Q for Brits: Subjects or Citizens?

David Tallen

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OK, I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know the answer, but are the British people "subjects" or "citizens", or both? President Bush referred to British "citizens". Is that correct? How about a little civics lesson for an ignorant colonialist?
 

andrew markworthy

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Strictly speaking, we Brits are subjects, because we are all subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It should be noted that HM doesn't rule us as much as reign over us (a subtle but important distinction). However, 'citizens' is perfectly acceptable usage, and Brits use 'as a British citizen' as the preamble to almost any grouse they have about their perceived rights and entitlements.
 

CharlesD

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It used to be officialy "Subject" but that was changed some years back. I am a dual US/UK national and my UK passport says I am a "British Citizen".
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-- Will Work for Five Million Dollars
 

Bill Cowmeadow

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Charles,
Sorry to inform you of this, but there is no such thing as a dual citizen in the united states. You may actually have two passports, but legally, you are supposed to relinquish your prior passport when you become a citizen of the United States.
Yes, I am one who would know.
 

CharlesD

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That used to be to true, but it is my understanding that is no longer the case. I was never asked to relinquish my passport when I became naturalized (although it has since expired and I have not renewed it and travel on my US passport).
In any case as far as the UK is concerned you can never relinquish your UK citizenship, it is a permanent condition!
------------------
-- Will Work for Five Million Dollars
 

andrew markworthy

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Charles, I think the change of wording on the passports was to bring us in line with the rest of Europe. Since member states are a mixture of monarchies and republics, 'citizen' was a neutral term equally applicable to all. I think that we're still, very pedantically speaking, subjects of Her Majesty.
 

Steve Christou

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That's interesting Eric, I'm a direct descendant of Vlad Kristo, bloodthirsty scourge of Carpathia, rape, burning villages and impalements were some of his favorite hobbies, the other was cheating at scrabble, he enjoyed listening to the 'lamentations of the women' a popular rock anthem of that time, he also formed his own rock band circa 1497 'Vlad and the Impalers' 22 top ten hits, including the all time classic 'I wanna suck you dry baby', died of spontaneous combustion at the age of 53, well he always said it was better to burn out than to fade away.
ANONYMOUS POST FROM ARKHAM ASYLUM.
 

andrew markworthy

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Sometimes it can be as well not to advertise your ancestors. This summer whilst on vacation we visited a recently-restored windmill which was now also an industrial museum. I was talking with the mill's curator when I remembered that my great-grandfather used to own a windmill in the same part of the country. I mentioned his name and asked if he had anything to do with the present mill, and a definite chill entered the room. Apparently it was a combination of his miserliness and obstinacy which had caused the mill to fall into such a singularly bad state of disrepair and greatly increased the costs of renovation. Buying up most of the gift shop only slightly restored the warmth.
 

Eric Scott

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Vlad Kristo, bloodthirsty scourge of Carpathia
Steve, I have inquired to my medium to investigate your family tree. She said this may take a few days since many of her sources are reluctant to speak after several hundred years of silence.
However, she did say she had previously heard of your ancestor but recalls him being named "Vlad the Impalee?"

I will inform you as soon as she telepaths me any news.
 

TheoGB

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I've always found it pretty hilarious that despite the 'special relationship' Britain and the U.S. are still very ready to throw each other's citizens out at a moment's notice. You'd think our two peoples should be able to move around freely...
Then again, we don't even seem to let the Aussies and Kiwi's stick around long. Don't know what the situation is with Canadians. What's the point of having a Commonwealth if we don't like the other countries in it? Pah!
Theo
 

TheoGB

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Absolutely not. The revolution was only about taxes and had nothing to do with objecting to Britain. Read Bill Bryson's book Made In America (I believe - might be Mother Tongue) where he discusses a lot of stuff about that time. Fascinatingly even-handed work.
Theo
 

andrew markworthy

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Theo, absolutely right, it's Made in America (Mother Tongue is rather more about English english). A marvellous book and strongly recommended. American readers will probably already know of 'A Walk in the Woods' by the same author.
 

Eric Scott

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Theo, my first remark was strictly off the cuff, not a political explanation of the revolution.
only about taxes
That’s pretty simplified. If it were true we would have already had another revolution by now! (Are we allowed to discuss bygone politics?)
[Edited last by Eric Scott on September 24, 2001 at 08:11 PM]
 

TheoGB

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Well these things always do come down to something pretty simple. Historian A. J. P. Taylor believed that WWI started due to train timetables! In 1914 the only way to move your troops across land was by train and this took a long time. He suggested that the possibility of one country coming in on the side of another due to alliances meant it was logical to do a full mobilisation rather than simply move against a single European nation.
I can't remember this exactly but that is it roughly, I believe.
The American Revolution was IIRC down to the gentry objecting to paying taxes to a King who wasn't using them on the American continent. However, these things rapidly get out of hand and in the end patriotism is so much better a reason for things than money.
Or you could just watch The Patriot and see Nazi war crimes attributed to the English. Ho hum.
 

Eric Scott

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quote: patriotism is so much better a reason for things than money.[/quote]
Theo, In his monolog last night Jay Leno said, "Bin Ladin inherited $80 million and then increased his worth to $300 million through cleaver investments. That's why he hates capitalists so much!"
While patriotism may mean being loyal to what you are a part of to most citizens. As you know, no government exists where someone is not waiting in the wings to grasp power. (As well as the tax revenue!)
But the British citizens soon became tired of being ruled by Royalty also, didn't they?

[Edited last by Eric Scott on September 25, 2001 at 07:17 PM]
 

TheoGB

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Well er yes. They got poor and gave an ultimatum (Magna Carta) to the King.
I can only say that we appear to agree or else you misunderstood me. I was only pointing out that history tends to be rose-tinted to sound so much better to those involved.
Frankly, everything could come down to money but the way I heard it that genuinely was what the 1776 revolution was originally about - independence was a kind of side effect. That doesn't make it any less important IMO.
Theo
 

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