Britain's social structure. This contains some stuff that you might not be familiar with.

!'''Class'''

Britain has far more strictly defined class divisions than the United States or many other countries. There are several ways that these are categorised by people. Some people will tell you that Class is dead in modern Britain. Do not believe them. It has ceased to ''matter'' as it once did, and most of the old elitist bastions now happily admit anyone with the right qualifications or enough money. Class is sadly alive and kicking, though - a good way to tell is by looking at the different demographics targeted by BritishNewspapers.

Many academics have attempted to write a definition of the various classes, and most have failed to pin it down exactly, but it has a lot to do with what you do for a living. No, actually, it has a lot to do with what your ''parents'' do/did for a living, though you can transcend your class. Also note that class is not directly related to how much money you or your family earn, though it can be heavily related to what school and what if any university you went to. Alas, {{Tall Poppy Syndrome}} runs rampant; social climbing is not generally the done thing.

* ''Underclass'' - Do not work and subsist on State benefits or crime. 10% of the adult population has not worked since 1997 and 20% of British children are growing up in a household where no adult works.
* ''Working Class'' - Anyone who performs physical labour as part of the job. Used to be the largest group in the country. Although this mostly includes farm labourers in the countryside as well as factory workers and workplace cleaners in the cities, it also includes professional footballers. A good rule of thumb is "if you work standing up, you're working class".
* ''Middle Class'' - divided into three:
** ''Lower Middle Class'' is one step up from Working Class. Traditionally a factory foreman or a skilled tradesman (builder, plumber, roofer). Alternatively someone in a working class job, but self employed. But increasingly it's low-grade office and clerical workers, such as call centre staff or simple data entering jobs, people who occupy a similar place on the economic ladder to the old upper end of the working class but the nature of their job means they're middle class. Above them are:
** ''Middle Middle Class'' - Office workers, particularly at Clerical and middle-Management grades, and other skilled workers such as teachers. Also most of the remaining small business community, including shop owners and such.
** ''Upper Middle Class'' - This not only includes Senior Management, professionals such as doctors, solicitors, university lecturers and the like, but any rich person who doesn't come from a titled family. So billionaire Richard Branson and Prime Minister Cameron are considered Upper-Middle Class (although the latter does have upper-class blood).

These can be further subdivided, for example, confident established upper middles or aspiring middle middles.

* ''Upper Class'' - If the other classes are defined by what you do for a living, Upper Class people traditionally ''don't''. Historically this class was made up of the landed gentry and aristocracy who lived on the rents of the land they owned and their family's OldMoney. The Second World War and modern taxes ended this lifestyle for almost everyone so most of the modern generation of lords and ladies actually do have to work, though they tend to be more prevalent in advertising, the law and, media rather than "trade" though many still keep up their family estates--albeit nowadays as tourist attractions. The source of your money matters far more than the amount; an Army Colonel on £80,000 a year (usually Upper Middle/Professional-class wages) would be generally regarded as slightly more Upper Class than his twin brother businessman earning £160,000. Even investment banking and City trading--where the more fiscally adventurous younger scions of aristocracy had a firm place--was seen as slightly gauche. Historically it was common for members of this class to become military officers, Church of England clergy and politicians if they wanted to and that cachet still persists. Additionally, at certain times the careers listed above as 'professionals' were also open to younger sons without losing too much status; becoming a barrister (but ''not'' a solicitor) was particularly acceptable, as it was more or less necessary in order to be appointed a judge and gave you the public speaking practice and understanding of law that came in handy when kickstarting a career in politics. After the Industrial Revolution, however, these lower-gentlemen were fused with upwardly-mobile businessmen to form the middle class. The novels of Creator/JaneAusten are a great snapshot of this shift as it happened.

The upper and working classes have at least one feature in common with each other; being at the top and bottom of the scale respectively, they tend not to notice the many nuances found in the middle class, and instead have a more binary 'us and them' perspective. Kate Fox's book ''Watching the English'' has an extensive discussion.

Many commentators refer to these by a 'grading system'. AB is upper class, the three middles are C1,C2,C3, etc. Even the 'underclass' are only E, so there is no failing grade for F.

A person's accent is a good clue as to their social class, with upper class people sounding more formal.

