Wikipedia talk:WikiProject United Kingdom

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WikiProject United Kingdom (Rated Project-class)
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Country Vs state debateEdit

A discussion is taking place at Talk:United_Kingdom#Sovereign_Country about whether the term country or state should be used in the intro of the article for the United Kingdom if any one is interested in commenting. Llewee (talk) 17:12, 20 December 2020 (UTC)

UK citizenship question at Talk:Helen Smith (nurse)Edit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Helen Smith (nurse). Peaceray (talk) 20:33, 20 December 2020 (UTC)

Indiscriminate changes of "UK citizen" to "British citizen"Edit

An editor has been making blanket changes from "UK citizen" to "British citizen" with an edit summary of "UK citizens" is incorrect. In discussions with this editor, I believe they have tried to use the force of argument & no citations, save one, the website of the National Archives.

However, I have found that UK government sites use "UK citizen" on a plethora of pages across many sites, including one at If UK governments use it, the title can hardly be incorrect.

In light of this, I plan to revert the edits as against WP:EDITCONSENSUS, & as part of WP:BRD, I will ask the editor in question to discuss it here. Peaceray (talk) 05:37, 21 December 2020 (UTC)

Peaceray, It's badly incorrect to call this indiscriminate. Your reverts on the other hand, are just a knee-jerk. Will you explain why in each instance you believe the much less common, less natural, and more incorrect (per dictionary definitions and the government style guide itself) form to be more appropriate than the usual form? GPinkerton (talk) 06:24, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
See also: WP:HITS for why the google search results should not be considered GPinkerton (talk) 06:26, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
As I have explained above, the UK government itself uses the phrase "UK citizen" on its websites. You have failed to supply any citations as to why this is categorically incorrect. I believe you have engaged in cherry picking in the one citation that you presented on another talk page. Please consider WP:BRD. You have been reverted, now please discuss & get consensus.
I will adhere to whatever the consensus is on this matter. If the consensus is that I am wrong in this matter, then I can revert my edits.
Also, WP:HITS applies to notability. That is not what is at question here. Peaceray (talk) 06:38, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
@GPikerton: I will consider your request to stop the reversions, pending the outcome of discussions here. However, I would ask that you cease changing instances of UK to British. I have seen in some cases that you have piped wikilinks for Parliament of the United Kingdom to instead read British Parliament. I believe this to be highly inappropriate.
If you want to make such far reaching changes, then let's first get a consensus on what is appropriate. Peaceray (talk)
Peaceray why on earth should it be "highly inappropriate"? French Parliament, Spanish Parliament, European Parliament, Turkish Parliament, what's the issue? Just because the British government uses "UK citizen" in a very small minority of instances where the usual practice is to use "British citizen" a practice that same website uses in the overwhelming majority of instances, including in all instances in its pages on British citizenship itself does not mean we have to. this Home Office document details the long and complicated legal history of British citizenship (/nationality/subject status etc). It never once uses the term "UK citizen", since the proper term for citizens of the UK is "British citizen" (entitled to, for example, a British passport - NB not "UK passport"). GPinkerton (talk) 06:58, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Please note what the UK Parliament calls itself. I am using the very title that the website uses.
  • "UK Parliament". 2020-12-18. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
Yes, it is highly inappropriate to pipe an article title to a label you prefer when you believe the official English title to be incorrect. UK Parliament happens to be in English, unlike the native names of the examples that you selected. Peaceray (talk) 07:09, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, sorry, but the official name of the British parliament, by which it refers to itself, is "the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled". All other names are unofficial shorthand. In articles where two parliaments are involved, such as the European Parliament and the Parliament of the UK, it makes sense to refer to each by its appropriate demonym: European and British. Where do you get the idea I believe the official English title to be incorrect. "British parliament" is also English and I find it very difficult to understand how anyone could think describing the parliament of Britain as such could be wrong at all, still less "highly inappropriate". You can see how the parliamentary website uses precisely the language "British Parliament" when speaking about the present-day institution here. Indeed, parliament also refers to itself as "British Parliament" in legislation, as for example, in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 and the European Union Act 2011. I still don't understand how "UK" is preferable in any way to "British". GPinkerton (talk) 07:33, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, I am unconvinced that any of "British parliament", "UK parliament" or "Parliament of the United Kingdom" should prevail over the other. "UK parliament" is the title of the official website. I do no argue that "UK" is preferable to "British"; I simply state that neither is "British" preferable to "UK" & that there is no consent on Wikipedia to eschew one over the other. Perhaps I should have used the word "actual" instead of "official", in that the article name is Parliament of the United Kingdom, & that I found your piped label to be POV pushing. UK is interchangeable with British here, & you have given no substantial reason why we should prefer one over the other. Both are in common usage, & I choose that Wikipedia policy as my guide. Peaceray (talk) 21:30, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, if you're unconvinced that "UK parliament" should prevail over "British parliament", how then is using one of these terms "POV pushing". GPinkerton (talk) 21:53, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Favoring one over another is a point of view. Systematically removing the less favored term is hardly neutral. Peaceray (talk) Peaceray (talk) 00:20, 22 December 2020 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I've got BBC Radio 4 on and have heard UK used as an adjective several times this morning: "UK citizens" and also "UK food and drink". My guess would be that this usage has grown because of confusion about whether "British" applies to the whole of the UK or just to Great Britain. Cordless Larry (talk) 08:27, 21 December 2020 (UTC)

