September 3rd, 2008, 09:28 PM
Any advice? We're Americans but we love the idea of Hebridean (cruise line to the Queen, true English country house hotel afloat) and have booked our first cruise on the line on Spirit. Would love to know more about what to expect from passengers who've cruised on the line (have done the research otherwise and think we'll really like it).
September 26th, 2008, 07:04 PM
A short article which will either enlighten or else further confuse the use of the titles - England / English / Britain / British / Scotland / Scottish. Confused no doubt further by the fact Hebridean International the company is based in Yorkshire, England. However the ships are actually Scottish as they are registered in Glasgow, Scotland and have for most of their life sailed round the Hebrides which are part of Scotland. The Queen has also has her favourite 'county house' at Balmoral which is also in Scotland.
In most instances the use of the title British is probably more accurate as you will hopefully see from this article....
Please also note you have not caused any offence and I'm sure you will have fantastic cruise.
Scot Andy Murray's march to the US Open final has left some Americans mistakenly applauding the "Englishman". And they're not the only ones confused by the whole Scotland-England-Britain thing.
Few British press reports lauding Scottish tennis star Andy Murray's dramatic victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals failed to mention that the 21-year-old is Scottish.
And most Brits would know anyway, especially after Murray underlined his nationality with his controversial - although perhaps tongue-in-cheek - comments in 2006 about supporting any football team playing England. The furore that followed that remark did not register in the US of course, where many observers remain confused about who the young man from Dunblane really is.
Former tennis player Wendy Turnbull, an Australian now commentating for the BBC, says: "It was funny, I was upstairs in the players' lounge and I heard some Americans go 'Oh, the Englishman won.'
"Then someone said 'He's Scottish!' and the others said 'We meant to say British, not English.' So Americans are correcting other Americans and saying he's Scottish."
The BBC's tennis commentator, Jonathan Overend, in New York, says: "It's amazing, isn't it? Some people here still can't get their heads around what that's all about, saying 'Well how can he be from Scotland but still from Britain?'"
It's a mistake that was made at Wimbledon earlier this year by American John McEnroe who, when commentating on a Murray match, described him as one of "you English guys". He swiftly apologised.
It's not just tennis pros who fall victim to this confusion. Ken Paterson, a photographer who set up the Famous Scots Project to celebrate the Scots diaspora, says that when telling people in the US that he's Scottish, they do sometimes think it is part of England. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif
"You do have to explain that. It's not an uncommon perception, but then Americans are not particularly educated about geography outside their own country," he says. Although many Americans might think the same about British knowledge of their country.
"I think Australians are slightly better, but I don't think other countries want to split us [Britain] up. We're a small country on the edge of Europe. Why split us up any further? For MSP Stewart Maxwell, "Britain doesn't really mean anything to Americans". "They think of Britain as England and can't differentiate between Wales and Scotland and England," says the communities and sport minister. "I think Europeans are very clear about the different parts of the UK. I've never experienced that problem in Europe."
In the US Mr Maxwell has experienced the two extremes - a barmaid in the Deep South standing in front of a gantry full of Scotch whisky who said she had never heard of Scotland and a Native American in California who was so knowledgeable he could isolate where Mr Maxwell was from - Glasgow.
"I'm never upset by it. It's not the individual's fault. Once you speak to people and explain the difference you realise they are aware of the iconic things about Scotland - whisky, castles, Loch Ness and tartan - and very enthusiastic about it."
But Brits shouldn't get too smug either - they make the same mistakes too. Although awareness within the UK about national differences has grown, especially since devolution led to Scotland gaining it's own Parliament and Wales gaining it's own Assembly, there are still instances where people publicly fall back into bad habits.
And the BBC is one of the main culprits, says Mr Maxwell. Many Scots, Welsh and Ulster folks know thias too well from sports commentaries broadcast across all areas of the UK from England. This was perfectly illustrated when one interviewer asked sprinter Usain Bolt to give a message to "the whole of England watching" after his Olympic triumphs. "It's a continuation of England and Britain being the same thing," says the MSP. "There's an excuse for people far away to not know their geography but the fact remains that the BBC not knowing it is beyond the pale."