is a law-created merger that was made up of found culturally unique entities called countries: Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. It is no more a country than the Kingdom of Great Britain was. It was created by a series of mergers from the 16th century on, including the Acts of Union of 1707 and 1800. As with other states, it has found itself able to varify its state boundaries with the exist of most of the Irish nation in 1922. Calling the UK a country is inaccurate, POV and lazy in terms of English, while state is 100% factually accurate. Encyclopaedias have to be accurate and not use lazy inaccurate and POV jargon. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 23:11, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
That's an interpretation of the words. It is not the technical one - your meaning of 'coutnry' there is pretty much identical the dictionary one in front of me for 'nation'. But the problem is that others simply disagree and that if left as 'state' for a day or two, others will come back and re-insert country. It is also POV to state that there is no common culture in the UK. Anyone area has multiple cultures at the same time - its a fallacy to speak of a single British, Irish, Scottish, English, Geordie or Celtic culture, but that does not mean that these are culture-less entities. Robdurbar 23:17, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Why don't we just leave it out and simply jump straight to the point: "The United Kingdom is made up of four constituent countries." Any takers? DJR (Talk) 23:13, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't see why not Robdurbar 23:17, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Though we could be philosophical and jsut open with The United Kingdom is. Robdurbar 23:19, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Lol! That seems fairly uncontentious. How about a Zen opening: The United Kingdom is how it is (whether people understand it or not). Or a surreal opening: The United Kingdom is a fish off the left traffic light of the cosmic goat. Seriously though, this is getting boring. I've said all I have to say and don't think I'll waste server space by repeating it. Rednaxela 01:42, 19 February 2006 (UTC) Apologies for the silliness.
Have a look at the opening paragraph of Trinity. What about something like that!  :) --JW1805 (Talk) 03:24, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Not upfront: the UK is more than the sum of its parts, and the current version (with its flaws) at least addresses that ... bigger to smaller. I could remove any politicising and describe it as merely a nation-state on an archipelago, but that would be too esoteric. We should be cutting through ambiguity, not succumbing to it. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 23:19, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
I honestly reckon we just cut the crap and state what matters. "The UK is made of four constituent countries - E,S,W,NI, and is one of two sovereign states on the British Isles. No nonsense. Like John Smith's. DJR (Talk) 01:52, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd endorse that solution. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 03:09, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Seems reasonable enough.--Mais oui! 11:26, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps - though consitutent 'parts' if we're referring to Northern Ireland. Robdurbar 10:52, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
If you look at the most recent edition of the Constituent countries article (which recently was completely re-written - not by me) you will see that NI has become firmly embedded within the scope of that term. (Against my own wise counsel, but you can't win em all.)--Mais oui! 11:26, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm unsure about this: I can see endless edits to this. As noted, the UK is more than just the four constituent countries but also its British overseas territories and (ambiguous) crown dependencies. Opening up the intro as suggested would require an expansion of other constituents that are more properly treated in the next paragraph or in other sxns. And for what? Moreover, given the fact that the UK is arguably referred to as one country (as numerous sources indicate), or comprised of three (constituents of Great Britain) or four (with Northern Ireland), I feel this detail is better left for the next paragraph as is now the case (general location in Europe described in first paragraph, details later). How about just this (possibly):
... the UK) is one of two sovereign states or countries occupying the British Isles in northwestern Europe, the other being the Republic of Ireland.