Also FWIW, I'm reminded of the advice at WP:UKNATIONALS#Do_not_enforce_uniformity, which, interestingly also refers to 'UK citizens'. I don't think either can be called incorrect in modern usage. -- zzuuzz (talk) 09:01, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Zzuuzz, I'm not trying to enforce uniformity, I'm trying to introduce variety! It's tiresome to read "UK this, the UK that, UK those" throughout an article when natural (and shorter, syllabically) alternatives are available. The "Brexit negotiations by yearX" article were extremely heavy on "UK" (often without "the" even when used as a noun, with the same for EU) and reading of relentless initialisms is no fun. Cordless Larry I don't think there can be much opportunity for confusion over the island vs state issue. Whatever fracas there used to be over the British Isles/Eire terminology is well and truly dead; the Taoiseach uses the same language as the Tories, but curiously the BBC News has decided "British means "belonging or relating to Great Britain"", the exact opposite of both The Telegraph and The Guardian, not to mention rather peculiar in light of the citizenship status of most people in Northern Ireland and the name and function of the BBC. ("UK food and drink" is a grim expression and sounds worse than the real thing!) The Irish Times meanwhile, is happy to use "British government", "British ministers", "British parliament", and "the British". GPinkerton (talk) 09:46, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't get that impression from looking at your edits. At most all I'm going to do going forward is refer back to that page, however I'll just note a couple of things using a sample of one[1]: First, "UK citizens" is incorrect", is itself probably incorrect and inconsistent with the "variety" argument. Second, something like that either needs quoting, referencing, or more likely just a general cull instead. -- zzuuzz (talk) 10:03, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Zzuuzz, It would only be inconsistent if I were, as the OP has wrongly claimed, changing all adjectival form of UK to "British", which is very far from what I have done. Where "UK", "the UK", "the UK's", etc., is more correct or more useful I have retained it. I'm not sure what you mean with your second point - could you clarify? GPinkerton (talk) 15:57, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I agree that there's not much risk of confusion with "British citizens", but "British population" as introduced here could perhaps be confusing given that it's a reference to the population of a territory that isn't GB. Cordless Larry (talk) 10:30, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Cordless Larry, possibly, but then, we don't insist on calling the American population "United States population" just because Hawaii and Guam aren't part of the Americas or the French population "France citizens" just because French Guiana exists. If "population of Great Britain" were intended we would expect that to be specified as such. GPinkerton (talk) 16:00, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
From my engagement with this user at Talk:Languages_of_the_United_Kingdom#Q&A it seems plain that the campaign has nothing to do with the usage of "UK" being incorrect and purely down to the user's personal dislike. There and at Talk:Helen_Smith_(nurse) they now seek to portray any objection to their baseless "corrections" as a proclamation that "UK" is actively preferred ("Why would you object to "British" and insist on "UK"?"). There's also something about my examples not being adjectival that I can not fathom, even a dictionary entry subtititled "adjective". This should stop and existing such edits in this campaign reverted. Mutt Lunker (talk) 11:30, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
It may also be connected to the fact that English is not his first language. Laurel Lodged (talk) 11:56, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Possibly but not an impression I had gained. Mutt Lunker (talk) 12:22, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Laurel Lodged, that is not a fact, as I have previously told you. GPinkerton (talk) 15:54, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I also disagree with these blanket changes. "UK citizen" is perfectly correct English as is "UK government". GPinkerton you seem to be okay with the use of "EU" in this way ("EU citizen", etc.) - what do you think the difference is? -- DeFacto (talk). 12:04, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Well, GPinkerton is right on the technical difference.
UK passports will say "British citizen". Indeed, if you google "UK citizen" you'll get a ton of results for "British citizen" and none on the first page containing "UK citizen", much of them from, so the "government uses 'UK citizen'" is a bizarre argument.
"EU citizen" is correct as defined in TFEU, and mentioned here.
"UK citizen" is not really the technically correct wording, but there's enough dispute/nationalism/whatever you want to call it on the whole "UK" vs "British" vs "English" vs "Scottish", to the extent that I don't think we need to be enforcing any technicalities in this area on Wikipedia. "UK citizen" is colloquially understandable, perhaps even most common (though I don't know for sure). ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:42, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
That another term is also used in official documents provides no support to the notion that "UK citizen" is incorrect in a technical sense or otherwise. What's more "UK citizen" and "UK citizenship" are also employed officially, e.g.: [2] and [3]. Mutt Lunker (talk) 14:53, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
You can find obscure pages on but it doesn't make it true. Each page is written by a different department, each publication receiving a different level of scrutiny. You will find such inconsistencies in practically every government's website. That some pages use it does not mean it's the technically correct position, and it ignores the fact that the most high profile and high scrutiny pages do not use the term (for evidence, google "UK citizen" and it will autocorrect it for you and show you the high-profile results). If you need more evidence, look no further than the picture on the right, or the British Nationality Act 1981. I agree that the technical distinction is not worth arguing over on Wikipedia articles and "UK citizen" is fine to use, but the argument that "UK citizen" is the technically correct term is just not true. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:18, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
ProcrastinatingReader, precisely the point I'm making! GPinkerton (talk) 15:53, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Indeed, this is the point the GPinkerton is missing or mischaracterising. There is nothing obscure about these pages, they were in the first page of ghits. I see no evidence, other than the OR above, that the notion of a technically correct, let alone a technically incorrect term even exists; I am not claiming that for either term and I don't believe anyone else is. I would though agree that, even if there were such a thing, it would have no bearing on this discussion. Both terms are valid and there is no justification for an eradication campaign against one. Mutt Lunker (talk) 15:59, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Mutt Lunker, what you mean is that you don't agree with the justification, not that there isn't one. WP:NOTUSA exists; yet "USA" is hardly a "technically incorrect term". GPinkerton (talk) 16:03, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
