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Thread: Questions About the United Kingdom

  1. #11
    Senior Member SaxonCeorl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Next question: Explain to me what is meant in the UK when someone says "public schools" or "public education". I have been told this does not mean the same thing as it does in the USA.
    Yeah, that's the most ironic name for those schools, but I'll let Englisc tell it.

    Personal question: Do you appreciate the Scots being in the UK or would you not care if they eventually left? It seems like most English couldn't care less or would be glad if they left. Maybe it's because most aren't so ethnically aware and don't value a shared Britishness vis-a-vis outsiders. Either that or they're so provincially racialist that they consider Scots in the same way they would Pakistanis or Afro-Caribbeans (I recall a particular Anglo-Saxonist forum where everything was Jock this and Jock that...).

    Of course, many Scots don't help matters by disowning any ties with England in favor of leftist globalism. I really wish all of the ethnic British would value their shared identities above all else, but it doesn't seem like that will be happening any time soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Englisc View Post
    I have noticed threads here....
    Here's one; how do you put up with ASBOs?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    "Hencods roes" are the unfertilised eggs of gadoid fishes. Like a cheap caviar. Roe is eggs and milt is sperm. In Scotland they fry herring milt which is sperm stripped from the male fish.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Englisc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    Why do you drive on the left side of the road?
    Throughout human history it has been more popular to drive on the left of a road, because most people are right handed. In the 1700s this started to change in Europe, with France and Russia switching to the right. France exported right-hand driving to other parts of the world. America was divided but eventually it decided to drive on the right. To this day southern Africa, India, and Australia also drive on the left.

    An additional fact: That Brits drive on the left expains the popularity of manual gearboxes in this country. Your right hand, the strongest one in most people, is always on the steering wheel, while your left one is either on the wheel or moving the gear stick around.

    What is the stereotypical British person?
    That's a very hard question to answer! The stereotype itself depends on whether your focus is only modern or only historical, and also on class status. I guess some pop culture figures represent British stereotypes well, such as Sherlock Holmes, or especially, the Doctor in Doctor Who - even though he's meant to be an alien.

    Why do you get milk from tin cans?
    Are you referring to the milk bottles like this? Brits typically buy their milk in containers that look like this:



    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Next question: Explain to me what is meant in the UK when someone says "public schools" or "public education". I have been told this does not mean the same thing as it does in the USA.
    One of the most important things to understand about British society is the class system. America has wide disparities in income and wealth, but the constisution prohibits the creation of an aristocracy like we have here.

    "Public school" is, confusingly, a word for a certain group of the most prestigious and long-established private schools, including Eton, Harrow, Westminster, and some others. The dominance of public schools can be seen in the last government: The PM, Cameron, went to Eton; his chancellor, Osborne, went to Westminster, as did the deputy PM, Clegg; the mayor of London, Johnson, also went to Eton (in the same class as Cameron infact).

    About 7% of British kids attend paid-for private schools, but these children, especially those from schools like Eton, dominate British society. Here's a list of which schools British PMs attended: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...m_by_education 1 in 10 MPs attended Eton alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonCeorl View Post
    Personal question: Do you appreciate the Scots being in the UK or would you not care if they eventually left?
    I'm fairly ambivalent about the whole thing TBH. I neither support nor oppose Scottish independence, though I think at the current time (with the oil price so low and with Brussels imposing new conditions on an independent Scotland) I think it would be costly for the Scots.

    The Scottish government's recent behaviour has not helped things. They have threatened to hold a new independence referendum because of Brexit (only 38% of Scots voted to Leave), and Sturgeon also claimed she has the power with the Scottish parliament to prevent Brexit from happening.

    Most English people do not want Scotland to leave the UK - but I don't think many of those who voted Leave would be willing to sacrifice Brexit to keep them in.

    Anyway, if you want my opinion about whether Scotland will actually go indy - I really don't think so. Independence now is a very unattractive deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammish View Post
    Here's one; how do you put up with ASBOs?
    They were actually abolished last year, replaced with court injunctions.

    I used to live on a council estate - where the poorest people live - where there were a number of families with young boys who had ASBOs. There was Grafitti all over the place, and knives left at the side of the road.

    One of these families were particularly notorious. I learned that the mother of the family and some of her young kids tried to move to another estate, but the people living there started a successful petition to keep her away.

    Before he became a magistrate, my granddad worked for the local social housing organisation. His job was to make sure the anti-social tenants were put in line. So he had a lot of experience of working with the ASBO families.

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    No, that is really not my question. I understand this:

    One of the most important things to understand about British society is the class system. America has wide disparities in income and wealth, but the constisution prohibits the creation of an aristocracy like we have here.

    "Public school" is, confusingly, a word for a certain group of the most prestigious and long-established private schools, including Eton, Harrow, Westminster, and some others. The dominance of public schools can be seen in the last government: The PM, Cameron, went to Eton; his chancellor, Osborne, went to Westminster, as did the deputy PM, Clegg; the mayor of London, Johnson, also went to Eton (in the same class as Cameron infact).

