Talk:British House of Commons/Page name

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Anyone have a problem with renaming this United Kingdom House of Commons or House of Commons (UK)? - stewacide 01:50 Feb 27, 2003 (UTC)

The House of Commons is by FAR the most well known house of commons in the world and should remain at House of Commons , just like Paris is at Paris and London is at London. Mintguy

I fundamentally disagree. We have a problem with wiki's Americocentrism. Presuming that if people say House of Commons they of course mean the UK House of Commons is going to add a degree of anglocentrism that we should equally apply. Other countries also call their lower chambers the House of Commons and are just as entitled to. Equally some countries have former lower houses that were called House of Commons. I think the standard should be [[{country} House of Commons]] allowing Canadian, Irish, British etc to be used, with House of Commons as a disambigulation page. ÉÍREman 23:04 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)

Mintguy, there's a Paris, Ontario. The difference between Paris and the House of Commons is that if an Ontarian says Paris, she probably means Paris, France; but if she refers to the House of Commons, she probably means the one in Ottawa. - Montréalais


There's also a London, Ontario, and I bet an Ontarian saying "London" means that one. It makes no sense to do this disambiguation for pages that are almost universally understood to mean one thing. The article about toast isn't a disambiguation page with links to French toast and Melba toast and ordinary toast is it? But do what you like I'm tired of this nonsense. The page was perfectly happy residing at House of Commons without anyone complaining, until yesterday, someone decided to move it without any debate. Mintguy
I agree, but "House of Commons" is not almost universally understood to mean the British one. Nobody outside the UK says "House of Commons" if they mean the British one. "House of Commons" is universally understood to mean the lower house of any Westminster-style parliament, not only the British one, any more than Senate is universally understood to mean the Roman or American or Canadian one. And just because there was no debate doesn't mean nobody disagreed with you.
At any rate, as long as you say "do what you like," I will. - Montréalais
AFAIK there are only 2 extant House of Commons and the United Kingdom house is BY FAR the most widely known. Mintguy
Whether it is widely known is not the point (and there are three, not two.) The point is whether someone means the British one to the exclusion of all others when they use the unmodified term. They do not. - Montréalais
Sorry. What is the third?! The point is whether it needs qualification or not. House of Commons unqualified, means to most people in the world, the UK House. It's not whether it means this to the exclusion of all the others, or otherwise Michael Jackson the singer wouldn't be at Michael Jackson etc.. See my reply to JTD belowMintguy 22:14 Apr 25, 2003 (UTC)

Also: outside the UK people do not say the House of Commons when referring to the UK HofC. They say British House of Commons. That is how the French, German, Italian, Canadian, Irish and US media always refer to it. Simply adding in the relevant name as in British House of Commons, Irish House of Commons, Canadian House of Commons is by far the best option. ÉÍREman 23:22 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)

I understand Mintguy's argument but I think it is misplaced and I agree with Montrealais's changes. And in particular I think British House of Commons is preferable to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, given that the first form is the one generally used, whereas the second isn't. ÉÍREman 17:39 Apr 25, 2003 (UTC)

Search Google NEWS (i.e. select the NEWS tab) for ...

"British House of Commons" return 34! results
"Britain's House of Commons" returns 18! results
"House of Commons" returns 2,180 results of which (of the first 100, 87 were about the UK house,
only 3 of which were prefixed with British or Britain's, the remaining 13 were about the Canadian house).
"Canadian House of Commons" returns 0 results
"Canada's house of commons" returns 3 results one of which was a Canadian website
"house of commons of Canada" also returns 3 results one of which was a Canadian website
"If aliens landed in Quebec, the American media would give it two inches in the entertainment section." - Alison Bechdel

That is my last word on the subject, my protest has been registered, I've had enough of arguments of this kind dragging on. I've already lost faith in Wikipedia over naming conventions Mintguy

FWIW I think House of Commons (UK) is better than British House of Commons, because it's much easier to modify existing references with the pipe trick. Mintguy

That is a format used by 0% of people, Mint. And how do you suppose we deal with others House of Commons articles. [[House of Commons (Irl)]], [[House of Commons (Can)]]. Noone uses those. We are supposed to use the most common easily recognisable format. That is British House of Commons, the terminology used worldwide outside the UK. And how exactly is it easier to modify using the 'pipe trick'? The format Montrealais used here is 100% correct, 100% recognisable, 100% usable and 100% accurate. No other alternative is. ÉÍREman 00:09 Apr 26, 2003 (UTC)