Some people have a thing for posh young ladies. Conversely, posh young ladies are traditionally expected to favour 'a bit of rough'. [[UsefulNotes/{{Australia}} That applies down under, too]].

!'''Ethnicity'''

->'''DCI Dick Catherwood (white guy):''' Get in there, Get into the community and find out what they know.
->'''DI Moses Jones (second generation Afro-Caribbean guy):''' You want me to go around asking local Africans about ritual killing?
->'''DCI Dick Catherwood:''' Well it's better coming from you Moses. They're your people.
->'''DI Moses Jones:''' My people, and who am I, Bishop Tutu?
->'''DCI Dick Catherwood:''' If only.
->'''DI Moses Jones:''' I am from ''Shepherds Bush''. [[note]] Shepherds Bush is a London suburb.[[/note]]
->--''Moses Jones'' (2009 MiniSeries)

An important note to begin with. When Britons use the term "Asian", they are referring to someone from the Indian sub-continent, not the Far East, usually. For many years ethnicity monitoring questions on goverment forms actually gave "Asian" and "Chinese" as different options! Partly this is simply because most ethnically Asian people in Britain are of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Sri Lankan origin, but it's also because people from the other three countries in that region get upset for good reason if they're described as "Indian". Also, there's some sensitivity about referring to people as "Pakistani" because of the common British use of the abbreviation "Paki" as a racist insult as extreme and explosive as the word "Nigger" in the USA. Also, whatever you do don't refer to black British people as [[WeAllLiveInAmerica African-American]], you will be mocked mercilessly.

Britain has been colonised by many ethnic groups over the ages (including failed colonisations between Ice Ages), with identifiable Late Stone- and Bronze Age individuals found to be from France, Germany, Switzerland,and further East such as Hungary and Poland. Much evidence was lost when the North Sea Plain flooded in more recent ages. Cheddar Man (found in the nineteenth century in a cave in Cheddar Gorge) was Old Stone Age.

Britain is still a mostly white country, with 80.5% of the population being White British, 1% White Irish and 4.4% White (Other) according to the 2011 census[[note]]this is just for England and Wales not the whole of the UK[[/note]]. Although this varies greatly around the country with Northern Ireland having less than 1 percent of its population being non-white (In Northern Ireland the census doesn't differentiate between White Irish and White British for [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles obvious reasons]]). The Irish have migrated in large numbers to Britain for centuries; when the Irish economy was strong, this tailed off, but after [[TheNewTens the Irish economy went into the tank]], young Irish have been moving to Britain in quantity again (and, when they find that Britain isn't doing much better, a lot of them end up going to [[MeltingPot the US]]--most commonly the East Coast, although Chicago is also popular).

The non-white ethnic minorities (14.1%) of the UK are mostly found in [[BritainIsOnlyLondon London]]. Significant minority populations (in percentage of the local population terms) also exist in [[UsefulNotes/TheMidlands Leicester]], [[SweetHomeMidlands Birmingham]], [[UsefulNotes/HomeCounties Slough]] and [[CrapsackWorld Luton]] as well as this ghettos with large South Asian muslim populations exist in [[UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses Lancashire and Yorkshire]]. Minorities are more common in cities and it is rarer (although they are still prevalent) to come across them in rural areas.

The main ethnic minority groups are:
* Blacks (3.4% in 2011): Split fairly evenly (11:18) between Caribbean (from the British West Indies) and African (from the African nations of the former [[TheBritishEmpire British Empire]]) respectively. In the last 10 years the number of Blacks from Africa has overtaken those from the Caribbean. Although present in small numbers since at least the 17-18th Century if not Roman times, most of these first arrived in the 1950s and are entering third generation status. Interracial relationships amongst Afro-Caribbeans (Blacks from the Caribbean) and Whites are now so common that Afro-Caribbeans are expected to virtually disappear as a distinct group. [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jan/18/race-identity-britain-study]]
* South Asian (5.3% in 2011): Those from the former British India. Split between Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and those who fled from Idi Amin's Uganda and stayed. These largely arrived in the 1970s, although communities had already been established in Victorian times. The second and third are mostly Muslim. This has led to some tensions in British society- with home-grown terrorism, most notably 7/7, carried out by British-born Muslims.
** Britain does have the AsianStoreOwner stereotype, in that you are likely to see South Asians running newsagents in fiction (also extending to an Asian Taxi Driver stereotype sometimes.)
* Central and Eastern Europeans: Not actually that new- a large number of Jews arrived in Britain around 1900 from the RussianEmpire while there was considerable Polish, Greek and Italian immigration after the Second World War. However, since the admission of several new states into UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion in 2004, quite a lot have arrived, taking mostly factory, building and service jobs. The credit crunch has seen many head back home.

