Is the UK a 'nation-state'?

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chloeee!
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A nation-state is defined as "one nation within a single state; a sovereign political association within which citizenship and nationality overlap."

Obviously we are a nation-state in that the British are ruled by the British (i'm not talking about each constituency country here btw). But a 'strength' given for nation-states is that it offers the prospect of cultural cohesion, because the culture of the nation is the culture of the state, if that makes sense. But in the UK there is no one single culture, and I wouldn't say British people were particularly culturally cohesive. So are we not a true nation-state? Maybe it's not possible for us to be a nation-state because we don't have a clear sense of what our nation actually is anymore. Can any multicultural state be a nation-state?
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Sofonda Dildos
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I firmly believe that the United Kingdom is not a nation state. Our peoples are divided by mistrust and antipathy. As you say, there is little or no cultural cohesion. What unites a wealthy family from the leafy suburbs and a toiling working class family from Tyneside? The tragic demise of British industrial strength has been accompanied by the destruction of pride of an entire social class. This domestic issue has been amplified by the waves of immigration over the past five decades. Ghetto-like communities have been created in many cities, with the populace divided by race and religion. I believe that multicultural integration must be achieved before we can hope to become unfied in many ways. With the rise of the extreme righ in this country, matched in ferocity by religious extremism, I do not hold out much hope of this happening.
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Don John
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England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all countries, united to form the United Kingdom. From this, I can infer that the UK is nation-state.
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gladders
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I'd say we're a nation state, in the same way that other Union States, such as the US, Canada and Australia are.

I suppose, though, that it's easier to define what an Englishman or a Scot is, while keeping it distinct from Britishness. Many would find this worrying, but I view it that Britishness is an identity that all the UK countries can contribute to, rather than one which threatens or is threatened by them.
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Summergirl.x
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Yet we don't have absolute sovereignty since we're in the EU...
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Deadly Lightshade
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(Original post by Summergirl.x)
Yet we don't have absolute sovereignty since we're in the EU...
I think you'll find that our sovereign representatives signed us up.
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gladders
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The UK Parliament is due to make it abundantly clear that it remains sovereign as it can at any time withdraw the UK unilaterally from the European Union.

Not that there was any doubt about this beforehand anyway - it's been the case since we joined.
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Summergirl.x
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(Original post by Deadly Lightshade)
I think you'll find that our sovereign representatives signed us up.
But a EU law court can overrule even the UK Supreme Court. Now, that doesn't suggest sovereignty?
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garethDT
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We used to be a nation state. The concept of multiculturalism has ruined that. That's not to say it's not a noble ideal, but it's just that at the moment, an ideal. In reality it doesn't work. The reality is a non-white immigrant coming to the UK is going to go and settle with other immigrants from the same country. When this happens, you get ghettos where the immigrant community can outnumber the indigenous population, you walk down a street and no english is spoken, you alienate the indigenous population and they feel no solidarity with their neighbour who speaks a different language, wears different clothes, follows a very different religion, you have absolutely nothing in common except the street you live in, and that is not nationhood.
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Huskaris
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We are a nation state. People who want to be a bit sad and make one of these points about it not because some people aren't holding hands and running down the street sharing ice cream do not change the fact that the UK IS a nation state

*sighs*
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Rhadamanthus
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Not for long if Philip Bobbitt is correct.
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Deadly Lightshade
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(Original post by Summergirl.x)
But a EU law court can overrule even the UK Supreme Court. Now, that doesn't suggest sovereignty?
Well, no.

Though, this was done with the consent of Parliament, and later Parliaments are free to undo this - theoretically... but it's hardly a practical option at this point.
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Summergirl.x
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(Original post by Deadly Lightshade)
Well, no.

Though, this was done with the consent of Parliament, and later Parliaments are free to undo this - theoretically... but it's hardly a practical option at this point.
I know Parliaments are not bound by their predecessors. :') I'm just playing devils advocate for fun as I saw the opportunity to argue make an argument back.
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Oswy
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(Original post by chloeee!)
A nation-state is defined as "one nation within a single state; a sovereign political association within which citizenship and nationality overlap."

Obviously we are a nation-state in that the British are ruled by the British (i'm not talking about each constituency country here btw). But a 'strength' given for nation-states is that it offers the prospect of cultural cohesion, because the culture of the nation is the culture of the state, if that makes sense. But in the UK there is no one single culture, and I wouldn't say British people were particularly culturally cohesive. So are we not a true nation-state? Maybe it's not possible for us to be a nation-state because we don't have a clear sense of what our nation actually is anymore. Can any multicultural state be a nation-state?
I think your argument is a little mixed up.