WP:UK citizen appears to be a red link. Were you to convince the world to turn it blue, you would be justified in re-commencing. If I'm engaging in a thread there is no need to ping me. Mutt Lunker (talk) 16:30, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
(Sorry, still getting used to Reply-link.) That might be quite a good idea, but I'm not really convinced it's necessary to justify changing these instances; it's not all that common in Wikipedia and most of the uses I found were in recently-written articles, mostly relating to Brexit, which were (and remain) in need of copy-editing. Many examples were missing the definite article for the UK and the EU, which suggests "UK citizens" etc. in many of these these cases is just over-casual writing and not a deliberate choice to prefer adjectival UK to "British". GPinkerton (talk) 16:50, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
My point is that there is no consensus for your viewpoint or your changes and unless and until there is you should not make them and you should revert the ones you have made. Mutt Lunker (talk) 17:01, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
ProcrastinatingReader, I don't know which search engine you use, but mine turns up hundreds of thousands of entries containing the term. The first few entries I found are: [4], [5], [6], [7] and [8]. Gramatically, what do you think the difference is between 'EU citizen' and 'UK citizen'? I still haven't seen any reason to believe that "UK citizen" and "British citizen" are not synonymous, both seem to be used interchangeably and are equally valid. And what about the other mass changes being made to exclude "UK government", "UK prime minister", "UK treasury", etc. do you think they're acceptable or somehow more worthy too? -- DeFacto (talk). 16:36, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Google. If one searches: UK citizen, without any extra filters forcing Google to show certain results, the search engine will correct this to British citizen. It’s unambiguous that said term is the technically correct descriptor. But what is “technically correct” is a moot argument as far as Wikipedia goes, since such has proven to be controversial, and we typically go by colloquial usage and RS descriptors not by consistency or technical correctness. Hence, as I’ve said, I do not support any mass changes, and think as far as Wikipedia goes both are valid. No real comment on the other descriptors, I would probably use “UK prime minister” more often than eg “British prime minister”, but these aren’t defined terms and so I’m not sure there is equivalence here - either or is obviously acceptable, and in most contexts British and UK are synonyms, but here we have a defined term, so... ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 16:43, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Per above, I fail to see how this indicates the existence of the notion of a technically correct, let alone a technically incorrect term. Mutt Lunker (talk) 17:09, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Citizenship is a legal status created by legislation. If a technically correct term can exist, this is one of them. GPinkerton (talk) 19:41, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I get the same results; first page of Google results has "British citizen" and "citizen of the UK" but not "UK citizen". The first uses of "UK citizen" Google finds for me are on the third page and come from forum posts. The first vaguely official result which uses that term is East Sussex County Council's website, after two and half pages of hits universally using the term "British citizen", which as you say is the only way the citizenship status ever appears on official documents. GPinkerton (talk) 16:57, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I get markedly different results form ProcrastinatingReader & GPinkerton. Perhaps it is because my search is structured as "UK citizen" For example, I see [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], & [16]. If "UK citizen" is good enough for sites, it is good enough for Wikipedia. Peaceray (talk) 18:00, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, if "British citizen" is good enough for sites, it is good enough for Wikipedia. Moreover, it is the only term used on official documents and used thousands and thousands of times more frequently on the government website you're citing. [17] GPinkerton (talk) 18:43, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, what official document do you think defines the allowable terminology? I do not need any official document with "British citizen" written on it to be a citizen of the UK. And what were you counting? I see a ratio of about 7:1 on the website, 1:1 on the website and 7:1 on the website. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:17, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, both terms are valid for use, even if British tends to be used more than UK. I accept both terms as valid. I do not accept your contention that "UK citizen" is invalid, when it is clearly one of the terms used by the UK. You do not dictate the style guide, & you have provided no citation that indicates that "UK citizen" is prohibited by any style. Peaceray (talk) 20:06, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, actually The Telegraph style guide I cited is along those lines. I am not trying to dictate the style. I haven't said it's invalid, I said it's incorrect, and I have explained why. GPinkerton (talk) 20:26, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, any. A citizen needs not document themselves as such, but as a group British citizens (generally) require the British Nationality Act 1981, which very much does have "British citizen" written on it. I have only used the site, since after citing Wikipedia this was the evidence produced by Peaceray. GPinkerton (talk) 20:23, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, Google tunes the results it serves up to what it thinks you might be looking for. My results are as I expect and honour what I search for. But Google isn't the arbiter of what is allowed in Wikipedia, English usage is, and "UK citizen" is widely used, and is correct usage. -- DeFacto (talk). 18:22, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, if it's "correct usage", does that make the form that appears in official use "incorrect"? GPinkerton (talk) 18:45, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, they are both in "official use" and are both correct. It might surprise you to hear that even it it wasn't in official usage, it could also be correct as English is unregulated and very flexible. Do you have reason to believe that in English, if a word or phrase isn't in official use, then it must be incorrect? And how do you define "official use" anyway? -- DeFacto (talk). 