Many from these groups are now third generation immigrants although there is a still large amount of more recent immigrants.

(Of course, although absolute numbers were far lower, there were non-white people in Britain before the twentieth century. The remains of ethnically African people have been discovered in graves dating from the era of TheRomanEmpire, there was already considerable immigration from South Asia and China in the eighteenth and nineteenth century[[note]]the first Indian restaurant run by Indian people in London was opened in 1809[[/note]], and black Africans were brought into Britain as slaves during the same period. [[note]]though in Britain itself slave law didn't actually apply- they would have been traded in Africa or the New World, but after arriving in Britain they were merely indentured servants and technically have had the rights as such- although that didn't amount to much, such as the right to wages, any kind of living conditions, or to walk out of your job.[[/note]])

!!''Race Relations''

One could write a rather interesting comparative history of racism in the US and UK. The UK never had the system of legalised segregation that the US had in its southern states, but there was a considerable amount of informal discrimination. Originally, the British Empire was one of the largest sources of slave traders, but they also banned slavery much earlier than the United States did and took a very hard-line approach to traders who persisted... including non-British traders who weren't actually bound by British law.

However, "[[{{Blackface}} blacking up]]" lasted about 20 years longer on UK TV than in the United States.

There is still a fair amount of racism in the UK. The Far Right have a worrying level of support, although it's actually lot less than in most other European nations. The British National Party breifly (between 2009 and 2014) had seats in the European Parliament. They lost them in 2014 but The UK Independance Party (AKA UKIP) have gained a large number in their place. And contrary to popular belief, the far right will probably do worse under proportional representation since a) the most likely forms involve ranked voting and they are a lot of people's absolute last choice and b) electoral reformers claim proportional representation will greatly increase turnout, swamping the committed nutters with less committed moderates.

Or, to put it more simply: racism, particularly casual racism, is arguably less prevalent in the UK than on the Continent, but is arguably more prevalent than in the US. For example, where a Brit might see a funny caricature or romantic painting, an American (particularly one born since 1975 or 1980) might well cringe at the racial undertones. On the other hand, if the American pointed out to the Brit, "that's actually kinda racist," he/she is more likely to say, "I see... you seem to have a point" than, say, a Frenchman or a Pole (unless, of course, the thing is racist towards Frenchmen or Poles, in which case the insult was probably intended).

Arguably though, and certainly in the opinion of the UK and Europe, there are some places where America is still more racist than the UK. There are still high tensions in many places between different races, which can also be seen through class barriers. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina there were accusations of racism due to the majority of people not being able to leave New Orleans being black and working class. President UsefulNotes/BarackObama has had to deal with accusations of "being too black", "not being black enough", being foreign and being a Muslim, all of which he has taken with very good humour. It could be pointed out, that despite America having increasingly equal amounts of White Americans to other ethnicities, if you look at their media you'll notice its predominantly white. As several sociologists have pointed out, out of A list actors, only two are black, none are Asian, Hispanic etc, and both of those actors (Morgan Freeman and Will Smith respectively) are straight and male. As mentioned there is also a high amount of suspicion of muslim people ever since 9/11, though this to a lesser extent is in Europe and the UK too.

One could say that due to America and Europe having different histories of racism, different issues worry them and different things they interpret as racist. For example, slavery is a sore subject for America but in places like Scandinavia where countries had both white and black slavery, this isn't seen as much of an issue.

!'''Religion'''
->''Cold is God's way of telling us to burn more Catholics.''
->--'''Blackadder's Puritan Auntie''', ''BlackAdder II'', "Beer".