? It's simple and achieves what we're trying to accomplish. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 13:29, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
But it re-introduces the blatantly POV assertion that the UK is a "country". It is no such thing.--Mais oui! 13:34, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I realise that, but numerous sources (indicated above) contradict this position. And this is no more POV than asserting it is comprised just of four countries. That's why the simpler rendition should hold with details later. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 13:37, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it is POV to say the UK is a country - it is cited as such in enough sources of information to make it a fact. I'd probably support this change, although if it's really an issue then just get rid of the country bit... something like "the UK) is one of two sovereign states occupying the British Isles in northwestern Europe, the other being the Republic of Ireland." DJR (Talk) 13:38, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd support and prefer just that: the above is a minor tweak of the current version (which I edited in previously). Let's recollect: the UK is indisputably a "state" (and who disagrees with this?), while any of the others – even with reliable sources – are contentious in one way or another. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 13:43, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
That's baisically my position on this one too. Robdurbar 14:07, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I doubt anyone would dispute it. It's patently correct that it's a state - but it's totally insufficient as a definition. To pretend that it is not more than that - that, indeed, it is not a country - is POV. The definition as a country should be reinstated. Mucky Duck 16:31, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I think that the key hear is to understand that to call it a state is not to deny that it is a country Robdurbar 16:57, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
It's not suitable for the introductory statement, which needs to be an inclusive definition. You might just as well say "The UK is a member of NATO" - perfectly true, but not adequate to define it. Mucky Duck 17:20, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't need to be inclusive, it needs to be neutral yet descriptive. Arguably, "country" is just as unsuitable given that the UK can be construed to be just one and/or to contain three or four countries all at the same time. Wikilinked, "state" is unambiguous; moreover, that article elaborates more than adequately on the topic of state/country. As well, it doesn't say, e.g., the UK is a member state of the UN (though it is): it is a state which includes more than that. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 17:37, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
It needs to be a definition if it is to introduce the subject. "State" is not a definition of the UK because it is simply to narrow (and, by denying the country status, POV). With regard to the "just one and/or to contain..." question; this is not a problem: it is both. Of course state is unambiguous - but it is not sufficient. Limiting it in the introductory sentence is POV. Mucky Duck 20:29, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
It is not (just): Wikipedia is not a dictionary – the current intro sufficiently describes what the UK is, and adequately (even excessively) has other wikified terms that elaborate and details below. And as indicated, the "state" article already addresses these differences, including for "country". In fact, "country" is arguably more ambiguous than "state" to define what the UK is: for example, the UN doesn't define member countries for inclusion. Shall we add "kingdom" or realm as well? No: the current intro is an accurate yet succinct conciliation/ description. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 21:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
If you take the trouble to look at the entry you cite (Wikipedia is not a dictionary) you will find that it says: "An article should usually begin with a good definition". The statehood is an important aspect and needs to be discussed, but the UK is more than the purely political entity that this implies - it certainly is not a "good definition" Mucky Duck 22:09, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
As above and below: if you took the trouble to read and understand the current intro, "sovereign state(s)" is indicated. The rest of the passage, which you've conveniently omitted, also indicates: "... or clear description of the topic." If you do not find that or the current version sufficient, no definition or description will be and good luck in compelling a consensus to support something else. And I've fully read that page and this one to know that we're going in circles for not what. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 22:18, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Other than the removal of the important words "a country of North Western Europe", the current intro is mine so I think it would be fair to say I had read it. Those words need to be reinstated to make it an adequate description - as it is it's a description of part of the subject. Mucky Duck 22:35, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but various users have contributed to the intro – including myself and others recently to nix tautologies et al. – and "northwestern Europe" has been retained. And, given discussion, I disagree with the need to reinstate it: the subject is described more later and through wikilinks to appropriate topics. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 22:50, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
You accused me of not reading it. Since the current wording is more or less exactly what I proposed (and achieved a degree of consensus) on 10th - except that the "country of North Western Europe" has been removed - I felt that was a bit thick. I was not trying to claim ownership. But let's cool things down here. Having re-read mine of 22:09 I realise that that, too, comes over much too peppery. I was not meaning to take a personal pop, just to say that the citation of the policy says exactly what I'm trying to put over. "State" (or sovereign state) is very much not a good definition (or, indeed, a clear description) because it is incomplete. Despite what some would like to be the case the cultural ties between the constituent parts of the UK are strong. Much stronger, I would suggest, than the common ground between, say, Quebec and Newfoundland. And yet noone suggests that Canada should be denied it's country status. Mucky Duck 15:36, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Pot, meet kettle: note who made the initial accusation. In my opinion, your reading and presentation of the citation was incomplete. You instigated the recent debate/section, and claims of a subsequent consensus are questionable since it hasn't held. Anyhow ... (E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 16:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC))
You accused me of not reading the intro to this article, not the policy citation. And my instigation of this talk section was not out of the blue - it was an attempt to bring some proper discussion in - the inclusive term was being removed without this. Mucky Duck 16:39, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Given this admittedly excessive discussion, my assessment has not changed. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 17:10, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I defer to my prior statements. In this context, in isolation or in concert, "country" is neither a sufficient definition nor description. The introduction denies nothing that the wikilink and article of "sovereign state" does not cover. The converse isn't necessarily true: crack is a form of cocaine, but not vice versa. If you feel that the current version is insufficient, it will never be complete and – given other examples above and below – including "country" will make it none of that and wordy for not what. I see no advocacy for describing the UK as a "kingdom" and "union" (though perhaps we should), which are arguably more appropriate since they are in or implied in the political name. And I don't think there's anything more I can say regarding this.