Very small point, but it'd be [[House of Commons (Ireland)]], [[House of Commons (Canada)]], no? Mr. Jones 23:51, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I just thought of another problem with House of Commons (UK). The United Kingdom became the formal name of the state when Great Britain and Ireland merged in 1801. So using (UK) could in terms of accuracy only refer to the House of Commons from 1801 on. Britain dates back to 1707, though James VI/I first coined the term in a rather confusing manner in October 1604. No-one word is 100% accurate (so that's a slight change from what I said above.) England cannot cover after 1707 when Scottish MPs went to Westminster and UK covers when Irish MPs joined them in 1801. British at least covers two of the three general names of the state which sent MPs to Westminster, so while it isn't 100% accurate, it is the most accurate version on offer and covers just about all of the period of parliamentary supremacy over the monarchy, which many date to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. So that offers another nail in the coffin of the HofC (UK) option. ÉÍREman 00:20 Apr 26, 2003 (UTC)

Regarding the problem of England, I linked articles on subjects prior to 1707 to British House of Commons anyway, since I presume that's where the history will go (much like links to the colony of Newfoundland are to Newfoundland and Labrador, where the history of the colony is.) - Montréalais

It is now, several months after this page was moved. People who wanted to move this page might want to note that links to 'House of Commons' now has about 130 pages linking to this page of which at least 100 are referring to the British House of Commons, and shows that the page shouldn't have been moved. Mintguy 14:20, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Some further statistics in the same vein. (Figures are rough, I couldn't motivate myself to count exactly). 200-250 pages link to British House of Commons, 80 pages link to Canadian House of Commons, 12 pages link to Irish House of Commons. Rough average of Google News stats,Mintguy's statistics and these statistics is that Britain mentions outweigh Canada mentions about 4 to 1, with Ireland nowhere. I can't decide whether this is sufficient to warrant 'promoting' Britain to the HoC slot - if it does there is a lot of work changing nearly 250 links to be done. Pete 15:01, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I feel that the sections on "Restrictions," "Royal Assent," and "Devolution" belongs on the Parliament page rather than on the Commons page, since these definitely deal with Parliament as a whole, rather than the Commons alone. What are the opinions of the other users? Lord Emsworth 04:10, Oct 25, 2003 (UTC)

'Saturday sessions are only called during national emergencies; the last such occurance was during World War II' is wrong. There was at least one sitting during the Falklands War. - Chrism 19:59, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)


Why was 'British' chosen? You're aware, I suppose, of the different meanings of UK and British? I propose renaming it United Kingdom House of Commons or House of Commons (UK) the [[British]] reference is inaccuarate and misleading.2toise 13:38, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)

To quote Duffy "I just thought of another problem with House of Commons (UK). The United Kingdom became the formal name of the state when Great Britain and Ireland merged in 1801. So using (UK) could in terms of accuracy only refer to the House of Commons from 1801 on. Britain dates back to 1707, though James VI/I first coined the term in a rather confusing manner in October 1604. No-one word is 100% accurate (so that's a slight change from what I said above.) England cannot cover after 1707 when Scottish MPs went to Westminster and UK covers when Irish MPs joined them in 1801. British at least covers two of the three general names of the state which sent MPs to Westminster, so while it isn't 100% accurate, it is the most accurate version on offer and covers just about all of the period of parliamentary supremacy over the monarchy, which many date to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. So that offers another nail in the coffin of the HofC (UK) option. ÉÍREman 00:20 Apr 26, 2003 (UTC)" Mintguy

By this logic we should also go and change the name of the United States of America, since it wasn't always called that.2toise 16:54, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)

2toise - In future don't make such moves without fixing the broken redirects. I'm moving it back. Mintguy

Sorry if that caused problems, but I thought that it automatically redirected? In any event, you agree to the change if the redirects (which ones?) are fixed? The official website is hosted at UK Parliament, British is simply incorrect.2toise 21:26, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Here is a list of pages linking to the article page. You can also access this list by clicking "What links here" on the article page. Pete 21:43, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)
As I understand it, none of these are 'broken' by moving the article. What am I missing here?2toise 23:45, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)


re United Kingdom House of Commons - that was debated some time ago and the agreement was to use British House of Commons, British House of Lords, British Prime Minister, etc., not United Kingdom. (I didn't take sides if I remember correctly) The reason was the 'most common name' wikipedia policy. UK HoC is simply never ever used. If HoC is qualified, it always is with British. Ditto with PM. Anytime anyone decided to change them, it usually led to a revertion war from those who were passionate about the British. And in retrospect I think they were right. UK HoC looks alkward and is not used. BHoC is. FearÉIREANN 23:47, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Interesting, I wasn't aware of that - I will stop fixing the links for a bit until we can clarify this - I am surpised that an encyclopedia would go with the 'most common name' rather than the correct one - are there other instances of this? I don't think United States of America should be listed as America simply because that is the most common name for it, or Netherlands listed as Holland just because a lot of people think that's what it's called - do you?2toise 23:51, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The most common name rule is the basic rule of wikipedia. You didn't know that? Oops. It is Rule Number 1 of wikipedia. Only where most common name is also 100% wrong (eg Holland) is it not used, or in specialist areas like royal titles. But elsewhere most common rule is all but sacrosanct.