19:02, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, on official documents, the words "UK citizen" do not appear, and neither do they appear in legislation. "British citizen" appears on both and in international treaties. In a Google Books search for "UK citizen" in 20th century works, the phrase is rarely encountered and mostly turns up hits to UK Citizens Online Democracy, not references to people with the UK's nationality, and hits that do appear are mainly American. The phrase otherwise appears as in discussions of nationality status in the late empire/early commonwealth, when there (even more than now) several grades of British nationality which overlapped at various times with other citizenships. This for me points strongly towards a preference to "British citizen" in most instances, except where (in discussions of mid-century immigration status) "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" is more appropriate in the latter 20th century where the "and Colonies" is relevant and where "British citizen" would omit the colonial connection. GPinkerton (talk) 19:38, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, is there a Wikipedia policy telling us to avoid the use of terms that are not included in "official documents" or in "legislation"? If not, why do you think it is necessary to enforce that idea? -- DeFacto (talk). 19:50, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, for the reasons I've explained already; official use forms no part of my argument. It's usually best to call a spade a spade. GPinkerton (talk) 19:54, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, so it's just your personal language preference that you are pushing. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:58, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, no, it's the preference of the English language in general and the real name of the thing in particular. I thought that was clear. GPinkerton (talk) 19:59, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, the English language doesn't have a preference. Where names are completely synonymous such as these, then neither has precedence over the other in English, it's a matter of personal preference which is chosen - neither is the 'real' name. -- DeFacto (talk). 20:09, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
ProcrastinatingReader, Google doesn't behave like that for me. As I begin to type it I get an every increasing list of search terms starting with it. And Google does not 'correct' anything anyway, although it might try to offer more common search terms or list titles often selected for similar searches in your context. For me, the term is fully recognised and results containing it are returned in abundance. It is not 'colloquial' either, it is grammatically equivalent to "EU citizen" and "US citizen". The English language is not regulated, and if a term or phrase is commonly used it is correct - look at the word "Brexit", for example. A citizen of the UK is a UK citizen, even if they're passport uses the phrase "British citizen". -- DeFacto (talk). 18:18, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, it is also grammatically equivalent to "France citizen", "Spain citizen", "Australia citizen", all of which sound as perverse as does "UK citizen". Doubtless examples can be found, but that does not make it preferable to the proper form. GPinkerton (talk) 18:46, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, no, unlike "UK citizen", "EU citizen" and "US citizen", neither of those others are in common usage. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:24, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I'm disputing that "UK citizen" is in common usage, at least as compared with "British citizen", which is orders of magnitude more commonly met with. GPinkerton (talk) 19:27, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Will you stop spouting this line, countered by myself and others numerous times now, that anyone is asserting that "UK citizen" is a preferable term. We are countering your notion that it is somehow "incorrect" and should be wiped from the face of Wikipedia. I have so far assumed that you, in good faith, are somehow failing to grasp this but you have been told so many times now it is stretching credibility. It is as if you trying to win the argument by baselessly attributing to your critics an unsupportable view that they do not hold, which would be a personal attack. We are not restricted to the use of a single official term for everything in English. If both terms are in widespread use, that you like one and don't like the other is not a basis for you to own the terminology used in all its instances in all articles. Mutt Lunker (talk) 19:58, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
If you want to revert my changes that would seem to imply that you would prefer the "UK citizen" usage that would obtain. It's incorrect insofar as it's neither the common name for the referent nor the statutory name. I have nowhere suggested it should be wiped from the face of Wikipedia. GPinkerton (talk) 20:03, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Nothing of the sort; please retract that. As you have been told before, I would do exactly the same if you were doing the reverse (if I need to spell that out, if you were similarly pointlessly and systematically replacing instances of "British citizen" with "UK citizen"). Is that really so hard to grasp? Your actions alone are a declared campaign to wipe the term from the face of Wikipedia. Do not conduct campaigns that have no basis in consensus and that are purely based on your own preferences. Mutt Lunker (talk) 20:22, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I have declared no such thing, as I said above, and am saying so again. It is not "purely based on your own preferences"; I think have given ample reason already why such a change is justified in the instances in which I have changed it and what sources establish that such a change is by no means incorrect; you do not agree. GPinkerton (talk) 20:31, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, "common usage" doesn't imply the most common usage. It means it is commonly used. If you annihilate each term that isn't the most commonly used, then you reduce the English language to one term per concept. Is that your objective? Sure, if you add new content, you get to choose the words you use, but please respect the choice of vocabulary of other editors, and leave it be, especially if challenged. -- DeFacto (talk). 20:25, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, I have changed the instances I think benefit from the change. Two have been objected to in principle and a random selection reverted. As I have said, changing adjectival UK to "British" and "the UK's" increases' rather than reduces the variety of terms used, so my objective is exactly the opposite of "annihilating" any term, which I have nowhere sought to do. GPinkerton (talk) 20:35, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, would you similarly support changing all instances of adjectival US to 'American' and 'the US's'? -- DeFacto (talk). 20:55, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, not at all, there are many instances where US is more appropriate, as in "US Army" (cf. "British Army") and "US Supreme Court", not least because (what with the state guards and so on) there is more than one American army and more than one Supreme Court in America. However, when in say, Cold War-themed articles, no-one should have to read that many "US"s and "USSR"s; it's best to use "Soviet" and "American" to relieve the monotony, as well as speed up the reading pace by eliminating the repetitious "the". To me it seems more natural to refer to American institutions as "US" than to refer to individuals or the citizenry as a whole, usually referred to as "Americans". Anyway, I suspect adjectival UK is part neologism, part Americanism, and I think each nation's demonyms should be treated on its own merits. GPinkerton (talk) 21:08, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
