Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen and ...
A recent survey across the water has shown that most people in Great Britain describe themselves as English, Scots or Welsh, respectively. Apparently British is a passport thing, not an identity.
I must have met thousands of our "big island" neighbours down the years, and I don't think I've ever known a single one that said, "Helloo, I'm Geoffrey Wadlington-Twigget. I'm British, you know". Or "See yew boy, me naem's Hamish McSplatyerface, an' A'm Bra-ish". I trust you get my drift.
Question is, where are these British? They're all in Norn Iron, that's where. In my experience, Ulster-Scots are the only ones to use that description, at least as an opener. Funny, then, that the only people to introduce themselves as British - say at an international gathering like the Oktoberfest - would do so in an Irish accent.
I don't have a special problem with this, but it's interesting to stand back and reflect on it. The reason, of course, is that by definition the British-Irish possess a hybrid identity which is not regarded highly in either source. Rubbing shoulders with a (variously) antagonistic, well-organised Gaelic culture encourages an entrenchment mentality, a kind of siege-unionism, and the desired delineation requires a contrasting label.
Indeed, I don't think it's an overstatement to say that, in more 'loyal' quarters, the Ulster-Scots regard themselves as the only remaining genuine, unsullied exponents of true Britishness - that timewarped romantic vision of some notional proud supremacy in the 1800's. Sad that. The rest of the UK, and Ireland, has moved on.