As far as I can seeon the guidelines on this, the most common name is not used if it is factually wrong or misleading. Factually acuracy (Bill rather than William is not not misleading for Clinton, since both refer to him) would seem to be important for an encyclopedia, but perhaps I'm very old fasioned.2toise 06:51, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Hence United States in most of wikipedia, not United States of America, Bill Clinton not William Jefferson Clinton, etc. Also as the House of Commons is in as BHoC not UK HoC if you have been doing what you did on Irish Houses of Parliament elsewhere, you'd be strongly advised to be careful. Redirects have a habit of breaking down. One re-direct is risky (where possible they should go directly) but two redirects is suicidal, for they regularly break links all over the place. So never ever make double redirects and if possible remove single redirects. It is worth reading all the guidance on naming conventions before making major changes because clear policies are defined there. :-) FearÉIREANN 00:02, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

100% wrong? Surely the name is either correct or not? Holland is part of the Netherlands, Britain is part of the United Kingdom. The fact that people commonly mistake one for the other is surely not justification for what an encyclopedia calls it?

Re the redirects, I was slapped for moving the page without correcting the redirects, and then for fixing the redirects before moving the page - it seems the tactic is simply one to keep the incorrect name for the page.2toise 00:09, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

A Google search on the word British in wikipedia shows that use of the adjective British to mean "of the United Kingdom" is widespread within the encyclopedia. (there are exceptions - e.g. the UK general election of 2001 and the other general election pages). I see the options as:

  1. Change all "British" pages to UK unless the topic specifically excludes Northern Ireland. Pros: Likely to be correct in the strict sense (although could be thorny problems with history articles), rather than just the "well everyone uses and understands British to be the adjectival form of Britain, British Isles or UK as appropiate" sense of correctness we currently have. Cons: An enormous amount of work where the benefit is likely to be pretty thin compared with an equivalent amount of work developing new articles.
  2. Change some "British" pages, such as this one, to UK as the fancy takes us. Pros: Correctness in the sense above on those pages. Cons: Inconsistency.
  3. Don't change anything. Pros: Simple. Cons: Inconsistency
  4. Change UK articles to British. Pros: Consistency. Cons: Maintain correctness only in the loose sense described above. Pete 12:57, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I would be more than happy to assist in fixing the links, and think that an approach of gradual fixing and making new articles correct would be reasonable, a small group of people could probably fix most of the links pretty quickly, and spot and broken links.
Without wanting to bang on about this too much, the fact that it is a common misconception that Britain and United Kingdom are synonyms doesn't mean we need to propogate it - it is even more important to be correct on this point. Thanks for you input on this, I support either of the first two of your proposals.2toise 14:26, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Now it's me at risk of banging on too much, but I just wanted to be clear on what exactly the misconception people have is. It is a misconception to believe that (Britain = United Kingdom). I don't think this conception is widespread (at least in the British Isles) and of course we would never wish to make this mistake in Wikipedia. However are you saying the use of the adjective "British" to mean "of the United Kingdom" is also a misconception? I don't believe it is. See for instance http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=British where as an adjective there are two meanings - meaning a) of Great Britain but meaning b) of the United Kingdom. My Concise Oxford English Dictionary says the same thing (meaning 1, if you have a copy). Thus although using British in meaning b) sense would seem to be wrong in a strict formal grammatical sense, it is absolutely fine in normal English according to the dictionary compilers. There is no suggestion that this meaning is slang or inappropiate for a formal medium like an encyclopedia. These were the two levels of correctness I alluded too. I hope with this extra detail you won't be too disappointed if there is not a wholesale change in lots of page names. You probably aren't going to get a lot of support for changing something that isn't substantially wrong, for little benefit and a lot of work. Pete 21:55, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Thanks - actually I do think the misconception is widespread (there is, at the very least, considerable confusion, see below). I believe the disctionary definition reflects usage, a lot of people use Britain to mean United Kingdom. While that's fine in everyday use, I can say I am from Britain or from the UK without fear of confusion, I believe that an encyclopedia should be a little more careful, especially when most of the article linking to it are discussions of UK politics and constitutional issues where the distinction is important. I think that it is substantially wrong and am volunteering to put in a large share of the work.2toise 22:03, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Copied from Village pump debate on same topic.2toise 21:26, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Article naming (British / United Kingdom House of Commons / Lords / Parliament etc)

I'd like to ask for broader comment on a discussion going on on the British House of Commons page. The debate hinges on whether the page about the House of Commons in London should be called British House of Commons or United Kingdom House of Commons. It seems that everyone agrees that the House of Commons in question is part of the government of the United Kingdom, but some assert that the page should nonetheless be called British because it is often (erroneously) called that. The convention of naming the article by its most common correct term, not necessarily the official one, is cited to justify that. My concern is that Britain is only part of the United Kingdom, and it is factually incorrect and misleading to title the article British. Comment would be appreciated on that page since there are implications for many other articles.2toise 05:13, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

