The UK is one of Europe’s most densely populated countries with 272 residents per km2. About 80 percent live in cities, the largest of which are London (8.4 million residents, 2014), Birmingham (1.1 million) and, Glasgow (596,600). The fastest growing areas are south-east and south-west England; in the north-west and north of England as well as large parts of Scotland the population is declining.
According to Countryaah, about 13 percent of the population is born abroad, mainly in Ireland, India, the Caribbean and Pakistan. However, the current immigration shows a different pattern; there are more immigrants from Eastern Europe, Australia and the United States than from the Indian Peninsula.
The most dominant language in the UK is English. However, Wales is a shared language area where English and Welsh are spoken, and both languages are, by law, equal in public administration. Welsh (Cymric), which is a Celtic language, is spoken by about 500,000 people, which make up about 25% of the population, especially in the northern parts of Wales. In the Scottish Highlands, Gaelic was originally spoken, another Celtic language, but it has been in decline since the 18th century. Today, English is spoken throughout Scotland, but there are about 80,000 native speakers of modern Scottish Gaelic, most of whom live in the Hebrides and in Glasgow. Gaelic teaching is voluntary at higher levels and locally compulsory at the lower level.
In England, the Church of England is a state church. Only confirmed are considered members (1999 about 20% of the population), but over 80% consider themselves Anglicans. See further Church of England. In the 18th century there were free churches, mainly The Methodist Church (about 430,000 members and an outer circle of about 1.3 million); compare methodism. Baptism also developed into a classical Free Church (about 165,000 members). Presbyterians and Congregationalists joined in 1972 at the United Reformed Church (approximately 117,000 members). These free churches also have a wider circle of affiliates. Roman Catholics (close to 9% of the population), long oppressed, increased greatly in numbers during the 19th century through immigration from Ireland. The church was reorganized in 1850 (4 provinces and 15 dioceses); primas is the Archbishop of Westminster. In addition to a large number of smaller communities and sects, there are large minorities of Muslims (about 1 million), Hindus (about 320,000) and Sikhs (about 300,000) due to immigration from previous colonies. The number of Jews is about 300,000.
In Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is the strongest (about 65% of the population). The Roman Catholic Church (about 16% of the population) survived the Reformation period in some parts of Scotland and increased in numbers through Irish immigration in the 19th century. The Scottish Episcopal Church (about 86,000 members) has since 1961 been organized as an independent church province in the Anglican Church community. There is an increasing immigration of Muslims, especially to Glasgow.
In Wales, the Anglican Church of Wales was separated from the state in 1920 (it counts about 108,000 confirmed members). Of various free churches (approximately 220,000 registered members), the Methodist Church, Baptist Church and United Reformed Church are the most important. The Roman Catholic Church (about 150,000 members) dates from 19th-century Irish immigration.
See also Northern Ireland (Religion). For background see the religious sections in the articles England, Scotland and Wales.
Crimes against humanity
In the 1960s, the United States and Britain decided to transform the British colony Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean into a military base. As part of the project, the island population was displaced. To obscure the fact that expulsion was a crime against humanity, the British state changed the status of the islands in some rounds, then gathered all the residents and moved them to Mauritius, where they were stowed together in miserable conditions.
In July 2000, 500 displaced people from Diego Garcia filed a legal claim for the British crown on the return of their land. In December, this claim was also presented to a federal court in Washington. The prosecutors consisted, among other things, of in illegal deportation, racial discrimination, torture and genocide. In 2000, the British Supreme Court issued a ruling that the expulsion order issued by the British Ministry of War in 1965 was in violation of British law. The then British Foreign Secretary Robin Crook decided not to appeal the ruling.
In 2002, the British Parliament passed a law granting the displaced population British citizenship and the right to return to Diego Garcia. After two years of delay in the British Foreign Ministry, the displaced and their descendants – a total of 4,500 people – brought an action for damages. By the 1970s, they had been awarded £ 650,000, and by the early 1980s another £ 4m. £. However, the claim was rejected in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, which accepted the government’s explanation that the compensation already paid (£ 1000 per person) was fair.
