[Marxism] Could Socialists Not Use "Great" before Britain!

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Sun Nov 4 14:27:14 MST 2007

Lüko Willms schrieb:
> On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 17:07:47 +1300, John Edmundson wrote:
>>Ireland has never been part of Britain, great or otherwise. The UK is
>>the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (now) Northern Ireland. Great
>>Britain relates to the whole island, including England, Scotland and
>>Wales and predates the existence of those individual nations, or even
>>the concept of nations as we understand them. 
>   "Great Britain" is the name of Europe's largest island. "Great" 
> compared to "Lesser Britain", i.e. "la Bretagne" in French, the half 
> island on the north-west corner of France. Both are geographical names, 
> and do not describe political entities. Well, in the case of "Great 
> Britain", it is something ambigouus, but that is because there is no 
> real nation-state on that island. A symptom of that is that most 
> politicians on Great Britain speak of their country just as "this 
> country", avoiding to give it a name. 

The origin of the name "Great Britain" to refer to the island called 
Britannia by the Romans was in contrast to "Little Britain" (La 
Bretagne), as Lüko says. At that time the word "great" was primarily a 
synonym for "big" or "large". However, today the primary meaning of 
"great" is "very good". This is a reason why most British socialists - 
and indeed many other inhabitants of the country - now refer to the 
country as Britain. IMHO the use of teh term "Great Britain" is now as 
out-of-date as the use of "North Britain" to refer to Scotland.

Also there is no longer any danger of confusion between the island and 
the region in north-western France since this is now known in English as 

Whatever about geographical terminology I think we as socialists should 
be guided by the usage of the socialists that live on the island.

Einde O'Callaghan

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