My concern with "UK" is that there is a Scottish one too, right? This is their web page: "The House of Commons is part of the United Kingdom Parliament." Speaking as an American, I think it's silly to call it anything other than plain old "House of Commons" in the article. They were first, it's quite unambigous, etc. There should be another article entitled United Kingdom Parliament, etc. For the article itself, I would recommend House of Commons (United Kingdom). Daniel Quinlan 06:46, Nov 12, 2003 (UTC)

Err, no, not if I'm reading you properly -- there's a Scottish Parliament, not a Scottish House of Commons. I'd stick to "British House of Commons" since British is the common term for things pertaining to the whole UKGB+NI not just the island of Britain. My passport says that I am "Nationality: British Citizen" not "Nationality: United Kingdom Citizen". -- Arwel 12:03, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I think that you might be mistaken there, there is, indeed, a Scottish Parliament, which takes some decisions relating to Scotland, and a Welsh Assembly, which makes decisions relating to Wales. Both were established by acts of the House of Commons in Wesminster, which makes decisions relating to the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain, is shorthand for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), while UK includes Northern Ireland. Your passport may say British Citizen, that indicates that you were not born in Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom Parliament site is at http://www.parliament.uk/ and houses government information about the UK Houses of Commons and Lords. The confusion surrounding this underlies the importance of us getting it correct as an encyclopedia.2toise 17:47, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Both were established by acts of the House of Commons in Wesminster -> actually the were passed by the Queen-in-Parliament, ie passed by the House of Commons and Lords and given the Royal Assent by HM the Queen. The House of Commons cannot pass Acts, merely Bills, which cannot purely by being passed by the House of Commons become Acts. FearÉIREANN 00:04, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Indeed, but as far as I can see, this pedantry has nothing to do with the point in hand.2toise 00:05, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that someone born in Northern Ireland would not have British Citizen in the nationality part of their passports' data page (unless they applied for an Irish passport, which they certainly could do at least before the Good Friday Agreement)? If this is the case, you are simply wrong in your argument. The British Nationality Act 1981 defines British Citizenship, not United Kingdom Citizenship, there is no such thing. "British" is an adjective meaning "of the United Kingdom" - see any reputable dictionary. Your argument is misconceived and I see no point in continuing this argument. -- Arwel 23:55, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
No, citizenship has nothing to do with what we are talking about. The use of the term British to refer to citizens of the UK is fine, but not for government. You will not, I think, find any examples of the UK government describing itself or parts thereof as the British Government. I challenge you to find any cases of this.2toise 00:07, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Then again, the U.S. articles are all named United States House of Representatives or Supreme Court of the United States or similar. (What I said about the references inside the article itself still stands.) Daniel Quinlan 06:57, Nov 12, 2003 (UTC)

My two cents is that the article should be listed under United Kingdom House of Commons as I think official names should be the default in situations like this. I'd list British House of Commons as a redirect. However, I'd generally use "British" rather than "United Kingdom" as the adjective form in articles; it's the common term in general usage and much less unwieldy. MK (Sorry. Forgot to include my name when I first posted this.)

Agreed. Within the article (so long as it isn't a link) it can be listed however the authors like, although I would still tend to avoid British (unless we actually mean England Wales and Scotland) and just use HoC if it is clear which one we are talking about. We should also avoid reffering to the Netherlands as Holland for the same reasons2toise 17:55, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

That is a false argument based on a historical and linguistic misconception. Many states have adjective forms of their name. Some do not. In the case of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British is universally used and has been continually throughout the variety of states that have existed in that geographic region. In modern geo-political terms, British was used initially from October 1604 to describe the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, which in the previous year had come to share the same sovereign, James VI/I. It owned its origins to James's unsuccessful attempt to create a single name for his separate kingdoms. That name he chose was Great Brittaine. Great Britain because the formal state name following the 1707 Act of Union of Scotland and England. In 1801 a new state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. (James had used the perscriptive, not descriptive term united kingdom as early as 1604.) In 1922, most of Ireland left the kingdom, and the new truncated state was renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Through every state from 1604 to the present day, (ie. England and Scotland separate with a shared king, Great Britain, the UK of GB and I, then the UK of GB and NI) the term British has been used as the adjective form of the state, whatever its nomenclature, in 99% of cases. Queen Anne is recorded as a British Queen, as is Queen Elizabeth II. (Some commonwealth states used to refer to "His Brittanic Majesty") Every prime minister without exception has been known when defined by state mostly as British prime minister, with the alternative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom used largely only in formal legal documentation (eg, treaties). The monarchy since James VI/I has been regularly called the British monarchy, the House of Commons the British House of Commons. The media is referred to as the British media. Sports stars are referred to British athletes/footballers/ etc. David Beckham is called a British football player, except when seen in terms of international soccer when he described as English.