In June 2004, the British government reinstated control over access to Diego Garcia, effectively ending the displacement of displaced people – contrary to the Supreme Court order of 2000. In May 2006, the Supreme Court overturned the 2004 government decision and declared it illegal. Supreme Court judges Justice Hooper and Justice Cresswell stated in the order: “The very notion that a minister with a circular can exile an entire population from a British overseas territory and claim that he does so simply to” ensure peace, quiet and good governance “is a abominable thought ». The displaced spokesman, Olivier Bancoult, subsequently urged Tony Blair to live up to the Supreme Court’s order and allow the displaced to return home. The claim was rejected by the British Government, who was otherwise perceived as a banner for human rights. However, a small group of 100 displaced people were offered a short visit to their old country – for the first time in 40 years. The visit was used to visit the ill-fated cemeteries and inspect the military’s other destruction of the island.
The British Government appealed the Supreme Court’s order to an appeal court, which in May 2007 upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling. The government then took the case to the upper house, which in October 2008 granted the government justice, and denied the displaced’s right to return home. The displaced persons have then brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
2000 Ken Livingstone is thrown out of Labor
An internal Labor dispute over the election of a mayoral candidate in London in the spring of 2000 led to MP Ken Livingstone being thrown out of the party. According to the polls, Livingstone was the most popular candidate, but he also represented the traditional left-wing party of the Labor Party and accused Prime Minister Blair and his supporters of using undemocratic methods and abolishing the “one man, one vote” principle. All to curb Livingstone’s candidacy for the mayor’s post. The fight continued until March 2000, when Blair decided to throw Livingstone out of the lot. However, it did not hurt the reputation or popularity of the rebellious leader, and in May he was elected mayor of London.
In September 2000, a UNICEF study revealed that one in three children in the UK lives in poverty. The result placed the country in 20th place among the 23 countries surveyed, indicating that 5 million British children and their families have no means to meet basic needs. A year earlier, the British government had promised that within two years, the 700,000 poorest children would receive more money, better housing, clothing and food.
The June 2001 parliamentary elections were won by Labor and Tony Blair continued as prime minister. The defeat of the Conservatives led the departure of the leader William Hague.
In October 2001, the number of registered cattle herds with foot-and-mouth disease reached 2030. At the same time, the number of animals killed to slow the spread of the disease reached 3.9 million. In Scotland 187 herds were registered, in Northern Ireland 4 and in Wales 121. The disease only made matters worse for the British farmers who in 1996 had been affected by the madness. At that time, more than 4½ million. animals knocked down to slow the spread of the disease. It is believed that the disease was spread through organic residues in the cattle’s feet. Remains that had been present since the 1970s. The human variant of mad cow disease, Creutzfeld Jakob’s disease, had so far affected 77 people. The madness meant that British meat exports were largely discontinued, and although it has since grown again, it has not reached the level before 1996.
Following the September 2001 terrorist attack on New York, Tony Blair unconditionally decided to support the United States. Britain backed the United States’ application of Article 5 of the NATO Pact – the so-called musketeer paragraph that obliges member states to deal with an attack on a single country as an attack on everyone. Britain, therefore, followed the United States unconditionally when it launched the invasion of Afghanistan and later the occupation of Afghanistan in October. And in March 2002, Blair, along with US Vice President Dick Cheney, declared that Iraq was a threat to world peace, and at the same time opened up the possibility that Britain would follow the United States in war against Iraq and its president, Saddam Hussein.
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Also in March, the Queen Mother died at the age of 101. Her popularity in the British population was particularly acquired during World War II, where she, as a queen, remained in London during the German bombings. Tony Blair characterized her at the funeral a symbol of Britain’s “dignity and courage”.