Britain has not had the mass persecution of some other countries, but it has been there -- especially against Roman Catholics.

After the Reformation, the monasteries were "dissolved" and the assets seized by Henry VIII, on the specious grounds of debauchery by the monks. Contrary to common understanding, while he legalised the Church of England, Henry didn't fully convert the country to Protestantism- that was actually left to his very young heir Edward VI (who, being crowned at only 9, was subject to heavy influence by advisors.)

Catholics were subjected to organised discrimination, such as the Disenfranchising Act 1727 in Ireland, barring all of them from voting. This also applied to other "non-conformists", such as the "Clarendon Code" (though Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon and chief minister, didn't write them or fully approve of them). These effectively barred them from holding public offices.

Henry's daughter, [[MaryTudor Mary I]] (who inherited when Edward died unmarried aged 15), converted the country back to Catholicism, and executed numerous dissenters, hence being known as Bloody Mary. Her half-sister, [[TheVirginQueen Elizabeth I]], converted it back to Protestantism, and made at least a token effort not to offend Catholic Europe by doing so.

During the reign of [[TheHouseOfStuart the Stuarts]] there was a kind of RedScare against Catholics, thanks to the scaremongering tactics of Titus Oates and others -- people believed that there was a widespread conspiracy to overthrow the British monarchy and forcibly convert all of the Britons to Catholicism. It got so bad that people were afraid to go out to the theatre in case the Catholics got them. Laws were put in place to make sure Catholics could never have power in Britain again.

Ironically, the last Stuart king (James II and VII) ''was'' a Catholic, which is why they got rid of him and replaced him with his very Protestant daughter, Mary II. Despite this, there remained certain pockets of Catholicism in Britain; leaving out Ireland, there was also the Scottish Highlands, as well as some parts of the North. Additionally, certain aristocratic families became firmly associated with Catholicism over the centuries, to the point where all of society ''expected'' them to be "recusant" (the legal term for English Catholics back then). Particularly notable are the Howard family, the main line of which, being the Dukes of Norfolk, were the seniormost non-royal aristocrats in the country and held certain hereditary roles in the government which they never lost[[note]]Well, they were occasionally stripped of their positions during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James I, plus the Commonwealth period, but they were always restored relatively shortly thereafter and were restored permanently by Charles II[[/note]] despite being Catholic (it sort of became one of those utterly incomprehensible institutions of which the British are so fond).

Most of the anti-Catholic laws were repealed in the early 19th century, but there is one notable exception -- if a member of the Royal Family were to become a Catholic or (until 2013) marry one, they are barred from ascending to the throne. In the 19th century, there was a secret society called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kit-Cat_Club the Kit-Kat Club]] dedicated to ensuring the future heirs to the kingdom were all Protestant. (It either no longer exists, or is having a break.) Lingering anti-Catholic feeling may have contributed to TonyBlair not formally converting to Catholicism until he had left the office of PM, although it was more likely simply his not wishing to make a big deal over his level of religious belief, as profession of and the influence of such tends to be more subdued than in the US even with pious politicians.

This was far worse in Ireland and continues to have an impact in UsefulNotes/NorthernIreland, and to a lesser extent in Glasgow, where there is a large population of Irish descent.

Because the Church of England's split from Rome was because of the King's sex life rather than popular demand, the Anglican Church has always had a rather wider range of internal doctrinal difference than most Christian denominations. The traditional split, to simplify things considerably, has been between the Anglo-Catholics, or "High Church", who think that just because you reject the authority of the Pope doesn't mean you can't continue to substantially accept Catholic doctrines and practices, and the Evangelicals, or "Low Church", who are fully Protestant in their doctrines and practices. The EnglishCivilWar was partly a religious conflict, with the High Church siding predominantly with the King and the Low Church with Parliament. Since the nineteenth century a third element has been added in the shape of the Modernist/Liberal wing. These, stereotypically, are the kind of people who hold yoga sessions in the church hall, publicly doubt the bodily Resurrection, and want to be able to hold same-sex marriages. Note that the political associations of the High and Low Churches have to some extent dissipated and even reversed. Most notably, the ultra-High-Church Oxford Movement of the 19th century was devoted to making Anglicanism as much like Catholicism as possible, with the hope of an eventual reconciliation or at least ''rapprochement'' with Rome; those in the movement were often the period equivalent of champagne socialists and tended to have conciliatory/"pro-Irish" views on TheIrishQuestion (historically characteristic of the left) and as a result, many High Church members are today associated with the Christian Left (Tony Blair, an Anglo-Catholic prior to his conversion to Catholicism, is probably the most prominent contemporary example). In the meantime, many Low Church members became the sort of business-oriented, religiously conservative small shopkeepers who back the Conservatives. Note that the link between class and church orientation has been weakened as well; [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen Queen Elizabeth]] herself has been noted to have a "serious Low Church piety" (possibly the influence of her Scottish mother).