A linguistic distinction exists between British/Britain, which is used to refer to the entire kingdom, and Great British/Great Britain, which is used to refer to the island that contains England, Scotland and Wales, and is used as such in the name of he UK, ie, the United Kingdom of Great Britain (the island) and Northern Ireland (a territory off the island of GB). To use Great British PM would be wrong as there is no PM in the Island of GB, not is there a queen of GB. But using British as the adjective form of United Kingdom is standard, not least because it allows for a degree of continuity between the often changing names by which the British state was known since the separate states on Great Britain were first constitutionally linked ago. United Kingdom is also problematical given that there have in fact been 2 UKs, one from 1800 to 1922, one from 1927 to the present (and confusion between 1922 and 1927). Following the flawed logic of 2toise, one could not have a list of British Prime Ministers, for example, but three lists; GB (up to 1800), UK of GB+I (1801-1920s), UK of GB + NI (1920s - present), no list of British monarchs, but 3 lists, no lists of famous British people, but three lists, etc etc. And so one would have articles called

  • [[List of Prime Ministers of the Kingdom of Great Britain]],
  • [[List of Prime Minsters of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland]],
  • [[List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland]].

Oh and

  • [[House of Commons of the Kingdom of Great Britain]],
  • [[House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland]],
  • [[House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland]], etc.

Logically if one was to follow the policy of accurate absolutism 2toise seems to want, you would have to rewrite much of wikipedia - one could not talk about Australia before 1900 as there were six states, not one. Italy could not be used before Italian unification in the 1870s, Germany would be limited to after the creation of the German Empire. And of course, President of the United States would also have to go, as to use the correct state nomenclature, every link would have to be President of the United States of America.

Wikipedia policy is clear - according to our naming conventions and Manual of Style,

  • Use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things. (NC)
  • Use the form most familiar to English speakers: see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English). (MoS)

According to google searches;

  • British monarchy 30,000 versus United Kingdom monarchy 48
  • British Prime Minister 182,000 versus United Kingdom Prime Minister 817
  • British House of Commons 11,000 versus United Kingdom House of Commons 737
  • British Football 11,000 versus United Kingdom Football 774
  • British sport 10,500 versus United Kingdom sport 511
  • British politics 54,500 versus United Kingdom politics 792
  • British music 69,300 versus United Kingdom music 1,630
  • British instiutions 6710 versus United Kingdom institutions 281
  • British government 496,000 versus United Kingdom government 24,300
  • British current affairs 191 versus United Kingdom current affairs 3.
  • British media 34,700 versus United Kingdom media 1,050.

All the evidence shows that Britain is

  1. The standard use of reference when referring to the UK in adjective form
  2. used by 99% of people in up to 99% of cases;
  3. is universally recognised and recognisable, as the google search shows;
  4. allows for continuity through the various state names used for 399 years;
  5. is accurate. It clearly refers to the UK in adjective form. The island's name is Great Britain, not Britain, as the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shows unambiguously. In that way it has no parallel with Holland whatsoever, which is not the adjective form of The Netherlands at all;
  6. was the form of language overwhelmingly the last time the issue was discussed.

United Kingdom is

  1. rarely used in adjective form (eg, people say British prime minister, British queen, British House of Commons, British football, British tabloids, etc., not United Kingdom prime minister, United Kingdom queen, United Kingdom House of Commons, United Kingdom football, United Kingdom tabloids, etc, as the google search shows in every single case)
  2. is ambiguous as it could refer to either of the two UKs;
  3. is period specific and so cannot be used to describe the holders of offices before 1800;
  4. is clumsy in language;
  5. is not the most common form of terminology used, meaning that its usage would run contrary to the 'common name' and 'form most familiar to English speakers' rules that tens of thousands of articles have been drafted using;
  6. if followed, would require major change in large numbers of articles that have followed the the 'common name' and 'form most familiar to English speakers' rules to the letter;
  7. was rejected as an option when previously the issue was discussed for many reasons, including those above.

One final point: Northern Ireland Unionists insist that they are British, not Great British, because as they openly admit they couldn't be the latter as they don't live in Great Britain (the island), but in Britain (the state), formally known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So clearly using British as the adjective form of UK is the solution that follows general usage, international usage and wikipedia's own rules. Using United Kingdom in adjective form involves ignoring general usage, accepted usage worldwide and breaking wikipedia's own rules on the matter.FearÉIREANN 22:35, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Bravo! -- Arwel 23:27, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