"UK citizen" should not be changed to "British citizen" en masse without an RfC or similar, where we can get a proper conclusion to the strength of various arguments presented above. GPinkerton should not continue this series of edits, at least not at the present moment. — Bilorv (talk) 15:13, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
In case it hasn't been mentioned already, here is Note10 from the first sentence of the lead of the United Kingdom article (emphasis added): "The Guardian and Telegraph use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorthand for Great Britain. The British Cabinet Office's Government Digital Service style guide for use on recommends: "Use UK and United Kingdom in preference to Britain and British (UK business, UK foreign policy, ambassador and high commissioner). But British embassy, not UK embassy." While this doesn't address the adjective for citizen directly (although other examples given above on UK government websites do), it does suggest UK citizen may be good usage. Whizz40 (talk) 18:47, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Whizz40, it rather suggests that, like "British embassy" and "British passport", "British citizen" is the correct form to use. Certainly the website for which the style guide has been written heavily favours "British citizen" over "UK citizen", which is never used on pages dealing with British citizenship itself, so if government sources are to be followed it is British citizen that is to be preferred, as is logical. GPinkerton (talk) 18:53, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, no, it doesn't matter what the British government chooses to use in its publications, it's what has entered common usage, or what is specified in Wikipedia's MOS that dictates what is 'correct' in Wikipedia. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:30, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I'm not the one making that argument, just pointing out that Whizz40's evidence favours my case. GPinkerton (talk) 19:40, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, I fail to understand how "Use UK and United Kingdom in preference to Britain and British (UK business, UK foreign policy, ambassador and high commissioner)." buttresses your case. I agree with Whizz40's statement that While this doesn't address the adjective for citizen directly (although other examples given above on UK government websites do), it does suggest UK citizen may be good usage. Peaceray (talk) 20:24, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, I fail to see how it backs your case, given that it stress that "British" is to be used for diplomatic purposes, as Wikipedia does at British passport (words written on the front of the document; the term "British citizen" appears inside). The government website universally speaks of British citizenship when treating of the subject in anything other than casual mention. GPinkerton (talk) 20:38, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, your statement that government websites universally speak of British citizenship is false on its merits. I have already cited numerous instances where UK government websites use "UK citizen". Many of these are official websites. There choice to us "UK citizen" is no mere casual mention.
Any attempt to cast this as diplomatic usage is irrelevant, as we should follow common usage, as we do as the policy for article titles. Peaceray (talk) 21:49, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Please read what I wrote again. The pages dealing with citizenship itself do not use "UK citizen". Are you suggesting moving pages? GPinkerton (talk) 22:40, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Offical pages dealing with citizenship questions:
  • "Notice 5: Transfer of Residence - moving to or returning to the UK from outside the EU". GOV.UK. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2020-12-22. (including returning expatriate UK citizens) ... if you’re a UK citizen returning
  • "GOV.UK Verify". GOV.UK. 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2020-12-22. You need to have a UK address to use GOV.UK Verify. You do not have to be a UK citizen.
  • "Moving or retiring abroad". GOV.UK. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2020-12-22. Your UK citizenship will not be affected if you move or retire abroad. ... You have the right to live and work in any European Economic Area (EEA) country, if you’re a UK citizen.
  • "Work in an EU country". GOV.UK. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2020-12-22. You have the right to work in any country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland without a work permit if you’re a UK citizen. ... You’ll need a work permit to work in most non-EU countries if you’re a UK citizen.
I will go with the's authority, not GPinkerton's arguments. If it is good enough for official pages dealing with citizenship questions, it is good enough for Wikipedia. Peaceray (talk) 00:41, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, As I say, pages dealing with citizenship itself, do not use the neologism "UK citizen". If "British" is good enough for the government, for the law, and for documentation, and "UK citizen" appears on none of these, then "British citizen" is clearly preferred. I too will go with the (not recognized in Wikipedia) "authority" of, rather than Peaceray's flawed arguments. GPinkerton (talk) 12:22, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Other readers may note that I provided quotes from dealing with citizenship questions using the phrase "UK citizen". GPinkerton has contradicted what is evident on those pages. GPinkerton has posted no style guide from the government of the UK or any definitive citations from that indicate that "British citizen" should be preferred over "UK citizen". There are numerous examples of pages that use the "UK citizen". It appears that GPinkerton is cherry picking, &, IMHO, doing that without much success. GPinkerton is clearly advancing a viewpoint unsupported by citations.
I believe by the citations that we have collectively presented that both "British citizen" & "UK citizen" are in common usage. The former appears to be more prevalent than the latter, but both are clearly in use at Thus, there is no clear evidence of why we should use one over the other. I think that further discussion will either drive to no consensus, or a consensus that "UK citizen" is an acceptable & commonly used alternative to "British citizen". Peaceray (talk) 21:03, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Spot on. Mutt Lunker (talk) 21:18, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray, I'm in full agreement with that. -- DeFacto (talk). 21:26, 22 December 2020 (UTC)