And bringing in other localities with varying political status is a non-starter: Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador are bona fide Canadian provinces within a federal system, though other things too (particularly the former in the current zeitgeist), while Newfoundland alone is now properly an island. Moreover, a perusal of each of those articles will not reveal the level of debate that this one has undergone regarding what to call them. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 16:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
The trouble with calling the UK a state is that it causes a certain amount of confusion over the Atlantic where state is generally taken to mean a sub-national entity. North Americans already get somewhat confused about the entities that make up the UK, and calling the top-level entity by a name that is familiar as a lower-level entity is just asking for trouble. DJ Clayworth 21:21, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
That's why "sovereign state" is even more than adequate, and there's a state (disambiguation) dab atop the "state" article to clarify ambiguities. And I'm writing this to you from the Great White North ... fully aware of the many meanings/intepretations of the numerous terms. Adding equally ambiguous terms and throwing in every possible one to describe an entity when only one will do is asking for even more trouble. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 21:27, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

That seems OK to me. Country is far too ambiguous and in this case factually incorrect and POV. Ambiguous weasel words should not be used in an encyclopaedia. FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 23:34, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

The Concise OED seems as good a reference as any, and it defines a country as "a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory". It astounds me that you might think that doesn't apply to the UK. --Khendon 08:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

It's not necessaily a matter of it being a country – of course it is – but it's also a state, kingdom, realm, polity, nation, nation-state, union, domain, territory, a collxn of countries ... And in this instance, unique amongst other entries, "country" has other specific meanings obviated by the current unambiguous version. An introduction should be descriptive yet concise, and throwing in everything including the kitchen sink does neither. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 13:53, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately some users manage to ge their definitions of coutnry and nation mixed up. Country is a vague term and should thus be avoided. Both state and country are 'clincally' netural. The alternative would be if we could create an entry that included neither, but I can't think what that would be. Robdurbar 10:29, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

So why are all the other countries states of the world introduced by this "vague" term? Mucky Duck 16:31, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Good question. If we were being technical and clinical about it then they would all be states. I have no problem with country and disagree vhemently with those who say that it is pov. However, I'm equally happy with the more specific state. Robdurbar 16:40, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
  • sigh* This has been explained over and over again, Mucky. Because other countries do not have multiple nations who are also described as countries within them. Calling the United Kingdom a "country" can be seen as implying the nations within the entity are not counties, given the linguistic tangles implied in talking of countries within countries. Taking any stance on the issue of the relationships between the UK, England, Wales and Scotland strays into dangerous POV territory. State however is totally factual. It avoids any implications for the relationships within the UK. Sovereign state fits the bill, except in one technical sense; since the UK joined the EEC, the UK, like all other EEC/EC/EU states is no longer 100% sovereign. The single most accurate description is unitary state, which means a state possessing a unitary system of government, unlike a federal state or confederal state. The UK is always held up as a classic unitary state. While since the 1990s home rule exists within the state, it exists not by constitutional right but will of parliament, and could be overturned by mere Act of Parliament (unlike in federal states where the regional entities have a constitutional right to exist, as much of a constitutional right to exist as the federal system of government). FearÉIREANNIreland-Capitals.PNG\(caint) 20:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I do not disagree with the above, but not unequivocally. To clarify: no state is fully sovereign or autonomous, and membership in international polities and organisations reinforces that. Arguably, the UK is devolving from a unitary state (and I'm not debating this) to one that's more federal in nature, and that term is already indicated in the intro. Lastly, citations above and below indicate a melange of terms to describe the UK. I maintain and do agree that there's no reason to include the kitchen sink to describe the UK when "sovereign state" (and note the link) is unambiguous and more than sufficient. Alone, "state" is similar to "country" in terms of possible ambiguity. And "nation-state", while not inappropriate, might be cryptic. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 20:19, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we ought to try it with a few to see just how NPOV the word state really is. Mucky Duck 16:49, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
"Country" is likely used in most instances because it's unambiguous; in this context, it is. As well: China (People's Republic of China), Republic of Macedonia, Singapore (with variant city-state) use the term in their introductions. I'd have no objection to retrofitting other articles as such, however. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 17:01, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
And Singapore and Macedonia also use the term country. I have no objection at all to the use of both; it's the denial that the UK is a country that is the problem. Mucky Duck 17:10, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
While the intro for PRC does not. If anything, varied use of terms only points to wordiness or inconsistency that begs for possible pruning, not the opposite.