1. British is not 'universally used'. It is often (erronenously) used in a casual context, rarely in a discussion of constitutional or political issues. It is clumsy to have sentences like In the United Kingdom, Parliament consists of the British House of Commons etc. (from Parliament). The author is careful to point out that they are talking about the UK, but have to link to the British House of Commons, even though they know the term is misleading.
2. I am not suggesting that we need separate pages for all of the historical cases. I am suggesting using the current correct name, and discussing the historical precursors on that page, as we do with most successor states.
3. You are a little misleading in your statistics all the evidence shows 99% etc? That's simply not true.
4. You might want to take a look at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading. Wikipedia does not condem authors to parrot common errors.
5. The UK Parliament (of which the HoC is part, describes itself on the site http://www.parliament.uk/. That seems pretty definative, there is no mention of it being the British Parliament.
6 The CIA World Factbook: conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland conventional short form: United Kingdom abbreviation: UK
I don't understand why you seem so committed to perpetuating a common misconception.2toise 22:58, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
It is a misconception to equate Britain and United Kingdom. It is NOT a misconception to use British to mean of the United Kingdom - it is the accepted adjective. No adjective form of United Kingdom has been successfully coined, and although it's sometimes used unmodified as an adjective this is FAR from being common usage. --Morven 23:15, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Morven is absolutely correct. As to British not being "universally used" in adjective form it is a fact that it is. As to the British House of Commons link, that should have been piped. As to the current correct name argument, OK, so you want to rename the British House of Commons article as United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland House of Commons? That is what your argument requires. United Kingdom is not the correct name but a generalised shortened version, as you will see if you look at treaties signed in the state's name. So if you want accuracy, it has to be that! As to the we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading argument that is completely irrelevant. British is not "unreasonably misleading". It has been used as the adjective version of various British states for 399 years. Calling The Netherlands "Holland" is misleading. Calling France "the Kingdom of France" would be misleading. Calling Northern Ireland "Ulster" is misleading. Using the standard adjective form of a name, used worldwide by billions of people, including the British (BTW what do you suggest calling the British then? United Kingdomish?) is common sense and follows wikipedia's rules on name use to the letter and the spirit. Your suggestion does neither. As to the British Parliamentary website, that is completely irrelevant, and I'm surprised you use it. Of course they use the most formal title. All official sites do that. That is not evidence of anything. Why does Tony Blair have international press releases issued that call him the "British Prime Minister" if the "British" bit was so wrong. I simply cannot understand your determination to push an illogical, factually inaccurate agenda that breaks wikipedia's own rules to produce article titles that will be no more accurate, just less accessible and less likely to show up in google searches, given that most of the planet will use British in searches, whether you want them to or not. FearÉIREANN 23:20, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Clearly, the correct approach according to Wikipedia precedent with American which is similarly problematic for a few editors (although because it may be too inclusive, not because it may be too exclusive) is to clarify every single usage of "British" and replace with "UK citizen" or "of the UK" since it can be confusing. UKian would be the best option if only people would use that term instead of British. We should also create a new page named Alternate words for British and list any alternative words that have been constructed to raise awareness of the issue and it can be linked from various possibly offensively-titled articles where "British" has to be retained for some pathetic reason. Basically, a few people might find it offensive, so it doesn't matter what common usage dictates. Daniel Quinlan 23:35, Nov 12, 2003 (UTC)

Not necessary, we are not talking about citizenship, British is fine for that, since there is no confusion. The name of the government and parts thereof is the only thing that needs to be corrected.2toise 23:59, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

But this would also be wrong. There is no such thing as United Kingdom Citizenship, there is British Citizenship - see the British Nationality Act 1981, or the article on British Nationality Law. 2toise is, quite simply, flogging a dead horse; he is just plain wrong in his arguments. -- Arwel 23:45, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I'm sorry, you are insisting on caracaturing my argument. United Kingdom is the correct short form of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain is simply not. Arguments about "British citizen" etc are irrelevant, since, as you point out confusion does not arrise in those cases. In terms of which parts of the UK different parts of government have authority over confusion does arise, and the use of British is unreasonably misleading. :Please find any reference in official UK government material to "British House of Commons", "British Parliament", "British Government". I think you won't find it, because that usage is wrong and misleading in that context (in other contexts, as you correctly point out, it is neither misleading or incorrect).2toise 23:57, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
*sigh* You are ignoring every single point everyone else makes and continually repeating factual inaccuracies as if if you say them often enough they might just become true. How many times does it have to be repeated? British is the adjective version of United Kingdom, not the name. BTW if British was such nonsense, why would Parliament enact a law called the British Nationality Act? Not that you'll answer the point of course. Your argument is getting increasingly silly and threadbare. FearÉIREANN 00:12, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I will concede this point if anyone can find a single official usage of British Parliament, British House of Commons etc by the UK Government. I doubt that you will respond to this reasonable request.
I will answer your point that British is a perfectly acceptable adjective in terms of citizenship. Indeed, as you point out, it is used officially. I don't disagree with you. I disagree that you will find any official usage in terms of discribing the government itself.2toise 00:17, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
(Caught in 4 edit conflicts, but I'll post anyway) Oh for crying out loud! How many times do we have to tell you that United Kingdom (whether the short form or the long) is a noun and British is an adjective one of whose commonest meanings is "pertaining to the United Kingdom"? (In any context, not just citizenship) I absolutely refuse to continue this pointless argument until you go away and read a bloody dictionary!!! -- Arwel 00:25, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Getting shrill won't help.2toise 00:27, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Re references from the UK Government to itself as the "British Government" - here is one particularly notorious example (not notorious for use of the word "British", I hasten to add). It's quite common, I think. --Camembert
I beg your pardon - I mean in the form British House of Commons, or British Parliament, which is what we are talking about.2toise 00:27, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Sorry. Only you said above 'Please find any reference in official UK government material to "British House of Commons", "British Parliament", "British Government"', so I was just following orders... --Camembert