From a historical perspective the idea that there is a common and coherent cultural life in the absence of 'multiculturalism' is a myth. Even prior to twentieth-century immigration (remember, there's pretty much always been immigration - how do you think the Anglo-Saxons got here), British history is full of cultural variations and differences. You can say the same for England too, if that's your preference. You can talk about regional cultures, local cultures, city cultures, rural cultures, the cultures of the wealthy, the cultures of the poor, cultures relating to sexuality or sports, cultures relating to food and religion. You can even problematise the idea that there's always been a common language; being a Geordie I have had many telephone conversations with people from distant parts of Britain who could barely understand me. The nation-state as a phenomenon doesn't depend upon the rather fuzzy concept of 'cultural coherency' but on power over a geography and the people who live within that geography, even if it would like you to conform to its prefered social and cultural orientations.
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Chris11
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(Original post by garethDT)
We used to be a nation state. The concept of multiculturalism has ruined that. That's not to say it's not a noble ideal, but it's just that at the moment, an ideal. In reality it doesn't work. The reality is a non-white immigrant coming to the UK is going to go and settle with other immigrants from the same country. When this happens, you get ghettos where the immigrant community can outnumber the indigenous population, you walk down a street and no english is spoken, you alienate the indigenous population and they feel no solidarity with their neighbour who speaks a different language, wears different clothes, follows a very different religion, you have absolutely nothing in common except the street you live in, and that is not nationhood.
I think that's the big problem of immigration. Many of them don't want to learn more about their new country and are very reserved when making friend with the local people.

And I'm not British by birth, but I have a British mindset
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lgyaw6
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All of the arguments on here about immigration ruining the nation-statehood of the UK is absurd- there has always been immigration into the UK from the continent and Scandinavia in particular.
The definition of a nation-state is "A sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent" (Oxford English Dictionary). This highlights the importance of a national identity and solidarity amongst the people of a 'nation-state'. The Oxford Dictionary of Human Geography defines it as "thecombination of a nation with a state to form a close association between a peopleand a political territory. (It may refer to an ideal or aspiration ofnationalism, whereby a people acquire self-government over a territory. Inreality, very few modern-day countries are coterminous with nations.)" Again this highlights the importance of nationalism.

Going by these definitions are you really going to argue that the UK has one single national identity and all (at least the vast majority of) citizens would be united in that identity? Of course not. The UK is a collection, funnily enough, it's a Union (clue's in the name) of multiple nations (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) come together to form one political state. Going back to the definitions, there is emphasis on the hyphen, which draws parallels between the 'nation' and the 'state', politically, geographically, economically and culturally. From this, I would encourage people to substitute an 'equals sign' in for the hyphen in the term nation-state, to emphasise that the 'nation' and the 'state' are equal according to the aforementioned categories. The UK is a state, consisting of multiple nations, therefore nation ≠ state in the UK.

Continuing from the Oxford Dictionary of Human Geography definition: "very few modern-day countries are coterminous with nations" highlights that in the world a true nation = state is very rare due to the continuous fluctuations in social, cultural and political circles leading the citizens of the state (or country) to not have a singular national identity, ergo there are very few true nation = states.
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Teachem
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I agree.

"This domestic issue has been amplified by the waves of immigration over the past five decades. Ghetto-like communities have been created in many cities, with the populace divided by race and religion."

Indeed. It took a long time to build what we might call a modern, tolerant and open-minded society,
even if it is still significantly flawed.
If the influx continue to reject that and cling to their own backward prejudices then it's no surprise
that they won't fit it and will trigger mistrust amongst not only the "indigenous" population but anyone
else who isn't part of their particular sect. If you think about it, some of the most racist people in this
country are the immigrants who cannot accept anyone other than their own.
That's not to excuse any other racists, BTW.
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Rashid727
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shut up
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landscape2014
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Present States are all territorial States (occupied by several amorphous classes and disparate groups) not nation States. The ‘nation State’ as it is generally understood is a misnomer in today’s, and yesterday’s, world for nowhere on the planet is there, or has there ever been, a nation vested with a constitutional right of eminent domain, ultimate authority that is conditionally transferred in perpetuity to State authority figures as long as they observe statutory conditions (enumerated in a constitution). The bulk of the world’s populations entertain the misconception that they live in nation States when in fact their status is that of a domesticated, disenfranchised and disinherited human being subject to the direction of a territorial State’s authority figures (in the UK subjects of the Crown, presently Elizabethans subject to government diktat by virtue of parliament's appropriation of royal prerogatives - appropriated after murdering the monarch) and those who can exercise financial coercion over them. Nations do not have an eventual power of eminent domain (ultimate authority), those in charge of the State do and they claim it unilaterally not subjectively because of the willing acquiescence by the individuals that compose nations in a presumption that the sum of individuals who form a nation cannot be collectively possessed of eminent domain over the common domain that is the land of their birth. The past is irrecoverable we cannot recompense the dead but we can treat with equity the living and their descendants. The chief philosophic element in the evolution of capitalism to date is the separation of humans, by their authority figures, from jus soli (their material interest in the land) using organisations created by them to perpetuate that disarticulation. The denial of the individual their right in the land of their birth (jus soli) and the exploitation of their patrimony without yielding to them the means of subsistence and a monetary consideration (ground rent) is the major philosophic omission in the intellectual evolution of capitalism. States that countenance the denial of each individual of their population an incontrovertible birthright (all present States) have only an affected interest in equitable individual property rights. The bulk of the world’s population are denied their right to enjoy jus soli, they are the subjects of those who can afford to deny them it, in doing so they deny the philosophical fiction of a right to life.
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