And, again, no one is I'm not denying anything: all sovereign states are countries. I disagree with the viewpoint "country" per se is POV, as much as "state" can be; however, in this context, "country" is ambiguous. And while I've no general objection to using both (I've even attempted that above), there's no need to here and it's wordy. The intro is replete with distinctions of what the UK is, and yet another term will open a can of worms better left alone: shall we also describe the UK as a kingdom and union?
To that end, why don't we just add a superscript footnote to the intro/entry or link to relevant articles (like British Isles (terminology) or similar) about the multiple terms used to describe the UK? Take a glance at the Macedonia article again regarding its name. Reallly, far too much time has been spent on this already. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 17:21, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
No one is denying it? I agree that you're not, but others are - quite explicitly - and this POV shines through in the refusal to use the inclusive word. Mucky Duck 17:31, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I think one valid point is that "country" isn't wholly inclusive (as it has varied meanings in the context of this article/topic), and others may argue that such viewpoints needn't be in the introduction. Few other entities/polities have the constituents, structure, and history the UK does. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 17:39, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
None, I should think, but that the UK is a country composed of countries really isn't a problem at all. On the other hand "state" can never be an inclusive term because it refers simply to the governance of the... erm... country - sorry, but there really isn't another inclusive term for it - and ignores the people, the culture etc. etc. It isn't really accurate to say that all sovereign states are countries, it may be true to say that all sovereign states govern countries. Mucky Duck 19:30, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the above is debatable. According to my dictionaries, the term "(sovereign) state" does not ignore any of that – it is "a nation or territory considered as an organised political community under one government" (OED, emphasis mine). And even the first government entry below indicates the very term in the introduction currently. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 19:51, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
But note: organised political community. This article is not (specifically) about the politics of the UK, it is about the wider issue: the country. Mucky Duck 11:35, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Au contraire. A multitude of publics and aspects comprise a political community. And even thesauri commonly list "country" and "state" as synonyms. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 14:20, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
What would be good would be to find a difinitive reference which we could use next to the statment. Something from the Government or Oxford University or something. Then you could simply say "The United Kingdom is a blah [1] in north-western Europe..." DJR (Talk) 18:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I will say that the Penguin Dictionary of International Relations doesn't even define "country", only "state". As well, the UK government website indicates this:
  • The British Isles is an area divided between two sovereign states, namely the UK and the Republic of Ireland. [The British Isles] includes the Isle of Man. Use of this term sometimes includes the Channel Islands, but this is not consistent.
On the other end of it, the government website also indicates this:
  • The full title of this country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Great Britain (or just Britain) does not include Northern Ireland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK.
As for other volumes/references, you'll likely find a smattering of terms (like above) used. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 18:41, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Many have been referred during the course of these discussions. I'll give you another, from the Government's "About Britain" Website - "The full title of this country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (my emphasis). None of these are accepted by those who wish to deny the status. Mucky Duck 19:47, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
In case you missed it, I've already cited this above and also another citation from the UK govt website which reiterates the term used in the current introduction – sovereign state. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 19:53, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
So you did - I hadn't got to that bit yet. Mucky Duck 19:59, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
NP. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 20:05, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I think its telling that most political science books dont even bother defining the word 'country', as no academics use it. Robdurbar 00:15, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

It might be if this were an article about the constitution of the UK. But it is not, it is about the country - that's why it has sections on economy, society, sport... Mucky Duck 11:26, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
The definitions and citations above clearly do not deal with just the constitution nor any specific aspect you've cited above. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 14:11, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Right, well I've removed reference to state/country from intro. This is discussed in the article and is indicated by the context anyway. Robdurbar 12:14, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
This sounds fine for now, but removing any mention of either might not hold. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 14:11, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
It does neatly avoid the problem. I'll be interested to see if it holds too. Mucky Duck 17:21, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I doubt it. The reasonable reader may well expect to be told upon arrival at an article what the heck the topic is. The answer in this case is unequivocal: a state. None of us contests that: it is uncontestable and NPOV. "Country" is profoundly POV and very widely contested. I can guarantee you that sooner or later (probably sooner) this will all kick off again.--Mais oui! 12:36, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
PS: you should have left it at the agreed compromise position.--Mais oui! 12:38, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Arguably, the current version already does this ... though just barely. While it avoids the problem, it doesn't address it. The only advantages of the current version are that it's (1) a conciliation (a modus vivendi, if you will) arising from internecine wrangling amongst editors, and (2) an implicit (not explicit) description of the entity (United Kingdom ...). IMO, I think users deserve more than either of these. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 15:13, 2 March 2006 (UTC)