Appologies - I think this can be settled very easily. There are NO official uses of British House of Commons or British Parliament by the UK Government. I cannot understand why you insist on propogating the myth that this term is ever used officially.2toise 00:41, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

That's not what you said 20 minutes earlier in 'You will not, I think, find any examples of the UK government describing itself or parts thereof as the British Government. I challenge you to find any cases of this.2toise 00:07, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)' Moving goalposts, eh? -- Arwel 00:40, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

We can play games as long as you want to, the case in point is British House of Commons. The term is a fiction, NEVER used by the UK Government. You can attack me, or you can find ANY example of this term (which is the one we are talking about) - Used by the UK Government, that is.2toise 00:45, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Hansard - Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons Second Report paragraphs 70 & 72 -- Arwel 00:49, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Well, you're right, there is one. If the community at large is committed to adopting a term that is incorrect, misleading and extremely rarely used then so be it, there's no sense in trying to reason. The Hansard record does show that the term was indeed used on occasion, and the majority are clearly committed to this ridiculousness.2toise 00:53, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Well, this argument is ridiculous. When you have half a dozen people arguing against one, there's not much point in going further. I'd suggest a vote, but it seems pretty obvious how it would turn out. As far as parliament, it does seem to be officially called the United Kingdom Parliament... john 02:52, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

:Well, you're right, there is one he says. OK. Lets see.

  1. MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE
  2. Oral evidence - Taken before the Defence Committee on Wednesday 4 June 2003
  3. Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what official representations the British Government have made to the Government of Guinea-Bissau regarding that Government's non-ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and on what dates
  4. Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence - Memorandum submitted by Professor Robert M Worcester, MORI
  5. Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence - Memorandum submitted by the British Council
  6. Written Questions for Answer on Thursday 30 July 1998
  7. Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Eighteenth Report - AIR SERVICE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE UNITED STATES - Reasons for Renegotiating Bermuda II
  8. Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence - Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Bilateral Action Plans for EU Applicant Countries
  9. British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill [H.L. Speaker: Baroness Blatch]
  10. On this day: 1952 British monarch laid to rest - BBC website
  11. The official website of the British monarchy (the name of the website)

The website mentions about the Duke of Gloucester (the website's words) He is President of a number of organisations including: Britain-Nepal Society, The British Consultancy and Construction Bureau, British Leprosy Relief Association (LEPRA - Vice President).

By the way, have you ever heard of two airlines called British Airways and British Midland. Or the Order of the British Empire, or the British Empire [1]. Oh, and have you heard of the Encyclopedia of British History? And Nationmaster.com has an article on British History, British House of Commons, etc.

"The British Constitutional Monarchy was the consequence of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and was enshrined in the Bill of Rights of 1689. Whereby William and Mary in accepting the throne , had to consent to govern 'according to the statutes in parliament on." - J. Harvey and L. Bather, The British Constitution. And don't forget Ralph Alan Griffiths, John Ashton Cannon, The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy (Oxford Paperback Reference) and Kenneth O. Morgan, The Oxford History of Britain (ISBN 019288073X).