I agree with Peaceray. Could everybody please look at British nationality law and British passport

  1. There is a general category "(a) British national". This can be awkward for everyday use: someone might respond "a British national what?" Maybe that is why British government websites sometimes say "UK citizen". That matches the passport: a passport of any British national says on the cover "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
  2. "British citizen" (or "British Citizen") is the principal class of British nationality. The class is stated inside the passport. A British government website dealing specially with citizenship/nationality would be likely to use the term "British c/Citizen" with that specific meaning.
  3. (There used to be a class "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies", but it was dropped in 1983.)
  4. Therefore it appears to be acceptable (albeit not technically correct) to refer to any British national, including a British c/Citizen, as a "UK citizen". To substitute "British citizen" for that would introduce ambiguity as between the general category (British national) and the specific class (British c/Citizen). Errantius (talk) 20:05, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Errantius, looks like OR to me. The term is "British nationals" not "UK nationals" and "British citizen" not "UK citizen" (a phrase which does not appear in legislation). GPinkerton (talk) 20:40, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
No, the terms "an eligible former British national" and "an eligible non-British national" are used in the principal legislation, the British Nationality Act 1981, s. 4I(1)-(3) (not OR, just looking up a ref given). Errantius (talk) 00:03, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Errantius, exactly. "British" is used, "UK" does not appear. "British Nationality Act" not "UK Nationality Act". GPinkerton (talk) 02:11, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Also, it should be noted that in rather larger letters is written at the front and top of the British passport: british passport. GPinkerton (talk) 20:46, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I am guilty of OR—looking at a passport issued in December 2019, while British passport shows that the cover was changed in March 2020 to read: "BRITISH PASSPORT [crest, then smaller caps] United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Errantius (talk) 00:03, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
The "British citizen" bit will not have changed. GPinkerton (talk) 02:11, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
Quite: when added inside as "BRITISH CITIZEN" for someone who is in that class of British national (if you will excuse that bit of OR with a document in front of me—and assuming that only the cover was changed in March 2020). Errantius (talk) 11:06, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
From reading the article on British nationality law, my interpretation is the common term British citizen means the principal class "British citizen", which is a subset of the general category "British nationality". This is because British citizen is the only class with the right of abode in the United Kingdom, see British nationality law#Relationship with right of abode. Therefore, I agree with GPinkerton that British citizen is the correct usage, and UK citizen is incorrect usage (as mentioned above, we would not say Britain citizen or France citizen and the Guardian style guide says UK and Britain are synonymous, see [18]). I believe Wikipedia should follow the former. The UK government does seem to have its own style of calling people UK citizens, but I don't think Wikipedia should follow that. Whizz40 (talk) 20:26, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Whizz40, "UK citizen" isn't incorrect - because it is commonly used and accepted and it is understood to be another way of saying "citizen of the United Kingdom". "Britain citizen" sounds wrong because it isn't commonly used, that's all. Would you accept that Heathrow is a UK airport, or would you be confused by that statement? How about that CDG is a France airport? How about Trump is the US president and Macron is the France president? There are no absolute rules that can be applied, it's just what we get used to hearing. -- DeFacto (talk). 20:47, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, "UK citizen" sounds to me like "America president", using a noun as an adjective. Whatever the case, "UK citizen" is less "correct" than "British citizen", the legal and most common term, and in the OED, which is as close to language-regulation English is likely to come, the adjectival use of "UK" is not listed. GPinkerton (talk) 20:58, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, does "US president" also sound like "America president" to you? -- DeFacto (talk). 21:07, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, no, because I hear and read that all the time in everyday language. US and UK are not the same and what is sauce for one is not necessarily sauce for the other. GPinkerton (talk) 21:10, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, interesting, yet there is no logical, grammatical or linguistic difference between the forms "UK citizen" and "US president". Is it simply a cultural/EngVar difference do you think? What nationality/residency/mother-tongue EngVar are you (obviously you are free to refuse to answer that)? -- DeFacto (talk). 21:22, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto you can make a fairly good guess from my spelling. GPinkerton (talk) 21:56, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto are your examples all colloquialisms? These might be common in speech, in informal writing, or in specific contexts (such as UK government style of writing). But should an encyclopedia follow that style or should it (consistently) follow a more formal, grammatically correct usage? WP:TONE suggests the latter. Whizz40 (talk) 21:20, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Whizz40, none of my examples are colloquialisms. Which of these sound like colloquialisms to you, which sound wrong and which sound ok?
  • UK citizen
  • Britain citizen
  • UK airport
  • France airport
  • US president
  • France president
- -- DeFacto (talk). 21:28, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, I would never expect to see "Britain citizen", "France airport", or "France president". I would prefer not to see "UK airport" or "UK citizen". "US president" is the only one that is unequivocally fine. GPinkerton (talk) 21:50, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
Whizz40, also and interestingly, WP:TONE states Standards for formal tone vary a bit depending upon the subject matter but should usually match the style used in Featured- and Good-class articles in the same category. So I looked for a random FA on a British political topic and found this: Referendum Party. It uses the terms "UK election", "UK households" and "UK political history". Do they sound like colloquialisms to you? -- DeFacto (talk). 21:48, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I would agree US President is in widespread usage on Wikipedia. I do not think it is correct in formal usage, but I would say it is generally stable in articles and therefore might be considered acceptable usage. I do not think UK airport would be considered correct or acceptable usage in an encyclopedic article and would generally be rewritten. I think the terms "UK citizen", "UK election", "UK households" and "UK political history" fall between the two. However, the article List of United Kingdom general elections could be improved as List of general elections in the United Kingdom, "UK households" could be improve as households in the United Kingdom, and "UK political history" as political history in/of the United Kingdom. In the same way, I think "UK citizen" can be improved as British citizen and therefore is not a stable usage. Whizz40 (talk) 21:59, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I am tempted to conclude then, that these type of constructions should be treated in the same way that EngVar spellings and word meanings are. They only seem to be 'correct' to you if they are familiar to you and you would use them yourself, but leave them alone as they are valid in the particular EngVar of the article. -- DeFacto (talk). 22:38, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
I see how the analogy could apply, but if there is a natural improvement then I think editors should be free to improve the article. I can't think of a reason why article improvements should not be allowed when the same small change is being made across many articles. This seems like the normal course of improving the encyclopedia. Whizz40 (talk) 23:20, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
As is abundantly clear, if it wasn't when they started their campaign, there is not a consensus that this is an improvement. That is a reason to desist, and to roll back, unless and until such a consensus emerges. Mutt Lunker (talk) 18:26, 22 December 2020 (UTC)