Beyond the Low Church wing of Anglicanism, there are a variety of even more Protestant denominations who reject the Anglican system as too centralised and/or too much of a compromise with Catholicism, including Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Baptists, Methodists,[[note]]Who occupied an odd position, as they split off from Low Church Anglicanism in the 18th century and were never quite as marginalised; they were officially just a reformist movement of the Church of England until shortly after the death of one of its founders, John Wesley, in 1791.[[/note]] and a host of other smaller and sometimes short-lived movements. These are collectively known as Nonconformists (as in refusing to "conform" to Anglicanism) or Dissenters, and were persecuted and restricted at times in the past. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dissenters were, like Catholics, generally prohibited from holding public office, attending university, or even having churches in the cities. As time went on, these restrictions were lifted, but not before they built an elaborate network of academies that, unlike their Church of England counterparts, taught practical subjects like applied maths, science, (living) foreign languages, engineering, and business methods. Oh yes, business methods: Since the Dissenters were ''not'' prohibited from becoming craftsmen, and their religions tended not to frown upon and often even encouraged the pursuit of material success, they developed their crafts into industry--a field that Anglicans (particularly High Church Tories) were often too high-and-mighty to touch.

The Treaty of Union (1707) which combined England with Scotland included protection of Scotland's own established church, which is Presbyterian (the Scottish Anglican minority is known as the Scottish Episcopal Church). It has had several acrimonious splits over its history. The stereotype of these folks, in sharp contrast to the Anglicans, is grey-haired, grizzled ministers with hard boots preaching the coming [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom Doom of the world]] and railing against sinful ''fun''. This is seldom true, and almost any instances will be found in the Western Isles or rural areas of the Highlands. Most of these will be part of one of the churches known as the Wee Free (the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Association of Free Churches, the Free Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and so-on), some of which are unrelated and some of which result from the [[WeAreStrugglingTogether traditional habit of schisming]].