So in other words, the British parliament uses the word British constantly. The official website of the monarchy refers to the British monarchy. Net encyclopædias talk about the British House of Commons. Top academics write books with the words British in it. Google searches show it is the overwhelming preference of millions of internet users. We have British Midland, British Airways, the Order of the British Empire, and of course the British Broadcasting Corporation. So your comment about how British is 'rarely used', maybe on the moon it isn't but on planet earth it clearly is. How official do you want? The Queen? - got it. Parliament? - ditto. The media? Yup. Academia? You bet. Sorry your argument is so nonsensical that it is funny. The facts are clear. The evidence is overwhelming. QED. FearÉIREANN 22:40, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Although it's good to have your research and knowledge on the page, I think now is the time to stop flogging this horse. 2toise already conceded the point and debate - maybe not particularly gracefully - but that's hard to do when the debate got to a pitch as feverish as last night. Pete 23:49, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I wouldn't agree that 2toise conceded the point, merely adopted a 'you all are wrong and won't listen to sense' tone. The problem is that this nutty "you can't use British" argument comes up as regularly as a British royal scandal. Granted no-one else has been as absolute as 2toise in making a claim that can so easily be demonstrated as factually wrong. But those of us who deal with this nonsense everytime it appears are getting a tad bored having to re-fight the argument every couple of months. So I put in the comments to show that 2toise's you all are wrong and won't listen to sense is not a consession, merely an "OK. Be wrong then for all I care" withdrawal, by answering the claim once and for all. That way the next time someone digs up this nonsensical argument, we won't have to start from scratch again but simply point to a definitive page of facts. And instead of the previous attempts to raise the issue, that ended in the person just dropping the issue for a while, this time the clear unambiguous evidence is stated bluntly, so 2toise, unlike others, can't come back and try again thinking everyone will have forgotten their evidence and maybe this time they might get away with the loopy idea. The evidence is here to be used the next time this issue is dug up. And I did deliberately end the piece above with QED (Quad Erat Demonstratum) which means in effect - as has been demonstrated. Issue now closed. :-) FearÉIREANN 00:41, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Jtdirl / FearÉIREANN / ÉÍREman - I'm afraid that all you have demonstrated is an ability to win a war of attrition against people interested in correcting this point. Not many people have endless reserves of tolerance for your cheap debating club tactics. A couple of particularly risible examples stand out:
  1. Your cup and ball trick logic; "There's an airline called British Airways, so it must be called the British House of Commons".
  2. The belief that if you state something false enough times it becomes true "the British Parliament uses the word constantly".
I'm not interested in discussing this with you any further because you are clearly bent on misrepresenting the situation. Even if we were to accept the strong form of your argument, that is only that there is an secondary meaning to the term British which is a synonym for 'relating to the UK'. That still leaves UK as at least as appropriate a term, and the one that is used overwhelmingly on the UK Parliament website [www.parliament.uk/ www.parliament.uk/].
Of course people keep on bringing this up, and of course more people will continue to. The fact that the people who are interested in correcting this don't seem to want to put up with your belligerence and hostility as well as your childish 'logic' for very long, and eventually give up on trying to make you see sense isn't really surprising. Whatever bizarre agenda it is that makes you think it is so important to propagate this error is none of my business, but it's a shame that Wikipedia has to pay the price for it.2toise 14:04, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)


"one that is used overwhelmingly on the UK Parliament website" this appears to be inaccurate. The phrase that is used overwhelmingly is an unqualified "House of Commons" as for the rest :- Google search

  • site:www.parliament.uk "united kingdom house of commons" = 4
  • site:www.parliament.uk "uk house of commons" = 24
  • site:www.parliament.uk "british house of commons" = 7

Only two pages out of this lot actually has one of the above phrases located on the page found by google (the rest state "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page") and these pages [2] Annual%20Report%2095.pdf both use British House of Commons. One of the hits for UK House of Commons has UK at the end of a sentence and House of Commons at the beginning. Mintguy

I wasn't going to return to this, but to add to Mintguy's analysis, you seem overly wedded to the name of the Parliament website but they had to call it something. Have you actually searched that website? I have. This afternoon, searching using the box at the top left of the home page for "UK Parliament" returned 264,494 hits; searching for "British Parliament" returned 305,531 hits. It is a very long way from your claim that "There are NO official uses of British House of Commons or British Parliament by the UK Government". -- Arwel 16:11, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)

That just shows you are misunderstanding that search engine. You would have found fewer references if you had searched just for "parliament", as its search engine performs a default OR, not a phrase search. Try these better searches: "British parliament" 453 [3], "United Kingdom parliament" 936 [4], "UK parliament" 85,400 [5]. Then go to the pages and look at the image http://www.parliament.uk/images/hop/gen_parl.gif which is at the top left of many of the ones I looked at, with alt="The United Kingdom Parliament". I have no objection the using British or UK, though the official name is clear. Given the huge number of links to House of Commons, the vast majority of which are to the Westminster one, it may be worth discussing if it might be better to use neither. --Henrygb 02:19, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Let us recap. 2toise believed that the use of British as the adjective form of United Kingdom was wrong. That was shown to be wrong by history books, by websites, by the records of the British Parliament, by the Royal Family, by industry, broadcasting, etc. He insisted that the term British House of Commons was false and never existed. ever. This was disproved by the House of Commons itself. So as usual he moved the goalposts and said it was just one. So another ten were produced that showed both the widespread use of British and the specific usage of British House of Commons. His response was to call that "childish logic". Arwel, MIntguy and others demonstated that, no matter how 2toise changed the question when his latest theory was disproved, every new argument fell flat on his face. But still, 2toise calls the facts a "bizarre agenda". The words 'when', 'hole' and 'digging' come to mind. FearÉIREANN 20:19, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)