It was hard to insert this into the thread, but noting here that the The Guardian page that GPinkerton cited appears to agnostic on this matter:

UK or Britain
in copy and headlines for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (but note Great Britain comprises just England, Scotland and Wales)

"Guardian and Observer style guide:".

Regarding The Telegraph style guide, well we do not generally use newspaper style guides to style Wikipedia. For example, the I believe the The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage & the AP Style Guide proscribe the use of the serial comma (AKA the Oxford Comma), & we definitely do not adhere to that. I, for one, prefer the serial comma!

When I was asking for a style guide, I was hoping for something like the British version of the APA style or the MLA Handbook, or something from the government of the UK itself, not an individual news source style guide. Peaceray (talk) 21:31, 22 December 2020 (UTC)

Peaceray, the BBC style guide (here) is interesting. I couldn't find specific guidance in it on whether to use "British" or "UK" in the adjectival sense we are discussing here, but amongst the examples it gives in its guidance it does use "UK" adjectivally and it does say: 'UK Prime Minister Glenda Goodwin (and not "British Prime Minister Glenda Goodwin")'. Examples include: "Beware words that have different meanings for US and UK audiences...", "The UK government is calling for...", "Both the US and UK armies are divided into corps...", "A UK company should never be described as "going bankrupt" since...", "The deal struck between the UK government and the European Union is...", "... the title should use UK spelling...", "Prof Chris Whitty should be referred to as the UK government’s chief medical adviser or...", "Cap up when the reference relates to the UK monarchy...", and "In UK stories (about UK firms, the UK economy etc), use pounds..." (my bolding). -- DeFacto (talk). 22:20, 22 December 2020 (UTC)
DeFacto, not an individual news source style guide. In any case, it would seem style guides rarely comment on the issue exactly, but the BBC is at variance with its own name (and the existence of BBC Northern Ireland) when the BBC News style guide: states

British means "belonging or relating to Great Britain"

This leads to absurdities: "UK army" is very definitely incorrect. The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders dodges the issue with:

Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), the British Isles (United Kingdom plus the Irish Republic) should be used accurately

which is only stating the obvious while blundering over the name of Ireland.
Meanwhile, Reuters recommends

Use United Kingdom or U.K. only to emphasise the inclusion of Northern Ireland with England, Scotland and Wales. Normally use Britain in text, or U.K. if pressed for space in a headline.

The Economist suggests

Use Britain rather than Great Britain or United Kingdom

Peaceray The British parliament uses the term "British citizen", and emphatically not "UK citizen", since it uses "UK resident" in the same sentence. [19]. Furthermore, the Modern Humanities Research Association's style guide says:

(b) that the term Britain in its strict sense is the equivalent of Great Britain but is so extensively used as the equivalent of the United Kingdom that it would be pedantic to object to its use in that sense