The result of all of this is that the Dissenters--along with some Scots (the hardworking, business-minded Lowlanders who made up the core of the Kirk's membership found the English Dissenters most congenial as brothers in faith and as business partners)--were absolutely critical in making Britain what it became. As the craftsman Dissenters and Scots quickly discovered, the basic tools of industrialisation were lying all around them, with many key inventions dating back to the Middle Ages: things like techniques for running heavy machinery on power (usually water power, which sent a lot of Dissenters to the hills, where fast-running streams were in ample supply) and processes for making glass that, it turns out, translated easily to metallurgy. With no way to get ahead except starting a business and turning a huge profit, these Dissenters (and their Scottish brethren) started to put old technologies together in ways that changed the world--all with an eye to making a fast buck from the rich Anglican snobs who disdained them but also seemed to collectively have more money than sense. The origin of the Industrial Revolution is thus peppered with the names of the Dissenters and Scottish Presbyterians who put these pieces together--people like Abraham Darby,[[note]]a Quaker who developed a cheap way of making high-quality cast iron, based on old glassmaking technology[[/note]] Thomas Newcomen,[[note]]a Baptist who made certain critical improvements to the steam engine, increasing its efficiency at doing what it did back then--pulling water out of flooded mines, and thus making coal and metals cheaper.[[/note]] James Watt,[[note]]a Scottish Presbyterian who made critical changes making the Newcomen engine useful for anything other than pumping water out of coal mines--thus liberating industry from water power, and therefore hilly areas with mountain streams, allowing you to put your factory close to where the demand was[[/note]] John Wilkinson,[[note]]a Presbyterian who developed a way to make high-quality steam engine cylinders--and cannons--from a solid piece of Darby's cast iron, and a whole lot of other things besides[[/note]] Josiah Wedgwood,[[note]]a Unitarian who was one of the first to take Watt up on his offer, building the first ever steam-powered factory to make his famous pottery, and more or less invented modern mass consumer culture by manufacturing new styles constantly, providing them to the Royal Family, and selling them at an affordable price so the growing middle class could say "I eat on the same plates as the Queen."[[/note]] William Murdoch,[[note]]a Scottish Presbyterian and assistant to Watt who capitalised on an observation by a long-forgotten Scottish earl and developed the first practical technique for using coal gas as a light source, allowing factories to be fully lit through the night at low cost, meaning that he's responsible for the 24-hour factory, and thus the night shift, and therefore shift work--in other words, working by the clock, rather than the Sun or your own sleep cycle. If you work a job where you come in at a certain time and leave at a certain time, you more or less have Murdoch to thank--or curse. In fairness, gas light meant that the streets were soon fully lit and safe to walk by night.[[/note]] and so on. A large proportion of the basic science on which the industrial techniques were founded were also the product of Dissenters (and their Church of Scotland brethren); the most consequential are probably Joseph Priestley (John Wilkinson's brother-in-law, a bad preacher[[note]]Which interacted with his defense of Dissenters and support of political reform to incense both lower-class and upper-class Anglicans against him, with the result that he was first run out of Birmingham and then out of Britain altogether; he spent the last years of his life in rural Pennsylvania[[/note]] but a great chemist--he discovered carbon dioxide and oxygen) and Joseph Black (a professor at the University of Glasgow who discovered latent heat,[[note]]On commission, we should note, from a group of Scotch whisky distillers, who wanted to know the minimum amount of fuel they needed to boil their mash to produce the magical distillate[[/note]] a concept critical to the development of efficient steam engines), but really, the whole scientific side of the Scottish Enlightenment (in full swing at the time) counts. And they financed much of this themselves, too: both Lloyds Bank and Barclays, the first banks to provide capital to the provincial cities where this business was happening, were founded by Quakers--largely because the Anglican financiers of London didn't think banking had a future outside the capital. By the beginning of the 19th century, the Dissenters (and the Scots) had turned Britain into an industrial powerhouse, creating the middle bits of the aforementioned class structure (by creating the non-agricultural working class outright and by expanding the middle classes through various direct and indirect means), and establishing themselves as industrialists--in part ''because'' their ancestors had had their other opportunities severely limited (and to a lesser degree, ''because'' the Anglican upper crust laughed at them). So, thank you, C of E, we guess?

Jews have also suffered, with discrimination against them being common during the Middle Ages. There was ultimately the Edict of Explusion of 1290, where all the Jews in England were expelled -- this was not formally overturned until 1656 by OliverCromwell, who it turns out wasn't as harsh a Puritan as people sometimes think. (Though in fairness letting the Jews back in was inspired by millenarianism. Why? Ask an eschatologist.) By 1874 Britain had an ethnically Jewish Prime Minister, BenjaminDisraeli. (Religiously he was Christian - in fact he'd become an MP many years before it became legal for observant Jews to hold public office - but this was still a big deal, and he was proud of it.) It is possible that Britain will have its second Jewish Prime Minister after the next election with Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, being Jewish (although again not a religious Jew--Miliband is an atheist).[[note]]His father was a noted Marxist academic, so he was raised as an atheist, but as his mother is a Holocaust survivor his Jewish identity is very firm.[[/note]]

There are now quite a lot of Muslims in Britain (2.7 million at the 2011 Census), mostly (South) Asians. There have been small populations of Asian Muslims for quite some time, but their numbers didn't really take off until TheSixties and TheSeventies, when Asians in general started migrating. Discrimination against Muslims has generally been ethnic rather than religious (i.e., Asian Muslims and Asian Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, etc., generally all faced the same treatment), but [[TheWarOnTerror recent events]] have led Baroness Warsi, co-chair of the Conservative Party and a Punjabi Muslim herself, to claim that Islamophobia is the last socially acceptable form of racism in Britain. This created a small stir in some circles.

