EUROPE: Britain's part of continent
As a European immigrant who has been settled in Northumberland for many years now, I'm constantly shocked by the vocabulary used to refer to the rest of Europe.
British people constantly refer to travelling ‘to the Continent’ as if leaving Britain were to travel to another continent.
Britain is an island, but so is Corsica, Sicily, and even Lindisfarne. Is Lindisfarne not a part of England because it is an island?
I’ve always been told that the UK was part of Europe and this was never questioned. I would never think that coming to Britain would mean ‘stepping out’ of the continent.
In geography, Europe is called a continent not because it is all surrounded by water, but because of a commonly accepted definition, partly based on cultural and political elements, but also on the tectonic plates, which is why Iceland is part of Europe too.
Last week I heard a politician on the radio saying that ‘there are 1.8million British people living in Europe’. This politician was trying to point out the fact that the British community living in other EU countries should not be forgotten in the in or out of the EU referendum.
I must say that I was annoyed at the inaccuracy of this, which should have been ‘1.8million British people live in another European country’.
Language informs our attitude and I think our attitude should be one of togetherness, rather than isolation. That starts with the vocabulary we use and the vocabulary we teach children.
I am proud to come from another European country and equally proud to now be part of this community here as I try to contribute as much as possible within the region to preserve its natural beauties and heritage.
I truly hope that the British people will vote to stay in the EU in June and that one day people start to be proud of sharing their multiculturalism and world heritage all together as one big family, who can only benefit from supporting each of its members.
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