    I think what I am really asking is why these are called Public Schools (which I am gathering they are) and if so what do you call the schools most children attend? My confusion is the schools like Eton would be called private schools here and most children go to state run schools which we call public schools. British terminology confuses Americans each time this is brought up.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Englisc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow
    I think what I am really asking is why these are called Public Schools (which I am gathering they are) and if so what do you call the schools most children attend? My confusion is the schools like Eton would be called private schools here and most children go to state run schools which we call public schools. British terminology confuses Americans each time this is brought up.
    According to the Oxford English dictionary, the reason these schools are called "public", originating in the 1700s and 1800s, is that they were neither religious schools (ie they accepted everyone), nor were they "private" education inside the home.

    The term always used for government-run schools, which the 93% of children attend, is "state school" and "state education". Another important thing to understand is there are actually a few different types of government-owned schools:

    • Grammar schools: These were the top of the selective educational system that operated in England from 1944 to the 1970s. Kids would take an exam at age 11, and the best performers would enter these schools, which would offer an expansive curricuculum and direct their stuents towards university. The inferior type of school for those that did not pass the 11+ was called a secondary modern. In the 60s to 70s most grammar schools were turned into comprehensives. Not many remain but there are a few areas of England where the selective system endures
    • Comprehensives: By far the most common. Both sexes and abilities are mixed together, in often large (up to 2000 kids) schools. Most have now become "Academies" which are more independent of local government.
    • Free schools: A special kind of comprehensive that is set up not by the government, but by parents, teachers, a business, etc. in a local area. They are independent of local government control and can set their own subjects and standards. Somewhat similar to the charter school movement in the US.


    I agree the terminology is rather confusing. Most of the time, though, when reading a UK article referring to public schools, the context will be clear that this is referring to private institutions.

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    I've got it. Thank you so much Englisc.

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    OK, another burning question. This is about those British beers. It seems to me both the British and Irish brew a kind of beer which is odd to me at least. It is reddish brown and has a flavor or an after taste which is unique to say the least. I heard a story once in which it was said this type of beer was the beer of the most common man, the cheapest beer originally, but of course people develop a taste for their beer and so it is in demand.

    Do you know anything about this?

  9. #19
    Senior Member Berrocscir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    OK, another burning question. This is about those British beers. It seems to me both the British and Irish brew a kind of beer which is odd to me at least. It is reddish brown and has a flavor or an after taste which is unique to say the least. I heard a story once in which it was said this type of beer was the beer of the most common man, the cheapest beer originally, but of course people develop a taste for their beer and so it is in demand.

    Do you know anything about this?
    I'm not an expert so please don't expect my answer to be definitive. English beer is still split into three basic types: Dark, light and mild. The darker beers have a lot of malt in them. The lighter ones (golden in colour, sometimes called 'straw' beers) have more hops in them. Mild is somewhere in between, weaker and is going out of fashion a bit. Stouts are also popular (like Guinness). Up until about 20 years ago, mass produced beers were most the most common, like you say, the reddish brown beers, and they they're still widespread. But in recent years small independent brewers have been growing in number (in some areas quite remarkably) in a kind of 'Real Ale' revolution. Real Ale is becoming very popular even among younger people of both sexes. The definition of real ales varies depending on who you speak to. It is to do with the brewing process and techniques used. Some say a beer can be classed as real ale if it continues to ferment in the barrel. Light ales (sometimes called Summer ales) are made with hops and many have a fruity, citrous taste. Many are made with imported american hops varieties like 'Cascade' grown in sunny conditions in volcanic american soil. Real Cider is also gaining in popularity. It tends to be cloudy and without the fizziness of mass produced cider, and is based on traditional production techniques. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is well known for supporting Real Ales and Ciders and pubs that serve them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berrocscir View Post
    I'm not an expert so please don't expect my answer to be definitive. English beer is still split into three basic types: Dark, light and mild. The darker beers have a lot of malt in them. The lighter ones (golden in colour, sometimes called 'straw' beers) have more hops in them. Mild is somewhere in between, weaker and is going out of fashion a bit. Stouts are also popular (like Guinness). Up until about 20 years ago, mass produced beers were most the most common, like you say, the reddish brown beers, and they they're still widespread. But in recent years small independent brewers have been growing in number (in some areas quite remarkably) in a kind of 'Real Ale' revolution. Real Ale is becoming very popular even among younger people of both sexes. The definition of real ales varies depending on who you speak to. It is to do with the brewing process and techniques used. Some say a beer can be classed as real ale if it continues to ferment in the barrel. Light ales (sometimes called Summer ales) are made with hops and many have a fruity, citrous taste. Many are made with imported american hops varieties like 'Cascade' grown in sunny conditions in volcanic american soil. Real Cider is also gaining in popularity. It tends to be cloudy and without the fizziness of mass produced cider, and is based on traditional production techniques. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is well known for supporting Real Ales and Ciders and pubs that serve them.
    Thanks for the detailed response. It is the Guinnes-type beer of which I was speaking but I believe Guinnes makes more than one type of beer.

    If I go into a German restaurant, for instance, they give me tap choices of Helles order Dunkles, light or dark. There seems to be no in between red. But with British beer somehow this strain seems to slip in and when it does I inquire and have gotten all sorts or responses (maybe it is just the beer talking).

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