There are also a considerable numbers of Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in Britain. The first two of these outnumber Jews in Britain and the last one has approximately the same number of adherents. Hindus and Sikhs are mostly concentrated in the South East and Leicester whilst Buddhists are present in small numbers all over the country with the most Buddhist town in the UK being the military town of Aldershot in Hampshire mainly due to it being home to large numbers of Buddhist [[UsefulNotes/NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkhas]] who were allowed to settle in England and chose to do so near where they had been based whilst in the army. The oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Europe is also in the UK, Samyť Ling at Eskdale in the Scottish Borders. ''Music/LeonardCohen'' and ''Music/DavidBowie'' studied Buddhism there in the late 1960s; Bowie almost became a monk at Samyť Ling, but ultimately decided to pursue pop music rather than celibacy.

!'''The North-South Divide'''

One clear division that can be seen in the UK is the divide between the "North" of the country and the "South". The precise divide is debated (common ones are the Watford Gap Service Station, the most northerly point where one can buy the Evening Standard [[note]]Oxford[[/note]], and ''anywhere outside the M25''), but the 1983 General Election, where Labour won no seats south of Birmingham outside of Greater London gives you a good hint.

Note that the North-South Divide refers to the north and south of England, not England/Scotland rivalry. Care must be taken when refering to a place as The North as this can mean northern England ("OopNorth"), Northern Ireland ("Da North"), or northern Scotland. A not too uncommon conversation (here between an English and a Scottish person) might go:
"I'm from the North." "Oh, like Inverness?" "No, Newcastle." "So the South." "Um, yes. But no."
* It is also important to note that the line of the north-south divide does *not* run east-west, but rather North-east/South-West: somewhere around Bristol Channel-The Wash is one (not *too* controversial) common location.
* Another definition of the North is where people stop pronouncing "ass" as "arse". Although this has it's problems as many in UsefulNotes/TheWestCountry also use the 'Northern' pronunciation.
** This confusion and debate might be due to most political, business and media events largely happening in London, though one of the others may have hit upon something in the North-East/ South-West divide, nothing seems to happen in the east either, so the BBC don't often call round to check up on the North-East. Another reason is that a lot of Southerners claim to be Northern because of the stereotype that Northerners are working class miners from kitchen-sink dramas (which basically makes you sound both really hard and a victim of domestic abuse, the Top Trump of My Upbringing Was More Difficult than Yours), so if their dad's from Nottingham they'll say they're Northern, even if they only go at the Easter Holidays.
* A lot also depends on where you stand. For people in London most of England may belong to "the North", but e. g. for people from Yorkshire or Lancashire the inhabitants of Birmingham, Nottingham or Derby they are Midlanders. Note that some of the traditional divisions of England go back centuries, for instance for linguists the line between Midland and Northern dialects reflects the Danish conquest of the Early Middle Ages. Note also that some areas that are generally considered part of the South - most notably UsefulNotes/TheWestCountry (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset) and to a lesser extent UsefulNotes/EastAnglia (Norfolk, Suffolk) are stereotypically seen as populated by rural yokels and seadogs. The stereotypical "pirate accent" is a variation of a West Country one.
** Historically, the mapping of region and accent ''could'' go back to the map of the Anglo-Saxon/Viking divide when the two groups came to an accord and ultimately settled England over the period between the withdrawal of the Roman Empire and the unification of England in the 10th century. The name 'Mercia' is still occasionally used as a romantic alternative to 'UsefulNotes/TheMidlands', as is Wessex occasionally invoked for UsefulNotes/TheWestCountry excluding UsefulNotes/{{Cornwall}}, possibly after being resurrected as an idea by Thomas Hardy (and Prince Edward is Earl of it, despite it no longer existing in any meaningful sense). These borders were never precisely mapped, though (and they just ignore parts like some of the Penines, which had land not worth the trouble of claiming)- the best guess is the etymological origin of the names of landmarks (though border shifts could also result in the old name- sometimes just the plain noun- having the new noun tagged onto it, such as Torpenhow Hill in Yorkshire: [[ShapedLikeItself Hillhillhill Hill]])

See also BritishAccents.
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