It takes only a look at a Google Ngrams comparison to note that "British citizen" is far and away the most common form of "citizen of the UK" terminology, and that "UK citizen" is a neologism that would be anachronistic in reference to historical events, historical people, etc. GPinkerton (talk) 00:14, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
I note here the additional cherry picking & disregard of what has already been presented. In one place GPinkerton cites WP:HITS to indicate that we should not use commonality in Google to establish whether a term is legitimate & now GPinkerton wants to use Google to prove that the more common use of term makes it the legitimate term. One cannot have it both ways. I believe that we already have established that "UK citizens" is less common than "British citizens", so that point is moot. We have already established that "UK citizens" is used thousands of times on sites, including pages that deal with citizenship questions, & therefore "UK citizens" is commonly used as an alternative to "British citizens". The fact that GPinkerton cites one page that uses "British citizen" & not "UK citizens" means nothing when I have cited multiple pages from that very same site that use "UK citizen".
GPinkerton, I respectfully ask you to consider the WP:DROPTHESTICK essay. Peaceray (talk) 01:05, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray despite your protestations, I have yet to see a single indication that "UK" is anything other than a much less preferable, much more causal, and fundamentally incorrect neologism not grounded in official use or based on actual documentation. If you will not accept that there's little more I can do but point out that you are again misrepresenting my actions, intentions, and arguments. If you prefer "UK citizens" go ahead and impose it. GPinkerton (talk) 03:12, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
On the contrary, I do not seek to impose anything. I wish to keep the status quo. I only seek acknowledgement that "UK citizen" is already in common use in general, on websites (including those addressing citizenship questions), & on Wikipedia as an alternative to the term "British citizen". However, I believe that GPinkerton is trying to impose the elimination of "UK citizen" upon Wikipedia, & I object to that. Peaceray (talk) 05:07, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Fine. "Re-impose". GPinkerton (talk) 05:09, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, yes, exactly. Different organisations, different cultures, and different nationalities may have different styles, but that does not mean that all but your preferred one are incorrect. And, as we have seen - over and over - to use "UK" adjectively is not incorrect or even colloquial in UK English. For that reason, it is not imperative that you cleanse all instances of it from Wikipedia, and especially not from articles on topics which have strong ties with the United Kingdom. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:16, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
It is both formally incorrect and colloquial at best in British English, as the evidence above demonstrates. "UK citizen" has been shown to have no basis in law or officialdom, and to be an uncommon neologism. No-one has suggested there is any imperative to "cleanse" anything, other, apparently, than these edits. Topics that have strong ties to Britain ought to follow correct usage, in my view. There are numerous instances where "UK" used as an adjective is incorrect and yet there are no instances in which "British" could not be applied to citizens of the UK. One is very clearly more correct than the other. GPinkerton (talk) 10:25, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
GPinkerton, you say '"UK citizen" has been shown to have no basis in law or officialdom', I'm not sure why you think, even if it were true, that that has any bearing on the use of it in Wikipedia. There is no Wiki policy saying only use terms that have a basis in law or officialdom.
However, even if there was such a policy, we would be ok with using "UK" adjectivally, because, as we have seen, it very much is used in law and in officialdom. Many more examples can be found on the official UK website for legislation:, on which the term "UK government" is used ~ 98,000 times compared to ~ 630 uses of "British Government". Other examples from there include: "UK citizen", [20][21][22][23]; "UK Parliament"[24][25][26][27]; "UK territory"[28][29][30][31]; and "UK minister"[32][33][34][35].
Please provide examples of what you consider to be 'instances where "UK" used as an adjective is incorrect'. -- DeFacto (talk). 11:11, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
All four of these examples of "UK citizen" are from official documents but not from actual legislation. They seem to be using "(a) UK citizen" to mean "(a) British national" and not the specific class "British c/Citizen" as in the British Nationality Act. Seems somewhat in Peaceray's favour. Errantius (talk) 12:46, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Errantius, what do you mean by "in Peaceray's favour"? -- DeFacto (talk). 12:58, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Peaceray wrote at the outset of this: "I have found that UK government sites use 'UK citizen' on a plethora of pages across many sites [...] If UK governments use it, the title can hardly be incorrect." These are four examples of such use. Errantius (talk) 13:14, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
  • "UK citizen" is not a synonym for British national. There are many classes of British nationality, mostly related to prior territories, and most of them have no right of leave in the UK. "UK citizen" refers to "British citizen", unambiguously, even in the cherry picked usages given above.
    This discussion is futile, anyway. Everyone seems to have their own POV before entering this discussion (on both sides) and is finding examples to support their chosen POV. Just being real here. When you are going so far as to link local council websites or an archive document from 1964, or a news releaase, to support your POV, as if they take the same care with wording as the high profile, thousands of pages on from, eg, the Foreign Office which use a specific term. This discussion is ridiculous.
    The one thing I think most of us do agree on is that there should not be attempts to enforce consistency on Wikipedia. And that's all that matters here. The rest is WP:NOTFORUM. So can we let this overly long thread die now? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:33, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Agreed, there is certainly no glimmer of consensus for any attempt to enforce consistency, let alone this particular one. A revert to the status quo ante for all edits concerned and drop this drain on our collective time. Mutt Lunker (talk) 14:16, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification, ProcrastinatingReader. For my part, I have been careful only to refer to "UK citizen" or "British citizen", & to not refer to nationality.
I am fine with closing this discussion. Peaceray (talk) 04:16, 24 December 2020 (UTC)

As I have already said repeatedly, attempts to mischaracterize my edits as an "attempt to enforce consistency" are wrong and unhelpful, and mass reverting all my edits with a certain timeframe would not improve the project one iota, and neither would it improve the encyclopaedia misguidedly to try to enforce consistency by reinserting "UK" and reinstating all the typographical errors and corrections to links and so on, and doing so would smack of POV. GPinkerton (talk) 19:32, 23 December 2020 (UTC)

If we're talking mischaracterisation, reversion of "all edits concerned" is plainly not reversion of "all (your) edits". Just the disputed "corrections" of "UK" to "British". If you want to make sure your typo corrections etc are left intact the best way is to carry out the remedial work yourself, as you should, having been the instigator. And nodody, as you are well aware, is advocating a reverse campaign to replace existing instances of "British" with "UK", so stop trying that one on. Everyone else is satisfied, or sufficiently satisfied, with the co-existence of both terms. Mutt Lunker (talk) 20:11, 23 December 2020 (UTC)

British citizens arrested overseas have no right to the government’s assistance or protection, even if they are tortured or held as diplomatic leverageEdit

Hi all

I would like to include this fact somewhere within articles about the UK but I'm unsure where it should go, does anyone have any suggestions? Here is a reference:


John Cummings (talk) 11:37, 28 December 2020 (UTC)

@John Cummings: I don't think this is news at all and it's not unique to Britons. No country has to power or duty to do anything for its citizens while they're under the jurisdiction of another state. The whole point of recognizing other states is that mutual understanding that states' powers are limited to their borders. Having a passport with "without let or hindrance" on it is not civis Romanus sum. GPinkerton (talk) 18:34, 28 December 2020 (UTC)

Map of participants in World War IIEdit

Map of participants in World War II

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Request for comment on reliability of The CanaryEdit

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National Physical Laboratory (United Kingdom)Edit

Highlighting this article as a potential for taking to Good Article standard. There are plenty of reliable sources, some in the further reading section, lots of work needed, and it would be an interesting article I think and a valuable addition. Whizz40 (talk) 11:24, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

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Name of current census in the United KingdomEdit

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FAR for British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World WarEdit

I have nominated British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World War for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Z1720 (talk) 21:46, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

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COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom has an RFCEdit


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Most viewed stub in this WikiprojectEdit

Tom Bateman (actor) 127,554 4,251 Stub--Coin945 (talk) 15:30, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

Return to the project page "WikiProject United Kingdom".